A Moveable Marriage

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 >



Dutch Wannabe

Dutch Wannabe

Lesia is the writer behind Dutch Wannabe, a travel blog focusing on culture-oriented travel in The Netherlands and bey More >


Amsterdamian

Amsterdamian

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




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 >


Amsterdive

Amsterdive

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


Food Shopper’s Guide to Holland

Dutch cuisine is a tad underwhelming, and for foody expats grocery shopping in Holland can be a disappointing and stressful experience, especially if you can't understand the lingo on the packaging. But thanks to two American writers (of European extraction) and their somewhat biblical Food Shopper's Guide to Holland, a maiden voyage to a Dutch supermarket need no longer result in you wanting to open a vein. Food groups and ingredients are split into chapters so that everything you could possibly want to look for is easy to find, and described in both Dutch and English. There is also plenty of good information about speciality shops and what they are called by the natives. A thoroughly comprehensive appendix contains further details on where to buy household items and kitchen supplies as well as an extensive grocery vocabulary and an index of international food shops throughout the Netherlands. Apart from its general usefulness, what I really liked about this book is its cheerful tone. Authors Ada Koene and Connie Moser clearly loved researching and writing their book and you get the feeling they really felt there was a big need to help out the expat sisterhood with the tricky task of food shopping in a foreign land. My only quibble is that the Netherlands isn't quite the culinary treasure trove that Koene and Moser enthusiastically suggest and in reality newcomers to Holland are likely to be disappointed if they expect the range and quality of food products on offer in their home country. Sure, any ingredient can be found if you look hard enough, but realistically this will require scouring ethnic stores and international shops throughout a city rather than locating everything in one supermarket. Having said that, the Food Shopper's Guide to Holland is enjoyable and interesting to read and a truly helpful guide for any newcomer to Holland and if you're sensible enough to peruse it before your first excursion to Albert Heijn, you should find the experience a little less perplexing. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  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 >


Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child

Guilt inevitably afflicts all expat parents when they relocate their families around the world. Despite the enormous advantages and privileges growing up as a global nomad, it's sometimes hard to reconcile this with an unhappy child, distraught at the prospect of leaving friends behind and moving country yet again. Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child seeks to help parents prepare children for their adventures abroad and ensure they can express and articulate the complex emotions at work when relocating. Julia Simens is an American educator and consultant with a focus on international relocation and in 20 years of living in five different continents she has helped many children and families adjust to their global lifestyle. Identifying key emotions at the root of distress and teaching children to communicate these feelings in words and pictures, helps youngsters confront the emotional difficulties as they learn to cope with each transition. To accompany the theory, Simens has included practical exercises throughout the chapters for both parents and children to work through. This is a book that will appeal to parents with an interest in the psychology of raising children overseas, and using this knowledge to help them cope with the emotional upheaval of leaving things behind and packing up to move on again. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  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 >


Uit Kijk Punten/ Scenic Points Amsterdam

If you'Ž“ve ever stood on top of a building looking out over a big city and wondered what you can see in the distance then Uit Kijk Punten might tickle your fancy. Eelco van Geene and Marijke Mooy have created an alternative guide book that instead of leading you around the city at ground level, views Amsterdam from above and nicely presents it in photographs. Uit Kijk Punten shows panoramic shots of the Amsterdam skyline in every direction from 30 different vantage points around the city like Westerkerk, Centraal Station and even Schiphol Airport (!), and all the main landmarks and interesting sights are indicated on the horizon. Each photo is accompanied with practical information in Dutch and English, ensuring it appeals to residents and tourists alike and _Ž•Visitor info_Ž“ includes transport advice, entry costs, wheelchair access (or lack of it) and nearby refreshment outlets. An especially nice touch is the photography tip for amateur snappers on every page. At just over 200 pages and A5 size, Uit Kijk Punten is quite chunky, but it'Ž“s still small enough to fit in a rucksack and it makes a refreshing change to traditional fact-laden and touristy city guides. And if you enjoy photography, then this provides a new and unorthodox view of the capital. If you'Ž“ve lived here for years or you think you'Ž“ve seen everything in Amsterdam then Uit Kijk Punten offers a great opportunity to explore this wonderful little city from a whole new panoramic perspective. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  More >


The Amsterdam Chronicles: Def-Con City

The Amsterdam Chronicles: Def Con City is a trilogy of crime novels by Irish writer, Brian Christopher, with Part 3 published in January this year. As the title suggests, the novels are set in Amsterdam - where good and bad guys run amok along the canals encircling the famous city centre. Harvey Wall is a homicide detective sent from the New York City precinct to the Amsterdam police on a six-month work exchange. His background is somewhat murky, and hints of him acting as a sole operator outside the confines of police procedures. Arriving in the Netherlands, Harvey outsmarts the two Dutch detectives sent to welcome him at Schiphol, dodging them to enter the city on his own terms. Before even setting foot in his guest precinct, he has detained three thieves and acquired himself a reputation for being slippery and brazenly unorthodox in his professional conduct. To the mirth of his new colleagues, Harvey is partnered with his antithesis Frank Bakker, '… a born-again hippie in his early thirties whose greatest pleasure in life was catching criminals' and eating stale pizza slices found in his desk drawer. This unlikely pair make for a successful police duo. When two unusual deaths take place on the same night within the same neighbourhood the police and a pathologist are called to investigate. More deaths follow in quick succession, expanding the crime scene to encompass recognisable Amsterdam neighbourhoods including Rembrandt Park, Kinkerstraat and the area around the Concertgebouw. The murders are creative and the culprit is endowed with specific powers akin to those of minor superhero characters. Links to the streets are included in the electronic version of the book for readers keen to follow where the action is taking place via Google Maps. The narrative is tight and fast-paced keeping the reader turning pages until the end. Occasionally there is a dip in credibility due to the use of character stereotypes, which do add colour to the story but are (hopefully) inconsistent with real Dutch police personnel. Ana McGinley Buy these books  More >


The Dutch and their Bikes

Books about Dutch biking culture continue to grow in popularity, with more titles appearing on the bookshelves each year. Four years ago, American photojournalist and long-term resident in the Netherlands, Shirley Agudo, published Bicycle Mania, receiving rave reviews from international readers. Continuing on this same theme, Agudo has recently released a new extended version of her first book, titled The Dutch and Their Bikes: Scenes from a Nation of Cyclists. This new coffee table book exhibits about 700 photographs of Dutch people cycling - an activity intrinsic in their everyday lives. The images are loosely arranged by theme: transportation, colours, weather, age, animals, and special occasions. The book opens with a section of well-researched facts about cycling in the Netherlands, including what happens to bikes parked in public spaces for long periods (that is, they are removed and taken to the Fietsdepot to await retrieval by their owners at a cost of ten euros, albeit 70% of these bikes remain unclaimed). By adding a short list of cycling innovations supported by both local and national government, Agudo emphasises the importance of cycling to the environment and economy of the Netherlands. Interspersed throughout the 352 pages of the book are comments from a broad range of people somehow involved in cycling culture in the Netherlands, including individuals working in various government officers, transport organizations, cycling bodies, bicycle manufacturing businesses, and online bike forums. Often information and views are repeated, providing reiteration of the benefits of cycling to both individual and community. The Dutch and Their Bikes is a gift to the tourism industry of the Netherlands. The photographs portray the Dutch people as a free-spirited (sometime nude, pages 294-297), environmentally conscious, sturdy population who know the simple joy of riding a bike, and have adopted it as their preferred mode of transport. Cycling is internationally recognised as an enjoyable as well as an environmentally-friendly activity. By identifying the bike as being integral to Dutch culture, Shirley Agudo has added another reason for visitors to come and experience what the Netherlands is about. Buy this book Ana McGinley books@dutchnews.nl  More >


The Dutch: Prelude to their Golden Age

A historical novel about the time before the Dutch Golden Age? 'This could be hard work to wade through,' I said to myself. But as often happens when I judge a book by its cover, I was completely wrong, and it was well worth the effort. Author Richard E. Shultz has woven a huge amount of historical information into his book, which European history buffs should find very interesting. It also tells a good story, and what I found particularly impressive was the American author'Ž“s understanding of the Dutch psyche, particularly those in the North. Having lived among rural West Friesians for nearly three years, I certainly recognized the characters he depicts in the story, with the giant, no-nonsense, and uber pragmatic people I shared a remote village with, despite a few hundred years separating them. The author claims to have no-known Dutch ancestry, just an appreciation of the many gifts the Netherlands has given America and the entire world,Ž— but you'Ž“d think he was at least second generation Dutch from the way his book is written. A long-held admiration for the impact this little country has had on North American culture, was the driving force behind what is essentially, a very readable first novel. Buy this book  More >


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 >


Dear Mr M

Herman Koch is widely acclaimed for his 2009 novel Het Diner (The Dinner) – a book that sold over 1 million copies in Europe, was translated into 21 languages, and has been produced as a play and film. In addition, Koch’s biography of work includes eight novels, seven short story collections, newspaper columns, and acting roles or collaborations with various Dutch film, television and radio programmes. Two years ago Koch published his latest novel Geachte heer M in Dutch. The book has been translated to English and released by Picador, a UK publishing house, under the title Dear Mr M In short, Dear Mr M is about a once famous writer (Mr M) adjusting to his decreasing popularity with the reading public. After an illustrious career, he is now reduced to book signings at village libraries and literary dinner events diminished by budget cuts matching the reduced earnings of the invited authors. Mr M is being stalked by someone who believes that he is a character in the author’s most famous murder mystery, and is seeking a different outcome to the tale. Thriller The book cover blurb describes the novel as a 'literary thriller', and indeed it is both literary (main character is an aging author; main plot is based on a real event shaped by the confabulations of the author without regard to facts; an abundance of criticism of the literary world) and a thriller (a missing person, many possible suspects and motives). Yet, 'literary thriller' is somewhat misleading and may disappoint readers seeking the excitement of a novel that demands to be read in a single sitting, like The Dinner. Nevertheless, Dear Mr M is a clever story. The narrative comes from the perspective of five characters covering several decades. Koch insists that the reader stay focused, offering the occasional red herring to the plot that disappears as the next clue box is opened. This technique continues to the last few pages. Not likeable The Dutch Foundation for Literature describes Herman Koch as 'an ironic-realistic writer relating dramas worth telling', who writes about characters '… burdened by their empty existence…'. Given his cast in both The Dinner and Summer House with Swimming Pool (2011), the description rings true. Koch does not create likeable people. At almost 450 pages it is a long, slow read with a cast of characters who don’t elicit reader empathy. Herman Koch exposes the underbelly of the Dutch upper class, a perspective not usually given, but perhaps one to be expected from the boy once expelled from Amsterdam’s Montessori Lyceum. Buy this book Ana McGinley  More >