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In Dutch, The word stem means voice.
But it’s a word with more than one meaning.
It also means vote.
I like that vote and voice.
To use our democratic vote is to speak out.
I was struck by the importance of this word this week because I’ve just received my stempas to vote in the European elections in two weeks time.
Curiously, there is a theory from Bill Bryson that Dutch is a collection of words that also appear in English that have a different meaning and are used in an unfamiliar order. So for example the English word or is of in Dutch.
As a gardener, I’m intrigued that stem is the key part of a plant that gives it stability and height. Maybe that’s the job of our votes too.
I live in a foreign country. As an EU citizen, I’ve had the chance to vote in local council elections but a few weeks ago we received a letter each, offering the opportunity to register to vote in the European elections.
Only Dutch people can vote in the national parliamentary elections so the European elections are an important opportunity to use my voice in Europe.
If you live in Europe you may have noticed a great deal of news about these elections.
The European Parliament is based in Brussels and Strasbourg it has representatives from across Europe who also have party allegiances.
In recent years, there’s been a new development in electoral choice. Across Europe, parties with an environmental interest have become more and more prominent.
The Green option exists in more significant numbers. Now this isn’t a political blog, but I’m sure if you’ve read much of it you can imagine that green issues in politics are interesting to me.
Women in The Netherlands had their first opportunity to vote in 1922. That’s less than 100 years ago. Yet other European countries including France, only had votes for women in the 1940s.
So regardless of who I vote for most important is that I use my stem on 22 May.
a blog by a multilingual expat-since-birth, linguist, researcher, mum of three, living in the Netherlands and writing about bilingualism, multiculturalism, parenting abroad, international life...