Dutch | Dutch/Chinese/Indonesian
I’m a Dutch ‘Chindo’; my roots come from a Chinese family living in Indonesia. The story goes that my Chinese Grandmother Victorine (Vicky) was a bastard’s child; her Chinese Mother had her with an Indonesian man, while she was supposed to marry a Chinese husband. I never knew if this was really true, as in my family tree it still says both her parents were Chinese. She came to Holland right after the 2nd world war and met my Dutch Grandfather. Out of their marriage my Mother was born, she then had me with my Dutch Father. I’m only 25% ‘Chindo’, but always name this when people ask me about my nationality.
My Mum and Dad were born in Holland and met in Holland. They met in Amsterdam, I was their first child of two. My Mum is 50% Chindo, my Dad fully Dutch. I look like an exact copy of my Grandmother Vicky; many family members point this out, especially now I’m an adult. They say the resemblance is outstanding, and I’ve seen many pictures of her. I never knew Vicky, as she died of cancer when my Mother was 22 years old. She named me after her Mother (Sophie Victorine) so I have been aware of my mixed-race heritage since I was very young.
I grew up in Amsterdam, in a very mixed neighbourhood, and went to a mixed primary school. I think growing up in such a multicultural city it has never disadvantaged me being mixed-raced. I went to a very high-level high school, where also a lot of mixed heritages where the standard. Amsterdam is so mixed that I’ve never took a lot of notice of my dual heritage. I don’t think my parents had to combine their cultures. My Mother was not very typical Chinese or Indonesian, and my Chinese family was very established in the Dutch culture. After the civil war in Indonesia many Indonesians and Indonesian citizens had to make a choice if they wanted to stay there or come to the ‘motherland’ Holland (as Indonesia was a Dutch colony, until the civil war). Most of our family came to Holland and already spoke perfectly Dutch and were not practicing an unknown religion then the Dutch. My Chinese family was already as Dutch as possible, only not in their looks obviously. My Mother had a Dutch Father, who was a very famous resistance fighter in the 2nd World War and started Amsterdam’s newspaper Het Parool. My Mum grew up with Dutch journalists, writers, poets, so was also very connected to Dutch heritage. I have never experienced challenges due to my mixed raced heritage.
I think my friends and colleagues are a perfect mix of heritages; my boyfriend is German, I have friends that are Spanish, Turkish, Surinam, Dutch, closest colleagues are Surinam, Indonesian and Dutch. I hope to believe that my own mixed heritage made me open to different cultures. I do think living in Amsterdam has given me the surroundings that I prefer, full of cultures, several heritages, languages and religions.
The only cultural connection I have is a Chinese tattoo on my back, which is my Chinese zodiac sign. Furthermore obviously I love Indonesian and Chinese food, but not especially more than other foods. I have studied Chinese language for a while, but not more than studying European languages as well. I like my Asian looks, especially my hair, and I like that people ask me often where I’m from. I like to explain the story of my family.
If I had the opportunity to be reborn I want to return as a bird, a bird can fly, and I would love to be able to fly. Also animals don’t know racism like humans know, and I think that would be a virtue and a blessing.