Living With the Dutch: An American Family in the Hague

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 >




Holland Cycling

Holland Cycling

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


European Mama

European Mama

A blog by a Polish mother living in the Netherlands with her German husband and two daughters. More >


Amsterdamming

Amsterdamming

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


Amsterdamian

Amsterdamian

I try to create a relationship with this mysterious city. I love it and can’t get enough of it. More >



I love Noord

I love Noord

North Amsterdam is described as the Brooklyn of the Dutch capital. If you want to know why, read this blog. More >


A Wanderlust For Life

A Wanderlust For Life

An American expat blogging about life in Amsterdam while traveling around the country and throughout Europe. More >


24 Oranges

24 Oranges

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




Invading Holland

Invading Holland

The adventures of an accident-prone English man who arrived in the Netherlands in 2001 for a six month stay. More >


Whipped Cream Architecture

It might sound like an odd title, but once you read the first few paragraphs it makes perfect sense. Whipped cream is a book of photography with a few pages of information about the origins of the white painted stone 'wigs' that grace the gables of the grachtenpanden (canal houses) in Amsterdam. If the subject matter floats your boat and you are curious about, or interested in the history of Holland_Ž“s distinct architectural style then this is likely to appeal. Whipped cream is a nicely presented glossy picture book without being ostentatious, and a perfectly respectable addition to any Dutch coffee table collection. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  More >


Dutch Cooking: The New Kitchen

If the idea of authentic Dutch cuisine fills you with horror, then you're not alone. Even the authors of The New Kitchen admit that, 'Dutch cooking does not, to say the least, have a very good international reputation.' Amsterdam based writers Manon Sikkel and Michiel Klonhammer have penned numerous articles about their passion for traditional food and have enthusiastically updated some authentically rustic dishes in Dutch Cooking: The New Kitchen. You could be forgiven for thinking that there is little appeal in modernizing recipes that include culinary gems like cheese soup or salsifies with sour cream, but there's lots about this cheery and self-deprecating little book that makes you want try them out, like the bizarre but surprisingly tasty, eel and asparagus soup or the hash, made from stewed steak (with herbs, onions and juniper berries). If you ate this kind of food every day then watch out! You might just find your left ventricle slamming shut. It's what you might call wholesome, stodgy fodder: very short on sophistication but full of flavour. Generations of Dutch peasants toiled the polders nourished on this kind of fuel and it certainly hasn't stunted the nation's growth, so what is there to criticise? Well quite a bit actually, such as the bacon pancakes with avocado mousse, which according to my husband, won't even tempt a famished fox. As well as nearly all of the vegetable dishes, and specifically the sprout puree which looks like it's passed through the digestive tract of a cat. But thankfully almost every pudding was scrumptious and my three-year-old thought the strawberry fool and apple pie were 'Lishus'. It was only the prunes and curd that let the side down and looked revolting despite whatever nutritional benefits it may have boasted in days of olde... Dutch Cooking: The New Kitchen, has been lovingly produced in homage to old-fashioned Dutch cuisine and it successfully manages to inject some fun into a stale national pastime with this funky mix of traditional hearty fare. All the recipes are simple, cheap and easy to prepare which makes it an ideal cookery book for youngsters, or anyone who fancies trying out an eclectic menu on friends. But if you really are planning a 'Dutch' dinner party, and before you fill the trough, just make sure you choose the courses wisely, and more importantly, keep a defibrillator handy. Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  More >


How to be Dutch

A familiar face to many expats in the Netherlands, Greg Shapiro is an American comedian, writer, television presenter, vlogger and collector of Dutch peculiarities. As a resident of the Netherlands for over two decades, Shapiro has had ample opportunities to expand his collection of cultural idiosyncrasies, considered ‘normal’ by the Dutch and ‘absurd’ by everyone else. It is these cultural oddities that form the foundation for Shapiro’s professional life. How to Be Dutch, The Quiz is Shapiro’s latest book. It follows his 2014 book: How to be Orange: an Alternative Dutch Assimilation Course which tied in with the live show Shapiro was performing around the country at the time. His new book is written as a quiz loosely based on the Dutch assimilation or inburgering exam. The quiz contains multiple-choice questions arranged under topics including Dutch fashion, cuisine, stereotypes, and health care. Selecting the correct answer is often difficult because all options can seem ridiculous yet totally plausible. A good example is: While biking, you see a group of tourists edging toward the bike path ahead of you. When should you ring your bell? Ring as early and as often as possible Dutch bikes don’t have bells Wait until you are almost on top of them (pg21) Edgy at times as questions touch on such sacred cows as Zwarte Piet, slavery and racism, Shapiro provides readers with the arguments and relevant history needed to gain insight into the Dutch culture. He doesn’t shy away from complaining, appearing foolish, or exposing the nonsensical. His comparisons are influenced by his own American background, a familiar standpoint for non-Americans thanks to decades of television and films. How to Be Dutch: The Quiz is not an anti-Dutch book. Instead it is an amusing look at the country and culture many migrants have chosen to be part of, whether on a temporary or permanent basis. Recommended for anyone looking for a fun, easy read or wanting to assess their own assimilation into the Dutch culture. Ana McGinley (The correct answer is C)  More >


Why the Dutch are Different

At the risk of sounding like an uneducated pleb, I confess that being asked to review yet another book dealing with the history and culture of the Netherlands did not fill me with unabated excitement. A quick flip through the pages revealed the inclusion of the obligatory topics found in every book about the Netherlands – the Golden Age, water, windmills, land reclamation, bikes, drugs, Anne Frank and prostitution. Yet by the time I reached the last page of the book’s introduction, my hesitation had disappeared, and I eagerly sat up late into the night reading Why the Dutch are Different, laughing often and enjoying the  ride into the history of my adopted homeland. The Audacity to Go Searching Why the Dutch are Different provides the answers to all the questions I had but didn’t dare ask in my quest to understand what was going on around me in the Netherlands. New author, Ben Coates, is the Englishman brave enough to venture into the midst of the Dutch people, ask the questions, do the research, drink the cheap cocktails and wear the tiger outfit to Carnival. He unearths what the natives think about issues like immigrants, social security, Geert Wilders and Zwarte Piet. By connecting the dots of major historical events - up to and including present day events - the reader is presented with a clear explanation of what it means to be Dutch. The contents of the book are far reaching, albeit manageably sorted into seven chapters. In each chapter the author travels to various Dutch cities, attending local events. Each event is supported by historical background information with a modern day commentary.  An analysis of Dutch tolerance of prostitution, drugs, religious and political beliefs, is both interesting and accessible. A day spent researching and celebrating carnival in the southern cities of Maastricht, Eindhoven and Breda includes a discussion on the impact of religious divides on the Dutch people and country.  Attending Amsterdam’s museum night leads to a discussion about the Golden Age. Taking a picnic in Drenthe incorporates a discussion about the Nazi occupation during WWII and the Dutch response to protecting its Jewish citizens. So – Why are the Dutch Different? The answer seems to be hidden in how Dutch history has shaped the country's present position. There are many obvious factors like water management; windmills; an addiction to dairy products; biking; and the over-popularity of business meetings. A deeper understanding of the country and its people is a prerequisite to truly feel at home in the Netherlands. I can thoroughly recommend this book. Ana McGinley Why the Dutch are Different: A Journey into the Hidden Heart of the Netherlands by Ben Coates. Published by Nicholas Brealey Publishing  More >


How to Survive Holland

Published in 2007, Martijn de Rooi's How to Survive Holland aims to explain Dutch culture to readers unfamiliar with the Netherlands , including the history and population. The book is written from the perspective of a highly educated man who clearly loves his homeland, and hopes to educate the reader - identified as working on such misconceptions as the need to request a life buoy on arrival in the Netherlands as a safety measure against the rising waters. How to Survive Holland is a 175 page paperback expanded over twelve chapters covering topics like history, geography, food, and culture. The insight into the Dutch culture is valuable for the uninitiated and includes explanations beneficial to people wanting to emerge themselves into local society. Of note is the explanation of the Dutch liberal attitude of - equality for all, and tolerance of most things - as presented in chapter 4 'Abnormally Normal'. Criticisms of this book are based on the writing style. Many times thirty words are used when five would suffice. The result is that the reader is distracted by the style and intake of information is reduced. Being proud of one's own homeland can also reduce objectivity. Comparing the Vaals hill in the province of Limburg to Mount Everest, or the former Amsterdam City Hall building to the Taj Mahal or Roman Colosseum (pg72-73) may sound a little silly - and that is not the writer's intention. Finally, and of no fault to the author, in the six years since its publication, some information is outdated and now incorrect: like strippenkaart use on public transport, and Dutch places on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Buy this book  More >


The Mobile Life

The Mobile Life - a new approach to moving anywhere by veteran global citizen Diane Lemieux and Anne Parker targets individuals embarking on their first expatriate experience. Knowledgeable about the topic from both a professional and personal basis, the authors have tackled the subject with an extremely detailed interpretation of what is required to conscientiously make the decision to uproot and resettle in an unfamiliar country. REVIEW: On a university curriculum The Mobile Life would find its place on an introductory psychology course, possibly: Expat 101. The contents are broad-ranging and offer something to every potential expat moving to any part of the world. Covering all aspects of making an international move from a psychological perspective, familiar concepts like Maslow'Ž“s Hierarchy of Needs (p108) and Hall'Ž“s Analogy of Culture (p126) are included with more recently introduced terminology such as emotional intelligence (p66), moral quotient (p139) and body quotient (p144). Business Guide Adopting the phrase 'Ž•team leader'Ž“ to refer to parents supports the notion that family members work as a team. Continuing with this model, information is reminiscent of company team building days spent in closed rooms with paper and whiteboard space - where roles and responsibilities are brainstormed, documented, analyzed, and discussed to the point of consensus within the family team. History Guide Choosing the analogy of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his 1914 Antarctic expedition to explain the challenges of a global move, and the essential attributes of a good leader to ensure the survival of accompanying family members is perhaps too loose a connection in the book. Reading about Shackleton is an enjoyable distraction, yet comparing a sea captain, who travelled with his crew and became trapped for months in Antarctica before returning home to his family, with an English family being sent on their maiden expat posting in Abu Dhabi or SingaporeŽ is an obtuse comparison. Overall, the authors undoubtedly know their subject matter. The book will benefit individuals wanting to delve into the why and how questions that arise from a decision to move to a new country. The book is based on the psychology of making the transition -Ž admittedly a step many expats do not consider in their excitement at becoming global citizens. Buy this book  More >


Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds

Third Culture Kids (TCKs) are, as the title suggests, children who have grown up among worlds, living in other countries during their formative years. This might not seem like a demographic worthy of a 300 page book, but the expat experience for most of us will have a profound impact on our emotional resilience and world outlook, and children are no exception. In Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, Authors David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken examine how youngsters, and their adult selves have coped with spending a significant period of their developmental years in a culture outside their parents'Ž“ passport culture.Ž— Living in a foreign land isn't just a cultural learning experience, it affects the way you relate to people and places for the rest of your life such as how do TCKs 'learn' to deal with the inevitable and often frequent goodbyes to people they have formed relationships with when they move on? With chapters on Ž•Rootlessness and RestlessnessŽ“, and Unresolved GriefŽ“, it certainly shed some light on my own experience as a child living overseas, and explained why I never felt any sense of belonging to the place we called home in the UK. This is not a depressing account of expat woes, it's an interesting insight into the anthropology of Third Culture Kids, what sets them apart from other people, and how these global nomads relate to the world around them. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl www.shelleyantscherl.com  More >


Native English for Nederlanders

Native English for Nederlanders is a collection of newspaper columns by the Financieele Dagblad's deputy editor Ron van de Krol. The book shows international business men and women how to use the English language like a native, with a sprinkling of cultural insider information on top. website  More >


Hidden like Anne Frank

The story of Anne Frank and her diary is one of he most enduring of World War II. There can be few people who do not know about the Jewish girl who hid with her family in an Amsterdam building, before being betrayed and captured by German soldiers and transported to a concentration camp. Yet Anne is not the only child who was forced to go into hiding. Recently released by Arthur A. Levine Books, Hidden like Anne Frank is a collection of fourteen personal accounts from Jewish children who survived Hitler's ethnic cleansing during WWII. Like Anne Frank, the individual narrators were forced to abandon their freedom and become reliant on the kindness of non-Jewish people who helped to hide them in their homes. Unlike Anne Frank, all fourteen individuals survived the Holocaust and lived to tell their stories. The stories contain similar underlying themes: the separation of children from their parents and siblings loss of identity fear hunger dependance on strangers for survival and, anxiety about the future. Yet the individual voices also provide unique perceptions of life as a Jewish person in the Netherlands during the war years. Further, the narrators speak of the ramifications of this experience on their lives in the ensuing years after the war ended. Not surprisingly, problems with re-attaching to surviving biological family members for children who felt deserted by their parents are apparent in many of the stories. As stated by Jack Eljon: 'I couldn't forgive my parents for handling me over to strangers. I couldn't shake off the feeling that they'd abandoned me. There's no way a boy of four can understand the idea that he is being sent away for his own good.' (pg67-8) The stories also provide information about Dutch society during the German campaign to rid the country of Jewish people. Almost all narrators discuss the efforts of the Dutch Resistance Movement to protect Jewish people by concealing them in the homes of supporters. The stories also expose the collaboration between local NSB (Dutch Socialist Movement) and the Nazis, resulting in the betrayal of Dutch Jewish citizens to the German forces by Dutch people. Hidden Like Anne Frank is the collaborated work of two Dutch men - Marcel Prins and Peter Henk Steenhuis, respectively a filmmaker/cameraman and journalist. This book and its preceding website (www.hiddenlikeannefrank.com) are well-presented chronicles of survivors of the Holocaust that need to be incorporated in to existing Dutch historical records. Highly recommended. Buy this book Ana McGinley  More >


Confessions of a Dutch Reading Club

The title might not tickle your fancy but don't let that put you off. Confessions of a Dutch Reading Club is the work of first time author Patricia van Stratum who has penned an unusual tale about a group of middle-aged Dutch folk and surprisingly, it works. When the reading club members are asked by a controversial priest to keep a journal and write a piece for a commemorative 10th Anniversary Book, they set about the task with trepidation. As each man begins to jot down his thoughts and feelings, he lays bare some of the more colourful aspects to his character, not to mention exposing hidden fetishes, painful pasts and insecurities. Van Stratum does an excellent job of bringing the reading club members to life with her descriptive narrative, and despite none of the characters being very appealing, they are interesting by virtue of their peculiarities. Confessions of a Dutch Reading Club describes itself as: 'essential reading for anyone interested in the group behaviour of the middle-aged male, the sociology of an average Dutch town and the marks left by a rigorous Catholic education', but that's not strictly true. Because if you've lived among the Dutch, or in any small town, and if you've experienced the petty politics of any kind of local club then you could identify with, and enjoy reading this. So avoid the temptation to judge this book by its drab front cover because Confessions of a Dutch Reading Club is a well-written tale and a nosey peek at the foibles and eccentricities of the small town Dutch male. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  More >