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January 2010 page 1

Contributors Graphical design assistance Frederike von Cranach Cover photo “A little bit of snow won’t stop us” by Mehul Derodra Blogger Amsterdam Foodie Vicky Hampton Blogger Babyccino Esther van de Paal Editor Robin Pascoe Editor Expatica Natasha Gunn Advertising & Sponsoring Get exposure within the Amsterdam expatriate market. Contact Kira for advertising opportunities: For questions and remarks Please contact Second edition January 2010 Copyright Cosmo Polite 2009 January 2010 page 2

Dear AMSTERDAM Newcomer It is my pleasure to introduce you to Amsterdam, the global village that I have come to love. Mind you, Amsterdam life was not always as enjoyable. Having lived in Cape Town, I missed the warmness of my Southafrican culture. The vibrant city feel of London is hard to find in Amsterdam. During my assignment in Hong Kong, I became accustomed to service standards that differ greatly to that of the Dutch. However, with my outgoing nature and a bike, I continuously discover bits of New York and other world cities in Amsterdam. As experiences are always better when shared, I enjoy keeping my friends up to date about my cosmopolitan discoveries. From good cocktail bars to authentic French bakeries, I list the best in town on my blog. Why only share information when you can share a bottle of wine? Via my company, Cosmo Polite, I host dinners and drinks for my network of expat friends and newcomers. As long as you leave your tie at work, you are most welcome to join us for drink and bite. Our gatherings always have a informal and social ambiance, so that it easy for you to meet other likeminded individuals in town. In this month始s city guide, I have listed various Cosmo Polite events, other Amsterdam happenings and extracts of my blog. I hope that with this information, you will enjoy your new life in Amsterdam. Sincerely, Kira

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DINING & THE CITY Red, and Monday-night frivolities Red (European) A: Keizersgracht 594 (Rembrandtplein) T: 320 1824 Rating Pricing You know your life has hit the point of ridiculousness (in a good way) when you hear yourself saying to your mum on the phone: ʻbut Mum, I havenʼt been out for dinner in over a week!ʻ as though someone has deprived you of your human rights. (Well, really, one could argue… no? Oh, if you say so.) Last night therefore seemed as good a night as any to break the restaurant abstinence and break it in style. Red serves only two things: lobster and steak. (When my mother heard this, incidentally, her voice rippled with high-pitched punctuation marks: ʻthat sounds very extravagant! Where do young people get the money these days?ʼ etc. etc.) Admittedly, it was rather decadent, but Red has been on my to-eat list for years; plus, now that Mondays are my freelance day, I need a little company after work. Ordering is remarkably easy when there are only two things on the menu. Itʼs even easier when you want both things and it transpires that the chef offers a special ʻcombination dishʼ that does just that. So we both went for the surf ʻn turf plate plus a bottle of Chilean Malbec, which goes with steak like Fred and Ginger. The ʻturfʼ (a tournedo that had barely been introduced to the pan) came with Hollandaise, while the ʼsurfʼ (half a lobster, simply cooked) came with a milder but also buttery sauce. Actually, they all came together on the same plate, but this was how I interpreted what I was supposed to dip where. Chips arrived in a Belgian-style paper cone with mayonnaise and a lightly dressed salad. I couldnʼt fault any of it, though we both agreed we could happily have eaten a whole lobster each. Our extravagant evening continued with a lime scroppino for dessert, followed by my favourite moment of the meal: coffee with ʻfrivolitésʼ. Having discussed what this might entail, I couldnʼt order it with a straight face – nor indeed with the appropriate accent – and collapsed into giggles. >>> read more ©

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Arctic brunch expedition Pain Quotidien (lunch cafe) A: C. Troostplein 4, Amsterdam (De Pijp) T: 675 0506 Rating Pricing Weʼve never seen so much snow in Amsterdam. Well, someone probably has, but not those of us whoʼve lived here for approximately the last half decade. And weʼre extraordinarily badly adapted to it: children push toboggans along in the absence of any hills to slide down (why do they even sell toboggans in the Netherlands?); commuters in heels skid through slush on the-opposite-ofmountain bikes; and the public transport suddenly goes all British and useless. Still, a foodie with a brunch appointment is not to be defeated by a little dusting of the cold white stuff. And so it was that yesterday morning I set out for the new Pain Quotidien (recommended by my French friend, who ought to know about these things) in de Pijp. The tram was not looking good, but then again the Phoenix – with its dodgy tyre tread and even dodgier brakes – was looking frankly dangerous. Even clad in salopettes and a ski jacket (clearly essential for fast movement in an entirely flat country) it took me 45 minutes to get there, so it needed to justify the journey. Beginnings didnʼt bode well. Our waitress didnʼt appear to know what the brunch menu was, and my first cappuccino ended up in the lap of my friend opposite. The brunch menu ʻto shareʼ seemed not to have been designed for sharing at all: there was one of almost everything, except the bread, of which there was enough to feed an entire Alpine ski team. >>> read more

Looking for more independent reviews like these? The Amsterdam Foodie reviews restaurants in Amsterdam and posts them on her blog, interactive map and – if they're good enough! – recommendations page. If you're interested in meeting new people over dinner, the Amsterdam Foodie also hosts Hidden Kitchen – a quarterly, exclusive, underground dining concept. Plus, check out the website for seasonal recipe suggestions, culinary events and more!


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Cosmo Polite EVENTS Who are Cosmo Polite members? We have an equal about of men and women, mostly in their 30s, in the club. Certain events are more popular amongst women (eg. wine tastings and dinners) and others amongst men (drinks). We share a cosmopolitan lifestyle and a desire to enjoy life alongside our busy work schedules. We have a monthly event for singles; all other events are popular amongst both singles and couples.

How it works We invite you to meet us personally and attend an event as a guest. After attending one event, if you wish to attend more, we require you to become a member (E15 pmnth).

COSMO POLITE WINTER AGENDA* Sunday 10 January Ice Skating view invitation > Thursday 14 January Casual Dinner view invitation > Saturday 16 January Dinner Mixer (singles) view invitation> Sunday 17 January Go Karting view invitation > Thursday 21 January January Drinks view invitation > Saturday 30 January Cooking Workshop view invitation > Thursday 4 February Disco Bowling view invitation > Saturday 13 February Valentine始s Speed Date view invitation > Sunday 14 February Senior Speed Date view invitation > Thursday 18 February Expat Drinks view invitation > Thursday 25 February Casual Dinner *a winter wine tasting shall be added to the agenda shortly January 2010 page 6

January Drinks Meet new friends, socialize and have fun on an ordinary Thursday eve! Guests are asked to make a E5 donation to the Cosmo Polite Fund, which supports starting entrepreneurs in Third World countries. Date/Time: Thursday 21 January, 19h30 Venue: Bubbles & Wines, Nes 37 Thank you for announcing your arrival: RSVP Entrance fee: E5 + your personal consumptions. Free for members

Saturday 30 January Cooking workshop After a welcome with a Prosecco and some bites, it's time to roll up our sleeves and start making a Italian dinner together! ... ravioli made from scratch ... appetizers.... wine… The ingredients for a fantastic evening. The cooking is done in a cozy kitchen cellar where weʼve spend many fun evenings before. Chef Ruud guides us through the cooking process; making fresh pasta, various appetizers and deserts to die for. After 2-3 hours of intense kneading and cooking, we reward ourselves with a delicious self-made dinner.

Date/Time: Saturday 30 January, 18h00 Venue: Frenzi Cuccina, Overtoom 459 RSVP in advance compulsary. Entrance fee: E55 (members) / E60 (first time guests). Includes dinner, drinks and cooking work-

Saturday 16 January Dinner Mixer Everyone will be welcomed with a drink and entrée, in between and after which the gentlemen will move on to share the next course with a new group of single ladies. Following the same pattern, the main course will be served after the gents have made their way to a new setting and finally the desert can be enjoyed with the last group you have yet to meet.

Venue: Bar Barca, M. Heinekenplein 4 RSVP on and we’ll reserve a seat for you. RSVP Entrance fee: E45, includes dinner and welcome drink.

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Record haul in illegal fireworks Police and customs officials seized a record 241,440 kg of illegal fireworks in the run-up to the New Year celebrations, almost 90 tonnes more than last year and probably a new record.....More

Nigerians win right to sue Shell in Holland Environmental organisation Milieudefensie and four Nigerian farmers have been given the go ahead to sue Shell and Shell Nigeria in the Netherlands.‌ More

Top financial jobs down 25% in Amsterdam Jobs in the most important parts of the financial services sector in Amsterdam have fallen by 25% since 2001.‌ More

Dutch News TOP Stories

Tough measures to combat Q fever The government has announced a string of measures to combat Q fever, a sheep and goat disease which has killed six people in the Netherlands. ...More

Sail girl Laura Dekker can stay with father Laura Dekker, the 14-year-old girl who wants to sail solo around the world, can remain at home with her father, a court in Utrecht ruled....More

Beach party riot: police and council failed The police, justice ministry and Rotterdam council officials all made mistakes before, during and after the Hoek van Holland beach party during which police shot dead one man, according to an official report....More

Dutch agree to unfreeze Serbia trade deal After over a year of resistance, the Dutch government has agreed to unfreeze a key EU trade accord with Serbia, boosting that country's chances of EU membership. ...More


Read articles online:

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Pressure on Dutch to stay in Uruzgan Pressure is mounting on the Netherlands to keep its troops in Afghanistan past next year's deadline following US president Barak Obama's decision to send an extra 30,000 soldiers to the country. US secretary of state Hillary Clinton phoned Dutch foreign minister Maxime Verhagen in December urging him to keep soldiers in the region.

The Dutch approach to Afghanistan, which focuses on building bridges with the local community, has been widely praised. The Netherlands is set to withdraw its 2,000 soldiers and support staff from the southern region of Uruzgan from next August and a majority of MPs is opposed to any further delay. Britain and Italy have already said they will send more troops to Afghanistan and

Germany will decide after a conference in London at the end of January. The former chief of the Dutch armed forces Dick Berlijn told the Volkskrant he would be 'very, very, very unhappy' if the Netherlands left. 'It would be a very bad signal if the Netherlands is the only country to say 'we are not joining in,' the paper quoted him as saying.

Body scans for all USbound air passengers provides quality Englishlanguage news about the Netherlands. Every day, either online or through a free subscription to its daily digital newsletter.

Economic growth starts to speed up The Dutch economy is picking up faster than had been expected, bolstered by family spending and better than expected employment figures, according to a new report from the government's macroeconomic think tank CPB. The CPB now says the economy will grow 1.5% next year,

compared with a forecast of zero growth in September and a contraction of 0.5% in June. In early December, the central bank said it expected the economy to grow by 0.7% next year. ING bank economists have also said the economy will pick up next year. And in November, the national statistics office CBS said the recession was officially over.

Amsterdam's Schiphol airport is to introduce full body scans for all passengers traveling to the US. The scans are being brought in at the insistence of the US authorities, following the attempt to blow up a plane flying from Schiphol to Detroit on December 25. Some scanners are already in use but others have to be fitted with special software allowing the pictures to be analysed by computer because of privacy concerns. Once the new software has been installed, security officials will be alerted if the computer detects something suspicious. Until the software has been installed, everyone traveling to the US will be given a body search, home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst said. Š

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Guide TO Public Transport by EXPATICA

The Netherlands has a reasonably good public transport system, but the payment system is undergoing transformation. Here is a basic guide to tickets, trains, buses, trams, airports and taxis, including information for those with special needs. For national travel, provides a door-todoor itinerary. After delays due to security issues, it will be possible to travel with the new OV-chipkaart ( in more and more places during 2009 till, eventually, all services should be using this smart-card system. Cards are issued anonymously or for a particular individual. You buy a pass (or 始load驶 it from a bank account) and swipe the ticket upon entering and leaving the bus, metro, or tram. You pay for the distance travelled, unlike the current zonal system, the paper strippenkart. With a strippenkart, a journey costs EUR 1.60 for one zone (two strips) and there are discounts for kids and pensioners or for multiple strips (15-45). You can stamp more than one person on a strippenkaart and it is valid for an hour, regardless of transfers between, say, metros and trams. Night buses have a separate strippenkaart. If your journey includes one or more transfers and one of the public transport companies is not yet ready for the OV-chipkaart, paying by OV-chipkaart means you would pay the boarding rate twice. In this case, it is cheaper to use strippenkaart for the the entire journey. In most regions, season tickets and strippenkaart will continue to be valid as long as the launch of the OV-chipkaart throughout the Netherlands has not been completed. Afterward, travel tickets other than the OV-chipkaart will gradually be cancelled. This will be announced in time, in the media and by the public transport companies. Strippenkaarten work by stamping the card, either yourself (in the small yellow machines) or more often by a conductor or driver, at the beginning of the journey. You stamp the card one more strip than the number of zones through which you are travelling. You may also stamp for more than one person on a single card, which will no longer be possible with the new OV-chipkaart. Cards are valid for one hour (or more depending on how many strips are stamped) from the time stamped, regardless of the number of journeys made. To find out how many zones you will be crossing, consult the route map posted in tram or bus shelters, or ask conductors. There are also season cards, which can be bought to cover the desired number of zones for a week, a month, or a year and are particularly useful for daily journeys. How to use the OV-chipkaart Special needs on the train and other public transport

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In many of the smaller towns, and the town-to-town bus services are also now offering off-peak (dal) tickets that are cheaper, ask the bus driver. Also, often tickets for large cultural events now include free transport; ask the ticket office for details. There are also Night Bus services in many of the larger urban area that have their own tickets and routes, check the public transport site for these. Trains The Nederlandse Spoorwegen ( is the national train company running between all main cities. They offer season tickets and discounts for offpeak travel including the korting card which offers 40 percent off the price of tickets, not just for you but for up to three other people travelling with you. This is a bargain at EUR 55 a year. Many trains are double-deckers. Tickets are checked regularly and fines are heavy. For smaller cities, you can organise a treintaxi when you buy your train ticket: this is a shared door-to-door taxi service at a fixed price (EUR 4.30). As well as treintaxis and buses for local onward travel, more than 80 stations also now offer 'OV-fiets', or public transport bicycles. You must apply in advance for a pass, the OV-fietspass, which can also be bonded to your train discount card, or can be a separate pass. It will cost EUR 9.50 per year for membership and EUR 2.85 for each 20 hour period (or part thereof) which is automatically taken from the bank account number you provided when you joined, retrospectively. Treintaxis/taxis Taxis are expensive and not allowed to pick up people on the street except by reservation or at a taxi stand, look for the 'standplaats taxis' sign. In the larger cities, at bar closing times, you can sometimes flag one down. Look for one with the taxi sign lit. Note from Kira, Cosmo Polite: I advice to only make use of Taxi Central Amsterdam (TCA) taxis. I have had multiple bad experiences with nonorganized (independent) taxi drivers. Though taxi drivers will protest, you have the right to refuse a taxi, even when it is ʻfirst in lineʼ. The red sign on the TCA taxis reads: 7x7. All other signs reading ʻTCAʻ are not in use (anymore) and are probably stolen. Program the phone number of TCA in your phone: 020-777 77 77. Taxis in Amsterdam

About has everything you need to help you to build your life abroad. Find information about Dutch Public Transport, Healthcare, Employment and Education online. Go to the toolbox to ask experts questions, buy and sell in the classifieds section, find a job or home and even locate a business on the site. Visit Expatica.

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Dutch SOCIAL Culture The Dutch are generally friendly people. If you ask a stranger for directions heʼll be happy to help you. However, the direct way of communicating can border to rudeness in foreignersʼ eyes. Putting matters in an elegant way interferes with the Dutch values clarity and structure; surprises are not appreciated, rules are made in great detail and clear boundaries give great comfort to the Dutch. The Dutchʼ social life also has clear boundaries. For starters, work and home are kept separate. Some Dutch youʼll meet are happy to teach you things about The Netherlands and have a drink with you. Still, personal space and time are well protected. Social boundaries are not limited to foreigners and locals. The Dutch social life is circular; people keep their different groups of friends (e.g. the old high school friends and the friends from their sportsʼ club) separately. Only on birthdays may the members of the different groups of friends meet one another. The agenda helps the Dutch keeping their lives organized and wellplanned. Even for a coffee meet up do the Dutch take out their agenda to make the appointment. To get into a Dutch social circle of friends, requires an active attitude and patience. Going to a bar wonʼt help you to get in first contact with the Dutch; joining some kind of club will be a more fruitful effort to get connected. The Dutch enjoy sports, so joining a team sport might be a great way of meeting people. Friendships grow more slowly than elsewhere, yet Dutch friendships do characterize themselves with great loyalty and equality. Dutch Hospitality Dutch hospitality is not associated with food. Dinners are private family time, so also donʼt call Dutch people around dinner time (17h30-19h). When being invited over to someoneʼs home, youʼll be served coffee (or tea) with biscuits. It is custom to take one biscuit; only when the host offers you more biscuits, you may take another on. In other words, always wait to be served and donʼt help yourself.When youʼre the host, do offer your guests a second round of coffee as they wonʼt ask for a refill themselves. - source: Holland Handbook, 2008.

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DO give three kisses or a hand Greeting ritual for good friends & family Good female friends greet each other and men with three 3 air-kisses on the cheeks. Men greet other men with a handshake. The order: right cheek- left cheek - right cheek. Ladies initiate the ritual by placing their right cheek against the right cheek of the other person. An ʻair kissʼ is made; meaning, only the sound of a kiss is made. No lips actually touch the cheek of the other person! Ladies kiss both the gentlemen and women. Men shake hands with men.

DO be gezellig* [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? - nice friends - spending time with nice friends - a cozy bar, especially when youʼre meeting your nice friends - Amsterdam Whatʼs ongezellig? - the situation when your friend needs to work and cannot meet you. - the friend that needs to work and cannot meet you. - a modern bar, especially when youʼre sitting there by yourself. - Rotterdam

friendly ambiance chatty ● comforting ● relaxing jolly ● vivacious ● general togetherness cheerful ● gemütlich ● chatty ● animated cozy ●


warm setting ● relaxing ● cozy atmosphere charming setting ● pleasant ambiance having a good time together ● airy kind ● sociable ● genial warm hearted

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Do’s & Don’ts ✦ DONʼT show up unexpectedly on your friendʼs doorstep. Visits are to be announced, preferably a day in advance. ✓ DO be on time when meeting your friend. It is a sign of respect to your friend, his agenda and your friendship in general. ✦ DONʼT discuss personal matters as political views, salaries and religion. ✓ DO go Dutch. The Dutch really do; everyone pays their share of the bill. It may happen that the bill is completely analysed to calculate everyoneʼs personal consumption. ✦ DONʼT take offense in the Dutchʼ humor, which often is sarcastic and or based on ʻSchadenfreudeʼ. Also, Dutch intonation and great, yet not perfect English language skills can easily make a joke more insulting than intended. ✓ DO bring pastries or a birthday cake for colleagues to your work if itʼs your birthday. ✦ DONʼT forget to congratulate all relatives of the birthday boy/girl; say, for example ʻcongratulations with your brother/cousin/mother/etc etcʼ. ✓ DO stand when someone is being introduced to you. Give a firm handshake and say your first and last name. ✦ DONʼT approach someone with your question. Rather, start of with 'Excuse me, may I ask you something?' January 2010 page 14

Expats in Amsterdam The expatriates in Amsterdam are more easy to befriend. For starters, they all find themselves in a foreign town without family and friends ʻfrom back homeʼ. Secondly, the international ways of socializing allows it to meet and befriend people more easily and quickly. Yet again: you do need to get out there and put yourself in situations where you can meet people. There are numerous of expat groups in Amsterdam; e.g. the British society, International Womenʼs Club, Hash (running) club, etc. Google online expatriate groups and also on Facebook you can find groups of expatriates that are happy to have you amongst them.

Cosmo Polite Cosmo Polite is the only professionally run social club for internationally oriented men and women in Amsterdam. Most of us are in their 30s and enjoy socializing over a glass of wine. On this page youʼll find when and where weʼre meeting up and you are welcome to join us for a drink. Cosmo Polite HomePage

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Featured Blogposts COSMO-POLITE.COM/BLOG SKATING & THE CITY Thereʼs no need to tell you that itʼs cold in Amsterdam. Freezing cold. Please be aware, that one cannot skate on the canals yet. The ice needs to be min. 6 cm thick before one can skate on it. Still, there will be spots where the ice is thinner, so my advice: opt for ice rinks. A bonus: thereʼs always hot coco available!

Typical Dutch skates called ‘houtjes’, which translates to ‘woodies’. Houtjes are tight to the shoes. At the rinks figure-meets-ice-hockey skates are for rent.

Blogpost Online Throughout town youʼll find many rinks to practice skating and falling skills! Jaap Edenhal is the largest rink in town. It has got an outdoor 400-meter track. Indoors youʼll find an official ice hockey size rink. Entrance fee: E6.10 (adults), E3.70 (children) South Pole is the trendiest ice rink where cool parties are hosted. In the weekends the rink is open to the public. The rinks in the centre are rather small, but are free and skates are available for rent. 1. Jaap Eden Hal Radioweg 64. Tram 9, Stop Kruislaan. 2. Zuid Pool Tram 4, Stop Europaplein 3. Ice Rink Museumplein Museumplein Tram 2, 5, Stop Paulus Potterstraat

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4. Ice Rink Artis Plantage Kerklaan 38 Tram 9, 14, Stop Plantage Kerklaan 5. Ice Rink Leidseplein Open till January 10 Leidseplein. Tram 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 10.


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RELAX & THE CITY For those who the cold is getting too much, hereʼs a list of spaʼs and steaming hot saunaʼs in Amsterdam. Spa Zuiver - pure bliss The newest and largest spa in Amsterdam is located in the Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Zuid). All imaginable top of the art facilities are available, including outdoor hot tubs and steam temple, colour therapy sauna and aroma baths. Entrance fee to Spa: E35 (day pass), Spa Amsterdam Zuiver, Koenenkade 8, Amsterdam Forest. Sauna de Keizer - Roman relaxation De Keizer is a roman-inspired sauna and spa also located on the canal belt. Facilities include: Finish sauna, infrared sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, massages, sunbeds and beauty salon. Entrance fee to Sauna: E16 Sauna de Keizer, Keizersgracht 124, Amsterdam Centre. Sento - modern city spa Spa and health club Sento is a members-only club. The spa facilities include a sauna with colour therapy, whirlpool with air and water massage functions and relax zones with views over the Jordaan. During the week, visitors can get a day pass (E22) for the sauna. Making a reservation is recommended. Sento Spa and Health Club, Marnixplein 1, Jordaan.

Deco Spa & Wellness - city luxury A beautiful luxury sauna on the canal belt. Facilities include: Sauna Cabin, Turkish Steambath, Lounge, Patio Garden, Fitness, Massage, Solarium, Beauty Salon. Entrance fee to Spa: E20.50 Sauna Deco, Herengracht 115, Amsterdam Centre.

Fenomeen - fuss free Popular amongst Amsterdammers is the down-to-earth Sauna Fenomeen at the Vondel Park. Facilities include Finnish sauna, Turkish steam bath, solarium, massages, indoor and outdoor relaxing zones. Entrance fee to Sauna: E9. On the website it reads ʻsmoking of pure weed is allowed on Tuesdaysʼ, just so you know. Fenomeen, De Binnenpret square, 1ste Schinkelstraat 14, Amsterdam. Thermos and Damrak - gay only Hammam - women only This bath house has multiple bathing areas with different temperatures and a Turkish steam room. At the beauty salon women can enjoy scrub, mud and henna treatments, as well as Eastern massages. Entrance fee to Hammam: E17. Making a reservation is recommended. Hammam, Zaanstraat 88, Amsterdam Hammam Shifa - women and men (separated) The only hammam in Amsterdam where men are also welcome. This traditional bath house is not for bathing, soaping and soaking only; savonage (soap massage), gommage (body scrub), mud and henna treatments are also available. Other facilities include a sauna, beauty parlor and hairdresser. Entrance fee to Hammam: E16. Hammam Shifa, Pieter Calandlaan 1375, Amsterdam Osdorp.

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EVENTS Saturday 16 January Dinner Mixer Expatica and Cosmo Polite are excited to launch Four Course Dating where you will wine and dine with groups of singles. Your appetite is teased with an entrée, after which all men move to another table to join another group of ladies for the next course. Over the course of the night you will meet all singles of the opposite sex and will be provided with a personal folder to note down who you would like to catch up with again. At the end of the evening, hand in your folder to the host and if the feeling is mutual we will send out contact details to both parties on Monday … you take it from there! Date/Time: 16 January, 19h Venue: Bar Barca, M. Heinekenplein, Amsterdam Ticket sales are not open; e-mail to stay updated on this event. Entrance fee: E50, includes dinner and welcome drink. Age range: 28-45 year old.

Saturday 13 February Valentine Speed Date Looking for love? Interested in making new friends? Meet the most eligible internationals at the Expatica / Cosmo Polite Speed Dating. Upon arrival, you will receive a list of the singles you will meet that evening. Once the dating starts, you will have three minutes to find a click with each single of the opposite sex. After each session, the men move on for the next dating round. You can then indicate whether you’d like to stay in touch with your date by marking them on your list. After 25 dates, we’ll have a drink and give you the change to talk with that cutey till midnight. Date/Time: Saturday 13 February, 19h45 Venue: Caffe Esprit, Spui 10, Amsterdam Purchase your ticket online: Entrance fee: E35, includes two drinks. Current Expatica Speed Dating Matching Results •1 Baby •2 Marriages •2 Couples Living Together •many Relationships •little less many Break ups •many more Friendships January 2010 page 18

Sunday 13 December Meet singles at Expaticaʼs Wine Mixer in Amsterdam Expatica and Cosmo Polite invites singles above 50 to its first Senior SpeedDate, taking place on Valentineʼs Day. Looking for love? Interested in making new friends? Then join us; donʼt miss out — true love could be waiting! Expatica SpeedDate has proven to be a great alternative to the timeconsuming, superficial bar scene and the agonising blind date. It provides you a structured opportunity to meet your soul mate, or at least make new friends and have a great night out. Upon arrival, you will receive a welcome drink and a list of the singles you will meet that evening. Once the dating starts, you will have three minutes to find a click with each single of the opposite sex. After each session, the gentlemen move on for the next dating round. You can indicate whether you would like to stay in touch with your date by marking them on your list. If individuals hit it off and both indicate an interest in the other by checking their name, their personal contact details will be given to their match. After the dates, you'll have the opportunity to socialize with everyone over a drink (or two). ... Morning.... we sort out the paper work and with any luck, you will find a match in your mailbox. We can only invite 25 gentlemen and 25 ladies to this event, so make sure that you RSVP quickly! Separate SpeedDates are organised for singles under 50 on 13 February.

Date/Time: Sunday 14 February, 19h45 Venue: Caffe Esprit, Spui 10, Amsterdam Purchase your ticket online: Entrance fee: E35, includes two drinks

More Dating Events 2010 20 March Gay Speed Date - Amsterdam 21 March Wine Mixer - Amsterdam 27 March Speed Date - The Hague 17 April Dinner Mixer - Amsterdam 18 April Wine Mixer - Almere 24 Speed Date - Utrecht

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BOOKS & THE CITY Here's Holland by Sheila Gazaleh-Weevers, Shirley Agudo and Connie Moser provides expats and visitors of all ages and interests with a unique insight into Holland's treasures and pleasures, it's culture and customs. Families and international business people transferring to, or already living in Holland, will also find invaluable tips and advice regarding life in this tiny but fascinating country.

A Dictionary of Dutchness by Based on the popular column on the website and newspaper, A Dictionary of Dutchness is a handy-sized paperback with over 400 short and snappy entries which unravel the acronyms, abbreviations and jargon of everyday life in the Netherlands.

The Undutchables by Colin White and Laurie Boucke A very revealing treatise about the Dutch that has been selfcategorized by the publisher as "non-fiction/humour". The authors have looked much farther than wooden shoes and tulips. Even the way they stir sugar in their coffee has not escaped their notice. Everything in it is true, and only the humor with which it is written makes it at all palatable for the Dutch themselves.

Holland Handbook by This handbook offers 256 full-color pages of essential information for the expatriate on all aspects of living and working in the Netherlands such as career, fiscal issues, health care, housing, insurance, international education, registration and telecommunications.

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Amsterdam: The Brief Life of a City by Geert Mak A great book about the city's soul, part history, part travel guide. This story-telling book was a huge hit among the Dutch. Based on the popular column on the website and newspaper, A Dictionary of Dutchness is a handy-sized paperback with over 200 short and snappy entries which unravel the acronyms, abbreviations and jargon of everyday life in the Netherlands.

Excerpt from Blog COSMO-POLITE.COM/BLOG/BOOKS Brownies and Tea at The English Book shop. The English Bookshop is my favourite book shop in Amsterdam; it is friendly, personal and there is a bell hanging above the door, ringing happily when you step into the store. The cozy basement boasts checkered English sofaʼs, which are perfect for enjoying the chocolate brownies, freshly ground coffee or Rooibos Tea. The only thing I am missing is a fireplace and a sleeping Labrador at my feet! The Southafrican owner Liesl can order any book you wish, yet I am always amazed how many books she has managed to store in her picturesque shop. The English Bookshop, Lauriergracht 71 (Jordaan). Opening hours: Tue-Sat 11am-6pm.

ABC and itʼs Treehouse. The largest ʻEnglishʼ literary institution in Amsterdam is the American Book Centre. Besides a wide range of books, they host numerous self-development activities ranging from writing clinics and yoga classes to Hello Kitty book signing and open mike nights. American Book Centre, Spui 12. Opening hours: Mon 11am-7pm, Tue-Sat 10am-8pm, Thu till 9pm, Sun 11am-6.30pm.

Waterstoneʼs If the American style is not your cup of tea, try Waterstoneʼs, a four story bookshop with a welcoming, traditional ambiance. Waterstoneʼs, Kalverstraat 152. Mon 10am- 6pm, TueFri 9.30am–6pm, Thu till 9pm, Sat 10am-6.30pm, Sun 11am-6pm.

The Book Exchange is specialized in used English books and has acquired quite a stock (80.000 titles) over the past 30 years. The Book Exchange, Kloveniersburgwal 58, Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun: 11.30am-16.00pm Read about book markets on Happy reading! Kira

January 2010 page 21


112 Fire Service 020.555 66 66 Local Police 020.559 91 11 Medical Service 088.003 06 00 Emergency road ass. 0800.08 88 Services Access Expat Helpline (10h-16h, free) 020.423 32 17 Telephone Directory 1888 Taxi 020.777 77 77

Gas, water, electricity Essent 088.851 10 00 NUON 0900.08 08 (press 1, then 3) Internet UPC 1580

January 2010 page 22


Lost or Stolen Cards American Express 020.504 86 66 Diners Club 020.654 55 11 Eurocard/Mastercard 030.283 55 55 Visa Card 0800.022 31 10

Cosmo Polite SHOPPING LIST ❒ bread - brood ❒ cereals - cornflakes ❒ rusk - beschuit ❒ pasta - pasta ❒ rice - rijst ❒ flour - bloem ❒ butter - boter ❒ cheese - kaas ❒ yoghurt - yoghurt ❒ jam - jam ❒ choc. sprinkles - hagelslag ❒ salt - zout ❒ pepper - peper ❒ spices - kruiden ❒ sugar - suiker ❒ sweetener - zoetjes ❒ honey - honing ❒ oil - olie ❒ vinegar - azijn ❒ mustard - mosterd ❒ eggs - eieren ❒ cream - room / creme fraiche

vegetables - groenten ❒ lettuce - sla ❒ cucumber - komkommer ❒ tomato - tomaat ❒ onion - ui ❒ garlic - knoflook ❒ beans - bonen ❒ potatoes - aardappelen ❒ leek - prei ❒ cauliflower - bloemkool ❒ carrot -wortel ❒ spinach - spinazie

drinks - dranken ❒ coffee - koffie ❒ tea - thee ❒ milk - melk ❒ softdrinks - frisdranken* ❒ beer - bier* ❒ wine - wijn ❒ biscuits - koekjes ❒ cake - taart ❒ chocolate - chocolade ❒ candy - snoep ❒ nuts - noten / borrelnootjes ❒ cleaning products - schoonmaak artikelen ❒ dishwashing detergent - afwasmiddel / vaatwas blokjes (tablets) ❒ washing powder - wasmiddel ❒ plastic wrap - plastic folie ❒ alum. foil - alum. folie ❒ soap - zeep ❒ toothpaste - tandpasta ❒ shampoo - shampoo ❒ toilet paper - wc papier ❒ flowers - bloemen ❒ candles - kaarsen

meat & fish - vlees & vis ❒ beef - rundvlees ❒ pork - varkensvlees ❒ veal - kalfsvlees ❒ chicken - kip(penvlees) ❒ salmon - zalm ❒ cod - kabeljauw ❒ tuna - tonijn ❒ trout - forel ❒ shrimps -garnalen

fruit - fruit ❒ apple - appel ❒ pear - pear ❒ orange - sinaasappel ❒ banana - banaan ❒ grapes - druiven ❒ lemon - citroen

❒______________________________ ❒______________________________ ❒______________________________ ❒______________________________ ❒______________________________ *don’t forget to return the bottles to receive your bottle deposit back (‘statiegeld’)

January 2010 page 23

KIDS & THE CITY Fifteen original activities to keep your kids entertained in- house on a rainy autumn or winter day, without turning on the computer or the television. 1. Prepare everything for a warm bath. Then go outside, paddle the puddles, get cold, get dirty, and get wet. Go back inside, undress completely while filling the bath, and warm up in the bath. Dress in loungewear and have hot chocolate. 2. Bake cookies. Eat them. Again with hot chocolate! In fact, activity 1 and 2 may very well be combined. 3. Make play dough.  Not only playing with the dough is fun, but preparing it too! 4. Think about old-fashioned family entertainment and bring out the board games. From ages four and up most kids will love it, and nothing is better for bonding and teaching your kids a thing or two about competing and being a good sport (winning or losing). 5. Organize a fashion show with hats, pumps, dresses, gloves, scarf and glasses. Photograph or film the results and have a good laugh. 6. Take out the building blocks or Legos and build an unconventional house.  Have your children use their imagination! 7. Make pizzas! Ready-made pizza crusts are easily available and always handy to have around.  Toppings can include loads of veggies, pineapple, sausage and cheese.  Fun — and an easy dinner on top of it. 8. Paint a bus with people inside.  A great art project for all ages! 9. Re-organize your living room completely with the help of the kids. Itʼs fun, exciting and you can always go back. (Although you may very well decide to leave it this way!) 10.Choose an animal and make it the theme of the day. Read about it, play it, make a mask of it, dress up like it, make up a story about it, eat like it, bath like it, maybe even sleep like it. 11.Hold an indoor picnic with loads of finger food. How cozy! Kids love picnics – inside or out. 12.Try potato stamping – these penguins are so cute! And most probably you will have the materials handy. Or why not create your own Christmas cards? 13.Build an obstacle course.  Use cushions, blankets, coffee tables, chairs etc. Who didnʼt love this as a kid? 14.Make a book.  You can use old magazines, drawings, newspapers, etc.  Make up a story or describe a special (family) happening.  This could end up in a keepsake special. 15.Reuse your rubbish for an environmental friendly craft project.

Happy rainy day!! xxx Esther P.S. The super-cute picture is from last-centuryʼs Dutch illustrator Rie Cramer.

January 2010 page 24

© Babyccino

ERGObaby organic baby and child carrier Last week we had snow in the Netherlands, which doesnʼt happen very often, so when it does we make the most of it! We took the children to the south of the Netherlands, and enjoyed the beautiful white landscape on foot. Even though my kids were well equipped with snow boots, they started to complain about walking fairly quickly (such wimps!), and so we carried them on our backs for the remainder of the hike. I had my nearly-3-year-old in our conventional back carrier, and my husband carried our 4year-old daughter using our new organic ERGObaby carrier. Which is, by the way, such a great invention! Using the infant insert, you can use it for a newborn baby and without it it can safely be used for kids up to 18 kilos!! Which will spare you a trip to the gym, thinking about it (at least, thatʼs what I kept telling my husband).

The ERGObaby can be used in front, hip and back carrier positions, depending on the age of the child and the specific need. Itʼs really simple to use and according to my husband (and daughter) very comfortable! I like the simple look of it (we have the chocolate coloured one), and the fact that itʼs fairly small (especially compared to a conventional back carrier), which makes it easy to take with you while traveling. You can order the ERGObaby through the European webshop or the American one. xxx Esther

© Babyccino

About Babyccino Babyccino is a blog of four girls in 4 cities: Amsterdam, London, Paris and Milan. Together they discuss life with kids, style and all their favourite must-haves. With insider tips and reviews from each city, the girls offer up the best kid-friendly restaurants, shops and activities in their four cities – a great guide for ʻhip and happeningʼ mums who are either living in or traveling to their cities.

The Babysittersclub provides daycare service to families residing in Amsterdam. They also organise babysitters for company parties, weddings, in hotels and to come along on vacations.

January 2010 page 25


What advice would you give to a newcomer?

Enjoy the view and give at least 40 minutes for your coffee or your meal to arrive in any restaurant… It might be more! Then suddenly without you realising it, one day everything will work out just fine. I donʼt know how, but it can happen.

Name: Jorge Aristizabal (Colombian/Canadian) City of residence: Amsterdam Occupation: Houseman Reason for moving to the Netherlands: Partnerʼs career Lived in the Netherlands for: since October 2008

Name: Anthony Hodge (US) City of residence: Amsterdam Occupation: Marketing & Communications Executive Reason for moving to the Netherlands: Followed parents here and came to study Lived in the Netherlands for: 6 ½ years

I would advise any newcomer not to let themselves get too surrounded by other expats while they live here. Try to make Dutch friends; the Dutch love to have international friends and they are trustworthy and friendly people once you are ʻinʼ. If you stick to an all-expat crowd, you wonʼt learn enough about the culture, and you will quickly find that with all the coming and going of most expats, it can be very difficult to develop lasting relationships.

Expat Voices are online interviews published on Read the latest Expat Voice interview online. If you have a question for other expatriates or would like to discuss your expat experiences, join the Expatica community for free.


January 2010 page 26

Enjoy simple things. That is something this country is made for. Discover Dutch hedonism.

Name: Irena Ajdinovic (Serbian) City of residence: Amsterdam Occupation: PhD researcher Reason for moving to the Netherlands: PhD and relationship Lived in the Netherlands for: since September 2008

Name: Sanjay Chandak (Indian) City of residence: Amsterdam Occupation: Software engineer at ING Reason for moving to the Netherlands: Work Lived in the Netherlands for: since 2007

Dutch people are very straightforward but they are not very sociable with foreigners. However, as time goes by and you become well acquainted, then they will be very helpful and friendly. Itʼs not good to judge people at first instance as there are cultural differences between Dutch people and expats so it always takes some time to integrate with people. Now I have a few good Dutch friends here!

LEARN THE LANGUAGE. And laugh it off when you feel insulted by a blunt Dutch reply.

Name: Lizelle Smit (South African) City of residence: Wageningen Occupation: Copywriter Reason for moving to the Netherlands: My partner was transferred. Lived in the Netherlands for: since January ʻ09

Find information about lifestyle, expat voices and blogs & photos on Expaticaʼs Life in the Netherlands


January 2010 page 27

Baby goods Hema, V&D, Prénatal Books English Bookshop, ABC, Selexyz DIY Gamma, Formido, Praxis Electronics Mediamarkt, RAF Fresh foods A.Cuypmarket (Mon-Sat), Farmerʼs markt Garden& Terrace ʻtuincentrumʼ Intratuin

Shops FOR Everyday

Department stores ʻwarenhuisʼ Bijenkorf, V&D Household goods Blokker, Hema, V&D, Bijenkorf Knickkacks Blokker, Xenos Organic foods Marqt, Farmerʼs markt (Noordermarkt, Saturdays) Sports Perry Sport, Bever Outdoor Zwerfsport Stamps AH, Bruna Stationery Gebr. Winter, Hema, V&D 7/7 Supermarket AH on Dam and Museumplein, daily from 8am-10pm. Tickets Amsterdam Uitburo, Lastminute ticketshop Toy Shops Bart Smit, Intertoys January 2010 page 28

Great DUTCH Products Kaasschaaf A perfect device to cut thin slices of cheese, which is put on a slice of bread at breakfast and at lunch.


Bugaboo Bugaboo, headquartered in Amsterdam, are those trendy strollers that you see around the city streets, in the country side and even on the beach.

Bitterballen Don始t ask what they are, what始s inside, just eat it! One of the best are from Van Dobben, Korte Reguliersdwarsstraat 5

Chocolate sprinkles put on buttered bread.


Uber-Umbrella In a bike-loving and rainy country having an umbrella that doesn始t invert can be quite a necessity. The SENZ umbrella effortlessly slices through the wind, from a summer breeze to a heavy storm. Due to its smart design, the SENZ Original umbrella will not invert, and is windproof up to wind force 10! Available at: De Bijenkorf, Dam 1, Bever Zwerfport, Stadhouderskade 4.


Bike Lights They might not be Dutch inventions, but do get them! It is compulsory to have bike lights on when biking in the dark. Make sure you始ll always have them with you by putting them on your key chain. Then they can also function as key hole finder and mini-torch. Hema, 2 for E5.50

January 2010 page 29

Great AMSTERDAM Great AMSTERDAM Services Services Dutch health care General health care is high but non-interventionist in nature. Two health care providers that are highly popular amongst Amsterdam expats are Dentist Practice Dennis van der Hoeve Expat Doctor Bloemgracht guy Emergency Number 112

Expat Information Expatica provides daily news, features and essential information to help internationals settle into their new country of residence: how to find a job or housing, information on the local health and education systems, how to start a business or deal with pension plans in your adopted country. Annually, Expatica produces a Survival Guide for specific countries to give internationals on the ground the best of the site in a comprehensive and easy-to-use format.

Rental Housing There are many housing agencies on the market. Find below three agencies who are reliable and provide excellent service. Min. rent E1200 pm. Intermediairies Portal for (service) apartments

(semi) Private Language Tutors Talencoach Zoos Onderwijs

January 2010 page 30

Pet Sitting dogs / cats / bunnies / birds / reptiles • • • •

Doggie day care centre Daily dog walks Behavioral correction Pet feeding and waste disposal

Basket & Bones, Leidseplein, T. 06.292 29 00

Beauty & Relaxation Cosmo Polite Members help other Members. Amongst our members we count a - Guy with a sloep (Aʼdam boat) -Lady who enjoys babysitting pets during your absence - Lady who organizing bachelorette (and other) parties. We also share recommendations for cleaners and handymen, etc.

Hairfashion by Leo Best hairdresser in town Rokin 105 T. 4232002 Cybersalon Hair- & Beauty salon Gravenstraat 22,T.3300662 Spa Zuiver Spa, Saunas & Massage Koenenkade 8 T. 301 07 10 Koan Float Floating & Massage Herengracht 321 T. 5550333

Expat Services Lifestyle Management Time of your Life

Corpus Rub Massage Van Breestraat 72hs T. 4165055

Your Company in the Cosmo Polite City Guide? Expat Tax Advisor OnestopTax Pat

Cosmo Polite is an independent company that continuously looks for other service-providing quality companies. If you think your company deserves a mentioning on this page, please contact Kira at

January 2010 page 31

Amsterdam winter Snapshots by Mehul Derodra

COSMO POLITE AGENDA Sunday 10 January Ice Skating invitation > Thursday 14 January Casual Dinner invitation > Saturday 16 January Dinner Mixer invitation> Sunday 17 January Go Karting invitation > Thursday 21 January January Drinks invitation > Saturday 30 January Cooking Workshop invitation > January 2010 page 32

Guide to Amsterdam  

Guide for expats in Amsterdam issue January 2010.

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