Ready, Steady, Go Dutch

Ready, Steady, Go Dutch

The Netherlands sells itself as a country of tulips, windmills, cheese and clogs, but that is not how international workers see it. In Ready, Steady, Go Dutch, a new book by DutchNews.nl and volunteer organisation ACCESS showed clogs don'Ž“t merit a mention. Nor do tulips and windmills. But mention bikes, doctors and the lack of sunshine and you will find international workers have plenty to say. Divided into 10 short chapters and with a list of extra information resources, Ready, Steady, Go Dutch takes the reader through the ups and downs of relocating to the Netherlands, learning the language, finding a job and a home, and making a new life. Doctors, shops, the weather and of course cycling are all dealt with in bite-sized quotes from people who have already made the move. Some of the comments are unexpected, some are amusing or poignant and some highlight the differences in expectations and experiences between different nationalities. Together they form a snapshot of the expat experience in the Netherlands which everyone can learn from. In particular, the relaxed atmosphere in the Netherlands, especially at work, is a big plus for international workers. The work environment is relaxed. I saw people cancelling meetings just because it was sunny that day, said one Turkish expat. Ž•I love the fact that where I work there is less emphasis on hierarchy and more on consensus and delivery,Ž“ said a Russian national who has lived in the Netherlands for nearly nine years. And an American expat was quite certain about the impact of working in the Netherlands on her work-life balance. Ž•I will never go back to a country where I only get one week's holiday a year, she said. Dutch houses also come in for a lot of comment. Ž•Having a washing machine in the bathroom was really strange as was the lack of a bath, wrote one British woman who moved in with her Dutch boyfriend. The steepness of Dutch stairs and big windows in many older properties came in for a lot of comment as well. One expat even warned people to be aware of moving too close to a tram line because of the excruciating noise made by the machines which clean the tracks early in the morning. The alternative to public transport is, of course, cycling, which all expats seem to adopt enthusiastically. 'I love how relaxed the Dutch are on their bikes. You see men in suits and women in fancy dresses,' said a Bulgarian office worker. The 140-page book has been put together by DutchNews.nl and ACCESS to help newcomers benefit from the practical experiences of people who've already gone Dutch. A large part of the profit will go to ACCESS to help the volunteer organisation continue providing information and advice to expats. Buy this book  More >








24 Oranges

24 Oranges

Dutch things pressed for your pleasure: oddball Dutch news and photographs. More >


Kristen in Clogland

Kristen in Clogland

'Kristen in Clogland' is a blog about an Aussie discovering the Netherlands and adjusting to life in another country More >



Neamhspleachas

Neamhspleachas

Molly Quell is an American journalist who blogs about everything she finds shiny. More >


Holland Cycling

Holland Cycling

Explore the Netherlands the Dutch way - by bicycle. Includes where to go, planning your trip, tips and info. More >


Amsterdive

Amsterdive

Amsterdam based actress invites you to dive with her into the cultural life of the city. More >


Amsterdamming

Amsterdamming

Three years in Amsterdam and counting! Daily journeys through the streets of this cosy and beautiful city. More >


Living With the Dutch: An American Family in the Hague

Before going to The Hague, Sharpe and her American family actually planned to move to Paris, but her husband Peter was offered a position in the Netherlands. They find typical expatriate problems on their path, learn a lot about how to tackle them and in the mean time discover a completely new country. Buy this book Review this book. Contact books@dutchnews.nl  More >


The Hague and the best of the Netherlands

Published in 2013, The Hague and the best of the Netherlands by Violetta Polese and Blake Evans-Pritchard, elects The Hague, and not Amsterdam, as the focus city of the book. The rationale behind this choice is that many expats relocate to The Hague. Although a valid explanation, curious readers may suspect the additional motive behind choosing The Hague is that it was the adopted home of the authors during their time in the Netherlands. The book is written in three sections, closing with a short language lesson supplemented by audio download. Essential Dutch Information The first section concentrates on information essential to people moving to the Netherlands, such as health insurance, opening bank accounts, paying taxes, and labor laws. The explanation of the Dutch economy and political scene in just two pages - is a gift to readers. Further, the concise history of the Netherlands (p62-73) provides the basics to understanding famous artworks, churches and monuments visited by millions of tourists each year. The Hague The advantage of the author'Ž“s first hand knowledge of the city and the local surroundings becomes obvious in the section dedicated to The Hague and surrounding areas. Walking and cycling routes, museums, sporting options, restaurant reviews, descriptions of neighborhoods, public transport, and hidden gems within the city _Ž are all tried and tested by the writing team. Contact details including opening hours and cost are met with comments on value and services. This is particularly useful if you are new to the city and need a bike repair store (p138), a cheap barber (p135) or a Japanese restaurant (p178)Ž yet don'Ž“t know where to start looking. Best of the Netherlands Undoubtedly the final section of the book will face some criticism from both locals and temporary residents alike. With the exception of South Holland, each province is limited to a few pages. This raises questions about the authors' views. Did the authors not like Haarlem, Hilversum and Eindhoven? And why does Amsterdam'Ž“s Red Light District get almost double the coverage given to the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh'Ž“s museum combined? Regardless what the answers may be, The Hague and the best of the Netherlands is an informative, interesting, sometimes unusual city guide, filled with insider information and enthusiastic recommendations. Buy this book Ana McGinley  More >


The Netherlands in 26 iconic objects

What do ice skates, orthodox Christians and ecstasy pills have in common? They are all quintessentially Dutch objects featured in a new anthology which explores what it means to come from the Netherlands. Dutch writers were given the task of jotting down their favourite facts and memories about the objects that surround them in the Netherlands. The result is a pretty unique insight into what makes this country tick, from the herring cart to the notorious face mitt. Contributions come from writer Mano Bouzamour who tackles the beer bike, columnist Gerry van der List who looks at the Dutch love of garden gnomes and Wim Brandts who deals with the ubiquitous stroopwafel - among many others. Of course, many of these objects were not even invented in the Netherlands, as the book reluctantly admits, but the adoration for them is still clear. According to Henk van Os, the cheese parer, a Norwegian invention, belongs in the Netherlands and should be left to the Dutch to operate properly. Overall the tales create a picture of what is important to the Dutch and how this makes them unique. And the stories show the eccentric ways in which the Dutch fiercely guard national traditions, such as their passion for using orange at all national celebrations. There are also times when the book reveals something new about the country known for its windmill owning, bike riding tendencies. The books list of items might seem stereotypical but all is not as it seems. The tulip bulb has less to do with Dutch culture than with continuing a booming tourist industry and is certainly not seen by the Dutch as their national flower. From geraniums to black stockings, the stories provide many anecdotes from the typically Dutch childhoods of the 26 writers who contributed. However be warned, the romanticised memories experienced through the eyes of the infant Netherlander becomes heavy reading experience when read together. With the words 'Dutch' and 'the Netherlands' used over 175 times, this collection is stuffed full of factoids that you can impress both visitors and Dutch nationals with. Julia Corbett  More >


The Low Sky: Understanding the Dutch

Fully updated and revised, this book is considered a classic guide to getting to grips with the natives. And yes, that big sky does have an impact! Doe maar gewoon dan doe je gek genoeg ? Act normally, that?s crazy enough. Nine out of ten people in the Netherlands will quote this well-worn saying if asked to come up with a basic trait of the Dutch character. At times Dutch people will ignore you politely at others they will go out of the way to help you. You will get into trouble with the authorities for putting up a fence without permission but, in the late evenings, many family television channels broadcast pornography and advertisements for telephone sex into your living room. Even your best friends reach for their diaries to make a dinner date, because you don't just drop by without being invited. And when you buy them a present they will open it in front of you without batting an eyelid. A country and a people full of paradoxes. Or is there some kind of system behind it all? Han van der Horst paints a picture of Dutch society and the Dutch psyche that will help expatriates to understand the country they are living in and to function properly at work and in their free time. The Low Sky : Understanding the Dutch is the best guide to the Netherlands and its people. This latest edition has been completely reviewed and updated to do justice to the major social changes that have affected Dutch society in recent years. Buy this book  More >


Stuff Dutch People Like takes on food and mothers

The Stuff Dutch People Like empire has done some considerable expansion in 2016 with a look earlier this year at language and now a plunge into food and the world of motherhood. Author Colleen Geske, a Canadian by birth, has now turned her attention to celebrating Dutch parenting and asks herself 'why do Dutch mums have it all?'. It did not start out that way. 'Home births were not urban legends, as I had hoped, but a frightening reality,' she writes in the introduction. 'Could I actually give birth, let alone raise a family, in this country far away from the comforts and familiarities of home?' Colleen is now the proud mother of two children, both born in the Netherlands and both growing up into little Amsterdammers. The book Stuff Dutch Moms Like is based partly on her experiences, partly on heaps of facts and useful information, and partly on the experiences of others mothers, both Dutch and foreign. Dutch parenting, she states, has often been described as laid-back, relaxed and quite permissive. Not that she would argue with these observations, you understand, but that 'you could make the wrong assumption that this parenting style is without substance or reason'. Helicopter mums have yet to arrive in the Netherlands and freedom, independence and letting children be children are paramount. The style is light and informative - like chatting to a friend - and Colleen's enthusiasm so persuasive you might end up wishing you were having a baby yourself, just to test it all out. Buy this book   Stuff Dutch People Eat The fourth book in the Stuff Dutch People Like stable is a homage to the Dutch snackbar and dinner table. Complete with recipes for pea soup, grandmother's apple pie and even stroopwaffels, Stuff Dutch People Eat is a lavishly illustrated celebration of Dutch food. And yes, she does throw in recipes for roti and nasi goreng for good measure. Liberally sprinkled with humour and exclamation marks, Colleen is even positive about boerenkool and herring - which must mean she is a fully integrated Dutch cook. This is a great gift for a new arrival, a longer term resident or someone who has left the Netherlands and is still nostalgic for a bitterballen or olliebollen at New Year. Now they can make them themselves. Buy this book  More >


Arrivals, Departures and the Adventures In-Between

Born in the UK to American parents, O’Shaughnessy has lived, been educated, explored and worked in more than 90 countries. His experiences are incorporated into Arrivals, Departures and the Adventures In-Between providing humorous personal anecdotes to explain the issues frequently experienced by expat kids relocating to new countries as dictated by the jobs of one or both parents. Specifically the book looks at what it is to be a Third Culture Kid (TCK), Cross Culture Kid (CCK) and Invisible Alien. Definitions are provided with reference to earlier work by Ruth van Reken, Dr Ruth Hill Useem and David C. Pollock. In short, all three labels refer to children who have grown up outside their parents own culture in temporarily adopted countries – and as a result have an ambiguous national or cultural self-identity. Chapter One opens with a tale of self identity resilience in the face of opposing pressure from others and the identity they have of you. In this specific childhood example, O’Shaughnessy believed he was a robot – a fact confirmed by static electricity in his bed-sheets. When confronted with the fact that he was not a robot - rather 'just normal, nothing special' (p5) he felt a sense of disappointment akin to the response many expat children feel on registering that their foreign-ness in a new school environment does not make them special with their peers. In the following seven chapters, O’Shaughnessy covers the implications of being TCK and CCK on personality development (adaptability, confidence), social relationships (guardedness, fitting in, conflict management), future directions (being rootless and restless), feelings of grief and loss, and the benefits of having a wider understanding of cultures, languages and global communities. Each chapter ends with a list of the points covered and references included in the text. The reader can also access additional information by scanning quick response barcodes found throughout the book with their smart phones. As a verified TCK, adult global citizen, and travel adventure addict - Chris O’Shaughnessy has the prerequisite credentials to write about the experience of growing up as an expat child. His personal stories are hilarious examples of the educational information he is presenting. Arrivals, Departures and the Adventures In-Between is a highly recommended read for anyone who has taken up the exciting challenge of becoming a global citizen with kids in tow. Further, for adults who were raised globally and now hesitate when asked questions like ‘where are you from?’ or ‘where do you consider home?’ - this book will not give you the answers, but it will help explain your hesitation. Ana McGinley  More >


Sammy’s Next Move

Sammy the snail is none too chuffed when his parents announce they are moving to Japan. He'Ž“s only just got used to living in Italy and he'Ž“s really going to miss his playmates, so the prospect of having to make new friends in yet another country is distressing and upsetting. But thankfully young Sammy iŽ“s an accomplished traveller and when his mum reminds him about their previous postings and how much he'Ž“s enjoyed living in different countries, he warms to the idea of moving again. Sammy'Ž“s Next Move is written by seasoned expat and mother of two Helen Maffini and tells the story of what it feels like to be a Third Culture Kid, in a way that children will identify with. It'Ž“s a simple tale, engagingly written and very nicely illustrated and at less than 20 pages long, it's ideal bedtime reading for children and their parents. With two pages of tips and project ideas for parents of TCKs, this is the perfect little book for any expat child about to embark on a new adventure. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl  More >


Dutch for Dummies

Joining the growing number of Dutch language books is the 2nd Edition of Dutch for Dummies by Margreet Kwakernaak. Adhering to the Dummies format, this four-part book with supplementary cd is both a Dutch language and culture guide. Part One covers the basics including 'de' or 'het', spelling rules, numbers, adjectives, propositions, past/present/perfect tense, and basic sentence construction. Language skill training is enhanced by snippets of cultural wisdom like - knowing what time you should visit your neighbors for coffee, and how many cups you will be expected to drink (p72), or how to talk about the weather (p74). The second part introduces language tools frequently utilized in activities of daily living with example conversations from the book available on the CD for listening and pronunciation practice. In addition to increasing the reader's vocabulary, these sample discussions are opportunities to teach further grammatical skills. Part Three continues to build on the previous section by extending the scenarios to those the reader may encounter when leaving their local area. Topics such as - arranging a car rental, hotel reservations, or dealing with emergency situations are included. Finally, Part Four comprises three chapters of information and advice on fitting into Dutch society as a non-Dutch person. Some of the tips on cultural wisdom, especially those in Ch16 seem outdated, and should perhaps be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. Criticism includes complaints from some readers that the pronunciation on the CD is German rather than Dutch, and that the occasional spelling error is distracting. Overall the new Dutch for Dummies package offers a useful introduction to both the Dutch language and culture. Adopting the phrases found in specific situations presented in the book should provide the reader with confidence to continue in their efforts to master this challenging language. Buy this book  More >


Atlas of Amstelland: the biography of a landscape

Atlas of Amstelland: The Biography of a Landscape presents the history of Amstelland through a series of maps based on the results of recent research, which illustrate the transformation of the landscape from desolate marsh to beloved green oasis on the edge of Amsterdam. From the 11th century onwards the peat marsh on the edge of the world was gradually reclaimed. A section of the Amstel even originated as a drainage canal. In the 13th century a new power arose: Amsterdam. In the 17th century, the Dutch Golden Age, this former modest village near a dam in the Amstel grew into one of the largest metropolises in Europe. Its proximity brought about major changes in Amstelland. Much of the landscape was radically altered by the turf industry and subsequent drainage. Its peat meadows could be quickly inundated to form an impenetrable barrier around Amsterdam. In the course of centuries, relations between city and countryside became thoroughly intertwined to the point where each can only be properly understood by studying them together. Buy this book  More >


Vicky Hampton’s Working Lunch

We are so happy that Vicky Hampton, our favourite Amsterdam foodie, has been branching out into other cities - her rundown of a weekend's eating in Rotterdam is enough to make us all head for the port city asap. Vicky is no food snob and assessments of what and where she is eating are both down to earth and honest. We've said it before... she's never let the DutchNews.nl crew down. Vicky has taken that same approach to lunch - cheap and cheerful lunch recipes for those who are sick of cheese sandwiches or can't stand another wilted salad at the staff canteen. Soups and smoothies, delicious toasted sandwiches - surely every Dutch company office has a toastie maker - and a great selection of simple salads. If your staff kitchen has a kettle and enough space to fit a chopping board, this is the book for you. You can buy Vicky Hampton's Working Lunch via the website bookshop or from online bookstores.  More >