The thin line between what you want to say and what you actually say!

There is a thin line between getting something right and getting something completely wrong and Dutch, being the lovely guttural language that it is has its fair share! I had a comment recently on my blog asking if I was a hedgehog. Alas my prickles and love for rolling in leaves make me an over grown child not a garden loving creature who roams about in the dead of night. Just for the record I don’t actually have prickles!

I’ve spoken a lot before about mistakes Dutch people make in English so i thought it was only fair to repay the insult and discuss the subtle but embarrassing mistakes we make when trying to drag our selves around The Netherlands.

Animal-memes-hedgehog-in-a-baking-traySpot the difference:

ben jij egels? – Are you a hedgehog? 

ben jij engels? – Are you english? 

Another one:

Ik ben hete Maria – I am hot Maria  – This was my first attempt at introducing myself. It was subtly laughed off at the time as apparently its a common mistake!

What I meant to say (obvs): Ik ben heet Maria – I am called Maria 

Now to the uneducated Dutch learning British gal these sentences sound exactly the same.

Ik hou van vis – I like fish

Ik hou van vies – I like it dirty

I’m not one to just judge, maybe there is a use for both sentences in some peoples vocabulary ;)

So there we have it. The difference can be a vowel, or simply the pronunciation of it. There are hundreds of mistakes easily made in Dutch many more than I can’t remember right now, maybe helped with the fact that autocorrect changes what we mean if the dictionary is or isn’t activated or if we get the pronunciations of our vowels a little off. Its these are the mistakes that are worth making rather than getting tenses mixed up which is simply frustrating. Inspiration came from a hilarious little video The Dutch Review had on the bottom of one of their posts last week! Check it out!

And so you’re back from outer space, I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face…

Hello everyone! My name is maria and I clearly have some explaining to do with regards to my poor attendance as of late! SORRY!! I’m a  bad person, I know this.

My absensce as of late cant be blamed on illness, or holiday or on any other reason other than the fact that normal life got in the way and my Dutch ‘mojo’ – is there a word for that in Dutch? – has been missing.

This morning however whilst listening to the old ipod on shuffle a good old friend of mine Mr Neilson came on and told me to sharpen up my act and get back on with things – a lyric of his springs to mind… Ik ben en klootzak! Sorry for being an asshole. So here I am, back with a vengeance and ready to get back on it!

Have you missed me? Did you even notice I had gone? If you saunter on over to instagram you will see what I’ve bene up to over the last month; the highlights envolve working a lot, walking a lot, getting my hair cut posting quotes. My favourite being: Je zegt dat je mijn beste vriend(in) bent maar waar de fuck was je toen mijn selfie maar 4 likes had? It caused quite as store on inta and facebook so I’m guessing you lot liked it to! We all like a good selfie right?!  I’m in my 11th month of blogging now – don’t know how that happened or where indeed the last 11 months have gone but alas we are here!

Keep your eyes peeled for more reviews, opinions on Dutch news articles and not to mention my Dutch Diary which will be coming your way during my next trip on the 11th July!! I’m so excited I cant breath! Plus there’s that little trip I’ve got planned back to the Dutch inhabited Morira in September but that’s still a long way off.

Tot volgende keer schatjes – I promise it wont be so long. Kisses!

Its June already…can you believe it?!

Every month, for the last 10 month or so I have written a post in Dutch on the first day of the month. For those regular readers you may have noticed that one didn’t go up yesterday.

My Dutch has well and truly slipped. I haven’t attended any classes this side of March due to the elections here and the tutor being off sick. I had a call yesterday form the Brasshouse – my language school – saying that the remaining classes where to be cancelled. So basically I couldn’t write anything in Dutch this month because 1) I haven’t learnt anything and 2) I’ve forgotten what I have learnt.

It seems a shame to waste my learning so all is most definitely not lost its just that some times being a grownup sucks! I’m getting into a much better working pattern now so there really is no excuse. I have to go it alone now and venture into the world of learning on my own. There isn’t a class anymore and in September Level One starts again. Am I disappointed? Yes. Learning a langue is like going to the gym, the more you go and the more regular you do it the better you get and stronger you get, but if you don’t go or start up and then stop the muscle you’ve got turns to fat and your back to square one. I will pick the Dutch back up. I have no choice, its within me to learn more and be better.

Until then, fear you not, my ramblings about the big news stories of the day shall continue. I’ve gone 6 years knowing very little Dutch I will survive! Plus with 6 weeks to go until my next trip to the Orange Lands theres still time to dust off the diminutives and ‘t Kofschip!

Should prostitution be criminalised? – No bad women just bad laws.

Opinion is divided across the world with regards to the criminalisation of prostitution. In The Netherlands it is legalised and regulated whereas in the UK it is illegal. Now you’re not going to find an article anywhere online condoning prostitution. Trust me, I’ve looked for them, and this isn’t what this post is going to try and do. I’m not suggesting that prostitution is a career move to consider or any part of a persons ‘life plan’. What I am going to question in this post is the morality of prostitution. Does society still need to frown upon it to the extent it has done in the past? Are we more desensatised to sex than ever before? Can you genuinely argue the case for prostitution as a business? Why will there forever be an divide in opinion, is this generational, cultural or individual?

Europe has very different viewpoint and here on this blog you know how much I like to explore the big arguments of the day:

Is regulated prostitution really a bad thing?

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Eurovision: Sweden 2016

The Morning After The Night Before…

Congratulations Sweden! Grattis Sverige! Måns Zelmerlöw took the crown, on the shows 60th Birthday, with his song Heroes. The song is great. Måns is a Swedish God which obviously had no impact in the scoring at all ;) ! The staging for his performance was one of the cleverest of the night. Working to a black digital background he interacted with an army of stick men, had wings of a butterfly and got wet in digital rain. It was a brilliant performance. A worthy winner.

My Top 5 of the night where as follows (in any order).

  • Italy #03
  • Sweden #01
  • Norway #08
  • Hungry #20
  • Russia #02

Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 13.41.17Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 13.43.52

What was GREAT

  • Every song was good. I’d happily have the album in the car,
  • The theme of building bridges really worked.
  • Conchita Wurst who won it last year looked amazing! I couldn’t work out what I was looking at as to whether I thought she was hot or attractive. It did confuse me slightly – especially in that black cat suit…wow!
  • There was a good mix of solos, duets and bands, even a few playing actual instruments!
  • There was, of course, tons of dodgy choreography!
  • The Graham Norton one-liners “Even in 2015 it’s like there’s a tin can and string connecting us to some of these countries.”

What was MISSING

  • It wasn’t very european. It wasn’t very cheesy. There was only 4/27 countries that actually sang in their mother tongue (discounting the UK and Australia).
  • There was no roller blading violinists wearing wings. Or any form of fancy dress really. I look forward to that every year. It was a little too serious this year.
  • Nobody crashed the stage.
  • The Netherlands – Obviously
  • Ireland. I missed the dulcet tones of the Irish. It was a shame they never made it through.

As my last Eurovision 2015 post I’m going to share a few opinions I had on the nights performances in the order they performed.

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Eurovision: Trijntje fails to make the final

How upset must she bed. Trijntje Oostehuis has failed to make it through to Saturday’s final of The Eurovision Song Contest.

The Telegraaf have released a statement from her saying she was ‘very disappointed’. I’m sad for her too. I have talked about the Dutch entry before. I really liked the song too.  The Netherlands have upped their game over the last 2 years and I thought they could at least make the final this year. Unfortunately that wasn’t too be.

Trijntje made it in the news this week for other more shallow and, in my opinion, irrelevant reasons. Her dress. In a statement her self she commented on the fact that it should be about her voice and the song rather than her dress. The gorgeous Trijntje had wore a black dress which was rather low cut at the front to one of the rehearsal shows. Below is a picture of ‘the dress’.

trijntje-dress

Now in the celebrity soak culture we live in we are surrounded by gorgeous celebrities who wear little to NO clothes to functions, did you see the met gala photos? I don’t think this dress is in any way too much. She looks stunning! She has worn 3 different outfits to perform in. With a body like that and a voice like her’s you would think she had it in the bag. Last nights first semifinal saw her loose out on getting a place. It did however see her in a very different outfit. The Telegraaf quote her saying “Ik wilde gaan voor iets waar ik me ‘comfortable’ in voel. Ik kan geen hakken dragen, dan moet je dat ook echt niet doen. Misschien was het een inschattingsfout, maar ik vind gewoon dat het gaat over hoe je zingt.” – I can’t disagree, comfortability is key, I hear you sister about not wearing heels! Hell your Dutch, put your jeans on and polish the toes of your brogues!

However, I’ll say it because we’re all thinking it. If she had not have been affected by the negative dress coverage of her outfit choice why did she compete in this outfit?

473881444I’m not sure if the ‘Aladdin’ look was deemed better than the tight, low cut, figure hugging dress. If you ask me – it was that that lost her the votes! Sex sells. We know this. The celebrity culture has taught us this.

There has been comments made that the song wasn’t catchy enough, its wasn’t Dutch enough, it wasn’t put together professionally enough…everyone is the critic from their own home!

Trijnte has an amazing voice, and an amazing figure, and I’m pretty gutted that she didn’t get chance to get into the final.

NL to vaccinate boys against HPV

IMG_2469What feels like many moons ago I wrote my final university dissertation on the media’s influence in women taking the HPV Vaccine in 2008. This piece of research took me around 9 months to research and write. Now slightly skimming over the particulars but highlighting the fact that I got a First Class Mark and won the Plender Prize for the best undergraduate dissertation written in the Faculty, I’d say it makes me pretty clued up on the facts with regards to Cervical Cancer and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). – “Why are you going on about this?” I hear you cry.

In the news recently a study from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) found that vaccinating boys against the HPV virus, which causes cervical cancer in women, protects them against developing cancers in later years. This has sparked my attention as it was one of the conclusions I came to in my research.

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 18.10.59The Human Papilloma Virus is responsible for different types of cancers in both men and women. For my research, in terms of Cervical Cancer, the disease is contracted via intercourse. In the UK and around the world a vaccine has been developed which dramatically reduces the chances of getting Cervical Cancer and to some extent can prevent it completely. The vaccine is designed to be given to girls before they become sexually active (around 12/13 years old). This vaccine was a big hit in the UK and in Australia where it was first administered. My research looked at girls’ attitudes towards the injections but an undeniable part of my research findings lead me to question other ways in which preventable diseases can be prevented.

Low and behold : The Dutch!

Not only have the VU discovered an indirect link protecting men from HPV which can lead to other forms of cancer such as throat cancer but…

When 60% of girls are vaccinated, as has been the case in the Netherlands, the risk that heterosexual men will be infected with HPV goes down by 53%, the researchers say.

How amazing is that finding! By extending the vaccination program to boys you are stopping the virus before it is being spread and therefore needed to be prevented in girls. There are many ethical considerations with regards to these vaccines. You can argue that 60% take up by girls isn’t enough, I did in my research and found that the reasons for this lay within the media, and parental opinions and experiences. You can argue that boys wouldn’t want the vaccine and the take up would be even lower and the administration would therefore be too high. However you could argue that if the risk to men goes down so dramatically the benefits far out away the cost of the injection. What price do you put on a prevention of Cervical, Throat, Anal and many other types of cancer? €100? €200?

Australia are already doing it. The UK, I hope, will be following suit and I am so happy to see that the vaccination programme to be extended to boys is on the agenda at the ministry’s advisory health council for The Netherlands.
Prevention is better than cure. I am a firm believer in that and I think that the amount of money that is put into finding cures and preventative methods for diseases such as cancer is only worth it if we take head of them. I had the HPV injection in 2008. To me it was a ‘no-brainer’. I just hope that others will start to see that benefit of these preventative methods and protect themselves, other women and our children.

So here is my plea to you – Girls go out and get the jab. You can have it up to the age of 18. If you haven’t had it yet I would urge you to look into it. Boys, if its offered – take it!  Protect yourself and protect us women! Its 3 injections in 12 months. It could save your life!

armagainstcervicalcancer

Why is Holland one of the happiest countries in the world…my take!

So there is the great article in The Independent currently doing the rounds. Its been popping up on my Facebook newsfeed and a friend even posted it on my wall – I think my infatuation with The Netherlands has reached a whole never level. I love it!

How part-time work and exercise may explain why Holland is one of the happiest countries in the world

I’ve touched upon Holland being one of the happiest countries before. A recent survey even said that 84% of expats rate their quality of life in the Netherlands as good to great. So why is it? Why is Holland one of the happiest places? Is it the legalisation of mood enhancing drugs? The freedom of sexuality? The general acceptance to drink small cups of beer all day? The bitterballen? Cant a fried ball of meat be the reason?

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THINGS PEOPLE ASK WHEN YOU SAY YOU’RE LEARNING DUTCH

Over on The Dutch Review this week I have shared my experiences in Leaning Dutch. Head over there and check it out!


I could quite comfortably write reams and reams on this topic therefore I thought limiting myself wasn’t such a bad idea. In this post I am going to talk about 5 English responses and 5 Dutch responses you can expect when you tell someone you are learning Dutch. These are genuine responses I have had from people when they’ve found out that I’m attempting to learn, and I quote, “Freaky Deeky Dutch”.

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