Doctor’s oath in Frisian

On Thursday afternoon, Marije Benedictus will give her doctor’s oath – in Frisian. That is a first for the medical faculty, but not for the RUG: her own sister, who studied dentistry, did the same.
By Traci White

Benedictus studied at the RUG and did her residency at the Antonius Hospital in Sneek. Her medical training has led her throughout the northern provinces, but Frisian remains her native language. She felt it was important to give her oath in Frisian simply because that is an option.

‘Within the Netherlands, Frisian is a second official language, and you have the right to give an oath or a pledge in Frisian’, she says via telephone. ‘And if you have the right to do something, I feel that you need to make use of it.’

‘There are certain things in the oath’, she continues. ‘The fact that you will treat your patients well, that you will maintain your level of knowledge and that you will honour patient confidentiality. Those are all very important things, and if you give an oath in your native language, then I think that it is more honest and more sincere toward your patients.’

‘Dat ûnthjit ik’

Her choice to do it in Frisian appears to be the first time that a RUG medical student will say ‘dat ûnthjit ik’ instead of ‘dat beloof ik’ (‘I swear’). But those three little Frisian words have been uttered at an oath ceremony in Groningen at least once before. ‘My sister studied at the dentistry school, and graduates there also have to give an oath. She also decided to do it in Frisian.’

Benedictus was there at the time, but it seems that she may have at least temporarily forgotten her sister’s words. ‘When I mentioned that I was planning to give my oath in Frisian, she said, ‘Oh yeah, you can totally do that. That’s what I did, too!’

Benedictus will give her oath along with seven other graduates in the Senate Room in the Academy Building. In total, 40 medical school graduates will deliver the oath on Thursday evening.



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