The “Glorious Dutch”

glo·ri·ous  (glôrs, glr-)

adj.

1. Having or deserving glory; famous.
2. Conferring or advancing glory: a glorious achievement.
3. Characterized by great beauty and splendor; magnificent: a glorious sunset.
4. Delightful; wonderful: had a glorious visit with old friends.

Last week Credits Media announced that they were set to publish a new glossy magazine called “Hollands Glorie”, which loosely translates as “Dutch Glory”. The magazine is purportedly about all things Dutch. Anita Witzier, a Dutch presenter, breaks it down, for those of us left wondering what that precisely entails, in the newspaper NRC Handelsblad.  She explains, “[F]or the first issue we’ve chosen Irene Moors, because she is the epitome of Hollands Glorie. Witzier sums up: “tall, blonde, blue eyes, not threatening, successful, not self-conceited, witty, direct”.”

This is how White Autochtoon Dutchness is reproduced and privileged through discursive and visual representations. Institutional racism isn’t predicated on hate; it comes neatly packaged in culture control strategies that aim to identify those who (can) embody “Dutch Glory” and those who can’t/don’t. As Witzier shows, “Dutch Glory” is centred on the valuation of certain types of bodies.

Witzier’s description of a quintessential “Dutch Glory” only serves to reinforce the biologization of politics and the citizenship project in the Netherlands. The focus on the body and performance (aesthetics) reminded me of Nikolas Rose’s concept of the biological citizen. Rose defines biological citizenship as “both individualizing and collectivizing. It is individualized, to the extent that individuals shape their relations with themselves in terms of a knowledge of their somatic individuality. Biological images, explanations, values, and judgments thus get entangled with other languages of self-description and other criteria of self-judgment, within a more general contemporary “regime of the self” as a prudent yet enterprising individual, actively shaping his or her life course through acts of choice.”

These descriptions and representations of White Autochtoon Dutchness not only highlight what makes a “good citizen” but also a “valid citizen.”

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