The other day my daughter asked me: ‘Mom, am I Belgian or am I German?’ She grew up in Belgium after all. I often feel a certain identity dilemma, especially when it comes to my children. Nonetheless, I want them to define their identity however they want, because this is what the European idea is about. For Christmas this year we had a debate about the tree : do we put it up on the 24thof December like the Germans do, or three weeks in advance like the Belgians do? I gave in and we did it the Belgian way. It was fun!

How do I feel about it? Well, I do miss Germany sometimes, especially this deeper feeling of being rooted in your home country. I miss my parents and I often wonder what it would be like to see them on a regular basis. I miss the harbour. I miss my hometown Hamburg. I miss German bread!

But I love Brussels, its mix of cultures, its political environment – I love living here. I’ve been here for more than eighteen years now. This is my home now.

 

(Utta is Head of Press and Communications and Spokesperson of a political group at the European Parliament.)