To permanently stay in The Netherlands, the hopeful immigrant must first pass the inburgeringsexamen in the Netherlands Embassy at his/her home country. It is a 20-30 minute exam all done in Dutch.

The inburgering examen comes in two parts: test of the Dutch language and the Dutch history and society. Along with the examination pack that one can buy are three numbers which one can use to practice it three times. I tried my first proof exam two weeks ago and had a hard time understanding the words. It was too fast for me.

But from what I understood, the test-of-language part have four to five sub-parts – repeating sentences, telling the antonyms of words, giving the summary of a short story and answering short questions. This part assesses whether or not one has attained a basic level of the language.

The test of the Dutch history/society measures one’s knowledge of the Dutch society through a cd and photo book. One has to turn the pages him/herself and answer the questions which correspond with the photo/s being asked about. These are all done in Dutch (both the questions and answers) and via the telephone.

The questions range from “Welk land ligt ten zuiden van Nederland?” to “Wat is typisch Nederlands in het verkeer?”. Belgium lies south of the Netherlands if one looks at the world map, but if one does not live in The Netherlands, would one know that bicycles describe the typical Netherlands traffic?

There are also questions that ask who the Crown prince is or if homosexuality is allowed or not. Or if living in The Netherlands is duur of goedkoop. Well, it depends where you’re coming from, toch? But the answer is = duur.

As long as one memorizes the 100 questions in the photobook, the questions about the Dutch society and history will be easy. But with the language part, one has to have the right level of Dutch. It is also a must to have good hearing because the test is done through the telephone. And one has to speak very clearly since the exam is done by a computer.

If one fails, he or she can try over and again. Or he/she cannot get a temporary residence permit. But the price is quite high that failing does not seem to be an option – a sterling 350 euros. Indeed, that is duur.