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INDEX page

1. Dutch & PAST TIME §1.1 What do Dutch people do in their past time? §1.2 Popular sports in NL

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2. Dutch & SOCIAL CULTURE §2.1 Dutch hospitality §2.2 Dutch greeting ritual §2.3 Always be gezellig §2.4 Do’s & Don’ts

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3. Dutch & FRIENDSHIPS §3.1 Dutch friendships §3.2 Making friends §3.3 Expat clubs and communities

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4. Dutch & HOLIDAYS §4.1 Days to mark in your agenda §4.2 Other celebrations

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5. Dutch & DIET §5.1 Disc of Five §5.2 Dutch breakfast and lunch §5.3 Dutch dinner

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6. Dutch & GROCERIES §6.1 Supermarket tips §6.2 Your Dutch Shopping list §6.3 Organic food shopping §6.4 Important food logos to remember

ⓒ Cosmo Polite / Life in Amsterdam, 2012

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Dutch & PAST TIME ….. druk, druk, druk

Druk, druk, druk means ʻbusy, busy, busyʼ. Youʼll quickly learn the phrase as itʼs frequently used by the Dutch. Remarkable to note is that research has shown that the average Dutchie has 5,5 hours of ʻfree timeʼ a day, which is one of the highest amount per person in Europe. Nearly 2 hours a day are spent eating. What is on the plate is covered in Chapter 5.

The Dutch always have a busy agenda.

On average, the Dutch watch TV for 1 hour and 45 minutes a day. And according to the research, the Dutch sleep 8 hours and 1 minute each night. Welterusten, sleep well! §1.1 What do Dutch people do in their past time? In the weekends the Dutch enjoy being ʻin the fresh airʼ. Funshopping is the most popular activity on Saturdays, whereas the number 1 activity on Sundays is ʻhaving a walk or bike rideʼ. On average, a Dutch (wo)man bikes 900 km per year.

ⓒ Cosmo Polite / Life in Amsterdam, 2012

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Dutch & SOCIAL CULTURE hoe maakt u het?

§2.1 Dutch hospitality Dutch hospitality is an oxymoron, according to many foreigners. Particularly, in Amsterdam where the waiters often shows a disinterest in making guests feel welcome. The city of Maastricht is the capital of Dutch hospitality (also see §7.1, p27). Dutch people do not entertain by having dinner parties. Only since the last (two) decades culinary experimentation at home has been gaining popularity. Nevertheless, dinner time is reserved for the family and one should not be disturbed between 17h30-19h. When you are being invited to ʻcome overʼ and it is not specified that it is for dinner, expect to be served a drink accompanied by a snack. Wait to be served or offered a second round of drinks. Helping yourself is not the Photo: Koffie met een speculaasje standard. (Dutch gingerbread biscuit and a definite must-try). §2.2 Dutch greeting ritual Ladies air-kiss* both male and female acquaintances and friends (see page 10) three times. Men greet each other with a handshake. Ladies initiate the ritual. Order: move to the left (air kiss right cheek) - move to the right (to left cheek) - move to the left (to left cheek). * Air kisses = only the sound of a kiss is made. No lips actually touch the cheek of the other person! ⓒ Cosmo Polite / Life in Amsterdam, 2012

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§2.3 Always be gezellig* pronounciation [gurgle sound]-uh-SELL-lih-[gurgle sound] * Gezellig is an untranslated Dutch adjective that is frequently used, even amongst the expats. Whatever is ʻgezelligʼ is what we like. Whatʼs gezellig? -spending time with friends -a pleasant vibe (at a bar, restaurant, party) -Amsterdam Whatʼs ongezellig? -when a friend is stuck at work and canʼt go out - being by yourself in a modern bar - an empty place - Rotterdam (a joke proud Amsterdammers make) English words that can translate the word gezellig pending on the situation.

friendly ambiance chatty ● comforting ● relaxing jolly ● vivacious ● general togetherness cheerful ● gemütlich ● chatty ● animated cozy ● GEZELLIG ● nice warm setting ● relaxing ● cozy atmosphere charming setting ● pleasant ambiance having a good time together ● airy kind ● sociable ● genial warm hearted

ⓒ Cosmo Polite / Life in Amsterdam, 2012

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Dutch & FRIENDSHIPS loyal circles

The Dutch are generally friendly people. If you ask a stranger for directions heʼll be happy to help you. The direct way of communicating can border to rudeness in foreignersʼ eyes. Putting matters in an elegant way interferes with the Dutch values ʻclarityʼ and ʻstructureʼ; surprises are not appreciated, rules are made in great detail and clear boundaries give great comfort to the Dutch. §3.1 Dutch friendships “Clear boundaries” (as mentioned above) also apply in Dutch social life. A distinction is made between: kennis = acquaintance = someone who you know, but do not call a ʻfriendʼ. Typically, one does not have the phone number of an acquaintance, nor has the acquaintance ever been to your home. For example, a ʻfriend of a friendʼ or, in more modern terms, a mere Face-book friend, are generally regarded as an acquaintance. friend = a friend. Friendships grow slowly compared to most other cultures. Dutch friendships do characterize themselves with greater loyalty and equality than abroad. family = oneʼs natural relatives: (grand)parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, meaning the siblings of parents. The best friend of your mother is not called ʻauntieʼ but, most likely, by her first name. Family ties are not necessarily strong in The Netherlands. For example, it is uncommon to have aging parents living with their children and family visits are announced by phone. ⓒ Cosmo Polite / Life in Amsterdam, 2012

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Dutch & HOLIDAYS feestje?

The Netherlands is one of the countries with the fewest public holidays. On the other hand, most employees have 5(+) weeks holiday leave in their work contract, so you canʼt have it all! §4.1 Days to mark in your agenda

☺ = official public holiday ☺ 1 January Nieuwjaarsdag - New Yearʼs Day Most Dutch stay at home to recover from the night before. Some visit relatives in the afternoon. And then about 36.000 people seem to think there is no better way to start the New Year than to take a dip into freezing cold water. Out of the 89 places where people take a NY dip, the most famous one is at Scheveningen (near The Hague), where 10.000 swimmers take the plunge. 14 February Valentijnsdag - Valentineʼs Day Thanks to the retailers, it has become a forced tradition to give a rose or other gift to your loved one. In The Netherlands flowers are relatively cheap compared to other countries, as it is one of the biggest producers of flowers in the world.   10 February 2013 - Carnaval The Catholic roots of this three-day dress up party explain why it is mainly celebrated ʻbelow the riversʼ; meaning, the area south of the river Rijn. Above the river, the population is mainly Protestant, whereas below the river most are Catholic. Traditionally it was the last chance to eat, drink, and be merry before the 40 days of Lent. Nowadays, people just use Carnaval as an opportunity to let loose. ⓒ Cosmo Polite / Life in Amsterdam, 2012

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Dutch & FOOD … how Van Goghʼs potato eaters have evolved.

Potatoes are still an important ʻbaseʼ for Dutch dinners, although pasta and rice have gained popularity. Bread is another major component of the Dutch diet. What is particularly remarkable is the Dutch national intake of dairy products. Whereas milk is seen as ʻbad for youʼ in some countries, in The Netherlands it is regarded as a necessary good to keep you strong and vital. §5.1 Disc of Five The Schijf van vijf, disc of 5, was introduced by the National board of nutrition in 1953. It is an informative visualization of a healthy diet. It advises that we eat a certain amount of all 5 food groups daily: 1.Vegetables and fruit (quantity: 200 grams of veggies, 2 pieces of fruit). 2.Bread, pasta and legume. 3.Dairy products, meats, fish, egg and meat-replacementfoods. 4.Fats and oils. 5.Water.

ⓒ Cosmo Polite / Life in Amsterdam, 2012

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Dutch & GROCERIES donʼt forget your plastic bag!

§6.1 Supermarket tips The largest Dutch supermarket chain is Albert Heijn. Thereʼs probably a branche around the corner of your street. Premium supermarkets as Albert Heijn, Jumbo and Super de Boer are open from early morning till late evenings. The cheapest supermarket chains include the Lidl and the Dirk van der Broek.. Tip 1. To help you through the isles, cut out the shopping list on page 25. Tip 2. Upon your first visit to Albert Heijn, ask for a ʻbonuskaartʼ, a complimentary discount card. With this card you can make use of the specials. Without it, you canʼt. Tip 3. Bring your own bag. And pack your own bag after check out, too. Tip 4. Pay attention to ʻspecialʼ check out lanes: some check out points are reserved for shoppers with <10 items, or accept PIN-payments only. Online supermarkets For busy people, try the online supermarket of Albert Heijn called Albert (website is in Dutch) or the eco- and deli- website Ruud Maaz. Iʼm a personal fan of the latter. Markets For the best deals and a true Amsterdam feeling, visit the markets. The most famous Amsterdam market is the Albert Cuypmarket. It is 1 km long and sells anything from bananas to bike lights, sun glasses and sewing materials. The Dappermarket shows you the more exotic side of Amsterdam. My personal favourites are the farmerʼs market on Noordermarkt or the ZDRmkt, both take place on Saturdays. More about Amsterdam food markets > ⓒ Cosmo Polite / Life in Amsterdam, 2012

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Dutch DINING OUT from stamppot to sushi

The culinary scene in The Netherlands has enjoyed great development in the past 15 years. Particularly amongst YUPpies, meaning: Young Urban People, grabbing a bite out of the house has become a common practice. §7.1 Culinary cities of The Hague and Maastricht The Hague and Maastricht are the best culinary cities of The Netherlands. The Hagueʼs thriving restaurant scene baffles an Amsterdam restaurantblogger like myself. Check out the restaurants in and around the Denneweg. The China town located in the heart of the city centre, is the best in the country.

Maastricht has the highest density of Michelin star restaurants; 6 stars divided over 121.000 inhabitants. An absolute must-visit during your stay in The Netherlands is Chȃteau Neercanne, where my personal passion for culinary excellence started (see photo above).

ⓒ Cosmo Polite / Life in Amsterdam, 2012

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Dutch BAR LIFE … biertje?

No matter how small a village is, there is always a bar present. Most likely this bar is a ʻbruin caféʼ (see §8.1 bruin café). A large portion of Dutchies have a ʻstamkroegʼ - oneʼs personal ʻdefaultʼ pub, where one spends many hours and know most other guests. In my personal opinion, there are two types of European countries*: beercountries and wine-countries. Whether you agree with my opinion or not, it is obvious that The Netherlands belongs to the first category. Specialized beer pubs, i.e. Belgian or American beer bars, have been popular since a couple of decades (more in §8.2). Despite being a beer-country, wine is gaining popularity, partly so due to Albert Heijnʼs efforts (see more §6.1 Supermarkets). New wine bars (see §8.3) are also appearing on the scene, quite like true cocktail bars (§8.4). Iʼm afraid I do not know a lot about the Dutch club scene, so I canʼt help you much, other than ticking off having done the following Amsterdam bucketlist items: - #11 Get your jazzy vitamins at jazz bar Café Alto - #58 Dance at Paradiso - #90 Praise culture at De Melkweg

ⓒ Cosmo Polite / Life in Amsterdam, 2012

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Handy Resources staying alive

lifeinamsterdam: discover the best in town reviews of the best amsterdam spots, from bars and restaurants to parks and city beaches. Also features amsterdam bucketlist with 100 things to do and see before you leave the country!

expatica - number 1 expat information website Expatica provides daily news, expat forums, features and practical information on expat life in The Netherlands. There is so much information, it is easy to get lost. Here is a selection of the best pages: moving to the netherlands, lifestyle, housing, health & fitness, and employment.

dutchnews - Dutch news in English, including: what's on, opinion columns and features

buienradar - rain fall radar (also available as app). Monitor where and when it is raining. There is also 22 to 24h forecast options.

â&#x201C;&#x2019; Cosmo Polite / Life in Amsterdam, 2012

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Excerpt e-book Life in The Netherlands  

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