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Sharon den Adel speaks out on bullying and discrimination

Sharon den Adel, singer of Within Temptation, was bullied and discriminated when she was young.  Her parents were expats and the family had lived in Jemen, Indonesia and Suriname. At the age of ten she came back to Holland. In a small bible belt village she found no warm welcome as a ”pinda”.

When rapper Ali B asked: What comes to mind when I say ”the Netherlands”: he did not know what would happen …. a shocking interview, translated for you by addhoc. Put on YouTube by Ksenia Simons.

(The episode should be here: but is removed, while other episodes are still online available)

Transcription of ‘Ali B en de Muziekkaravaan’.

Episode of 7 september 2014, this part put on YouTube by Ksenia Simons.

Ali B: When I say ”The Netherlands” (Holland), what comes to mind?

Sharon: That we complain so much. If you compare us with other countries, we are so well off.

It is a complaining culture, sometimes. And that you”ll see with everyting. You know. Apart from soccer games, we are not really proud of the Netherlands. Except maybe the ice skaters that is ok. When something comes from the Netherlands, we say: this is so good it is un- dutch. I hate that word. Why ”un-dutch-good”, are the Netherlands not good? Do you realize what you are saying? It makes me very angry.

Ali B: I have never heard you beeing so critical on tv.

Sharon: No but nobody ever asked me these questions ever. This is the first interview with those questions. Haha. ”what do you think of the Netherlands?” Yes that of course is a very broad subject. I think Holland is very beautifull, it has many beautifull sides, but there are a few things that bother me…. When I came from Suriname…… I lived in Indonesia, I lived in Jemen [her parents where expats addhoc] I came back to Holland. Of course it was a difficult period, it was after the recession, the eighties: People were having a tough time. And beeing different was difficult to accept. I looked different. I had a different clothing style, another hairdo. I was very dark skinned. They thought: we”ll call her Pinda [“peanut”, was a swearword for asian and indonesian people at the time in Holland].

Ali B: Really?

Sharon: haha, yeah, things like that. You know those are the things, I think: what a pitty.

Ali B: Jee. And we thought you were a girl from Waddinxveen?

But so you are a ”foreigner” ? [the dutch word for foreigner used here is ”allochtoon”, it is a controversial word because it is even used for the third generation] .

Sharon: I am. Yeah. Haha. Yes, but.. Yes.

Ali B: were you also… Were they giving you a hard time or not?

Sharon: Yes.

Ali B: for real?

Sharon: [cries waves away the camera]

Ali B: come here you


Ali B: I dont know what to say. I am the worst interviewer. What is a good follow up question? I am just thinking: shit, Ali, what happens here? Shut up Ali. But I think, yeah

Sharon: You know, the thing is. I think things happen in a certain way, you know in life. It does not only have to do with circumstances. You cannot always blame other people of the situation. I also was very vunrenable. I was not harnashed against a very different society, here in The Netherlands. Holland was very harsh.

Ali B: yeah, waauw

Sharon: you should know this, or not?

Ali B: well where I was raised there were more Maroccans than Dutch people.

Sharon: haha

Ali B: There weren’t so many dutch people in our neighbourhood. You should have come and live with us, in our neighbourhood, then you would have been one too.

Sharon: been one of us.

Ali B: were you something we just didn’t know in the Netherlands.

Sharon. Yeah, you know. You arrive half way in the school year. You arrive in a village. A village. While.. Afterwards I have lived there very nicely. But it is more like it was a very difficult period to find your way. To make friends. To make friends most of all. People had formed little groups. It was a culture of sub groups. I didn’t know that at all. I just came back after ten years abroad to the Netherlands. And it was not a country that embraced me.

And my parents never knew I was beeing bullied at school.

Ali B: No?

Sharon. No. (cries) Because you are ashamed you know. Everyone had their problems. So it happened …… [gesture…. sneeky in between things ]

Ali B uhu.

Sharon. I said everytime when it was again very bad: Tomorrow my life will start again.

And then…. Tomorrow…… And tomorrow I begin a again.

Ali B: did you develop a bit of your feeling for fantasy there?

Sharon: No. I’ve always had that already.

Ali B: you had that already

Sharon: yes. (sighs)

Ali B: but fantasy is a beautifull world.

Sharon: that is a beautifull world yes.

Ali B: this is a bit of a Revenge of the nerds, this.

Sharon: yea haha

Ali B: look at you! Sold millions cd’s to the bullies. The bullies are watching you. They are out of a job. They now have to listen to your music. Obligatory.

Sharon. No but it doesnt feel that way. No it doesn’t feel that none the less.

After the interview rapper Ali B and Sharon write a song together called

”Hier”. This means ”here”. And it is about bullying (you stab my hart, kick me away) and taking the darkness into the light. Finding a home and a voice. Beeing safe at your home land where you can be you.

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