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Driving, Dutch-style

[:en]One culture chooses to flout law #1 and obey law #2, while another culture obeys law #1 and flouts law #2.[:]


Have you ever noticed that the fancier the restaurant, the less food there is on your plate? My husband and I went on one of our very rare visits to a chic restaurant last night. Koriander is its name, and it’s in a particularly ugly section of the small city of Drachten, in Friesland. Once…

X is for eXpatriate

I am an expatriate: an American citizen, now living in the Netherlands. But I’m not entirely comfortable with the putting myself in that category: “expatriate.” When I first heard the term, it was in high school, when I was taught about the movement of American writers to Paris in the period after the First World…

Odd Little Things in America

When I first moved to Holland there were a lot of little things I noticed that were different than at home. Nothing of importance, so I just noticed and moved on. Now that I’m back visiting, all sorts of little, unimportant things are striking me as different and odd: things that normally people would never…

Why I’m a Facebook fan

People seem to love to complain about Facebook. They complain about the ads, about the privacy settings that keep getting changed, about the switch to a new format, or about whatever other changes the company has come up with this week. I know that each time the company changes something, I have to go back…

The Dutch and their bicycles

I’ve pointed out before that one of the things I like about the Dutch is that they ride bicycles. And it’s not just that it’s politically correct, non-polluting, and good exercise. I’ve lived here for 15 years, and the way the Dutch use their bicycles never ceases to amaze me. For example, to the Dutch…

the view out our window

Skating Mania

[:en]The Dutch weather service reported predicted ice thickness along with weather forecasts.[:]

a box of kleenex, a cup of tea with lemon juice and honey, and cough drops

Explaining the health care debate

Every time I try to explain the health care debate to Dutch people I am faced with the same wrinkled-brow, gaping-mouth, puzzled expression that the Japanese president’s wife, Miyuki Hatoyama, must confront when she starts talking about her latest jaunt to Venus. The whole debate is simply unfathomable to the average Dutchman. Or perhaps I…