How to be Orange

How to be Orange

How to be Orange, offers an insightful look at Dutch culture by social commentator and comedian, Greg Shapiro. Shapiro's extensive knowledge of Dutch culture and politics has been accrued over twenty years of living and working in the Netherlands. His cultural immersion has involved marriage to a Dutch woman and parenting first generation Dutch children, while living in Amsterdam and forging a durable career within the local art scene. In the Netherlands, Shapiro is the immigrant people laugh at. He happily accepts this fate, not just because it is how he makes his living, but because it indicates that his efforts at inburgering have been a success. Shapiro is an American, obvious in many ways including numerous comparisons of the Netherlands to the US throughout the book. His birth culture is the basis for what formulates his views about his adopted land. An example is chapter 22 on Dutch service, renowned for being non-existent if you are lucky, and terrible if your luck is running short. Shapiro rates service in North America as sitting on the other end of the hospitality scale - something akin to being downright annoying due to desire of earnest staff to increase their tips by attentive servitude. Stage show The book is the offspring of the author's stage show, and hence the material has been tried and tested in terms of relevance to the audience/reader experience. Newcomers to the Netherlands will identify with topics like dealing with government bureaucracies that don't make sense acquiring a cheap, used bike from unscrupulous sources feeling insulted by Dutch honesty and the irrational love of Zwarte Piet in a land that is otherwise unable to gracefully accept racial differences into its mix. Difficult topics are tackled with facts, sharp insights and often hilarious, personal anecdotes. Presented in two parts, part one contains 24 short chapters interspersed with caricature illustrations of Shapiro by Floor de Goede, and photos of Dutch things that become laughable in translation. Exam Part Two is the Assimilation Exam, a list of questions and answers used in the National Inburgering Test, a test of Dutch cultural understanding for foreigners. This second part emphasizes the idiosyncrasies of Dutch culture that are difficult to understood even for the Dutch, yet can be found in the examination questions for newcomers. Again, Shapiro addresses the odd image the Dutch have of themselves, compared to how the world sees the Dutch. A good example is the multiple choice question about where Dutch people go on holidays (p235). The answer that is officially correct is: A) The Netherlands, yet Shapiro states that the true answer is actually: B) In France and Spain. Most Dutch people, and camping ground staff in France and Spain, would agree with Shapiro. How to be Orange is not an official guide book to Dutch culture, yet the inclusion of this book on the essential reading lists of cultural assimilation courses would save newcomers unnecessary frustration in understanding their host country. For the rest of us, the book is a compendium of humorous subjects presented with respect, wit and sarcasm by an American with a strong attachment to the people and culture of his adopted homeland. Buy this book Ana McGinley  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 >





Amsterdamian

Amsterdamian

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



Holland Cycling

Holland Cycling

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



Neamhspleachas

Neamhspleachas

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




NLXL – possibly the biggest book about the Netherlands you have ever seen

The Netherlands might like to consider itself a small country - a kleine kikkerlandje, as the Dutch are so fond of saying - but this is one mighty big book. Karel Tomei's NLXL weighs in at a whopping 3.5 kilos but is such a joy to look at that you will forget the weight on your knees. The book draws on the tradition of birds eye view paintings in which the world is captured from the skies: the intricate patterns of reclaimed land crisscrossed by ditches, the contrast between bulb fields and a golf course, great swathes of sand with a city in the distance, a drone's view of a busy cafe terrace, the intricate carvings on the roof of a cathedral. But it's the landscape that really rules NLXL - the Netherlands might be oh so very flat, but it still has amazing variation in its countryside - from the seaside dunes to the southern heaths, from the the seals sunning themselves on a sandbank to intricate cityscapes. NLXL will make a stunning, if heavy, present for anyone who loves the Netherlands in all its variations. You can buy NLXL at all good bookshops and online from Xpat Media   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 >


The Dutch Golden Age

A beautifully illustrated book about the Golden Age of The Netherlands. Produced to Accompany the Dutch documentary series De Gouden Eeuw. Buy this book  More >


Dutch Delight

Learn what they eat and drink, graze through their eating habits and recipes, and when you're done, try them. Enjoy Dutch delights like haring (herring), snert (pea soup), stamppot (mashed potatoes and kale) and pannenkoeken (pancakes). Sample a typical Dutch breakfast or dessert. Taste famous Dutch sweets like drop (liquorice) or biscuits such as stroopwafels (thin treacle waffles). And finish up with a golden beer or a shot of jenever (Dutch gin). Easy to digest and with more than 25 recipes and over 300 pictures, this book forms a thorough introduction to the Dutch kitchen, whether or not you are a fan of raw herring and onions. Buy this book  More >


Cloudless Amsterdam – City in Motion

An unexpected and beautiful view of a changing city From the wonderfully undulating Zeedijk and the monumental Westertoren to the copper-green Nemo in the Eastern Docks and the Water District of IJburg: Amsterdam has a wealth of striking places with impressive nuildings, fascinating streets and delightful squares. Photographer Peter Elenbaas took around seven thousand aerial photographs - most in the summer of 2012, but some of them decades ago - and chose his favourites for Cloudless Amsterdam: A City in Motion. Together they provide an unexpected view of the changing city. Journalist Lambiek Berends wrote a brief history to accompany them. Buy this book  More >


Sunshine Soup

The life of an expat wife in a far-flung destination has all the classic ingredients for a jolly good chick-lit novel and who better to pen the story than someone who'Ž“s lived the life and turned it into an art form? Sunshine Soup: Nourishing the Global Soul, is the first foray into fiction for renowned author, publisher and Expat Entrepreneur Jo Parfitt, and tells the story of a group of friends (and trailing spouses) living in Dubai in 2008. Maya leaves behind a successful catering business to follow her husband'Ž“s career to the Middle East and quickly discovers that no amount of shopping and manicures can replace her life-long passion for cooking, and losing the professional identity she has worked so hard to achieve. Even domestic salvation in the form of Annie the housemaid eats away at Maya'Ž“s self-esteem as she begins to feel usurped in the very place she has always found sanctuary and fulfilment her kitchen. But before long Maya finds kindred spirits in other expat wives and soon discovers new and exciting opportunities in unexpected quarters in a storyline that trots along at a satisfying pace. If you'Ž“re a fan of this genre then Sunshine Soup will certainly gratify, and typically with any of Jo Parfitt'Ž“s offerings, you get more than just a book and here she'Ž“s included twenty recipes at the end in a nice nod to the main character, Maya (the anchovy and lemon dip incidentally, is quite delicious!). Sunshine Soup is a fictional account of the realities of life for many women living overseas, but ultimately it'Ž“s a tale of friendship, culture shock, grief and temptation against an exotic backdrop with a cast of characters who will resonate with expat women everywhere. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl  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 >


Expat Women: Confessions

Expatriating to a new country is exciting, but it can also be daunting. If you are about to embark on your first trip as a 'trailing spouse', then you could probably do with some reassurance from someone who knows the ropes. In case you don't meet that 'someone' immediately, a copy of Expat Women: Confessions, will make an excellent first companion. Expat Women: Confessions, 50 Answers to your Real-Life Questions about Living Abroad, is the brainchild of Andrea Martins & Victoria Hepworth who are also the founders of the website of the same name. Confessions is presented in a question and answer format and focuses on the most common problems faced by expat women every day. Issues like dealing with loneliness and coping with the loss of professional identity, as well as the more serious problems of alcoholism, domestic violence and infidelity are all dealt with sensitively. Both authors are seasoned expats in their own right, as well as expat wives with children, and with the benefit of their combined experience, each question is answered constructively, providing practical advice and information along the way. A comprehensive Resources section includes an invaluable list of books and websites for the rookie, or veteran expat alike. There isn't much that Andrea Martins & Victoria Hepworth don't know about relocating worldwide and Expat Women: Confessions is their latest gift to the expat sisterhood. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  More >


Complete Dutch

If you can master a combination of some basic English, German and a guttural noise akin to clearing your throat, then you'Ž“ve taken your first steps to learning Dutch. With this in mind, you will also need some patient tuition, but in the absence of that, you could do a lot worse than Complete Dutch and the two accompanying CDs. It covers a range of topics that most people new to these shores will find useful and chapters are set out in an easy to read format that include a mixture of dialogue, grammar, vocabulary, short tests and useful information. It'Ž“s so reader friendly that you will find yourself getting the gist of the lingo quite quickly especially in the first section which is all about greeting people and introducing yourself. Later chapters include learning to speak in the past tense and discussing your emotional and physical state as well as making and receiving simple telephone calls. As you sit and read through the book you can listen to the CD of people acting out the dialogues, bringing the accent to life and providing perfect examples of how Dutch should sound. And herein lies the rub because although the language itself is not overly complicated, the pronunciation of any word with one or more Ž•gsŽ“ in it will have you sweating with vocal exhaustion - as anyone who haŽ“s ever tried to say Ž•Gefeliciteerd!Ž“ quickly, and for the first time, will know. Complete Dutch is supposedly for beginners with no previous language experience, but anyone who falls entirely into this bracket might find it intimidating as it romps along heartily from the beginning. Having said that, it's an excellent language guide and certainly worth investing in if you are serious about learning to conquer this gloriously throaty vernacular. Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  More >


The Little History of The Hague for Dummies

Adding to the Dummies franchise of books is a new historical reference guide to The Hague. Written by Leon van der Hulst and translated by Barbara Stuart, A Little History of The Hague for Dummies is a pocket book of 159 pages encompassing 6,000 years of life in the political capital of the Netherlands. Despite its size, it adheres to the traditional Dummies format with the familiar icons and concluding with a list of 10 interesting facts. History books usually read like storybooks. They are, after all, a tale of events that have taken place over long periods of time. The For Dummies reference guides generally target an audience seeking a basic understanding of a topic. As such, The Little History of The Hague for Dummies is successful in highlighting all major developments in the city’s history. The chapters are short and include interesting tidbits on local people and topics that enhance the reading experience. The downside of this book is that the disjointed structure and paucity of information makes it difficult to get a clear grasp on the themes and events that have taken place. Adding to the confusion is the repetition of some details, the fact that the kings had the same name (different number), and the sheer mass of the significant events that demand inclusion but are restricted in length to a few short sentences. It is all in the reading Nevertheless, while a tourist guide will give descriptions about specific buildings, this book provides an opportunity to dive a little deeper into The Hague by offering some historical facts about what happened within its boundaries. A good example is the Huis ten Bosch which was built in 1645 and currently one of the official residences of the Dutch royal family. It has, the book informs the reader, been home to King Louis Napolean and stadthouders Frederik Hendrik, Willem IV and V – and has functioned as a summerhouse, prison, brothel and museum. (p.151) A little summary The Little History of The Hague for Dummies is a pocket size guide to the history of the city. For readers who love their history books, it will whet your appetite to learn more. Tourists will attain a deeper understanding of the city using the guide then possible from travel guidebooks. And for the non-Dutch reader living in the Netherlands, the book will equip you with sufficient knowledge to participate in many discussions about the city without sounding like a total twit. Ana McGinley  More >