News - March 15, 2018

A simple Dutch wedding


A good friend of mine got married on 31 January at 10 o’clock. I am happy for her and her new journey, but there are a few things that bother me. Why was the wedding ceremony held on a working day? And why was I not invited?

Illustration Henk van Ruitenbeek

A simple wedding in Malaysia means 500 guests, for the Dutch it means immediate family only

Though I know the answers to both questions, it is just perplexing if I compare my wedding with hers. First of all, my wedding ceremony was on a public holiday. It is a taboo in my country to get married on a weekday. There were about 500 guests, many of whom I hardly knew. And please note: my wedding was simple compared to the norm in Malaysia.

My friend and her fiancé had a ‘simple wedding’ too – by Dutch standards. They invited only their immediate family and therefore opted for the free wedding ceremony. This is a concept which I find ludicrous, but it is not unusual in the Netherlands. It is so common that in certain gemeentes the slot for the free wedding ceremony is fully booked for months.

The free wedding was originally initiated by the Dutch government to help poor couples. The intention is good, but many people who do not fit this category also make use of it. This situation confirms my stereotype of the Dutch as cheapskates. Though I bet my friend will answer otherwise and say she is just efficient, like all the Dutch.

By the way: Congratulations Anne! I wish you a happy married life!

Mas Muniroh Binti Mohd Nadzir, a Malaysian PhD candidate in Plant Breeding


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