Law student Mienke de Wilde is Pastafarian and wears a colander daily, for religious reasons. She wants to wear that colander on her driving license photo. The municipality refuses. Now, De Wilde is engaged in a legal procedure.
Mienke de Wilde is a true Pastafarian: she believes that the Flying Spaghetti Monster has created the world and sees him as her god. As part of her religious beliefs she wears a colander on her head. All the time.
Nothing wrong thus far. Recently, De Wildes driving license expired and she applied for a new one. She handed in a photo, on which she was wearing a colander, because of her religion. But she did not get her license. The city of Nijmegen refused to give her one, despite the fact that her face is clearly visible on the photo.
People at the municipality seem to not take De Wilde seriously. She, however, is. ‘People say “your faith is a parody!”, or “this is not faith, but critique on religion!” They do not believe I mean it, that I actually believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Religion is a matter of feeling. How are you going to prove that legally? On top of that, every religion is critical towards other religions. Mine is not different.’
Law student De Wilde is fighting for her license and started a legal procedure against the city of Nijmegen. She has not been allowed to drive since 30 November, and this situation could last for months, because the situation with her license stays stuck. To make sure she will not be unable to drive for months, Mienke has filed for an preliminary injunction – an emergency hearing.
This week, a judge looked at her case in Arnhem. The ruling will be next week. She is optimistic about her chances: her freedom of movement is strongly influenced, and she thinks the judge will see this. And, in contrast to other Pastafarians, she is always wearing her colander, so there is no reason to doubt the seriousness of her faith.
Still, she is tense. ‘For as long as the procedure takes, I am not allowed to drive. That is very inconvenient, on top of the fact that these procedures take a lot of time and effort. All of this is very demanding. It pressures my education, my relationships and my free time.’ She does not plan to give up, though. ‘The colander is essential for me and my religious beliefs. If I have to, I will take this to the European Court of Human Rights.’