The road to integration in The Netherlands is long and winding. More than the different social norms, one has to learn a difficult language.

My friend just finished her profiel toets. She said that the questions asked in the test were easier than the questions asked during her exams at school where she had her inburgeringscursus. So she is certain that she will pass it. Except for the luisteren part that was long and boring – during which, she almost fell asleep.

Passing the profiel toets is the key to get her Nederlands passport. After three to five years of living in The Netherlands (three for married people and five for those who are in a domestic partnership) can one obtain the passport that assures him/her of the Dutch citizenship. This means that they have the same rights and level as Dutch people in the eyes of the law and the government.

She took the exams for two days – a day for the short interview and exams on Netherlands cultre and history and another for spreken, luisteren and schrijven. The first day did not take very long but the second day lasted for almost a day. She will get the results of the exams after a couple of weeks. And when she passes, she gets her Dutch passport next year, three years after she started living here.

On the first day of the profiel toets, questions ranged from everyday things (“what is the difference between a dishwasher and a washing machine”) to the not-so-everyday (“what number will you call in case of an emergency?”). The second day of the exams was more to test if the candidate knows how to use the language.

This is all a test of if one learned the language after his or her inburgering cursus. Afterwhich, the citizenship comes. But the path to integration is far from over. Because for a buitenlander who did not grow up to Dutch norms and expression, everyday is the best way to test integration.#