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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, and the kind who move to a foreign country for love. The temporary vs the accidental expat The temporary expat generally sees it as just that: temporary, a step on a career…

Bicycle baptism

We just wanted 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 in the back seat,…

Watery hubris

[:en]That’s part of this admirable hubris: complete and utter self-confidence. [:]

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.[:]

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.[:]

Pretentiousness

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…

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