Hopelessly devoted to Dutch

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

Iranian-born poet Nafiss Nia and the Dutch language are inseparable. Twenty years ago she fled from Iran to the Netherlands, where three spirited teachers instilled a love for her newly adopted language in her.

During one of the lessons Nia asks about Dutch swearwords. The teacher said, "we have no such words". Reminded by Nia of her reply decades later the teacher responds, "Did I really say that? How diplomatic!"

As a tribute to her three teachers Nafiss Nia has produced a documentary called "A, B, C". Although the three ladies are quite elderly now, they have not tired of teaching refugees the Dutch language.