The story of rooted

Rooted was founded in 2023 to support and inspire people and societies to live a rooted life.  

“I don’t know if I still see the Netherlands as my home”

Rooted participant

This statement, echoed by many others after the recent election results, reflects a growing doubt about the sense of “belonging” in The Netherlands. Polarization in The Netherlands is on the rise, especially when it comes to the topic of migration. In all the Dutch elections of the 21st century, migration was a topic of central concern. Research shows that the majority of the Dutch population feels they have to take a firm stance on migration: for or against. They experience a nuanced position as impossible. This contributes to an us-them society, at the expense of a shared sense of belonging and unity.

Against this background, Rooted was founded, with the ultimate goal of fostering dignified integration, strengthening social cohesion and countering polarization.

About 26% of the Dutch population has a migration background. People come to The Netherlands from all parts of the world, for a variety of reasons. Some of them decide to make the Netherlands their home. The Dutch government has set as objective that all residents should feel at home in The Netherlands and that your origin should never determine your future. Despite the stated goal, far from everyone feels at home here. For some, this still holds true after years or even generations. And this certainly has an impact on their future prospects.

According to the government, people with a migratory background should participate as quickly as possible. For some, that means learning the language and finding a job. In other words, standing on your own two feet. It seems that it is not so much about the depth of your roots but more about the height of your branches. Many organizations in the integration sector focus on access to work and language skills. Although important, our experience shows that this is not a panacea and “the rest” does not automatically follow. It is not enough to feel at home, to belong. To really take root. Our experience shows that the less tangible dimensions of integration are often forgotten. We’re skipping a crucial step: rooting. More time is spend on “who you have to become” rather than on “who you truly are”. There is little time, space and attention for finding acceptance in your (new) self.

Rooted offers that space. We believe that rooting goes beyond obtaining a residence status, passing an integration exam, finding a job or learning a language. Rooting is about living as your authentic self. About learning to dance with your multiple identities and experiencing that there is space for all those identities in the here and now. About not having to prove yourself and assimilate. At Rooted we offer a safe place, heightened awareness and concrete tools to be your true, rooted self. Through 1-on-1 coaching, group weekends and community events, Rooted thus contributes to harnessing the authentic power of people with a migration background, dignified integration and – in the long run – strengthened social cohesion and less polarization in society.

“I am home. Where I am, that is home. I grow roots there and feed of all that is beautiful and shield myself from that which does not give me energy. If home is no longer safe, I pack my suitcase again and take the memories with me to the new. I never leave home because it is rooted, it resides within me. “

Leila Prnjavorac, public speaker and presenter, ambassador of Rooted

About founder Noor Cornelissen

Noor sees mobility as an integral part of the human experience. She experiences that the increased mobility that globalization brings about, changes the way in which we understand our sense of belonging. The world has become our home, while this global accessibility has also outgrown our understanding of home. Noor is curious to explore how we, as individuals and societies, can strengthen our embodied sense of belonging to ourselves, our communities, and nature – regardless of the geographical location. How may we come home and feel rooted again?

At the age of 16, Noor moved by herself to New Mexico where she finished the last two years of her high school at a United World College. After obtaining degrees in political science, history and international development in Germany and Switzerland, Noor moved all over the world to work with communities on matters of migration and displacement. She spoke with hundreds of people on their migration experience, including in Libya, Chad, Iraq, Uganda, Congo, and Palestine. Whether people migrated forced or voluntary, regular or irregular, within or across borders – she found a universality in people’s search to belong. After more than ten years abroad, she lived through her own sense of uprootedness upon return to The Netherlands. Currently, Noor is integrating her lived experience in her work as policy maker, entrepreneur and speaker. 

Through Rooted, Noor intends to create a space where people can consciously and jointly reflect on their sense of rootedness. So that everybody may come home, again. To hear more about Noor’s views on belonging and home, you may listen to a podcast interview with Noor by Anum Farooq from Odyssey Global Media on Spotify or YouTube. You may get in touch with Noor at or connect with her on Instagram.

“Rooted is about so much more than one individual rooting in The Netherlands or in themselves. It is about how we as a society deal with migration, which is here to stay. It is about how we as a society choose to be united. How we choose to include people and invest in the authentic strength that every individual carries and use that to grow and flourish as a society.”

Noor Cornelissen, founder of Rooted