Dutch | Senegalese

Alain Sueters_amsterdam.jpg

I study International, Business and Languages at Saxion University of Applied Sciences in Enschede. I like to watch football and I play it myself. Other hobbies include gaming and dancing.

My mum was Born (in 1965) and raised in Senegal. She came to The Netherlands in 1992.

My dad was born in 1954 in Sydney, Australia. His parents are both Dutch. The reason my father was born in Australia is that my grandfather decided to immigrate to Australia after the Second World War. They went back to The Netherlands by boat in 1959. At that the family had five members my grandparents, my uncle, my aunt and my father. My father has lived in The Netherlands since 1959. This all is the reason I have the Australian Nationality. By blood I am half Dutch and half Senegalese. On paper I am half Senegalese, quarter Dutch and quarter Australian.

They met in Senegal in 1990. My father’s sister immigrated to Senegal for a job as an English teacher on an international school in Dakar. My father went to visit her and her husband in 1990. My mother was living at the husband’s mom place. My father and his brother in law went there to visit his mom before church. My mother walked in to the room to go to church and she immediately caught his attention. So he asked his brother in law who is that and can you introduce me to her. It clicked and when my father left they wrote each other for two years. As I said before she then came to The Netherlands in 1992. My sister was born in 1994, they were married in 1995 and I was born in 1997.

The first six years of my live I grew up in Weesp, it is a small town close to Amsterdam. In 2003 we moved to Enschede, all the way to the east of the country. I have lived in Enschede since 2003.

How old were you when you first understood yourself to be from different cultural backgrounds?

When I was 5 years old, I even remember my sister doing a presentation on Senegal. She brought some Senegalese food and her teacher loved it. The school I was in was quite white. I felt very accepted by everyone, since Weesp is close to Amsterdam everybody was used to people from different cultural backgrounds. The teachers used to say to me could I borrow some of your skin colour, because they were jealous about my tan.  

I have friends from all types of cultures.  It doesn’t matter to me. In my philosophy you don’t have control of whom you fall in love with.

Yes, there are still bias attitudes towards mixed-race people In terms of food that I like chicken. I am a vegetarian now, but before that I didn’t necessarily liked chicken over other meat. That we are lazy, don’t work, we are fast, we steal, etc. In The Netherlands the biggest stereotype is Black Pete. For the past few years there is a lot of discussion in the country whether Black Pete should change or stay the same. Personally I find Black Pete racist, but Black Pete doesn’t offend me.

A profound experience in your life was being falsely accused of stealing once and I was falsely body searched as well. At Both times my race played a role.

My race has no effect on my relationships my close friends accept me for who I am. I would definitely not want to be born as anyone other then myself; I wouldn’t change a thing about my cultural background.

I think it might take another two generations for mixed race people to be fully accepted in The Netherlands. By acceptance I mean that it doesn’t play a role anymore in certain situations like; applying for a job, buying a house, rent a car, etc.inc