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  • In this category you’ll find articles about being an expat, but also more specific articles about aspects of life in the Netherlands.

    If you’re looking for my articles about renouncing my US citizenship, it’s best to read those in chronological order, starting with this one: Giving up US citizenship?

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more of the form, showing where I check off whether I am adding a written statement

The Irony of Renouncing Under Duress

The following post is one of a series about American values related to my renunciation of US citizenship in November 2015. In my journey through the wilds of US law as it applies to overseas Americans, I’ve joined a few Facebook groups where people in this situation share information about tax law, FATCA, and individual…

close-up of the American flag, representing the American Dream

The American Dream

The following post is one of a series about American values sparked by my renunciation of US citizenship in November 2015. In my last two posts, I discussed four of the six key American values emphasized in the textbook American Ways: individual freedom and self-reliance, and then equality and competition. The last two are material…

chocolate figures of Santa Claus, being sold in the Netherlands for Christmas

Christmas Compared

It’s almost Christmas, and I’ve been thinking a lot this year about the holiday as an event. Perhaps because I was much less busy this year than in previous years leading up to it, I’ve been noticing more. Note added at Christmas 2020: While I wrote this back in 2015, these observations still apply ……

The Happiest Expats Live Here

While it may seem appealing to ditch the daily grind and live an adventurous life abroad, being an expat comes with its own trials and tribulations, and not all expat locations are created equal. This is – or, rather, was – a sponsored guest post, originally published by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on December 13, 2015. The Hipmunk brand…

The US consulate in Amsterdam

Equality? Competition? Not Overseas!

This is one of a series of posts about American values inspired by my renunciation of American citizenship. I wrote last week about a book I’ve used for teaching, American Ways, and the six values it emphasizes. Last week I discussed individual freedom and self-reliance. This week I’d like to address two more: equality of…

Winterwelvaart, with the boats all lit up at night.

WinterWelVaart: Groningen’s Christmas Market

The Christmas markets in Germany are famous for their craft stalls, gluwein and generally Christmassy atmosphere. I’ve gone to several in past years; the ones in Oldenburg and Bremen aren’t far from my home here in Groningen. Though they’re much less well-known, Dutch cities, including Groningen, also run Christmas markets. WinterWelVaart Groningen’s is called WinterWelVaart,…

American Flag

Individual Freedom, Self-Reliance and Renunciation

I teach American Studies at a teacher-training college here in the Netherlands. The eight-week courses—two for the younger, full-time students, and one for the adult, part-time students—are not in-depth studies. They are introductory courses for students training to become English teachers. One of my goals is to prepare them for the sorts of questions their…

a lithograph of the Boston Tea Party

FATCA, the Tea Party and Me

“No taxation without representation,” a slogan going back to colonial America, is commonly cited by overseas Americans like me in discussions of FATCA. It’s also the basis of the Tea Party’s name: a reference to the Boston Tea Party, an act of rebellion against the taxation of the American colonists by the British government. FATCA…

Zwarte Piet as portrayed on wrapping paper.

Zwarte Piet Updated

It’s that time of year again: Sinterklaas is approaching, along with Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). I wrote about this two years ago and then again last year, so I thought I’d add a short update today. Changes in Zwarte Piet The Zwarte Piet debate continues. Or rather, a vocal minority condemns it as racist while…