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From the trenches

How expat communities can be early influencers in global crises

Photo of Erik Mooij
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Long before the first cases of COVID were registered in The Netherlands, media were already extensively covering developments, first in Wuhan and later in Korea and Italy. But even once the first cases began emerging in The Netherlands, people weren't taking it very seriously. Only when the more personal stories were spreading (both from Dutch patients and foreign, mostly Italian, personal accounts) people started taking the direct threat more seriously.

One particular account drew a lot of attention and affected me personally as well: a Dutch woman living in Italy who was basically giving an account from the future (Italy was hit by corona over a week before The Netherlands), in plain language, telling other Dutch people how corona would impact our loved ones and our daily lives, what to expect but also how to prepare. 

This account from the trenches, with high credibility coming from a fellow country(wo)man, emphasising both urgency and agency, has made a significant impact.

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Did this resource motivate you to change your behaviors?

  • Yes

In what ways did you change your behaviors as a result of this resource?

Became more aware of who to protect with my actions, and taking care of my own health.

Did you share this information with your network?

  • Yes

In what ways did you share this information?

social media

Where are you getting information around COVID-19?

  • Local Government
  • National Government
  • News: Television
  • News: Digital
  • News: Print
  • Social Media
  • Word of Mouth

What populations or personas are not currently being addressed with today’s COVID-19 information?

Non-native speakers and digital "immigrants" (especially the elderly)

What is your current profession?

project manager

In what city are you located?


In what country are you located?

the Netherlands


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