A Dictionary of Dutchness

A Dictionary of Dutchness

The Dutch language can puzzle at the best of times but throw in an acronym or abbreviation and you're suddenly faced with a riddle, wrapped in a mystery and deep-fried in breadcrumbs. What hope have we uninitiated English speakers got if we can't tell the difference between a BOB and a TSB? Enter A Dictionary of Dutchness. All those quirky Dutchisms that have caught us off guard, drawn blank faces and LOL'd (laughed at loud) at our expense, have been meticulously rounded up by the editors at DutchNews.nl and compiled into a indispensable 400-word paperback that's as entertaining as it is digestible. The Dutch language demystified, brilliant. It's not just newcomers to the Netherlands who'll find a friend in this unofficial survival guide. What Dutch person wouldn't care to know what the FNV (trade union federation) stood for or if the CBP is doing what they're paid to do (protect data)? Some acronyms make perfect sense. Why struggle through Eerste Hulp Bij OngelukkenŽ and risk passing out - when EHBO (first-aid kit) just trips off the tongue? Then there's BOB. Poor BOB. He's that reliable friend who sticks to one beer so he can drive everyone home after a night out. And BTW, wouldn't it be nice to know how big your Hollandse Nieuwe were this year? (That's the mid-May catch of young herring). That just leaves us with GVB, a word that suffers from a split personality, standing for both a golf proficiency certificate and the municipal transport authorities. The list goes on and on, but you'll easily find yourself going along with it. I certainly did! A Dictionary of Dutchness is a great addition to anybody's bookshelf. Short and sweet, IYKWIM (if you know what I mean). Out of print Iamsterdam.com  More >



Holland Cycling

Holland Cycling

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



Amsterdam Foodie

Amsterdam Foodie

Amsterdam restaurant reviews, seasonal recipe suggestions and all the latest culinary news from a local foodie. More >



Neamhspleachas

Neamhspleachas

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


Diligent Candy

Diligent Candy

Diligent Candy is a lifestyle blog based in Amsterdam, which features art, culture, books, travel, products, and food. More >




24 Oranges

24 Oranges

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


Amsterdamian

Amsterdamian

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



Atlas of Amsterdam

If you like big chunky books packed with illustrations and odd bits of information you can't do better than the English language version of the Atlas of Amsterdam. This weighty tome contains over 250 pages of full colour maps, photographs and diagrams detailing the minutiae of Amsterdam, from the number of bikes to a map of Zorgvlied cemetary, from property values to a guide to the city in Rembrandt's time. Want to know about protected trees, the location of gay bars, where murders and gangland killings take place or simply where you can find a specialist book shop? It's all there. The atlas is divided into clear topics focusing on key aspects of the city's development, from its evolution to the make up of the population, its industries and culture. The final section zooms in on the eight borough regions. It's a coffee table book to pick up and put down rather than something to read in bed. But there is a fascinating fact on every page. The translation is deft if a little clumsy in places, but given the main focus is on the visuals, the odd convoluted sentence is easy to ignore. And at just under €30, the atlas would be a great gift for any Amsterdamophile. Buy this book  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 >


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 >


Little Kingdom by the Sea

Since the late 1950s, Dutch flag carrier KLM has been giving little Delft blue and white pottery houses to its first class (now business class) passengers. The houses, actually little bottles containing jenever, or Dutch gin, are all based on real buildings and Little Kingdom by the Sea tells their stories. The little houses are beloved by collectors and offered for sale on auction sites and specialist websites all over the internet. Among the collectors, the book says, is celebrated author Gabriel Garcia Marques who asked for a number of minatures in return for writing an article for the airline's magazine. King Willem-Alexander is said to be a collector as well, and when princess Christina put her collection up for sale at Sotheby's, it was bought by the Hungarian honorary consul. Every year gin maker Lucas Bols and KLM get together to decide which building to use next - a decision ultimately taken by KLM's chief executive. The buildings which have been turned into miniatures range from royal palaces to bars, from merchants homes and museums and all have their own stories to tell. If you are a collector, the book is a great source of information about the houses, from number one to number 95. If you like Dutch history, it is a treasure trove of stories. There are also suggestions for several heritage trails, including a historical pub crawl in Amsterdam which takes you past many of the bars which feature in the collection. One note of caution - it is a weighty little book and too thick to read comfortably with one hand. The English is also slightly clunky at times. Nevertheless, Little Kingdom by the Sea offers readers an exclusive peek into the lives of the people who lived in the houses and includes portraits of pioneers, adventurers and other glamorous figures who made their mark on Dutch history. Buy this book  More >


New Explorers Guide to Dutch Digital Culture

The New Explorers Guide to Dutch Digital Culture is a combination phonebook and wiki for all things digital art and culture in the Netherlands. Virtueel Platform, a Dutch e-culture knowledge institute, has put together this comprehensive guide to the companies, institutes, and other organisations involved in the digital art and culture industry. Organised into three sections (Media Labs, Game Companies, and Media Festivals) the book compiles all the relevant information (contact details, dates, scope of work) into a hand guide. The index is especially useful for those in the creative community, which lists all of the companies and organisations by name, location, and industry. The book is visually appealing, using photos of many digital art projects to showcase the work of an organisation. The editors have also created some handy shortcuts, listing information such as the event date, likely users, and keywords associated with each group. Unfortunately, however, the text contains number of grammatical errors which can distract the reader from the content. As someone in the digital industry, I found the book useful and may even attend a few of the conferences mentioned. The book was funded, in part, by the foreign affairs ministry. Download this book Molly Quell www.mollyquell.com  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 >


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 >


Craving (Dorst)

Esther Gerritsen is an award winning author, playwright and columnist. Her acclaimed 2012 novel, Dorst, nominated for the prestigious Libris Literature Prize, Dioraphte Literary Award and Opzij Prize has been translated from its original Dutch and is now available under the English title Craving. Craving is about the interpersonal relationships that connect a dysfunctional family. The narrative revolves around Elisabeth and her daughter, Coco, who are reunited in domesticity by Elisabeth’s terminal illness and the end of Coco’s rental agreement. Awkward people The story opens with Elisabeth and Coco inadvertently seeing one another on opposing sides of the Overtoom in Amsterdam. Elisabeth takes the opportunity to clumsily reveal to her daughter some devastating news that she has been withholding from her family. After asking about Coco’s hair (to conceal her thought about Elisabeth’s weight gain), she reveals a bag of medications, blurts out that she is dying, and quickly departs the scene as Coco cycles away. Elisabeth is an awkward communicator. Her ex-husband suggests that her communication and relationship struggles are due to autism. Regardless of cause, Elisabeth’s prior conduct, especially during her daughter’s early childhood, resurface in her final days as Coco seeks explanations from her mother to settle her own disconcerting childhood memories. For a young woman, Coco is a calamity. She lacks the direction and decision-making skills required to attain life satisfaction. Her romantic relationship, with pseudo-father figure Hans, is coming to an end, throwing Coco into a negative spiral of attention seeking conduct fueled by alcohol and sex with strangers in pubic places. Additional characters include Wilbert (Elisabeth’s ex-husband), Miriam (married to Wilbert), Martin (Elisabeth’s employer and close friend), and Elisabeth’s hairdresser. Together these four characters give dimension to Elisabeth’s persona. While Wilbert and Miriam treat her as a damaged woman able to living independently yet incapable of parenting a child, Martin praises Elisabeth and is resolute in his support for her. The hairdresser maintains non-judgmental respect for his client and teeters on as a friend to Elisabeth. Appeal Craving is indubitably a Dutch novel but the narrative has universal appeal.  A central character dying of cancer is a common thread found in Dutch literature and film - especially compared to books and films from America or Britain. This may be connected to the ease the Dutch have in speaking about death, compared with English speaking cultures. Reliant on verbal exchanges and flashbacks, Craving is a tale of psychological tension tinged with black humor. The succinct dialogue is clever and easily conveys the discord between characters to the reader - a major feat achieved by both the author and translator. Highly recommended. Ana McGinley Buy this book  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 Bee’s Tour of Gouda: Buzzing Through Vinita’s Lens

Cheese. Hard, tasty, bright yellow cheese. That's what appears in many people's minds when they think of Gouda. But of course the cheese gets its name from a very historical little city in the South of Holland that's featured in The Bee's Tour of Gouda: Buzzing Through Vinita's Lens. Author Persephone Abbott and photographer Vinita Salom have lovingly researched their hometown and created a suggested walking route that takes in the beautiful city of Gouda in a historical, cultural and pictorial manner. At only 70 pages long and handy A5 size, it's an ideal travelling companion should you fancy an educational ramble around a little city that began as a settlement in the Middle Ages, built around a fortified castle. It would be fair to point out however, that this baedeker would suit seasoned visitors and tourists, prepared to pore over and decipher the hand drawn maps, as opposed to baseball-capped Floridians and the like, who might find it too intricate if they are attempting to do the entire Netherlands in a couple of days. Despite the obvious research that has gone into creating this packed little guide, it has the feel of an economically produced booklet rather than the book it strives to be. If you are looking for accommodation or places to eat and drink, then Tour of Gouda will not be of much use, but if you're interested in Gouda's history, then this will certainly educate and fulfill the more enlightened traveler. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl www.shelleyantscherl.com  More >