Although commonly understood as a monolithic entity, scholars have successfully approached the idea of cultural identity in terms of relationship, reference and binary opposition during the last two decades. This approach has consequences for the study of migrant literature. It seems the widely shared idea of ‘cultural transfer’, which implies a linear movement between mutually independent cultural spaces, is obsolete. This article instead proposes the concept of the histoire croisée, developed by Werner and Zimmermann, as a more fruitful model. Following Werner and Zimmermann’s suggestion that any migrant situation can be seen as culturally ‘crossed’, the article discusses two Dutch texts that mirror each other: the first text, by J. van Oudshoorn, was written at the beginning of the 20th century and reflects state violence from the perspective of a Dutch writer living in Germany; the second text, written by Mohammed Bouyeri at the dawn of the 21st century, actively legitimizes terrorist violence from the perspective of a migrant living in the Netherlands.