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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…

Review of a bicycle with saddle bags riding down the road.

Things I Like about Holland

I’ve received a couple of complaints – one from Albert, my husband, and one from Robert, a colleague and friend – that I complain too much about Holland in my blog. Well, first of all, in my defence, I’d like to point out that writing a rant is far more fun than writing about good…

A Dutch custom I will never get used to…

When it’s someone’s birthday here in Holland, you don’t wish them a “Happy Birthday,” you say “Gefeliciteerd,” which translates more closely as “Congratulations.” What are you congratulating them for? For surviving?  What makes even less sense is the Dutch custom that, in addition to congratulating the birthday boy or girl, you are expected to congratulate his…

The Polder Model in Action

Have you ever heard of the Dutch polder model? It’s a political term referring to consensus decision-making. However, here in Holland, it is used within organizations as well. The idea is that everybody in the organization (yes, including the cleaning staff) gets a say in any decision that will have any effect on them. The…