Mansour Karboub left his parents' home when he was 12. After many detours, the Moroccan butcher came to the Netherlands in 2004 for love. Today, on Naturalisation Day, he became a Dutch citizen. "I have waited a long time for this day to come."
In the old town hall of municipality Leidschendam-Voorburg, Karboub, together with 16 other naturalisation candidates, is ready for the naturalisation ceremony. The benches, normally for the city councillors, have been reserved today especially for them. Friends and family have gathered round them on small chairs. Everyone listens attentively to Mayor Van der Sluijs as he talks about the Netherlands, its flatness, the tulips and the peculiarities of its inhabitants: "This will probably sound familiar, the lunch box where during lunch they pull out a whole wheat sandwich with cheese."
On the background his story is accompanied by a presentation of typical Dutch scenes, such as the three windmills near Stompwijk, skaters on natural ice and the arrival of Sinterklaas. 'I wanted to see more of the world, so I decided to go sailing', Karboub says. "As a fisherman I saw many places in Europe."
He settled in the Netherlands, where he got married in 2004: "You have to do everything with your whole heart. That is what my parents had taught me."
Karboub, who now works as a butcher, feels at home in the Netherlands:
'Voorburg feels like my own village in Morocco."
The marriage did not last, but Karboub has since remarried. He and his second wife have a little girl, and a second baby is on the way. His daughter, too, will get Dutch nationality today. Karboub has applied for this at the same time as his own naturalisation application. "I am happy for this day. My children will have a good future. My own education did not go any further than primary school."
When the Mayor finishes his crash course in Dutch traditions, the moment has finally arrived: 'the Declaration of Solidarity'. One by one the naturalisation candidates take an oath or make an affirmation, some more smoother and audible than others. The Mayor looks approvingly. Especially when he receives an answer to his question "Anyone know what this is?",
to which he pulls out a can from the goodie bag that everyone is to receive at the end and holds it in the air. "Syrup waffles!"
all 17 newly Dutch citizens call out.
"You are integrated",
the Mayor decides.
With the ceremony over, it is time for congratulations and typical Dutch drinks with cheese and liver sausage.
"I have long waited for this day to come"
, Karboub says, holding a piece of cheese in his hands.
"Now it has come and I am a proud and happy man."
Time for a photo with the Mayor. With a big grin on his face and his little girl in his arms, Karboub poses in front of his wife's camera. He then shakes hands with the Mayor, puts on his coat and walks out the town hall with his wife and child:
"I am now going home to celebrate with my family."