Are you a world citizen?

Would you consider yourself being a world citizen? What is the definition of a world citizen actually? In this article, I explain to you the term and my struggles with the definition of world citizen.


I would consider myself a world or global citizen because I lived in different countries. All those countries feel like home at the time. I build up a network of friends all around the world. However, when I had a look at the definition of global citizen. I am not sure anymore that the term global citizen suits me. I will explain to you why.

First, I will start with the definition of a world or global citizen.

The definition of global or world citizen is a person who places their identity with a “global community” above their identity as a citizen of a particular nation or place.

Hmm. If I read this definition I would not say I am a global citizen. I do not place my global citizen above my Dutch citizenship. I was born and raised in The Netherlands. I will always be a Dutch citizen as I have a Dutch passport.

However, I have lived in different countries. This has broadened my view of the world. For example, on the news in The Netherlands is a bush fire in Australia. Most people found it terrible but then forget about it. On the other hand, I was there, know how beautiful it is and maybe know some people that live there. It is much more personal for me than for other Dutch people who have not been there.

Another definition is:
A world citizen cares more about international human rights, worldwide inequality, global poverty and human suffering. They attend more actively to global concerns and value the lives of all human beings more equally.

Speaking for myself, I do not think I care more about the human rights then most people. Of course, it is a big issue and all the wars that are going on at the moment are terrible, but based on this definition I would not consider myself a global citizen or world citizen.


Maybe the term citizen can give us more clarity.

The term citizen refers to an identity between a person and a city, state or nation and their right to work, live and participate politically in a particular geographic area.

I will continue with the example Australia. I am not a citizen of Australia. I have no passport of this country and no right to vote. However, I did work and live in this country. So I probably will never be a citizen of Australia, but I do feel a closer connection to this country because I lived and worked there. How should we describe this?


Maybe as scientists you recognize the problem. For our work, we collaborate with research groups all around the world. If you attend conferences you meet people from all around the world. Skype meetings are absolutely normal. The world feels a lot smaller because you can contact each other quite easily.

In my surroundings, there are people who have no desire to see the world. This works for them and there is nothing wrong with it. It just isn’t me. So how would you describe the connection we have with the rest of the world? Clearly it is not a global citizen, as I find the definitions not suitable. I will keep continuing my search..


Are you a global citizen? Our do you find the same struggle as me. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


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