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Watching the World Cup … and enjoying it!

The Dutch are absolutely fanatical about football (soccer, for American readers), and perhaps even more fanatical about supporting their national football team. You can always identify the Dutch people in the stadium: a small sea of orange (the royal family of the Netherlands is the House of Orange); their faces painted, often in red, white…

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…

Groningen central train station

Do you live in a low-status city?

My friend, Carol, lives in Amsterdam, a bit more than two hours from Groningen, where I live. She used to live in Assen, which is only 20 minutes away. Yet I see her much more often now than I did then. Cities have status. I didn’t realize this until Carol moved away. When she lived…

a house in Lutjegast, Groningen province

Advice for Expats: 12 Tips

There are two kinds of expatriates: the kind who move to a foreign country to seize an opportunity for a job or education or retirement, and the kind who move to a foreign country for love. Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you click on one of them and make a purchase, I will…

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…

Christmas market madness

The days are short and the weather is cold, this time of year, and, here in Holland, that often means cold and wet, not snowy. Nevertheless, it’s the most popular time for open-air markets: Christmas markets, to be exact. Going to a Christmas market has become almost traditional in Holland in recent years. Originally, this…

Is Black Pete racist?

[:en]To state the patently obvious, it’s terribly racist in this day and age for a white person to dress up in blackface and play a comic character.[:]