Inburgering take the Shallow Man test

Riding on a wave of intolerance, a few years ago the Dutch government ratified a law which required non-EU nationals living in the Netherlands to take the civic integration exam, Inburgering (a.k.a. inbuggering). Just to make things clear, this is different from the exam that is required if one wishes to apply for Dutch nationality. I agree that if one wants to have a Dutch passport then naturally you should not only speak the language fluently but have a strong understanding of Dutch history.

Meta Language

Metalanguage is a devious way of cleverly saying the opposite to what one means. For example, a makelaar might describe an apartment as making efficient use of space and also being environmentally friendly. The real meaning is that the place is tiny and infested with mice. The name, ‘civic integration exam’ has been chosen very carefully. The idea is that pesky foreigners will be tested in the following areas:

  • Kennis Nederlandse Samenleving (Knowledge of Dutch Society)
  • Speaking Skills (TGN)
  • Listening Skills
  • Reading Skills
  • Writing Skills

Once you’ve passed the exam you should be a fully inburgered or integrated member of Dutch society. If only it were that simple. According to some of my readers, even those who speak fluent Dutch and have lived here for many years, are sometimes confronted with not being quite Dutch enough. As long as Dutch society continues to use words such as autochtonen and allochtonen to effectively describe natives and “foreigners” Ā I don’t see how integration by nature of passing an exam can work. Ā That aside, the Shallow Man has developed his own Dutch civic exam, based on ten years of living in the Netherlands. If you pass this, you really are Dutch and should show the results to people that might cast aspersions on you being an allochtonen. The things I do for my readers!

Kennis Nederlandse Samenleving (Knowledge of Dutch Society)

Question 1

You are waiting for a tram. When it arrives which of the following is correct behaviour?

  1. Let people get off the tram first, then proceed to enter
  2. Push your way onto the tram, you are a busy person and don’t have time to wait
  3. Pull the person that was waiting in front of you backwards, then barge your way onto the tram trampling anyone that gets in your way

Question 2

You are on a tram or metro and there are two empty seats, where do you sit?

  1. On the seat closest to the window, thus leaving space for others to sit down
  2. You sit on the outside seat
  3. You sit on the outside seat and put any bags that you may have with you on the window seat and then growl like a pit bull terrier if anyone asks you to make room. Eye rolling and loud tutting are also acceptable.

Speaking Skills

Question 1

You are with three female friends for coffee or lunch in a cafe, which is the normal way of speaking in the Netherlands?

  1. As you are all on the same table, you speak in a clear, but calm voice, with pauses so that you can understand each other
  2. You all SHOUT AS LOUD AS POSSIBLE making huge amounts of noise ensuring that no one else in the cafe can hear themselves speak
  3. You barely speak at all as you spend most of the time reading messages on your smartphone
Inburgering, shout don't talk

Essential behavior

Listening Skills

Listen carefully to what is said in the video below.

Which of the following were said?

  1. meer of minder Marokkanen?
  2. meer of minder “criminele” Marokkanen?
  3. Ik houd van onze multiculturele samenleving

The king of weasel words


Reading Skills

Question 1

You are cycling on your way to meet a friend. When you go to park your bike, the nearest bike stand is full. What do you do?

  1. Walk with your bike for another two to three minutes until you find a bike stand that is empty
  2. Park your bike in front of a shop that has the sign “fiets parkeren is hier niet toegestaan”
  3. Park your bike helpfully right in front of the entrance to a house or apartment building that has a sign saying “fietsen worden verwijderd”

Writing Skills

Question 1

You live in a building with only two other apartments, thus not many neighbours. You are unhappy with some aspects of behaviour of one of your neighbours. How do you deal with this in the Netherlands?

  1. Make a point of knocking on their door and having a face to face civil conversation and try and work things out in a positive manner
  2. Wait until they’ve left the building then leave an angry letter for them
  3. Call the Police or complain to the gemeente


How did you do on the test?

If you answered mostly number two or three, then congratulations you are truly fully integrated and should start dyeing your hair red, wearing jeans, old boots or brown shoes, and visit the stage show hij gelooft in mij or soldaat van oranje. Goed Gedaan jongen/meisje.

Inburgering reward

You’ve passed!

If on the other hand, you answered mostly one, you are a typical annoying allochtonen that has lived here for years, barely speaks Dutch and has no understanding of their unique culture.

No cowardly neighbours were hurt during the writing of this post.