The Art of Living in Amsterdam

The Art of Living in Amsterdam

Amsterdam's historic network of concentric canals earned UNESCO World Heritage status in 2010. The impressive architecture and facades of this elegant town centre are mirrored by the luxury and chic of the building's interiors. Italian photographer Listri and author Van Ogtrop take the reader on an indulgent photographic tour of this refined environment, where the Dutch Golden Age past meets with contemporary interior design and technologies in the homes of artists, collectors and antique dealers. Buy this book    More >



Amsterdamming

Amsterdamming

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


European Mama

European Mama

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




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 >






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 >


A Moveable Marriage

For the first time since before I had children, I've read a whole book in one day. I didn't intend to, I just got carried away. And although it meant neglecting the more trivial needs of my usually well cared for offspring, it was definitely worth it. A Moveable Marriage by Expat Expert Robin Pascoe, is not just a book, it's a bible - nay, a lifeline - for any wife following her husband (and his career) around the globe, who feels like she's sometimes drowning in the mire. Pascoe spent two decades being posted to far-flung Asian cities as the wife of a Canadian diplomat, and has since gone on to become something of an authority on the trials and tribulations of international relocations, and living life overseas. In A Moveable Marriage she puts the expat marriage under the microscope and explores every conceivable issue faced by both spouses, and the enormous stresses inflicted on the wife as she takes on an integral, but often invisible and thankless role in moving the whole family from one place to another. With often inadequate company support, limited help from the working spouse (whose priority is to get stuck into the new job), and no old friends and family network to fall back on, relocating can be an ordeal for wives especially when children are involved. If you've experienced the gamut of emotions that can plague an expat wife such as: mourning the loss of your professional identity loathing financial dependency and you're sick to death of taking sole responsibility for the endless tedious domestic tasks, then you'll know why I couldn't put this down! A Moveable Marriage offers an amusing insight and helpful advice from someone who's been there, done it all, and bought a few t-shirts along the way. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  More >


Colonel Baxter’s Dutch Safari

Cartoonist and artist Glen Baxter was first published in the Netherlands 40 years ago. Now he's back with a collection of absurdist drawings covering all things Dutch - from herring and tulips to Mondriaan and Rietveld chairs. Dutch funnyman Wim de Bie, who curates the Glen Baxter Museum, provides the introduction to this slim volume of full-colour drawings and wry comments. In particular, Baxter seems to have it in for Rietveld's famous chair - which is eaten by beavers, turned into a method of execution and a bidet. The humour is gentle and barbed at the same while the little Delft tiles sketched on opposing pages contain some hidden gems. Buy this book  More >


Dealing with the Dutch

If you'Ž“re moving to the Netherlands then be warned, Lowlanders can be a bit blunt. In fact it'Ž“s fair to say that in business, as in daily life, brutal honesty and constructive criticism are dished out liberally as par for the course - which can be a bit of a shock to the system if you haven't lived or worked alongside them before. The Dutch are a self-confident, pragmatic, and exceedingly efficient race and these qualities combined with their shrewd nose for business can sometimes make for an off-putting combination. In Dealing with the Dutch, author Jacob Vossestein has created a manual for anyone who wants or needs to understand the general mentality, in order to forge good professional relationships and successfully conduct business with the Dutch. As a human geographer and social anthropologist with nearly 30 years experience as a cross-cultural trainer, Vossestein knows more than most about the Dutch psyche and how to communicate effectively with his fellow countrymen. But surprisingly for a native, Vossestein also shows a finely-tuned awareness for the less appealing Dutch characteristics, and this is what makes his book so valuable. Every quirk, trait and habit is scrutinised and what you get is a fully comprehensive guide to just about every strand of the nation'Ž“s collective personality, including their beliefs and value system. Despite the dull and dreary picture on the book'Ž“s cover, it is anything but, and contains plenty of humorous observations and comments by other foreigners that will make this useful for anyone moving to Holland. Indeed the tone of the author himself, is refreshingly self-deprecating which makes you want to read on and discover more about this tall and distinctive race of northern Europeans who are often understood by misleading stereotypes and little more. Vossestein has included so much information about the entire Dutch nation its geography and provinces, including the regional nuances of people living in different parts of the country, that Dealing with the Dutch succeeds in being entertaining, enlightening and credible, all at the same time. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  More >


A Sample of Gouda

A Sample of Gouda - Photographs and Hidden Narratives of Gouda is the second book about this Dutch city by expats Persephone Abbott and Vinita Salomé. Their first book, published in 2012, The Bee’s Tour of Gouda, Buzzing through Vinita’s Lens, is a walking tour guide, complete with photographic highlights for the walker to identify along the route. The interest this guidebook attracted from the expat community and international media motivated Abbott and Salomé to continue their artistic collaboration. A Sample of Gouda is filled with beautiful photographs of historical relics located around the city, yet often missed by people living in or visiting Gouda. Each photograph is accompanied by a short story based on individuals like Davud from Bosnia, Nancy from New Jersey and Raj from Mumbai – people who relocated to Gouda from different countries and cultures. These concocted tales are loosely associated to the image apparent in the photograph on the facing page. A guide written from the visitor’s seat In terms of a city or culture guide, A Sample of Gouda- Photographs and Hidden Narratives of Gouda offers something new to Gouda and the increasing number of books about everything and anything ‘Dutch’. The book does not showcase the best of what the city, or Dutch culture, has to offer. Instead it offers readers 31 fictitious perspectives of trying to fit in to Gouda and the local culture as a foreigner. The struggles, apparent in the short stories, are given counterbalance by the photographic evidence of an old culture shaped by religion, traditions, and history. A Sample of Gouda- Photographs and Hidden Narratives of Gouda is a creative and interesting book by two women with an obvious love of Gouda and an understanding of the challenges many expats face with integration into this city. Buy this book Ana McGinley  More >


The House of Dolls

British author David Hewson is better known for writing two novels based on the hit Danish television show, The Killing, but this time, he'Ž“s in Amsterdam, with his new novel, The House of Dolls, which will be part of a series. The book follows a retired police detective who is brought back to work after the purported kidnapping of a young woman under circumstances similar to those of his own daughterŽ“s three years before. Like Hewson'Ž“s other work, The House of Dolls is a dark thriller that follows the flow of the city it's set in. The protagonist, Pieter Vos, is pulled back into the underworld of Amsterdam'Ž“s organised crime in the hope that he can offer some insight into the possible kidnapping of Katja Prins, the daughter of a local politician. He'Ž“s partnered with Laura Bakker, a junior detective whose Frisian accent and small-town upbringing don'Ž“t mesh with the hardened Amsterdam police force. Vos agrees to help the case, in the hopes that solving it will lead him to his own missing daughter. The novel vividly describes Amsterdam, both in appearance and in feel and it'Ž“s easy to get lost in the city'Ž“s seedy underworld. In all, a great holiday read. Buy this book by David Hewson  More >


Dutched Up! Rocking the Clogs Expat Style

Dutched Up! Rocking the Clogs Expat Style is an anthology of expat essays written by 27 smart, sassy and observant women, who have all relocated to the Netherlands.   This collection of 49 essays, technically blog posts, details their personal experiences and observations gathered while attempting to find a place in Dutch society. The essays are arranged under 12 topics including - Culture Shock; Eating and Shopping; Biking; the Dutch Language; Working in the Netherlands; Marrying a Dutchie; Having Babies; Raising Your Kids; ending with, Leaving the Netherlands. For many expats, this arrangement is a familiar and logical transition through the Dutch expat experience. Essentially this is a book for women by women. The bloggers originate from different parts of the world and this influences how they experience what is going on around them. A good example can be found in the essay: How High Do Parents Raise the Bar (Lana Kristine Jelenev), with the author frustrated by an educational philosophy and program that many foreigners see as teaching children to be complacent with “voldoende” (or good enough) rather than encouraging children to push themselves to try and do their best (p82). This is a common topic frequently discussed by new expat parents sending their children to Dutch schools. Similarly, being considered a prostitute by staff at your Dutch doctor's surgery because you have followed recommendations in your home country and had an annual pap smear examination makes: That’s a Helluva Exam for a very funny essay. (Molly Quell) Overall, this collection of essays about life in the Netherlands will resonate with many readers. Growing in popularity are expat blogs, books and magazines as the number of people becoming ‘global citizens’ increase. Reading the experiences of other expats, such as in Dutch Up! Rocking the Clogs Expat Style promotes acceptance that the unfamiliar and strange experiences that shake the confidence of new expat residents, are just part of the process of settling in to your new Dutch home. Buy this book Ana McGinley  More >


Mr Miller

Born in Australia in 1952, Charles den Tex was five years old when his parents repatriated home to the Netherlands. As a young adult, den Tex studied and worked in Paris and England before embarking on a career as a communication and management consultant in the Netherlands. From communications consultant to writer Since publishing his first book in 1995, Den Tex has been a prolific writer of crime fiction often against a background of fraud in trade and industry. Until recently all his works were written and published only in Dutch, limiting his appeal to an enthusiastic Dutch reading audience. Throughout his career as a writer Den Tex has been frequently nominated for book awards. Three of his books: Schijn de Kans (2002); De Macht van Meneer Miller) (2005; Cel (2008) - have won the prestigious Golden Noose award (a Dutch annual prize for the best thriller). The first two books listed here were made into television series, and Cel a film Mr Miller The first of den Tex’s novels to become available in English translation from World Editions, Mr Miller was first published more than a decade ago. The cover identifies the book as ‘the ultimate internet conspiracy’, which in 2005 would have attracted more questions than in 2016 when Internet treachery seems commonplace in the crime world. Central character, Michael Bellicher is a communication consultant for HC&P, an Amsterdam based company with an impressive list of high profile European clients. Bellicher is young, smart, ambitious and reaping the rewards of sacrificing his personal life for the company. Both his best friend (Gijs) and love-interest (Jessica) are employees of HC&P. The story opens with Michael at Schiphol airport awaiting the arrival of his brother, Kurt, who he has not see for five and a half years. On seeing his brother, Michael collapses from an anxiety attack. He abandons his family for the solitude of his apartment, drinks heavily for three days, and then returns to his workplace to discover the fallout from his solecism. In a desperate move to save his career, Michael quickly secures an important client and hides in the company building after closing hours, allowing him to work on his new project through the night. His plan dissolves on discovering a dead woman outside the office canteen, and overhearing her murderers discussing what to do with the body. After the body is found in the company’s basement parking garage, Michael is identified as the only person registered as being inside the building on the night of the murder – making him the primary suspect in the case. Fearing for his freedom, Michael absconds and goes underground seeking information needed to prove his innocence. Things quickly become crazy when it becomes evident that not only does someone want Michael dead, they seem to know his every move. Following some serious attempts on his life, Michael unravels a small part of the mystery by connecting the website of Mr Miller to both the dead woman and his current peril. Who or what Mr Miller is becomes the foundation for this racing thriller. Authentic Dutch thrills As a techno conspiracy theory thriller, Mr Miller is a tight tale. Having worked in the same world as Michael, den Tex provides a believable account of the world of a high-end communication consultant. By setting the thriller predominantly in Amsterdam, he provides local flavor to the tale and adds authenticity to the characters and their relationships. Credit too to Nancy Forest-Flier as the novel’s translator. This exciting read from Charles den Tex comes highly recommended. Ana McGinley Read Charles den Tex' blog on identity  More >


The Dutch Maiden

Marente De Moor, born in 1972 is the daughter of writer Margriet de Moor and visual artist Heppe de Moor. She studied literature and Slavonic languages at University of Amsterdam, and after graduation, moved to Russia for 10 years. Her work as a columnist for De Groene Amsterdammer and Vrij Nederland, has been respectively collated and published as De Peterburgse Vertellingen and Kleine Vogel, Grote Man. Marente de Moor published her first novel, De Overtreder (translation: The Transgressor) in 2007. Her second, De Nederlandse Maagd (2010), sold over 70,000 copies and was awarded both the AKO Literatuurprijs (2011) and the EU Prize for Literature (2014). This prize winning novel, translated into English by David Doherty, was published by World Editions earlier in 2016 under the title The Dutch Maiden. The novel’s main character is Janna, an 18-year-old fencer, is sent from her home in Maastricht to the German town of Aachen, where she stays with Egon van Bötticher, a German aristocrat and fencing master, her father befriended during the first World War. Janna arrives in Germany in the summer of 1936, a period of disquietude with unresolved grievances leftover from WWI, and the laying of early groundwork for the political climate that would give birth to WWII. Numerous themes and storylines run through the novel and overlap in the lives of the main characters. Egon was rescued the Dutch soldiers during WWI and taken to a Dutch hospital to recover and be observed by Janna’s father, a doctor with a keen interest in medical science. This relationship does not sprout the roots of a friendship, yet the reason the men remain connected to one another two decades on, is one of the conundrums running through the narrative. Janna’s relationship with Egon, a disfigured older man who seems to prefer animals to humans, is also bewildering. Attraction to Egon, especially as Jana is in the constant company of the prepossessing identical twins, Fredreich and Siegbert, who are also her peers and fencing partners seems unlikely and is only barely explained by the author. In the larger picture, the narrative exposes the German negative attitude to the Dutch in comments made about Janna and her father. Friction within Germany is highlighted by the presence of Nazi-supported Heinz and some members of the Mensur congregation who gather at Egon’s estate to indulge in this forbidden fencing tradition that seeks to inflict physical injuries to evince courage. The Dutch Maiden has beautifully constructed chapters, which have been preserved in translation. The narrative promises to take the reader on a journey that will uncover and explain the characters and the reasons they do what they do.  These promises are quietly kept, and although this may disappoint some readers, it seems to be almost idiosyncratic trait of many esteemed Dutch authors. An interesting, recommended read. Buy this book Ana McGinley  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 >


The Dyslexic Hearts Club

Initially published in 2014, The Dyslexic Hearts Club is the second novel by Hanneke Hendrix. Born in 1980, Hanneke Hendrix grew up in a small southern town in the Netherlands. She studied writing at the University for the Arts in Utrecht and philosophy at Nijmegen’s Radboud University. As a writer, Hendrix writes for literary production companies, radio, podcasts, theatre groups, festivals, and various journals. Her first book, De Verjaardagen (translation: The Birthdays) was shortlisted for the Dioraphte Prize, the Academia Debut Prize, and the Woman and Culture Prize. Essentially this is the tale of three women who escape from a secure burns unit while under police guard to embark on a crazed road trip. Their escapades gain wide public interest as the media disperse daily updates on their attempts to avoid capture. Three smoking women The narrative opens with three women sharing a small hospital room. All three have severe burns of a non-accidental nature and are being detained in the room pending legal investigation. The story is told from the viewpoint of Anna van Veen. She quickly becomes entwined in the lives of her two room-mates as they share personal stories to deal with the long empty days stuck in a small confined space. The pace quickens when the three escape from the hospital, steal a car and kick off a nationwide chase that grabs the attention of the Dutch public. Along the way the reader is exposed to further details of the situations leading to the women meeting one another in the hospital. Additional characters are introduced as the three purloin clothes, food, money and vehicles in their race to avoid the authorities. The joy of running riot Described as quirky and bizarre, the characters, dialogue and plot may not hold up under close scrutiny – yet somehow this is part of the fun. The personal stories that the three women tell one another unravel to include more fact and less fantasy as the story progresses. It is an effective tool Hendrix has used to keep the reader turning pages. The title of the novel refers to the name the women give themselves on discovering they share the trait of being unable to make sense of the feelings they have, even though others have explained the feelings to them many times. It also relates to the 1992 song by Paul Westerberg Dyslexic Hearts. The Dyslexic Hearts Club is an entertaining, fast-paced read. Translator, David Doherty, has competently incorporated the black humor into the English version of the novel, which was published in 2016 by World Editions. With obvious similarities to the film Thelma and Louise this novel begs to become the first Dutch road film. The Dyslexic Hearts Club was nominated for the BNG Literary Award in 2014. Ana McGinley  More >