5 Things I’ll never quite understand about the Netherlands

In response to my recent 5 things I will always love about the Netherlands I thought I would write a counter post. The things that I really don’t get. The things that always mark the differences between our countries. In many ways the things I don’t understand about the Dutch are the basis for the reasons in which I love them!

Continue reading 5 Things I’ll never quite understand about the Netherlands

Ik heb a confession.

In just 10 days I am returning to my home land. Well ok, not necessarily my ‘home land’ because that’s England but the country which has my heart will soon have the rest of my body I nit for a few days.

i-see-your-mouth-movingWhen I first started this blog I was all about the language, I threw myself in to learning Dutch and loved it. I even got 2 certificates and by March 2014 I could hold a pretty normal conversation, my final exam was a discussion on animals and fun facts about the long neck of a giraffe. But with just 10 days to go I have to openly admit my Dutch has melted away to nothing. There we go, I’ve put it out there. Ashamedly so Ik heb geen Dutch.

As much as I am ashamed by this, I spoke very little Nederlandse in the Netherlands anyway but I fear slightly that I won’t remember enough to pick up on conversation topics. I am rather hoping that once I hear those dulcet tones on the aeroplane security video it will all come flooding back (fingers crossed).

I can’t wait to get back onto the Lowlands for a few reasons, a few of which I am going to share here.

  • twitter-fed458I am long overdue a hug from my Dutch family. My best friend in particular – is that too much to ask? I’ve had a pretty trying year and some 500+ days since my last trip has left me almost desperate to see them.
  • I miss the Dutch people. I am a people watcher, no matter where I am or who I am with I like to watch people and the Dutch way of life fascinates me and always has done, from the relaxed style of the guys and gals to their very active cycling chic and questionable supermarket items.
  • It the place I feel most relaxed. In my nine years of visiting NL it feel like my second home, I know where I am (to a certain extent) and being away from the UK in a place I find so comfortable helps me to put my every day stresses to one side. I get the chance to just be me and with my ever growing responsibilities to my family, as a new home owner, and in full time employment in Politics life gets pretty stressful at times. In the Netherlands I am anonymous and don’t have those responsibilities. I even get the chance to let someone else decide what I do and what I eat every day. (No it’s not just indecisiveness – I really don’t mind if we do anything or nothing).
  • Singing in the car. Dutch radio is one of the greatest assets to The Netherlands. I just love it. It’s so varied and one minute it’s the latest number 1 and the next track is a belter from the 80’s followed by some Dutch song I’ve never heard before but am singing along to by the 3rd chorus. Variety really is the spice of life over there and that’s something we don’t get much of here.  the-radio-was-on-a-commercial-break-the-whole-time-humor

So off I go, here I come. I simply cannot wait to get back to the land of clogs, the cheese eating, fish swallowing, bike riding, lanky lands of Orange. There will always be a piece of my heart in Holland. Its a love that words can’t describe and a pain that only return tickets can heal.

Write here, write now!

Handwriting. Some of it is illegible, some of it curly, some of it perfectly formed and well practiced and some resembling spider scrawl.

When was the last time you hand wrote something? A note? A letter?

For most people the only handwriting they ever do is the scrawl on a birthday card to someone once a year and with the uprising of websites that let you design your own cards even the endearing message inside so theres no need to write anything then.

With laptops and touch screens slowly taking over our lives it is no wonder our handwriting is suffering so much so that it in the Netherlands it has been reported that primary schools teachers do not pay enough attention to it.

Fun fact here is the similarity of my handwriting to my mothers. For years we have bamboozled my dad in adding things to shopping lists or leaving paperwork around the place.

I am a writer. I am a list maker. I am a planner. Its safe to say I handwrite quite a lot really and i like to think i cant turn on the fancy scroll when necessary but there are so many of my friends whose writing in a right mess!

So today i urge and encourage you to grab a pen and a bit of paper and write somebody a note. Tell someone you love them or write a grocery list. Put down the ‘reminder app’ and get back to good old fashioned paper and ink.

 

Improve your Dutch or pay the price!

New rules from the Dutch Government that came in to force earlier this year mean that people with poor language skills will be forced improve themselves by attending language classes or suffer the consequences.  This rule is for people claiming benefits in Holland. Those who refuse to improve themselves risk having their benefits cut. 20% for the first 12 months before being cut all together if no improvement is made.

It sounds like a harsh new rule but one I thought would harness debate. 

Continue reading Improve your Dutch or pay the price!

5 Things I Miss About the Netherlands

It’s sad but it’s true. I haven’t been to Holland for 12 months and 31 days. Not that I am counting or in any way sad about this…yeah not half.

I thought given my recent silence I would ease back in to blogging with 5 Things I Miss About The Netherlands.

Continue reading 5 Things I Miss About the Netherlands