Categories: Blog

Anna van Oers


Everyone has to deal with culture, consciously or unconsciously, but CULTURE is really my thing. Not one culture or the other, but all of them, side by side. It fascinates me!

Culture is all-encompassing, present everywhere, in the smallest things, even things that are attributed to religion, for example, often belong to culture. The great thing is that when you grow up with different cultures, you start to recognize similarities. I have no choice but to constantly seek comparison, but especially recognition. That has become kind of second nature.
In ‘my’ world this is self-evident, but I am increasingly discovering that this automatism in my head, this “default” setting, is not self-evident for the majority of people.

In the meantime, I am discovering more and more similarities between cultures, also there, or perhaps especially there, where you would not expect it. Things that are considered “own” by a group often turn out not to be authentic, but to arise from other cultures and either imposed by the ruler or adopted through mixing. It is not without reason that the celebrations of the Christian faith were mixed with the already existing “pagan” celebrations.

As the daughter of a Christian-raised mother and an Islamic father, my parents did not so much tell me the differences, but often showed them the similarities between these two religions. After all, the Koran is the continuation of the Old and New Testaments and this automatically means that these three religions are mutually exclusive. The interpretation and practice may be different, but often determined by the prevailing culture at that time, and for me that brings the circle full circle. When I used to be on holiday in Morocco, the older women sometimes wore a headscarf, younger women hardly at all. When we went to the medina of Fès, our favorite outing, I saw slightly more women with headscarves and veils, but it was still mixed.

Growing up, my Dutch grandmother always wore a headscarf when she went out. That was “neat”, just like in Morocco! At the moment, all kinds of things are being amplified by both “sides” to indicate how much we differ from each other.

I prefer to look at the similarities, even though they sometimes look a little different.