The gypsy in my soul: Sinti and Roma in the Netherlands


Illustration protesting against Dutch policy towards Sinti caravan camps (©

The people who many of us refer to as “gypsies”, but who call themselves Sinti and Roma, are a small ethnic minority in the Netherlands, numbering between 5,000 and 7,000 at the time this programme was made. In all of Europe, they number between 7 and 10 million. 

Since their first arrival in this country, mostly from Germany and France at the end of the 19th century, efforts have been made to integrate them and bridge the gap between their nomadic traditions and Dutch culture. However, to this day the Sinti and Roma, who have a distinct culture and language, are underrepresented on the job market and in education.

In this sympathetic portrait, members of the Dutch Sinti and Roma community tell us how they see themselves. The programme features Zoni Weisz and is interspersed with the music of Holland’s own Tata Mirando Royal Gipsy Orchestra.

Produced: Hélène Michaud

Broadcast: September 19, 1999