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newspaper article about the Sinterklaas news program

Black Pete redux

Speaking of local traditions, Sinterklaas is approaching again, and with it, the controversy over Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). As I posted last year, Sinterklaas (the holiday) takes place on December 5th. On that day, as well as the weeks leading up to it, Sinterklaas (the person) delivers gifts to children, landing on their roofs on…

children at the door with their lanterns

St. Maartens Day: A sweet local tradition

Today is St Maartens Day here in Groningen, a children’s tradition that is relatively unique to this area. On the 11th of November, once the sun goes down, children go door-to-door begging for sweets. Instead of threatening “trick or treat” like on Halloween, the deal here is that they sing a song, and in return,…

How Americans see the Dutch

When I posted about how the Dutch see the Americans, it wasn’t particularly complimentary, so I promised to write the opposite post: how the Americans see the Dutch. (Nederlands vertaling beneden) Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you click on one of them and spend money, I will receive a small percentage of what…

10 Things the Dutch Think about Americans

“You’re not like most Americans.” A student of mine, a trainee English teacher, said this to me.  I laughed, and the conversation moved on to other topics, but I’ve been thinking about what he meant by this. What the Dutch think about Americans – and I dare say this applies to other Europeans too – is…

Bicycle baptism

All we were trying to do was to get out of the car while it was stopped in traffic. The plan was to walk to the restaurant two blocks away while my husband went to park the car. It made sense. I stepped out on the right side, but not before saying to the kids…

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