Diversity in Friesland

Today was an eventful day filled of interviews and hard #wurkje! In order to cover more ground our team decided to split up, so some of the team conducted interviews while others worked on a graphic design project all which will ultimately be displayed in  the Talepavilijoen (language pavilion); a space that will promote the different languages in the community.

Our first interview of the day was with Willy Bergsma, who is working with many different language communities for the language pavilion project. Willy’s first language is Frisian and her second language is Dutch. One of the interesting things about her is that she owns a Bed and Breakfast in one of Leeuwarden’s beautiful historic buildings.

Our second interview was at a restaurant called Mouni with owner Adel who’s restaurant has been open for 12 years.He lovingly named the restaurant after his mother who passed away in 2013. We discovered him after going to his restaurant quite a bit since we’ve been here. Adel has a diverse background with his mother having been French and his father being Algerian. His food is loved so much so that he has won an award for being one of the top kabob shops number in Friesland, allowing him the chance to take a picture with Netherlands prime minister, which he proudly displays on his wall. His employees also come from diverse backgrounds and speak different languages including Japanese, Urdu, and Azeria.


Interview with Adel at his restaurant Mouni.

The last interview was with Asturian natives Carlos and Iria, who currently live in Leeuwarden. They have wonderful personalities and have a passion for music. The believe that music brings out the connection in people, and together they have a band called Xera.

Interview with Carlos and Iria native Asturians living in Leeuwarden

Back at the hostel, some of the team worked on creating mock-ups for a Dutch sign language menu and a poster that will displayed in the Talepavilijeon. Because the servers in the pavilion will be deaf, it will be important that the patrons know basic Dutch sign language to promote interaction.

It is amazing how much diversity is in this city of mostly Frisian and Dutch speakers, which is why this is a great place for European Capital of Culture 2018 . You would probably be surprised what languages are spoken in your community too!

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