Typical Dutch

Spare me the sermons

It’s been a couple of months that I have been living in Wageningen and I have noticed that religious groups are pretty active here. I was under the impression that they were quite passive and welcomed those who ‘volunteered’ to join. But one Sunday morning, a knock on my door made me wiser.

I was taken by surprise when two elderly gentlemen were standing on my doorstep asking me if I wanted to discuss the Bible. I was not sure how to react, given that these gentlemen were quite senior and seemed very persistent about helping me learn more about their religion. I stood in the doorway listening to them for around 20 minutes before I finally mustered the courage to tell them that I was not interested. Even then, I was told to ‘think about it’ and that they would come by again to check on me.

Religious groups are pretty active here. I avoid eye contact for fear of being subjected to a sermon again

The encounter left me quite stunned because in my country, religion is considered to be a private affair and it is not common to meet people who actively evangelize. I happen to see these people quite often in the Netherlands and do my best to avoid eye contact for fear of being subjected to a sermon again!

Madhura Rao,

MSc student of Food safety, from India

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NL: Preek

Op een zondagmorgen werd er aangeklopt bij Madhuro Rao uit India. Voor haar deur stonden twee oudere mannen die vroegen of ze wilde praten over de Bijbel. Omdat ze aarzelend reageerde, zagen de mannen hun kans schoon. Na twintig minuten bracht Madhuro uiteindelijk de moed op om ze weg te sturen. Ze bleef verbijsterd achter. ‘In mijn land wordt religie beschouwd als een privézaak en kom je niet vaak mensen tegen die actief evangeliseren.’ Als ze nu weer Nederlandse geloofsovertuigers tegenkomt, slaat Madhuro haar ogen neer. ‘Uit angst dat ik wéér een preek over me heen krijg.’

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