León is 5 years old. Almost a year ago, he moved to Chicago with his mother Leentje. The first months were difficult, since he did not speak English yet. But just like every child at that age, he learned and adapted very quickly. Almost a year later, he speaks English fluently, does exceptionally well at school and has made lots of friends.
León’s family speaks Flemish at home. He is enrolled at the local Tul(i)p Dutch school. Classes take place every Saturday morning. Tul(i)p was the first Dutch School founded in Chicagoland. They are a member of de Stichting Nederlands Onderwijs in het Buitenland (NOB), a program sponsored by the Dutch Ministry for Education, Culture and Science. This program sponsors about 200 Dutch schools around the world. It is in charge of promoting the Dutch language and culture. Earlier this year, the students and teachers of the school were given the unique opportunity to meet the Dutch Royal Couple.
Being able to maintain his links with his mother tongue and culture helped León a lot in adapting to his new life. He also gets a lot of love and support through his family. León never misses an opportunity to goof around with Michaël. Those two have built a complicity that shines through every portrait I made of them. In his free time, León plays football (soccer), loves reading books, playing games on the iPad and watching hockey with his family.