Code-switching is when someone changes between languages or dialects depending on who they’re talking to or the situation. This often happens in minority groups, who use code-switching to express their identity, connect with their community, or fit in with the dominant culture. In the Dutch-Caribbean diaspora, where many people grow up speaking multiple languages, code-switching is common. For example, a sentence like “Tin un kos ta bezig ta bother me!” mixes Papiamentu, Dutch, and English, making sense to those in the community but is confusing to others. Another type of code-switching happens in settings where people feel they can’t be themselves, like at work or other formal spaces. They might change their language to hide their accents, to speak more formally and to try to fit in more with the norm, to avoid upsetting those in power.

In the third edition of the ‘Bou di Watapana!’ series, we’re bringing together professionals from Dutch-Caribbean backgrounds to discuss code-switching. How do these professionals feel about code-switching? Do they do it consciously or without even realising? How does code-switching, or choosing not to do it, affect how they’re seen at work?

Connect with the professionals on a personal level as we delve into thought-provoking discussions. Your questions and insights are not just welcome – they’re encouraged!

More information about the invited speakers:

Dylan van Arneman was born in Amsterdam to a Dutch mother and Bonairian father. When he was five years old he moved to Bonaire with his family and lived there all the way until graduating high school at the age of 18. After completing high school he decided to move to The Netherlands to study physics. From 2015 to 2018 he studied the BSc Natuur- en Sterrenkunde at the University of Amsterdam. Following his bachelor’s he joined the MSc Physics & Astronomy programme, specializing in gravitation, cosmology and (astro) particle physics, again at the University of Amsterdam. After receiving his MSc diploma in 2020 he decided to do a masters in Secondary Education and completed this in 2021. Whilst obtaining his master’s in Educate he also worked as a physics teacher at a high school in The Netherlands.

After obtaining his masters in education in 2021 he journeyed back into the world of academia and started his PhD in experimental particle physics at the University of Amsterdam, CERN and the National Institute for Subatomic physics (Nikhef). Dylan is currently a PhD researcher working on the ATLAS experiment at the LHC at CERN, searching for new particles that will hopefully help us understand the fundamental structure of the universe. He works at several locations and is based in Amsterdam as well as in Geneva, Switzerland.

Aside from physics research Dylan is also involved in several projects related to education and science communication.

Eva Croes is a professional dancer, dance educator and choreographer and founded her own dance company EMA Dance Co. in 2017, offering educational programs surrounding the further development within the art of dance in the Netherlands. In 2022 Eva was awarded “Docent van Het Jaar/Teacher of the Year” by the Municipality of Amsterdam for her outstanding work in the educational field of dance within the academic scene. Today she is a dance educator at the ROC van Amsterdam PACT+ Dans and is currently in preparation for new projects.

Eva has danced in places all around the world, such as Jordan, with the production “On The Other Side of Silence” she toured through several cities in Germany, Scotland, New York City and even Cuba. In Cuba Eva was invited to dance at the Biennale de La Habana in the production “AnThropical” under guidance of Aruban multi-disciplinary artist Alydia Wever.

In 2020 Eva launched her own IGTV show called ‘What’s The T?’ where she goes in conversation with other Caribbean artists and creatives about topics surrounding Caribbean society, creative knowledge and showcasing artistic work.

Next to hosting her own show, Eva co-hosts the Bai Bin |Be Right Back podcast together with Gyonne Goedhoop. Furthermore, Eva performs in and around the Netherlands in different dance productions and is involved in the development of the dance scenario on Aruba.

Milangelo Maduro is an action-oriented Business Consultant and Business Analyst with a proven track record in helping businesses transform with the aid of digital solutions. Currently serving as Market Lead for Consumer Products, Retail, and Agriculture, he brings a wealth of expertise in customer engagement, employee engagement, and strategic business transformations.

With a focus on the Consumer Products and Retail sectors, he has worked extensively in both the private and public sectors, aiding organisations in tackling strategic challenges and implementing end-to-end solutions. Notable achievements include being awarded Employee of the Year in 2014 as a young professional from over 3000 employees at Capgemini Netherlands, one of top IT Consultancy firms worldwide, and being selected for a top 100 leadership program in 2021 out of 350,000 employees worldwide. Milangelo also serves as a Principal Consultant and is an integral part of the leadership team, driving entrepreneurship, innovation and strategic direction within the organisation.

Milangelo holds a Master of Science in Business Information Management from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, where the focus was on supporting closed-loop supply chains through information sharing. Prior to this, he completed a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, also at Erasmus University Rotterdam. His educational journey started at Radulphus College in Curaçao. Outside of work Milangelo is an active member of IT4Curaçao, reflecting a commitment to community engagement and technological advancement beyond professional responsibilities.

The main area of interest in code-switching for Milangelo lies in the universal nature of the phenomenon, regardless of background. This understanding stems from years of experience working in diverse environments, where the intricacies of human communication are both complex and fascinating.

Programme seriesBou di Watapana (Under the Watapana tree)

Welcome to the spin-off of our Diaspora Dialogues series called "Bou di Watapana". “Bou di Watapana” is a captivating series embracing the rich narratives of the Dutch Caribbean diaspora in the Netherlands. Within this series, we delve into the lives of diverse youths and professionals from the diaspora, exploring the intricacies of their work and the compelling stories that define them. In each episode, we engage in thought-provoking conversations that unravel the 'how' and 'why' behind their chosen paths. Discover the unique perspectives that shape their endeavors, and join us as we navigate the fascinating landscapes of their personal and professional journeys. But our series isn't just about individual stories; it's a celebration of community. Explore how our guests give back to their communities, creating a positive ripple effect through their work. "Bou di Watapana'' invites you to a space where stories converge, knowledge is shared, and the spirit of community thrives.