Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Live Like a Dutchie

It's time to put all the tips together from the Live Like a Dutchie month. Follow these 8 tips and you're sure to integrate into Dutch society in a way that even Geert Wilders would be proud of.

Tip 1: Gratis is good!
Tip 2: Give in to the gel.
Tip 3: Play in a speelpolder.
Tip 4: Do birthdays Dutch style with a traktatie.
Tip 5: Embrace your inner hoor.
Tip 6: Hang at the beach. A lot.
Tip 7: When staying in a hotel be sure you stick a chair at the end of your bed.
Tip 8: Learn from the experts.

There was actually so much more I wanted to share with you this month but time got the better of me - so there'll certainly be more on this topic in the future. Meanwhile you can browse some older posts that will help you live like a Dutchie too!

Monday, 30 March 2015

Live Like A Dutchie - Advice from the Experts

To almost conclude the #LiveLikeaDutchie month on the blog I want to hand you over to other experts on living life in the Netherlands, namely some wonderful expat bloggers here in the land of the Dutch.

What they don't know about trying to live like a Dutchie isn't worth knowing. Here's what they do know.....

Bitterballen Bruid - What makes the Dutch Dutch? These 25 things for a start and you certainly cannot profess to be Dutchlike if the word gezellig doesn't mean anything to you. Furthermore, it's not just you that should exude Dutchness, it's your bathroom too, no matter how odd it may seem. 

Craftie Mum - Want to know why parenting in the Netherlands is so great? Then take a peek at what Tamkara has to say.

Drie Culturen: To get inside the mind of a Dutchman you need to know what they miss when they leave the homeland. Here's the top 10 things Dutch people miss when they live abroad. Here are also 10 great tips for surviving and thriving in the Netherlands.

Dutchified - Here you'll find vlogs on just about everything you could imagine about life in Amsterdam and beyond from cookies to the red light district.

Expat Since Birth - Here's the low down on what Ute likes about living in the Netherlands (pt 2 is here) and if you're planning on living like a local and have children then you'll need to know all about traditional Dutch games. You'll also need to eat whilst living in the Netherlands so knowledge about the local fayre is essential. 

Nerdy Mom is on hand to share what you need to know about ice skating in the Netherlands. To live like a local you at least need to know that Dutch people are born sitting on their bikes with ice skates on their feet.....

Poppies and Ice Cream - You'll need to learn Dutch if you want to live like a Dutchie - that's a given and lucky for you here are some tips to help you learn. King's Day is coming up in April so you have an opportunity to turn orange and become at least a little bit Dutch without even trying. And the Netherlands just wouldn't be the same without Sinterklaas.

Ute's Expat Lounge - Living in the Netherlands means developing a Dutch mentality. Here's everything you need to know, and more, about Dutch etiquette

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The Woes of a Travelling Dutchie - Hotel Beds

Continuing the Live Like a Dutchie theme this month on the blog I want to show you how to emanate Dutchness should you regularly stay in hotels whilst travelling.

You may (or may not) know that Dutch people, in general, are tall. Hotel beds across the world are not, generally, designed with that in mind. It means that many a travelling Dutchman (and woman) find themselves in this situation:

For a Dutch person 'normal' beds are actually better described as 3/4 length beds. This is something the rest of us belonging to the short arsed non-Dutch population never have to face, but it's reality for many a woeful Dutchman (or woman) who has to sleep with a chair at the end of their hotel bed. It's where their feet go. There are usually associated duvet/blanket/cold feet issues too but that's a whole other blog post.

This is the reason why my bedroom is dominated by a bed that in usual circumstances could accommodate many people sleeping head to toe. As a case in point, our bed is given up when my father and stepmother, affectionately called the Hobbits by my husband, come over from England. They can lie head to toe in our bed without their feet ever meeting*.

We bought such a long bed so that my husband doesn't have to spend his entire life sleeping with a chair at the end of his side of the bed.

*Well, that's not actually quite true but the image is hilarious and you get the drift; many Dutch people don't fit in normal sized beds. 

Tip number 7: if you want to live like a Dutchie whilst you are travelling from hotel to hotel you'll need to stick a chair at the end of your bed. 

Sunday, 22 March 2015

The Dutch and the Beach

If you truly want to embrace life like a Dutchie you need to head for one of the many beaches that make up the coast line of the Netherlands. If the weather is hot you need to fight for space; if the weather is cold expect the beach to be filled with four legged canines who see you as yet another play thing in the sand.

The Dutch love the beach, no matter the weather. It's as simple as that. It's the place to sunbathe, kite surf, hang out, eat and drink, walk in the dunes (with or without your dog) and of course the place to cycle.

Tip number 6: I know, I know, hanging at the beach is a sacrifice but it's one you'll just have to make if you really want to live like a Dutchie. Now, where's my beach towel......


Friday, 13 March 2015

Embrace the Whore, Hoor

"Papa zegt dat hoor!" shouts my three year old at me. The emphasis very clearly on hoor, which is pronounced whore. I can laugh now when my children yell hoor at me. I've embraced the hoor. But it remains a word that I can't quite take seriously, even though it is second nature for my children to throw it around in almost every sentence. As in "ja hoor" and "nee hoor" and "ik wil het hoor".

It's actually a stop word really, used for emphasis of the sentence verb. It can also mean 'you know', or 'yeah right' or 'sure enough' or 'yes absolutely' or 'no certainly not' - you get the picture. It's extremely multifaceted, but the best thing about it is that you can use the word sarcastically. And that appeals to the Brit in me. It makes me even fonder of the Dutch.

Of course, should we ever move to England that word will be on a ban list. There'll be no addressing people with hoor in England. There has to be a line drawn somewhere. But here, here in the Netherlands, they can use hoor to their heart's content.

Tip number 5 to help you #LiveLikeaDutchie and feel at home in the land of the Dutch is to embrace the hoor in you.  Throw it out there. Go wild and put hoor at the end of all your sentences, hoor.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Traktaties - How to Do Birthdays Dutch Style

Wednesday is my birthday which, if I was to celebrate in true Dutch style, would mean having you all over to my house to sit in a circle on borrowed chairs to drink coffee and eat soggy crackers with filet americain spread lightly upon them. Lucky for you I don't roll like that. 

However, there is another tradition which the Dutch employ to celebrate een verjaardag which is far less painful than the dreaded birthday circle and that is the traktatie. In essence, that means that I bring in something lekker for my work colleagues to scoff, or my school classmates.

And the good thing about living among the Dutch is that you can take a pretty laid back attitude to what you bring in, and when you bring it in. I'm sure that there are competitive parents out there in the Netherlands, and I am sure there are Judgy van Judgesons out there too - but I am lucky enough to never have crossed paths with any of them.

My children have come home with anything and everything as traktaties from classmate's birthdays over the years, from simple to intricate to imaginative. We've had the 'bag of crisps' treat (more than once), we've had a pencil, eraser and balloon and we've had dolphins made with a banana and hot air balloons filled with popcorn.

And over the years I've also had to put my fair share of traktaties together - three sons make for some serious work over the course of a year. It's not just birthdays that require a traktatie - it's the birth of a baby or leaving a school too. So here's a few I made earlier......

So, tip number 4 for #LiveLikeaDutchie is if there's a birthday in your house don't forget the traktatie!

Are your children's birthdays celebrated in their class? Do you mark your birthday in your work place? How? I would love to hear how birthdays are marked where you live!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Play in a Speelpolder

If you want to truly live like a Dutchie then you make sure your children play. Childhood is about playing, and preferably outside. Bikes and footballs are the most obvious tools but some children are lucky enough to live next to speelpolders - natural areas where children can roam about and play. They are designed with (natural) materials to provide children with a host of things to do outside. They can build little bridges to get over token bodies of water or block them up with those infamous Dutch dams, build dens, crawl in tunnels, explore, hunt for bugs and run around.

What's so great about a speelpolder is that they are always open, cost nothing and get your children exploring. For more information about speelpolders visit http://www.speelpolders.nl.

So, tip number 3 for #LiveLikeaDutchie is play in a speelpolder - a childhood is about playing!

Do speelpolders exist where you live? 

This post is part of the #LiveLikeaDutchie series which is running on this blog for the whole of March 2015. Have you entered the prize giveaway yet? There's still time!


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Give in to the Gel

If you are male and want to live like a Dutchie you need to load up on your hair gel supplies. Seriously. Next time you are out and about in the straat or stad take a good look at the men around you. They either have no hair at all or a whole lot of hair gel on their head. There's nothing in between.

From their first haircut Dutch boys are encouraged to slather on the gel. The kapper always asks, "Wil je gel in je haar?" and when you are three it's hard to say no.

At first I resisted. When my eldest son had his first haircut and he was asked, at the tender age of three, if gel should be tipped over his precious little head I looked at the hairdresser as if she had asked me whether I wanted her to roll my son in dog crap. I said no. And then I sent an indignant text to my British friend to ask whether her son was assaulted with gel at the hairdressers. But no, it's a Dutch thing for sure.

By the time my youngest went for his first haircut and the gel question came I told her to slap it on like her life depended on it. Now she asks my sons directly and not me. I don't even need to glance up from my magazine anymore when I take my boys to get their hair cut. It's my chill time, the boys get a lollipop or biscuit and their hair is as hard as hell by the time we get home. Everyone's happy.

So, tip number 2  for #LiveLikeaDutchie is give in to the hair gel if you are male or a mother wanting your sons to truly blend in living in the Netherlands.

Monday, 2 March 2015

A Stuff Dutch People Like T-Shirt Giveaway: It's Gratis

I am kicking off the Live Like a Dutchie month with a Stuff Dutch People Like T-shirt giveaway. You can find all the details and how to enter below, but first a little about what is coming up on the blog in March.

This month will be completely dedicated to posts relating to life in the Netherlands and more specifically how to integrate into the land of the Dutch as an expat.

There will be posts about the essentials you will need to go unnoticed in the land where most people are probably much taller than you anyway.

There will be posts to show you that there is a lot more to the Netherlands than cheese, clogs, windmills and tulips - much much more.

There will be posts that showcase the best of the best of what other expat bloggers in the Netherlands have to say about going Dutch.

And some of the posts may even be serious. Perhaps.

What is definite is that we are going to have lots of fun this month! So now back to that T-shirt....

If you live in the Netherlands, or have any kind of tenuous link with the Netherlands but are not actually Dutch then your best starting point when it comes to integration is the Stuff Dutch People Like website. There you can learn what really turns the Dutch on.

And now you have the chance to get your hands on a Stuff Dutch People Like t-shirt - for free, which is the first lesson in Dutch integration. If it's free you need to have it, even if you don't actually need to have it. Remember this word: gratis. It's a good word. If you see gratis you grab whatever is being offered to you. Even if you don't need it. Follow this advice and you're making a huge step forward to  living like a Dutchie.

The T-shirt is a woman's XXL shirt (which is not as big as it sounds), no previous owners, straight from Stuff Dutch People Like. And it's perfect for expats who are 'Dutchies in training':

T-Shirt design on offer
*Please note that this giveaway is only open to those living in the Netherlands.* If you live elsewhere and need one of these shirts head over to Stuff Dutch People Like.

To enter: tell me in the comments section of this blog what you love most about living in the Netherlands or living with the Dutch and confirm your comment using Rafflecopter below. 

Leave a blog comment and then make sure you use Rafflecopter below to enter where you can also gain more entries by hopping over to various Expat Life with a Double Buggy social media pages. Feel free to spread the word if you are so inclined using #LiveLikeaDutchie across social media. At the end of March one lucky winner will be drawn out of a virtual orange hat! Good luck!!

So, tip number 1 for #LiveLikeaDutchie is gratis is good!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 1 March 2015

My Sunday Photo: Live Like a Dutchie

My Sunday Photo this week is all with a "Live Like A Dutchie" theme in mind - because that's what March is all about on the blog this month. 

Tomorrow I'll be kicking off a Stuff Dutch People Like Giveaway and throughout the month of March I'll be helping you with those Dutch integration issues. I'll be throwing advice around about how to be almost Dutch - with a little help from my expat in the Netherlands blogger friends. I'll be helping you think and act more like the Dutch.........honestly. And some of it might even be serious so check back regularly and watch out for #LiveLikeADutchie!