Published On: Wed, Jan 18th, 2017


Just when many people are having sleepless nights over the inauguration of the next president of the United States, a report in the Telegraaf shows that the Netherlands has its own share of nutcases.

In Nijmegen, a woman did not get her driver’s license because she offered a picture where she is wearing a strainer on her head. Serious? Yep, serious. Don’t ever eat a salad at her place because it could be full of hair and God knows what else.

The woman in question – Mienke de Wilde – is a supporter of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The…., what?

Get this: the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a satirical belief that has been recognized as a religion in the Netherlands. It is, in fact, an anti-religious movement that strongly opposes creationism. Part of the religion is that its members wear a strainer on their head. We’re among those who’d rather be found dead, but hey, it’s a free world, right?

The municipality of Nijmegen spoiled the fun for poor misguided Mienke and forbid her to wear the strainer for the photo she wanted on her driver’s license. Undeterred, the woman went to court. Apparently standing up for your rights is another aspect of the Flying Spaghetti Monster religion.

But De Wilde found no sympathy in court. The judge ruled that he thought the Flying Spaghetti Monster would not forbid her to be pictured without the strainer.

The ruling and the attitude of the municipality of Nijmegen are – crazy as this sounds – remarkable, because elsewhere in Europe another pastafari got his way already six years ago.

In 2011 Austrian Niko Alm obtained a driver’s license featuring a picture where he is wearing a strainer on his head. He applied for the license in 2008 and he had to have some patience before he got what he wanted. The Austrian authorities initially thought that the man was slightly insane but after three years they buckled under the argument that the strainer is “religious headgear.”

Austria only allows headgear on driver’s license and passport pictures if they have a religious function. Remarkable: the Flying Spaghetti Monster was not even a recognized religion in Austria at the time. But when Alm obtained his driver’s license he said that he intended to file a request to fix this.

Now we’re waiting for the emergence of other nutcase-religions like the palmafaris (wear a palmfront on their head) and other nonsensical initiatives.


Photo caption: A member of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Church. Photo ANP