Wednesday, 25 June 2014

My Expat Bucket List - 10 Dutch Things I Want to Do

AI mentioned last week, a new expat blogger's link up starts today and it will stay open for a month. This time it's all about the things you still want to see, do or experience in the country you currently call home.

I realised whilst writing my expat reverse bucket list that there are still some things I want to do whilst I am here in the Netherlands as an expat (not that we are planning on leaving anytime soon but I have a list). And here it is:

1. Write a book about life as an expat
I have started and thanks to NaNoWriMo last year I made some serious headway with my own musings on life as an expat in the Netherlands. But there is still a long way to go.

2. A Writing Afternoon at Kasteel De Haar 

We recently visited the beautiful Dutch castle of De Haar in Utrecht and I fell in love with the place. It conjured up images of sitting under one of the many majestic trees dressed in a long flowing white dress and a summer hat doing nothing but writing. And how I would love to do just that. If only I owned a long, flowing white dress.... Maybe if spend many afternoons doing just this I might achieve the first items of my wish list in the process.....

3. Visit Giethoorn
I first read about the Venice of the North in an Access magazine and it stuck with me. However, I still haven't quite chalked up an actual visit. Giethoorn is located in Overijssel in the Netherlands and the only way to get around is by boat or bike. Picturesque doesn't begin to describe how it looks.

4. Boerenspellen
This is maybe a strange one, but I keep seeing signs for 'boerenspellen' as we drive in through farming areas and rural landscapes and it sounds like a lot of fun. This is essentially traditional Dutch, outdoor games played in a farmer's field. Think along the lines of pole vaulting over water, chain gang clog walking, farmer's golf (picture big wooden clubs), wheelbarrow races, tyre rolling, tug 'o war.

5. Cycle like a Local
I'm more of a recreative cyclist. And that at a push. I'd like to think nothing of jumping on my bike and heading off out. The reality is clambering in the shed, checking none of the tyres have gone down since the last outing six months ago, cursing because I've caught my leg on a pedal of one of the kids' bikes, leave the shed in a foul mood and limp off to my destination. My husband has been busy clearing the shed up the last few weeks, give the bikes an overhaul and is regularly going off on jaunts on his bike - and I am going to follow suit......

This is what cars looked like when I was regularly driving -
I need to get back out there!
6. Drive
Following the transportation theme, I want to get out in the car. I wrote about my fear a while back, and it hasn't gone away. It is one of those stupid, irrational things that has grown and become the norm. And it's restricting. I even got behind the wheel with a driving instructor, got to the point where I felt confident enough to drive our car and then... I fell down the stairs and was out of action for a few months. And it all went to waste.

7. See Soldat van Oranje
Since having children going to the theatre hasn't been a regular occurrence. In fact, it may have happened once when I went to see Billy Elliot in London for a lovely weekend away with a friend. Once in more than seven years. So I don't really go out of my way to look at what is on in the way of plays or musicals but Soldat van Oranje has caught my eye. I have a thing for war time stories, particularly Dutch ones. In school, I learnt a lot about the second World War from the British perspective, and later taking French A-Level, from the French view. Living in the Netherlands now I am learning how the war was through Dutch eyes.

8. See the Dutch Football Team Live
I have only ever seen the boys in orange on the television and I would like to change that. I figure now would be great time to do that seeing as they are playing their matches in Brazil.
*Stumbles off to look for loose change down the back of the sofa*

9. See the Dutch Football Team Win a World Cup
This doesn't have to be live. I would settle for watching the Netherlands lift the World Cup on my screen in the comfort of my own home, as long as I got to see it. Four years ago Oranje made it to the World Cup final and fell at the last hurdle. It was devastating, even for an adopted Dutchie like me. So far this World Cup they have surprised everyone, and I hope it continues.....

10. See an Elfstedentocht
Oh, this seems like such a wonderful event to witness - a 200 kilometre ice skating tour/race through eleven cities in Friesland. Once the temperature drops below freezing in the Netherlands on more than three says in a row there is a rising national fever in anticipation of the possibility of an Elfstedntocht. Unfortunately, the reality is that it has been many years since the last tocht took place (namely 1997) and I really wonder if I will ever get to see one. There have been a few years since I came to the Netherlands where the rumblings reach epic levels, and it looks like it is a remote possibility and then comes a big thaw and the hopes melt as fast as the ice. One year maybe it will happen.

Linking Up
So, that's 10 things I still want to see do or experience in the Netherlands, now's it's over to you. What do you still want to do in the country you currently call home? If you are not a blogger but have an expat bucket list (big or small) then leave a comment here and share it.

If you are a blogger then link up your post below. There aren't really any rules but I would ask that you please share the link up button below on your own post and it would be great if you visited the other linked posts and leave a comment, even if it is to say hello. I look forward to reading all your expat bucket lists!

Expat Life with a Double Buggy


  1. Great list Amanda! I think driving in a foreign country is a brave thing to do. I taught myself how to drive in England where everything is the opposite way to me and I'd never driven a stick shift before. Now I can't imagine not driving here. Good luck with that! And wow, can't wait to read your book!! So exciting :-) Thanks again for this blog link up.

  2. That's a great list and lots of things there I didn't know about yet here in NL! So thank you for that. I must do my own bucket list, it's a fab idea.

  3. That's a great list Amanda. I can identify with your driving point. It isn't easy in a foreign country particularly if it is on the opposite side of the road to which you learnt to drive on :-)

  4. I should really get on several of those things myself! I, too, have an irrational fear of driving around here. All of those children on bicycles just make me so nervous. However, we're moving to the countryside and I need to drive. I even have a valid US drivers licence and don't have an irrational fear of driving there. It's been about two months since my hubby started pestering me [persuading me to practice] and I do have to admit, it's not bad or horrible or scary. It's actually a wonderful feeling of freedom and I'm growing to enjoy it!

    I doubt I'll ever feel the same way about cycling though...