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After marrying my Dutch husband, we planned to immigrate to Holland, my parents' homeland. Mom and Dad were devastated by our news! Why in the world would you want to do that? My dad looked depressed when he said I was taking a horrible step backwards. They had left after WWII for a new life in Canada, the land of opportunity. Was I going to throw all that away?
After living in Holland for a year and a half, we made the decision to return to Canada. Our friends and family in Holland were shocked! Why? In their opinion, Holland is quaint, peaceful, has a high standard of living and mild temperatures. Canada, in contrast, is bitterly cold, unfriendly, (ongezellig) and only kind to the rich and healthy.
This intrigued me. Up until that point I had thought everyone saw Canada as the better option. Why did approximately 250,000 men, women and children leave Holland in the first 10 years after The Second World War?
I understand my parents’ reasons, but there must have been more individual incentives. Who went and why? And were they ultimately content with their decision? At that time, it was very expensive to fly by plane--most came by boat--and it was also quite costly to make a long distance phone call. All of this meant that immigration would severely cut them off from their family and friends in Holland.
I did some extensive research on the subject by interviewing immigrants and reading books, and then I wove these true stories into a tale about a young couple who found themselves in a terrible predicament. Immigration to Canada seemed like the answer to their problems.
The Passionate Immigrant is based not only on one true story, but on many true stories.