zondag 19 december 2021

Free at last (English translation)

Translation of Dutch blog Free at last

As of today, no municipal official or civil servant can come and stand next to my bed again (I asked this one more time just to be sure) to check how I have furnished my bedroom, I no longer have to explain anyone the layout of my refrigerator (except sometimes to my roommate), I don't have to request a month in advance if I want to take a step outside the Dutch border, I no longer have to justify every cent and submit more than a hundred pages of bank statements and bookkeeping every year, which therefore also can no longer be lost within the government organization, I no longer have to explain to a civil servant what a balance sheet is, I no longer have to answer the question in writing every month whether I have slept somewhere other than at home and if so where I did, my brother no longer has to sign a statement afterwards to explain that he once gave me a new rain jacket on my birthday and I am allowed to do volunteer work without permission from the municipality and take on as much work as I want and can handle (yes, from now on I can work without permission from the government). Free at last.

Today I leave seven years of welfare (as an additional loan) behind me, and four months after my 66th birthday I have been officially appointed as a State-recognized Old Man (SOM) with the associated lifelong monthly sum of money, which I can keep fully for myself and for which I am not accountable to any municipal official. Over the past seven years, with a bit of work, quite a bit of hassle and a bit of borrowing, and a lot of rules, a slow civil servant's learning curve and a tense but finally won lawsuit to keep the government by the law, I got through just fine. I'll continue to hassle, but I am happy: free at last.

As I am writing this, at exactly midnight on the corner of my street there is a very loud banging ornamental fireworks. My law abiding citizen's heart admonishes me to inform the police, but then I realize that this may well be a surprise fireworks show organized by the municipality to say goodbye to another citizen less on welfare. Thank you municipality, thank you social service Werk en Inkomen Lekstroom (WIL), thank you fellow citizens. Free at last.

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