The XPAT JOURNAL autumn 2009 issue
IN THIS ISSUE 3 4 8 10 12 16 18 20 22 26 30 32
From the Editor
From the Point of View of... Tasoula Georgiou-Hadjitofi
30%-Ruling; Recent Developments
Crisis and Contracts, Changes and Chances - Hitting the High C’s in Confidence Work Permits and Highly Skilled Migrants
Useful References To Be Expatriated or Not? That Remains the Question...
Gateway To Solutions - An HR Portal for International Employers
Rotterdam Expat Desk - Streamlining Bureaucracy Expatcenter - A Warm Welcome to Amsterdam
Holland Dance Festival - Celebrating Five Decades of Modern Dance Tradition International Culture & Leisure in Holland 2009/2010 Fair I’m not a Tourist Fair 2009 La Table
Mastering the Softer Side of Banking
38 44 52
Winging It in Zeeland Diary of Events Brabant - The Best of Two Worlds
Art Diary PAN Amsterdam
Calling Young Writers
Abuzz with BMW’s
ABC Autumn Top 5
The Kurhaus Hotel: A Grande Dame
RECOMMENDED READING READERS’ OFFER TRAVEL
There Really Is Such a Thing as the Dutch Dream
Funny You Should Ask About... Employment
THE XPAT JOURNAL
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letter from the
The XPat Journal ® The premier magazine for expatriates in the Netherlands Published quarterly since 1998 Volume 12 Number 3 Sep. - Nov. 2009 ISSN 1388 932 X PUBLISHED BY The XPat Journal c.v. Bert van Essen Van Boetzelaerlaan 153 2581 AR The Hague, the Netherlands Tel.: +31(0)70 306 33 10 Fax: +31(0)70 306 33 11 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.xpat.nl EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Stephanie Dijkstra E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTORS Alison Agudo, Shirley Agudo, Godelijn Boonman, Rina Driece, Stephanie Dijkstra, Sheila GazalehWeevers, Robin Pascoe, Nannette Ripmeester, Suzanne Schreve, Deborah Valentine, Hayley Wakenshaw, Pierre Wind
In the Netherlands, 11 is referred to as the ‘crazy’ number; on November 11, the 11th day of the 11th month, Prince Carnival is elected - and it doesn’t get any crazier than that, in this land of sober, modest and don’t-mind-me people. Well, with The XPat Journal, we have just completed our 11th year. And have we gone crazy? Only towards every deadline. Is that going to stop us from going on? No, we love it. It is impossible for tedium to set in, as every year brings something new. We have seen the expat world in the Netherlands develop from barely defined or recognized, to highly valued and stimulated, to severely underappreciated by some expats themselves, to toned down in terms of remuneration, to almost ordinary. The number of angles towards enticing, supporting and integrating expats has become fascinatingly endless and imaginative. Some organizations have found their niche and become hugely successful from their unique position on the expat market. Others had fantastic ideas, but, in retrospect, in many cases, were unfortunately ahead of their times and floundered, while if they were to try it now, they would probably be on a roll from day one. A few just didn’t fit into the budget anymore, when HR departments decided to cut back on expat expenditures - very unfortunate, not only for them, but for expats as well. And some of them have been there from day one and have become some of our best pals in
ADVERTISEMENT INFO The XPat Journal Tel.: +31(0)70 306 33 10 Fax: +31(0)70 306 33 11 E-mail: email@example.com
the expat world.
TRANSLATIONS Across Borders, Driebergen
doctor/school, and daily life.
GRAPHIC DESIGN Studio Ferry Bridié BNO, The Hague PRINTED BY Offset Service, Eindhoven SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe for € 19.50 per year please visit: www.xpat.nl For subscription service, change of address and back issues, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org © 2009 The XPat Journal c.v. All rights are reserved. No part of The XPat Journal may be reproduced or used in any form without permission in writing from the publisher. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this publication was correct at the time of going to press. However, the publisher and writers cannot accept any responsibility for the accuracy of the information included. The content of The XPat Journal is not intended to serve as legal, immigration or tax advice. Readers are encouraged to consult with professional advisors for advice concerning specific matters.
And then there are the endless tax laws and regulations, which are forever coming up with a different way, it sometimes seems, of effectuating the same thing. A different way that is always quite complicated to explain to even an experienced lawyer, let alone an expat who already feels overwhelmed by everything else that is going on; permits, insurances, finding a house/ Luckily, both our steady and our incidental contributors to The XPat Journal are always happy to try and explain it all to you (and us) - in such a way that it all seems to make sense. For which we are very grateful, because just as knowing what to expect during childbirth reduces the shock and contributes to your sense of control, and thus reduces the pain - so does knowing what to expect when you move to another country. Some themes continue to recur over the years: health care, in particular, remains a bone of contention for many - the waiting lists; the GPs who use their words, and dole out medicine, with the same degree of reserve; the absence of general check-ups; the general attitude of ‘oh, stop whining’ when you don’t feel well. Another one is the directness of the Dutch people. Which always reminds me of my Israeli friend and interviewee who, a few years back, said words to the effect of : “You may be Dutch and think you are direct, but I am Israeli and I am in another league...” - reminding us of how everything is relative. A number of things have changed greatly, and for the better. For instance, the whole permit process has been greatly simplified and shortened (if you follow the myriad rules strictly), while the many organizations that have been created as a one-stop shop on all matters related to settling in the Netherlands are contributing greatly towards making it all more manageable for expats. Another change has been in the area of education; the Netherlands offers an amazing 1,450 or so English-language courses, making this a very attractive country for those looking to widen their educational and experience horizons. All in all, it is with great joy and enthusiasm that we enter our 12th year of The XPat Journal. And we hope, and aim, to share with you our pleasure at helping you find your way through the shifting sands of the expat world in this cheerfully bureaucratic country.
VISIT WWW.XPAT.NL THE XPAT JOURNAL
From the Point of View of...
In the articles entitled â€œFrom the point of view of...â€?, we tell the story of an expatriate who is living in the Netherlands. In each edition, we interview an expatriate, each time from a different country and each time in a different position (the person who was placed here by the employer, came here on his or her own initiative, the partner, the family members, etc.). For this issue of The XPat Journal we interviewed Tasoula GeorgiouHadjitofi, whose quiet demeanor conceals a globe-traveling woman with a mission.
On the night of July 20, 1974, Tasoula and her family went to
was very little awareness of what had happened to her country
bed peacefully in their Cypriot home in Famagusta, northern
in 1974, and even less of the fact that the northern part of the
Cyprus. A few hours later, without any warning, they were
island was still occupied. “I became an activist,” she tells, “I
awakened by the sound of the Turkish air force bombing the
started writing articles in order to put these facts out there for
island and decided to flee their house into the safety of the
people to learn about.”
night. When they wanted to return home after a cease-fire had been announced three days later, their home was no longer
theirs. Cyprus had been invaded by Turkey and the house
Tasoula decided to inform the world of the plight of her country
had been assigned to a Turkish family. The Georgiou family
and its people. Eventually, also the Cypriot government took
had left their house with nothing, and they were to leave their
note of her efforts and made her honorary consul of Cyprus
town with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Tasoula was
in the Netherlands. What happened next, was entirely unex-
15 years old.
pected: “Out of the blue, I started receiving telephone calls. People who had ‘found’ Cypriot art on the black market and
who were, so they claimed, willing to sell it back to the Cypriot
Turkey occupied the northern part of the island, and to this
government through me. This triggered a feeling of injustice
day, 37% of Cyprus falls within the zone referred to as the
within me. These people were robbing my country of its past
“Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”, which is recognized
and then selling it back to the government. I had already lost
only by Turkey. 170,000 Greek Cypriots were evicted from
everything, but if I lost my cultural history too...”She pauses,
their homes, and 150,000 settlers from Turkey are estimated
as the conclusion is beyond words yet also self-explanatory.
to have usurped their place.
“You know,” she philosophizes, “Art trafficking exposes a lot of issues of morality: first, the responsibility of a country at
war to protect its cultural heritage. Second, the importance
Tasoula’s family focused on the future, sending Tasoula to
of making UN soldiers on location aware of their mandate.
school in Limassol and to university in England, where she
Third, the role of customs authorities, when allowing the art
studied computer sciences. In 1980, she moved to the Neth-
work to slip in and out of countries. And fourth; the influence
erlands. It was not easy to find a job and she found her first
of international legislation, which places the burden of proof
employment literally by knocking on doors. She was offered a
on the owner and not on the possessor and that has imposed
job by Lily Block, an Israeli, who, though she really didn’t have
a statute of limitations on these cases. And of course, the
an opening for Tasoula, recognized herself in her and wanted
simple truth that, without buyers, there are no dealers.”
to give her a chance. From there, Tasoula went on to work for another employer, after which she started her own company,
Octagon Professionals. Celebrating their 21st anniversary this
Tasoula traveled to Cyprus, where she was given power of
year, Octagon focuses on providing careers to international
attorney by the Cypriot Orthodox Church, to work on their
professionals by supplying staff to Blue chip companies and
behalf towards reclaiming the art work: “The Greek Orthodox
international organizations. Octagon is able to supply multilin-
Church is one of the oldest Christian churches worldwide and
gual people for either contract labor on short notice, through
most of this art work belongs to them. It is very, very old and
to a member of management team to drive business forward.
very valuable,” she explains. “There are a lot of treasures on
All candidates are highly skilled in their area of expertise and
Cyprus and there is a lot of money to be made.” Aside from
if needed, Octagon can perform in-depth assessments to find
being given power of attorney, Tasoula also got the support
the passion or ‘career DNA’ of a person, using comprehensive
of the Cypriot government, which gave her enough money
interviewing tools and techniques. Placing the right person
to spend on lawyers and backing, to help her fight her case.
in the right job, the right team and the right environment can cut costs considerably in an organization. “At Octagon, they
come to understand who they are and what they can do, to
Around that same time, she was approached by a Dutch illegal
broaden their horizon,” Tasoula explains, “and to change their
art dealer, who offered to help her expose the dealers and
situation into an opportunity.” With their main office in The
repatriate the art. “My logic told me; ‘no, don’t trust him’, but
Hague, Octagon was only active in the Netherlands, but has
my instinct said; ‘do it’.” So, working together with the dealer,
expanded to include companies in Germany, USA, Belgium
the Cypriot government, the German government, Interpol
France, Italy and the Middle east.
and Europol, Tasoula contacted the art dealers, claiming she was interested and was willing to go along - and started to
infiltrate the network. It took years and years of work, travel-
As time wore on, Tasoula was dismayed to learn that there
ing across the globe, meeting unsavory people on even more
THE XPAT JOURNAL
unsavory locations, and there were times that Tasoula was
are willing to listen to what others think and have to say - then
acutely aware of the fact that she knew too much and that her
you become a person who builds bridges rather than divides.
life was in danger. But she felt that the only way to go was to
People should not say ‘we are all the same’ - the beauty is
expose the extent of the art dealing.
in diversity. If we focus on the differences rather than on the similarities, then we will have a more constructive discussion
and reach more constructive solutions. As long as we realize
It all came to a head in Germany, when 75 German police
that we were all born equal, if not in opportunity, then certainly
offers entered three apartments simultaneously and found
5,000 artefacts hidden behind double walls and ceilings, 350 of which belonged to Cyprus. “The amazing thing is that the
man who was in possession of these items claimed that the
“I like to connect with people who respect my background,”
5,000 pieces of art were a dowry he received from his wife.
Tasoula tells, “because this respect is part of my value sys-
Christian art, that he had received from his Muslim wife.”
tem. I have defined my own norms and values, based on
Tasoula subtly arches an eyebrow as she says this.
self-reflection, observation and reading. I am a great fan of self-awareness; be aware of who you are, of what defines
Statute of Limitations
your thinking and your values, and of where it originates from
End of story? No. “To my great shock, the German govern-
- and be open to what defines the person across from you.
ment to this day refuses to return the Cypriot art to our gov-
A few years ago, I decided to learn Turkish and to face my
ernment, claiming that the statute of limitations is over and
fears. I visited Turkey for the first time. I wanted to see who
that a dealer trading stolen goods which he had in his posses-
the people were who had invaded my country and robbed me,
sion for more than ten years, is not a criminal case but a civil
and many others, of our youth. My biggest surprise was that
case. I would have thought that Germany would be grateful
most people in Turkey do not have an understanding of what
to Cyprus and me and would find a solution in international
happened. I now take a walk every Sunday with a group of
legislation that would allow them return these treasures to our
Turkish intellectuals; we debate about history, life and philoso-
people, but instead, the case is still pending in court and it
phies, with respect for the different perspectives. It has proven
has been going on for years.” Tasoula shakes her head, in a
very enriching for me, and has made me philosophize more
way that conveys neither dismay, nor resignation. She is still
on what happened to our people and also on what it was like
completely taken by surprise, as if she just heard this news
for the Turkish families who were transported to Cyprus and
yesterday. “And now, I have to learn to let it go,” she says. “It
‘given’ our homes. They are different from the Turkish Cypriots
is no longer in my hands. I have done all that I can, devoted
and different from the Greek Cypriots and in fact don’t feel
years of my life to righting at least one part of the wrong that
Cypriot at all. Life has been easy for them but can’t be too
was done to my country, and I have to stand back and watch
comfortable now that the border is open. They are confronted
as a country applies a legal technicality to justify its continued
with Greek Cypriots who are returning to their cities and want
denying of my country of its own art history.” She emphasizes:
their homes back, and are confronting the settlers with what
“It is not about the monetary value, but the emotional and
religious value - which makes the art work priceless.”
Key Building Bridges
A poignant detail is that Tasoula’s oldest child, her son,
Tasoula’s experiences have led her to evaluate culture and
Andreas, was named after a fifth-century icon. And again, the
cultural differences and their effects on human interaction:
story does not end here. A few years ago, Tasoula received a
“One of the current ideas is that we have more in common
key, with the message that an illicit art dealer had stolen the
than we realize and that we should focus on that. But I dis-
ancient icon and hidden it in a safe. One day, they said, they
agree. What connects people is their value system. When you
would let her know where it is. In the meantime, she will just
are a child, this is provided by your parents, your family, your
have to be patient and hold on to the key. “They won’t let me
town. As you get older, you realize that it is also your history
off lightly,” she comments. “And I won’t forget.”
and cultural heritage. We feel closest to those with whom we share the same values but… we must respect diversity. And respecting the differences in another is something that our value system should teach us; rather than raising our children to want to convert others to our way thinking.”She continues: “If you accept that everyone has a different perspective and
THE XPAT JOURNAL
If you are interested in reading the full story of Tasoula’s endeavors to recover her country’s art works, she will be publishing a book - a story in a league with Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code - towards the beginning of 2010. For more on her company, visit www.octagon.nl. For more on her life and mission, visit www.tasoulahadjitofi.com.
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30%-Ruling Recent Developments Chances are that you are one of the lucky ones that are benefiting from that very special tax facility, the 30%-ruling. Or, if you are not, perhaps you are wondering what the attraction is and
whether you qualify.
the new employment relationship. The period between your former and new employment may not exceed three months. Case law confirms that this period is a crucial factor in determining whether or not you still have specific skills which cannot be found, or are hard to find, on the Dutch labor market. I therefore advise you to make sure that you can demonstrate that your new employment started within three months after your former contract ended. The Supreme Court confirms that it is not relevant whether you were (officially) unemployed, looking for a job or working as a self-employed person during these three months.
Over the years, The XPat Journal has dedicated a number of articles to this facility, as there are always new develop-
Scarce Specific Skills
ments. In this article, I will go into a number of issues that have
A few skill-related issues:
reached the courts - and into what the courts have ruled on
specific skills are scarce is the date on which you and your employer enter into the employment agreement. This can
Application Term 30%-Ruling
be earlier than the actual date on which you arrive in the
The application for the 30%-ruling must be filed within four months from the start of your employment in the Netherlands.
The date on which it is evaluated whether or not your
Netherlands or your first work day. l
The tax authorities are allowed to use the level of remunera-
If, for some reason, you cannot submit a complete application
tion as a criterion when deciding whether or not to grant the
form and the required documents, you (together with your
30%-ruling. The remuneration should reflect the scarcity
employer) can file a pro-forma application first. The tax office
of your skills and should therefore be higher than in your
will give you extra time to come through with the required doc-
country of origin.
uments. However, if you take too long to submit full documen-
If you have a residence permit for Highly Skilled Migrants
tation, they will send a formal denial of the request. If you, for
(beschikking kennismigrantenregeling), you do not have
whatever reason, do not protest this denial on time, the four-
to submit a statement showing your scarce specific skills
month period will have lapsed, meaning that - though you can
when applying for the 30%-ruling. This - in principle - also
file a new application form at any point - if you are granted the
applies if you are younger than 30. However, the tax office
30%-ruling, this will not be retroactively back to your first work
has indicated that, in that case, in view of the fact that they
day. Even if your tax lawyer is entirely to blame for the delay.
will consider it doubtful that your specific skills are scarce,
So, keep an eye on your deadlines so as not to lose your rights. And money!
they will probably ask further questions. l
The Heerlen tax office requires at least 2.5 years of work experience when determining whether or not your skills
are scarce. This term is not mentioned in the tax law. The
The 30%-ruling in principle is granted for a total of ten years
Supreme Court has confirmed that the tax office may not
- and, provided the conditions are met - can be â€˜taken alongâ€™
enforce this requirement. Scarce specific skills can be dem-
to your next employment relationship. You and your new
onstrated in any way, depending on the factual situation.
employer together will have to file a new application and dem-
This means that, depending on the circumstances, if you
onstrate that you still have specific skills that are scarce in the
have valid arguments, you should apply for the 30%-ruling
Netherlands. In several court cases, this criterion was deemed
even if you have not worked that long. The work experience
not to have been met, so that the 30%-ruling was denied for
must still be relevant to your position here. The 30%-ruling
THE XPAT JOURNAL
By Rina Driece
is also open to candidates who have completed a specific
territorial’ employees for extra expenses they incur in con-
study or training that is not available in the Netherlands.
nection with the fact that they are working outside their home
An excellent knowledge of a particular language will in gen-
country. This is done by means of a fixed cost allowance of
eral have added value for any international job, but - in one
30% of the wage. Several court cases have dealt with the
court case - was not considered a specific requirement for
question of whether certain expenses - which under the
the job. Of course, this may be different in other situations.
35%-ruling (the predecessor of the 30%-ruling) used to be qualified as ‘business expenses’ - can be compensated free
Recruited From Abroad
of tax in addition to the 30%-allowance in a similar way as
One of the conditions for the 30%-ruling is that a candidate
must be hired or seconded from outside the Netherlands.
Below a few highlights from case law: l
expenses and travel expenses to visit home (relevant for
If you are already working in the Netherlands (whether in
employees who reside in another country than the Neth-
employment or as a self-employed person) and enter into
erlands) are to be regarded as extraterritorial expenses.
an employment agreement for which you are submitting
Extraterritorial expenses can be compensated free of tax
a first-time application for the 30%-ruling, you cannot be
only once. If you receive the fixed 30%-allowance, then you
deemed to have been hired from another country. The
cannot also receive some other form of tax-free compensa-
same applies if you can be considered a resident of the
tion for your extraterritorial expenses. If you are not benefit-
Netherlands at that particular moment. However, in certain
ing from the 30%-ruling, these extraterritorial expenses can
situations this may be different.
be compensated free of tax. In that case, your employer will
The Supreme Court has ruled that you can qualify for the 30%-ruling - provided the Netherlands is not your place of residence and you are not working here - even though you
The Supreme Court has confirmed that double housing
have to submit proof of the actual expenses. l
If your employer foots your tax lawyer’s bill, for filling out your Dutch income tax returns, then this is considered a
have studied or completed a traineeship here.
‘benefit’ that is to be taxed as taxable wage. If your employ-
In another court case, the Supreme Court decided that the
er does not want you to pay the tax yourself, the amount
person in question had come to the Netherlands purely
has to be grossed-up.
for personal reasons and therefore did not qualify for the 30%-ruling.
Pensions In a Directive of the Ministry of Finance dated September 2008,
it has been explicitly confirmed that you can accrue pension
The main rule is that the maximum period of ten years is
rights over the 30%-allowance.
reduced with periods of earlier presence or employment in the Netherlands. This so-called ‘reduction rule’ is too complicated
Partial Non-Resident Tax Liability
to explain in full here, but still I would like to quote two cases
The option to be treated as a non-resident tax payer in box 3
that further qualify this rule.
(reporting non-earned income) is only open to those to whom
A German employee who was working here under the
the 30%-ruling has been granted, according to the Supreme
NATO-convention and who therefore had the benefit of
Court. The question is whether this option is also available to
a tax exemption in Holland, switched to a ‘regular’ new
those who would normally qualify for the 30%-ruling, except
employer after having lived here for ten years. The court
for the fact that the reduction rule rules out its application.
was of the opinion that the reduction rule nonetheless
Or in those cases in which the application of the 30%-ruling
applied, even though the tax exemption had prevented him
has been granted, but is not applied because the employer
from benefiting from the 30%-ruling. The argument given
does not want there to be a difference in the amount of taxes
for this was that the 30%-ruling has been created to com-
employees in similar positions owe. Under these circumstanc-
pensate extraterritorial expenses, which he was assumed
es, if you have substantial income to declare in box 3, it would
not to be incurring after having lived here for ten years.
be attractive to apply for the 30%-ruling. However, the Heerlen
The Supreme Court has determined that the maximum
tax office is of the point of view that this is not possible. The
period of ten years starts on the day on which a person is
Supreme Court has not yet ruled on one of these situations,
to be regarded as an employee as defined in article 2 of the
but - who knows - perhaps one of these issues will be the
Wage Tax Act 1964.
subject of future case law!
Extraterritorial Expenses The 30%-ruling allows employers to compensate their ‘extra-
Rina Driece works for Loyens&Loeff as a tax advisor. She can be reached at 010 - 224 64 24, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE XPAT JOURNAL
Crisis and Contracts, Changes and Chances Hitting the High C’s in Confidence
Expat Contracts and Dutch Labor Law
There were times when a permanent employment contract with a multinational company brought a plethora of benefits. From school fees and health plans for the entire family, to sabbaticals and fat endof-year bonuses, it was all there, along with expat and housing allowances, great on-site sports and leisure facilities, fancy company outings and lavish
Unilateral Changes to an Existing Employment Contract It may therefore very well be that your employer will come up with a proposal to change your existing contract in order to meet the company’s immediate needs. Should this happen, make sure you take a deep breath and take it step by step, in order to identify your best options. Under these circumstances the four questions to ask yourself are: l
Is the proposal reasonable?
Am I being treated equally to others in my position?
Have I been informed in fully and on time, and did my employer justify the decision credibly?
Does the proposal cover a transition phase?
If you cannot answer one, some, or any of these questions, it may be time to consult a labor law expert. Dutch judges
However, with the changing times and tides, incoming expats
are known to meticulously scrutinize each case presented to
are increasingly offered contracts previously tailored for local
them, so that having your facts and figures sorted out clearly
staff, only. The crisis has hit hard, at all levels, and even
will definitely aid your cause. In the Netherlands, judges
the big multinationals are aiming to cut back on their costs.
consistently consider the interests of the employer and the
The first thing to go are the perks and incentives that used
employee as being of equal importance.
to be part of the so-called ‘expat contracts’ and, quite often, existing contracts will be subject to change, to match
The ‘Golden Handshake’ in 2009
the present austere circumstances. Under Dutch labor law,
The worst case scenario to hit you under the present global
employers have the right to unilaterally initiate changes in an
crisis would be a termination of your contract without the
existing contract; however, quite often such changes will be
prospect of its renewal or alteration. In the Netherlands,
dismissed in court, should an out-of-court settlement of the
redundancy packages, the so-called ‘golden handshakes’,
are calculated using a pre-set formula. In 2009, this formula has changed, and, we are displeased to inform you, not to the
Dutch labor law allows for changes in an existing employ-
ment contract for good reasons only. Reorganization in order to cut costs is not among them - however, reorganization of
The formula, the so-called Kantonrechtersformule (sub-district
the company due to financial difficulties is a valid reason for
court formula, marked with a K), reads as follows:
THE XPAT JOURNAL
By Godelijn Boonman
a handicap might actually turn to your enviable advantage.
Contracts for a Definite Period of Time As for contracts that are limited in time, Dutch labor law defines the situation as follows: in the case of a contract for a definite period of time without the possibility of early termination, the employer must pay the agreed salary for the remainder of the contract. The company still might come up with a proposal for a golden handshake; however, should this not be satisfactory, the situation will clearly work to the advantage of the employee. In the case of a contract for a definite period of time that does not specifically exclude earlier termination, no compensation is granted, if all applicable notice periods and other compulsory procedural details have been observed during the redundancy procedure. In this case, it is best to gather information on other employers in your field of expertise and activate all professional networks available, openly asking colleagues and friends for referrals and advice on where to turn to for new employment. In all of the cases described above, if the proposal of the employer concerning a unilateral change in the contract raises a dispute, it may be wise to consider an out-of-court settlement. On the one hand, companies often will shy away from lengthy court cases; on the other hand, employees made redundant need all the emotional and financial resources they have in order to tackle the new situation. A mutually agreed
K = A (the number of weighted years of service) x B (the gross payment per month) x C (the correction / adjustment factor)
settlement reduces the bitterness on both sides, enhancing the employee’s feeling of self-worth. Mediation in this field is proving more and more popular, as it saves costs and energy,
Therefore, a change in the weighting of the years of service
leaving all parties with the feeling that their points of view have
will have a negative effect on the amount of the redundancy
been heard and taken into consideration.
package. However, it may very well be that C, the correction / adjustment factor, will become the loophole for internationals
Luckily, reality is often less grim than all the theoretical sce-
who plan to stay and work in the Netherlands.
narios listed. Sound advice from a labor law expert can help reshape both the present and the future - be it in court or
Previously, Dutch labor law took into consideration only the
through mediation. The present article cannot and will not give
‘guilt’ factor of either the employer or the employee. The new
you all the answers, however, it might point you in the right
changes introduced in 2009 also take into consideration the
direction for sharp advice and targeted action.
current labor market position of the employee, along with other specific circumstances. Should your contract be terminated suddenly, it is very possible that your labor market position will be evaluated as being weak and vulnerable - not being a native Dutch speaker, for example, really limits your chances on the employment market. Other costs pursuant to the termination of the contract, such as repatriation costs, will also be taken into consideration. Therefore, your compensation package would have to be adjusted to the case-specific circumstances, meaning that what would normally be seen as
GMW labor law experts are fully at home in Dutch labor law, as well as being well acquainted with other international labor law systems. Consulting them will weed out the ‘ifs ‘and ‘shoulds’, bringing clarity to the situation you are confronted with. They have formed a ‘crisis task force’ that helps both employers and employees with their individual questions. Feel free to contact Godelijn Boonman at g.boonman@ gmw.nl for a quick scan of your particular circumstances, or call 070 - 361 50 48 to make an appointment. For more information, please visit www.gmw.nl/en.
THE XPAT JOURNAL
Work Permits and Highly Skilled Migrants To live and work in the Netherlands, depending on where you are from, you need a work permit and/or a residence permit. Certain employees, called highly skilled migrants, do not need a work permit and are issued a special residence permit. How this all works and what the rules are regarding this, are covered in short in this article.
Non EU/EEA/Swiss Nationals
In principle, if you are a national of an EU/EEA member state
If you are a non EU/EEA/Swiss national and wish to work in
or of Switzerland, you may work in the Netherlands without
the Netherlands, even if only for one day, you must obtain
a work permit. However, if you are a citizen of Romania or
a work permit, unless you are a so-called â€˜highly skilled
Bulgaria, you will still need one; once you have worked on the
migrantâ€™ in which case you only need a residence permit
Dutch labor market legally for a period of one year, you are
(see further on). Your prospective employer has to submit an
free to work without a work permit.
application for your work permit with the Center for Work and
To work here as a self-employed person, you do not need a
Income (CWI) in Zoetermeer. Again, to work here as a self-
employed person, you do not need a work permit.
THE XPAT JOURNAL
Procedure and Term
In general, the CWI only issues work permits if the employer
If your employer wants to bring you here as a highly skilled
has been able to convince them that there are no qualified
migrant, he must submit a ‘request for advice about issuing
individuals available on the EU/EEA labor market who can do
a permit for temporary residence for a highly skilled migrant’.
the job. The employer should therefore submit proof that he
Once positive advice has been issued, your prospective
has done everything in his capacity to find individuals on the
employer sends it to you in your home country, and you sub-
EU/EEA labor market (i.e. by submitting copies of advertise-
mit it along with a request for an authorization temporary stay
ments, statements from recruitment agencies, postings on
(MVV) with the Dutch embassy or consulate in your country
the Internet, etc.). Several months prior to filing the work per-
of origin. Once you have been issued an MVV, you can travel
mit application, the vacancy must be reported with the local
to the Netherlands, register, and apply for the temporary
CWI (Center for Work and Income). If this condition is not met,
residence permit at the IND office for highly skilled migrants.
a work permit will not be issued.
Most of the larger cities in the Netherlands now have one-
An easier way to obtain a work permit is on the basis of a so-
stop shops to help you manage this process, as you can read
called inter-company transfer, see the following paragraph.
elsewhere in this issue.
A Few Short Exceptions
you have an employment contract for an indefinite period of
In the case of temporary work, a work permit can be issued
time. If it is a fixed-term contract, the permit will be issued for
for a maximum period of 24 weeks
the duration of the contract.
The permit is issued for a maximum period of five years if
A work permit is not required for employees who come to assemble or fix equipment and machinery or install, adjust
or instruct on the use of software; or who come to conduct
The so-called Admissions Scheme for Highly Educated Per-
a meeting or negotiate a contract
sons became effective on January 1, 2009. Pursuant to this
A work permit can be granted for an inter-company trans-
scheme, foreign nationals who have attended an institute of
fer, if the employee fills a high management position or
higher education and who have obtained at least a Master’s
highly qualified position and has specific specialist knowl-
degree, can obtain a residence permit with a maximum term
edge that is essential for the company
of one year (called an orientation year) for the purpose of
Work permits are not required for those who come as
finding a job as a highly skilled migrant or to start a so-called
‘innovative company’. They can make use of this possibility
There are special rules for employees of an international
for up three years after obtaining their degree.
group of companies that have a university education and want to follow a traineeship program in the Netherlands.
Change of Employer
Have yourself informed on the various rules that apply to
Highly skilled migrants are allowed to change employers
these exceptions, if you think they may apply to you.
while their residence permit is still valid. The IND will test the change to a new employer against the applicable conditions.
Highly Skilled Migrants
If a highly skilled migrant is dismissed, a reasonable term
On January 1, 2005, a new policy that allows so-called highly
of three months is granted to find another position that satis-
skilled migrants into the Netherlands was passed. The aim
fies the conditions. Should the highly skilled migrant accept
of the policy is to simplify the entry of highly skilled migrants
a position that does not satisfy the wage requirement, he will
from outside the EU/EEA into the Netherlands, by abolishing
have to apply for a work permit.
the need for a work permit. All they need is a residence permit for highly skilled migrants.
Partners and Children
Highly skilled migrants are defined as contracted employees
Partners and children of highly skilled migrants will initially
who earn a minimum gross income of € 49,087 per annum
be granted a residence permit for one year, after which they
(2009), to be indexed annually. A lower threshold applies
can obtain a permit for five years. Partners of highly skilled
to persons under the age of 30; € 35,997 gross per annum
migrants can apply for a work permit without having to go
through the labor market assessment described earlier on.
Only companies that are established in the Netherlands can make use of the highly skilled migrant policy.
THE XPAT JOURNAL
For more information, visit www.ind.nl.
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XPAT JOURNAL– June 2009
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Employment Useful References
Expatcenter Amsterdam WTC Amsterdam, F-tower 2nd Floor Strawinskylaan 39, 1077 XW Amsterdam Tel.: 020 254 79 99 E-mail: welcome@expatcenter. iamsterdam.com
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken)
Taxation in the Netherlands
Published by the Ministry of
gives a good overview of taxation
in the Netherlands.
Desk for foreign businesses
Anna van Hannoverstraat 4,
P.O. Box 20061,
offering advice on doing business
P.O. Box 90801,
2500 EB The Hague
in the Netherlands, regulations for
2509 LV The Hague
Tel.: 070 348 64 86
National Tax Office Startersdesk
permits, tax issues etc.
Tel.: 070 333 44 44
in the major offices:
Entrance hall of wtc Schiphol
Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (Ministerie van Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid)
Finance, this guide (in English)
Amsterdam, tel.: 020 687 65 00
Permits Foundation: an
The Hague, tel.: 070 330 40 86
The Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER)
international corporate initiative to
Rotterdam, tel.: 010 290 53 28
promote the improvement of work
Utrecht, tel.: 030 275 26 86
permit regulations for the spouses
General tel. number for
West-Holland Foreign Investment Agency, WFIA
2594 AW The Hague
of expatriate employees.
entrepreneurs: 0800 04 43
P.O. Box 90405,
2514 AA The Hague
2509 LK The Hague
P.O. Box 16067,
Work Permits: www.workpermit.
Development Foundations/Information Centers
Tel.: 070 349 94 99 Internet: www.ser.nl
2500 BB The Hague com/netherlands
Tel.: 070 311 55 55 Internet: www.wfia.nl
Social Insurance Bank (Sociale Verzekeringsbank)
Expat Foundation: an independent
interest organization for expatriates
The Hague Hospitality Center -
1091 HG Amsterdam
and their Dutch-based employers.
the official foreign investment
Tel.: 020 656 52 01
agency of the Amsterdam
The Hague City Hall, Atrium
Metropolitan Area (Amsterdam,
Spui 70, 2511 BT The Hague
Tel.: 070 353 50 43
City of Amsterdam, P.O. Box 2133,
Centre for Work and Income (CWI) (Centrum voor Werk en Inkomen)
P.O. Box 43372,
The Municipality of The Hague
1000 CC Amsterdam.
Tel.: 020 656 52 01
International Tax Office Heerlen
City of Almere, P.O. Box 200,
Ontwikkelingsbedrijf Rotterdam, OBR
Postal address: P.O. Box 2865,
1300 AE Almere
6401 DJ Heerlen
Tel.: 036 5399487
3029 AD Rotterdam
Visiting address: Kloosterweg 22,
City of Amstelveen P.O Box 4,
P.O. Box 6575,
6412 CN Heerlen
1180 BA Amstelveen
3002 AN Rotterdam
Immigration and Naturalization Service (Immigratie en Naturalisatie Dienst, IND)
(by appointment only)
Tel.: 020 5404423
Tel.: 010 489 69 44
Tel.: 045 560 31 11 or 0800 05 43
City of Haarlemmermeer P.O.
(National telephone number)
Box 250, 2130 AG Hoofddorp
Winston Churchilllaan 293, Rijswijk
Tel.: 023 5676139
P.O. Box 3210, 2280 GE Rijswijk
2504 AJ, The Hague
Tel.: 020 552 3536
Tel.: 070 370 34 00
THE XPAT JOURNAL
Beursplein 37, Room 337/338
Limburgse Ontwikkelings Maatschappij (LIOF)
3011 AA Rotterdam
P.O. Box 1310,
facilitating business by providing a
Employment in the Netherlands
Tel.: 010 205 28 29
6201 BH Maastricht
platform for members to establish,
Published yearly by Loyens & Loeff
Fax: 010 205 28 70
Tel.: 043 328 02 80
strengthen, and utilize personal
Conditions of employment, tax and
business relationships. Their
social security aspects
membership represents a wide
Available on request by e-mail:
variety of people representing
companies from all vertical markets
Internet: www.rotterdam.nl/ expatdesk
Province of Utrecht Foreign Investment Office
Trade and Investment Organizations
a business club dedicated to
and includes over 3,500 members
P.O. Box 80300, 3508 TH Utrecht
NFIA, Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency
Tel.: 030 258 23 96
2594 AV The Hague
worldwide. Internet: www.network-club.com
Looking for Work in the Netherlands By Nannette Ripmeester
AABC - Amsterdam American Business Club
Published by Expertise in Labour
P.O. Box 20101,
Brabant Development Agency (BOM)
2500 EC The Hague
If you are looking for work in the
Tel.: 070 379 88 18
1015 CS Amsterdam
Netherlands, this guide provides
Goirleseweg 15, 5026 PB Tilburg
Tel.: 020 520 7534
accurate and practical information
on the job-hunting process. Next to
P.O. Box 3240, 5003 DE Tilburg Fax: 088 - 831 11 21
EVD, agency for international business and cooperation
Internet: www.foreigninvestments.eu E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel.: 088 - 831 11 20
career advice it also provides you with useful insight into the cultural
Juliana van Stolberglaan 148,
Women’s International Network (WIN)
2595 CL The Hague
the international networking
P.O. Box 20105,
association for professional
2500 EC The Hague
women in the Netherlands. WIN
Dealing with the Dutch
Tel.: 070 379 88 11
is an affiliate of the European
By Jacob Vossestein
Visiting address: Kennispoort
Professional Women’s Network.
Published by kit Publishers
The cultural context of business
and work in the Netherlands
NCH, Netherlands Council For Trade Promotion Holland Trade House
A network of professional
2594 AH The Hague
internationally aware women.
A Career in your Suitcase
Ontwikkelings Maatschappij Oost Nederland NV
P.O. Box 10, 2501 CA The Hague
Juliana van Stolberglaan 154,
By Jo Parftitt
Tel.: 070 344 15 44
300 pages of completely revised
P.O. Box 5215, 6802 EE Arnhem
and updated information for
Tel.: 026 384 42 22
John F. Kennedylaan 2, 5612 AB Eindhoven Tel.: 040 264 99 90
P.O. Box 5518, 7500 GM Enschede Tel.: 053 484 96 49
Govert Flinckstraat 1,
aspects of working with the Dutch.
Connecting Women (The Hague)
creating and maintaining a career
Women’s Business Initative International
A community of entrepeneurial
8021 ET Zwolle
The Hague International Network
Tel.: 038 456 14 56
the place for the international
Laan Copus van Cattenburch 86,
community in The Hague to meet.
2585 GE The Hague
Legal Aspects of Doing Business in the Netherlands
7418 ET Deventer
Meetings are held several times a
Tel.: 070 358 85 57
Published yearly by Loyens & Loeff
Tel.: 0570 85 59 17
year on different locations.
For entrepeneurs and their legal
service providers who are or are
Van Lennepweg 6,
about to be engaged in business
2597 LJ The Hague
operations in the Netherlands
Tel.: 070 306 22 11, e-mail:
Available on request by e-mail:
email@example.com Internet: www.loyensloeff.com
THE XPAT JOURNAL
To Be Expatriated or Not? That Remains the Question... What happens if you are living a happy life as an expatriate in the Netherlands and suddenly lose your job due to the economic climate? This was a rather unlikely scenario a year ago. Now it is a reality many expatriates are being confronted with. In this article, Nannette Ripmeester
from Expertise in Labour Mobility will shed a light on the options available. At first, the term ‘credit crunch’ sounded sort of nice, tasty
The Dutch Labour Market in an International Context
almost... interestingly crunchy. Then it felt like overkill; there’s
The situation on the Dutch job market has deteriorated over
that word again; “Yes we got it - there is a financial crisis out
the past four months, from a stable 2.7%, the unemployment
there”. However, the next stage became more alarming... the
rate has gone up to 3.4%. However, that is still considerably
results kept dropping, it became impossible to attend confer-
lower than the reported 9.4% in the European Union in June
ences, external training was out of the question. Pay rises
2009 - the highest unemployment rate in ten years. The situa-
were refused. Then suddenly there was a travel ban, presented
tion in the UK and Germany, with both 7.7%, and France, with
kindly as an effort to reduce the organisation’s carbon foot-
9.4%, is not very positive either. Neither is the situation in the
print. Next, there came the call - ‘the’ call. What family, friends
US, with an unemployment rate of 9.5%. So, it may be a bless-
and foremost you, the expat, had thought of as ‘unthinkable’,
ing in disguise that you lost your job in the Netherlands. Or as
happened; you were in a foreign country and you lost your job.
Ilse Visser, manager of Undutchables, a recruitment agency for
And what next? You may feel sad, angry, disappointed - these
internationals, says: “Although the Netherlands is also suffer-
are all legitimate emotions and you need to get to grips with
ing under the worldwide crisis, the shortage of specific skills
those first, but then the next step is to make a plan and start
ensures that experienced internationals with the right mentality
thinking about your options. Let’s look at it schematically:
are still in demand.” If you really want your old job back, you may have to wait until the situation improves and your former employer starts
You like it here > are you allowed to stay? > No
hiring again. According to Lina Zedelius, Research Manager
You didn’t like it here much anyway > you feel relieved > you book the first flight home! > Yes > check the options below
at Expertise in Labour Mobility: “Looking at the demographic developments in the Netherlands, this is a scenario that is not
A B C D
Do you want to become an entrepreneur?
all that unlikely to happen in the next two years.” Maybe, how-
Do you want a career change?
ever, you will have to start looking for a job in the meantime,
Do you want your old job back?
anyway. Not just any job, but a job that matches your skills
Do you want an interesting job?
and qualifications. For expats, there is one big issue here; the
For option A you need to come up with a sound business plan
fact that you have been chosen by your former employer to
- remember, in times of crisis, budgets are short at all levels,
become the visiting card of your organisation abroad does
but bringing a good idea to the market can always work. For
not necessarily imply that you are the best and brightest with
option B, you need to carefully consider your strengths and
a unique set of skills. You may have been simply the best
weaknesses. What gives you energy? Be brave and follow your
person for the job who was available to go to the Netherlands
gut instinct; in many cases, people do know what will work for
in the first place. You do need to keep in mind that there are
them. And if you do not succeed, you can safely blame it on
many other excellent qualified candidates out there also look-
the economic climate. This article, though, will focus on the
ing for a job. Yet, as a foreign jobseeker, you have something
latter two options, and more importantly, on how to succeed
unique to offer: your knowledge and experience of your home
on the Dutch job market.
country, language and business culture. The fact that you have
THE XPAT JOURNAL
By Nannette Ripmeester
worked and lived in a foreign country will have equipped you with excellent multicultural skills, and now you will have to market those skills adequately and make your new prospective employer understand your added value when compared to that equally qualified native jobseeker. It is a challenge, but one of your best cards. The advice of Ilse Visser is: “When you are looking for a new job again, try to be flexible. Job titles do not always cover the job description: look further for other jobs that require your skills.”
Back to the Boardroom
About the author: Nannette Ripmeester is the founder of Expertise in Labour Mobility (www. labourmobility.com). ELM specialises in the communication between organisations and their expat population. Nannette has co-authored 36 books on managing and working across borders and job-hunting internationally, and has written numerous articles on the topic of globalisation and its effects on the HR profession. As advisor on international mobility issues to the European Commission and various governments, but foremost in her role as strategic expatriate consultant, Nannette has developed extensive knowledge regarding the skills that make people internationally mobile. Her expertise is about ‘making mobility work’ - and for over 15 years she has worked with expats, graduates, universities and employers to make international working a success.
The economic situation has brought foreign hires and expatriation back to the boardroom. Organisations are looking again at their expat population and asking questions such as; “Do we
from being too self-assured, as it will be considered boasting
want career or job assignments?”, “Is business need or man-
in a Dutch hiring context.
agement development the key issue?”, “What length do we
Remember that Dutch CVs are very factual in style, and
require for assignments?” and “What about the fringe benefits
only contain the facts and figures regarding your education
we offer?” If you fall in the category of job assignments and
and work experience. Nowadays many people mention the
your organisation has chosen to focus on career assignments,
skills about which they know employers will be enthusiastic;
then you will not be too happy that these questions are being
Dutch jobseekers simply list these skills without weaving them
asked. But in the end, top level attention for international HR
into their CV. If you opt to weave your skills into your CV, be
policies is a plus for both the expatriate (and his/her family), as
aware of the fact that a Dutch recruiter may not notice them at
well as for the organisation itself. Although you could debate
first glance. Given the fact that CVs usually get a 30-second
whether people are ‘assets’, the required return on invest of an
once-over, it is good to know the rules regarding Dutch CVs.
assignment needs to be determined. And, from experience, we
Considering the fact that Dutch companies are cautious and
know this is not always the case...
pragmatic about their strategy, you need to keep your answers
The fact that the economic situation has forced organisa-
sensible when asked during a job interview about your ideas
tions to rethink their international HR and hiring strategy, also
for the future. Do not offer too expansive an idea for the future
offers opportunities. Suddenly local talent is more attractive
of the organisation, as strategic directions are based on con-
than the more expensive expat - and ‘local’ is not about
sensus, and a step-by-step approach will work better. Accord-
nationality, but about where the talent is available. And if you
ing to Ilse Visser: “Recruitment agencies in the Netherlands
are lucky, you may be able to negotiate a ‘local plus’ contract!
offer more than only ‘pushing CVs’. Make use of the expertise of recruiters and ask for career advice.”
Solutions, Not Quick Fixes
And that is indeed the best tip one can get. This is the Neth-
Looking for a job in another country requires a thorough
erlands - asking people for help and advice will work, but never
understanding of that country’s culture. Even though you
ask people for a job directly. Remember the modesty thing...
may have lived and worked in the Netherlands for some years, you may have never looked into the specific require-
ments of job hunting in the Netherlands. Have you ever
Expatica provides daily news and information online for expats
realised that the open and direct approach the Dutch take
living in the Netherlands, www.expatica.nl.
in negotiations also works in their job hunting appraisal?
Expertise in Labour Mobility regularly organises expat work-
Motivation, for instance, is key; to a certain extent more
shops about settling in and job hunting in the Netherlands,
important than the tasks completed before. You may be
aware that hierarchy in Dutch business life is generally not
Undutchables - the recruitment agency for internationals living
very stiff, but instead relatively flexible. Dutch people will
in the Netherlands, www.undutchables.nl
easily ignore authority when they deem it necessary. This egalitarianism and openness, that so characterises Dutch
society, is reflected in the horizontal structure of most Dutch
Career guide Looking for Work in the Netherlands (ISBN 978-
companies, and sayings such as ‘high trees catch a lot of
wind’ also apply when applying for a job; modesty is a much-
Randstad werkpocket (can be collect at Randstad agencies)
appreciated quality. Have others sell your abilities, but refrain
The Holland Handbook (ISBN 978-90-5594-6525)
THE XPAT JOURNAL
Gateway To Solutions An HR Portal for International Employers
As a tax lawyer by profession who spent years advising international companies on tax, insurance and labour matters, Inge Nitsche is more than aware of the myriad questions and issues facing companies when employing internationally. It was based on this experience that she identified the need for an independent organisation which could simultaneously be a source of information for employers and their international staff as well as a vehicle through which their needs could be
translated for Dutch governmental organisations and expat service providers. Inge founded the Dutch Expat Foundation in early 2008 to
simplicity, are collectively referred to as ‘employers’. Under
serve as an intermediary forum through which answers to
the umbrella of the Dutch Expat Foundation and in conjunc-
the multiple questions posed by international organisations
tion with the Institute for Fiscal Knowledge (Instituut voor Fis-
as well as their employees, with regards to relocating to
cale Kennisoverdracht - IFK), the Expatise Knowledge Centre
the Netherlands or elsewhere, could be provided. For the
was created. Employers and expats indicate where the gaps
Foundation, the term expat is broadly understood to refer
in information exist or where the information is unclear, and
to anyone who leaves their home country to work for a
through the Expat Portal - an online information platform -
Netherlands-based employer, be they inward bound to the
the Expatise Knowledge Centre provides the answers and
Netherlands or outward bound from the Netherlands.
solutions to the problems encountered. This demand-driven
The Dutch Expat Foundation is a non-profit organisation
model means that tailored and specific answers are available
which focuses on serving the interests of expats, as well
from experts and those with experience with the problem in
as their employers, by providing information, facilitating the
question. Employers can subscribe to this service, paying
exchange of knowledge and experience, raising awareness,
an amount reflective of the number of expats in their employ
and influencing policy and regulations. While originally envis-
and the expats themselves are then provided access to the
aged to support smaller organisations with fewer resources
closed part of the Portal in which they can pose questions,
and experience in the expatriation process, Inge discovered in
share experiences, and find answers to their particular chal-
her continued contacts with international organisations, how
lenge. The Expat Portal acts, as it were, as a matchmaker
many of the larger ones faced similar problems and continued
between the demand and supply end of relocating to or from
to raise the same questions about the processes and proce-
dures applicable to expatriates.
The added advantage of having one place in which com-
According to the Dutch Expat Foundation, there are
mon questions and problems are gathered is that this allows
approximately 5,000 organisations in the Netherlands that
the Foundation to show that many of the challenges faced by
either temporarily second personnel abroad, temporar-
employers and expats are not in fact ‘one-off’ or unique situ-
ily employ foreign personnel here in the Netherlands, offer
ations. Bundling common issues means the Foundation can
trainee positions and internships abroad to Dutch students,
assist existing lobby groups by providing them with informa-
or offer similar positions and internships here in the Nether-
tion or even act as a lobby group itself with relevant govern-
lands to foreign students. These range from Dutch and for-
mental institutions in the search for streamlined responses to
eign companies to governmental organisations, international
the challenges of having internationally recruited individuals
organisations, educational institutions, private non-profit
working in the Netherlands, or sending Dutch employees
organisations, research institutes, etc. - who, for the sake of
to work overseas. It is an ongoing process, and with the
THE XPAT JOURNAL
By Deborah Valentine
Portal continued to be a required asset, and yes, there was Inge Nitsche
a need for a more specific HR portal for the particular issues raised by HR professionals. The conference additionally provided an opportunity for a fruitful and productive discussion between employers and decision makers about the realities of the standing rules and regulations as they affected expatriates and the expatriation process. For those in the administrative end, it was enlightening and informative and provided a context for the queries they received and the problems they were often asked to address.
The HR Portal While the Expat Portal focuses on the day-to-day questions raised by expats, the HR Portal is a response to the assistance required by employers’ HR departments in manoeuvring the bureaucratic complexities of ensuring that new staff members can get to work as quickly as possible. There are three core elements of the HR Portal which will be officially launched in November of 2009. An informative element will allow for a profile-driven search for answers to specific situations confronted by HR departments. The interactive area will allow fellow-HR professionals to share experiences and possible solutions. Finally, an educational component will provide e-learning courses, workshops and webinars which will provide HR continued accumulation of experiences, problems as well as
professionals working with international employees - inbound
solutions, the Dutch Expat Foundation is in a prime position
or outbound - with training in how to work with and on behalf
to serve as an initiator of change.
of this segment of their workforce. Such tailor-made courses are designed to quickly and efficiently inform HR professionals
Demand-Driven Business Model
about any changes in legislation or regulations which affect
Responding to the needs of the expats themselves is but one
their work, as well as to provide those new to the field with
dimension of the Expat Foundation. As a result of continued
the required information and skills necessary to fulfil their job
contact with the Human Resources personnel, more specific
requirements. This latter component of the HR Portal is being
issues came to the surface. Issues which pertained to the
developed closely with IFK, which has experience in provid-
post-recruitment phase of bringing internationally recruited
ing tailor-made courses for banks and insurance companies,
personnel to the Netherlands or sending them overseas. It
became quickly apparent to Inge and her colleagues that there
When asked what her ‘aha’ moment was with regards to
was a demand for a more tailored solution for HR departments
setting up the Foundation itself and the subsequent elements
and professionals themselves, along the lines of the Expat
of it, such as the Expatise Knowledge Centre, the Expat Por-
Portal itself - a knowledge centre and forum for discussion,
tal, and now the HR Portal, Inge paused, and with a broad
sharing, solving and lobbying.
smile said, “There was no one ‘aha’ moment. Rather there is
In April 2009, the Expat Foundation organised a confer-
a chain of many aha moments” that reflect the opportunities
ence at the Chamber of Commerce in The Hague, which was
for the Foundation to respond to the needs and interests of
attended by more than 70 representatives from international
employers, expats, governmental organisations and service
and multinational companies, Dutch or otherwise, as well as
providers, or as they refer to them, market parties.
decision makers from governmental organisations. The purpose of this gathering was twofold: to confirm that there was still a need for the Expat Portal, given the changed economic climate, and secondly, to present a sketch of what would be an HR Portal and to confirm its need. On both subjects, the response was resoundingly positive. Yes, the role of the Expat
For more information about the services provided by the Dutch Expat Foundation and how to take advantage of these or become a partner in the search for and provision of answers and solutions being sought by international employers, contact the Dutch Expat Foundation, www. expatfoundation.org, 070 - 346 81 89, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE XPAT JOURNAL
No One Is a Foreigner In Noord-Brabant
Simply a New Neighbour For anyone living in the Randstad, the term expat is all BUT unfamiliar. It seems that every street corner and service provider has added it to its marketing strategy. For the residents of Noord Brabant,
the adult perhaps perplexed. Well, the non-Dutch adult that is, for the Dutch learn in their history the how and why of this particularity. For the non-Dutch, an overview of this how and why may well shed light on why Noord Brabant is so unique in the Netherlands, and more importantly on why today the term expat, or even expatriate, are unknown concepts in this part of the country.
according to Richard l’A mi of the North Brabant Development Agency (BOM), it is an unfamiliar
word, and concept.
Newcomers are welcomed in the same warm manner in which Brabanders approach life itself - with curiosity, joie de vivre and the determination to find a way of balancing work and leisure. Much of this difference may well lay in the province’s history, as well as a mindset which is particular to this part of the country.
You might be tempted to say; “Noord-Brabant I can locate on the map of the Netherlands, but where is South-Brabant then?” If you were in the early years of Dutch primary school the answer would be straightforward: “...there is no south dear, north is here in the Netherlands, and Belgium has only Brabant.” With this answer a child is immediately satisfied -
A Little History Geographically, Noord-Brabant once included territories and populations of what are today the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Historically, Brabant is intimately linked to the history of the Burgundy and Hapsburg dynasties, as well as to that of The Holy Roman Empire, while it is also linked to the history and people of what were then faraway lands - France, Spain, Austria, Germany, Luxembourg - and their royals, religions, and wars, not the least of which was the 80 Years War. Underpinning all of this was an evolving tradition of industriousness, diplomacy, civil liberties and resilience.Until the 17th century, the area which is today Noord-Brabant was part of a Duchy on the rise, the Duchy of Brabant, which itself covered what is the present-day province of Noord-Brabant, the three
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By Deborah Valentine - Photography Wim Hollemans
Belgian provinces of Antwerp, Walloon Brabant and Flemish Brabant, and the Brussels-Capital Region. From the 11th to the 15th centuries, this Duchy, through conquest and diplomacy, extended its influence and became one of the most prominent regions of the Low Countries. Its capital was Brussels, while Antwerp was its central merchant port. In the late 16th century, Brabant became the battleground for the struggle between the Protestant Dutch Republic and Catholic Spain, which occupied the southern part of the Netherlands. Following the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, which ended the Eighty Years War between Spain and the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, attempts were made to introduce Protestantism. Noord-Brabant resisted this, however, and though today the role of Roman Catholi-
cism has been diminished, its influence on the character of the peoples and the region remains strong.
With such a rich history of different cultures, and a long tradition of welcoming neighbours from different ‘countries’ into
For many Dutch people, it is the Roman Catholic past
their province, its population tends to view newcomers in a
and influence that gives the people in this part of the country,
different light; not as transients but rather as new neighbours,
Brabant and Limburg, their particular manner of being - open,
contributors to their own prosperity. In its modern rendition
relaxed, welcoming, fun-loving and congenial - which is cap-
this means the province is used to the arrival of newcomers
tured by the expression bourgondische gezelligheid. Yet, if
and that there are no ‘expats’ in Noord-Brabant - simply new
one looks at the history and sees how many different people,
neighbours who speak another language and bring with them
rulers, and populations have been through and contributed
new cultural habits.
to the history of the province, it may well be that this too has had its effect on their manner of being. As early as the 17th
century, French and English historians were already express-
According to the BOM, in a publication entitled Europe’s
ing amazement at Brabant’s ‘pleasing mixture of joie de vivre
Heart of Smart Solutions, “...there are more household con-
tents unpacked than packed for removal in Brabant.” It is not
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only the arrival of people from other parts of the Netherlands
Brabanders have, as a result, a direct relationship with inter-
that attributes to this fact, but perhaps more importantly the
nationals - thus continuing a history of regular interaction with
arrival of international employers and employees setting up
other cultures; cultures from further afield than merely neigh-
their operations in and around Brabant’s five main cities of
bouring European countries, as well as Canada, China, Japan,
Breda, Eindhoven, Helmond, ‘s-Hertogenbosch (also known
Russia, Singapore, Taiwan and the United States of America.
as Den Bosch) and Tilburg.
Noord-Brabant has capitalised on its central location in
Even though the term ‘expat’ may be relatively unknown
Europe as well as its excellent transport infrastructure, to
in Brabant, the BOM, under the guidance of Richard l’Ami,
position itself as a European centre for international enter-
himself a former expat, is planning to launch an Expat Desk
prises, not simply a Dutch one. It is physically situated at the
towards the end of 2009 to cater to the needs of this growing
intersection of North-West Europe’s economic corridor and an
international population coming to settle in the province. The
indication of distances exemplifies how close the province is
way it will be set up is unique, though. A back end office will
to many important European cities of economic significance.
be set up in Eindhoven for the more practical bureaucratic
The distance to Brussels is 80 km; to Amsterdam 100 km; to
requirements international employees have to fulfill in order to
Paris 450 km; London 300 km; Hamburg 250 km; Dusseldorf
work and live in the Netherlands, and will be complemented
70 km; and Frankfurt 350 km.
by front line offices in the other four major cities of the prov-
The presence of so many international companies already
ince. It is here that the more practical end of things such as
attests to the attractiveness of the province for foreign invest-
referrals to local resources for housing, day-care, schooling,
ment, while the welcoming nature of the people themselves is
etc., will be taken care of; the softer side of living in a new
bound to solidify this growing trend. In testimonial after tes-
country, and a new environment, looked after at the level it
timonial of representatives of the companies already present, mention is made not only of the facilities, expertise, knowledgeable labour pool, etc. of the province, but also of the fact that the icing on the cake is the nature and spirit of co-workers, neighbours and business partners. According
l’Ami there is one other point of attraction when investing and living in Brabant - and that is the beauty of the landscape.
industrial growth and productivity, there is a proud tradition of preserving the environment. While the national average of land left unspoilt is 12.2%, in Noord-Brabant the countryside and woodlands account for 17.4% of matters most - closest to home, in true Brabant style. Noord-Brabant has always been internationally inclined. Today, however, its international character is perhaps best
the territory. This stands to reason, says l’Ami “...where else would Brabanders be able to enjoy the life of leisure they so treasure.”
reflected by the presence of the many international companies
in the province and its continued efforts to attract more and
For Business and Pleasure
more foreign enterprises to its region. According to Richard
Noord-Brabant may well be Europe’s Heart of Smart Solu-
l’Ami of the BOM, there are already over 1,100 international
tions, but is also the heart of Warm Welcomes - for businesses
companies in Brabant, which provide up to 80,000 direct jobs
and individuals alike, here for the shorter or longer term, Bra-
and 80,000 indirect jobs, and he calculates that one in seven
bant is well worth getting to know.
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High TechCampus photo: Patrick Meis
For information on investing in Noord-Brabant and testimonials of those who have done so, visit www.foreigninvestments.eu.
Brabant Development Agency Goirleseweg 15, 5026 PB Tilburg - P.O. Box 3240 - 5003 DE Tilburg Tel.: 088 - 831 11 20 - Fax: 088 - 831 11 21 www.foreigninvestments.eu - email@example.com For information about the individual cities which make up BrabantStad, the provinces five major centres, visit the English language pages of: l Breda ‘Event City’ at www.breda.nl l Eindhoven ‘Brainport of the Netherlands’ at www.eindhoven.eu l Helmond ‘surprisingly different’ at www.helmond.nl l ‘s Hertogenbosch ‘A meeting place’ and ‘dynamic network l Tilburg ‘A City that moves’ at www.tilburg.nl l A mere selection of things not to miss in Van Gogh’s home province, Noord-Brabant: National Park de Biesbosch for the ‘sounds of silence’ www.biesbosch.org l Van Abbe Museum of contemporary art www.vanabbemuseum.nl l Carnaval for a ‘warm’ winter festival done Brabant-style l Festival Mundial for s summer festival of world music www.festivalmundial.nl l Efteling for a family adventure in fairytales and more www.efteling.nl l Open Air Museum in Eindhoven for a historical experience www.historisch-openluchtmuseum-eindhoven.nl THE XPAT JOURNAL
By Deborah Valentine
Rotterdam Expat Desk Streamlining Bureaucracy According to the expression, there are two things you cannot avoid; death and taxes. In today’s world one could add: “and bureaucracy”. Wherever you live, the fact is inescapable, you have to regularly go through a series of bureaucratic steps to either establish or confirm your residence somewhere - not to mention your existence. The Netherlands is of course, no different - though,
as can be expected, it does have its own steps and procedures. What is often perhaps confusing for outsiders to any country
have gone through this process know, it can have conse-
is the logic which may or may not seem apparent in any given
quences not only for the employment aspect of coming to the
system. After all, one person’s or country’s logic may not be
Netherlands, but also for establishing one’s life here. Simple
that of another. Given that there are particularities to the Dutch
tasks like trying to establish a bank account - required to be
system of immigration, and multiple sequential steps required
able to also subscribe to telephone, Internet or any utility serv-
in order to be able to work and live in the country, there is an
ices - cannot in fact take place before having acquired one’s
increasing tendency to provide these individuals with a ser-
BSN (Burgerservicenummer -personal identification number),
vice in which the various bureaucratic steps required can be
which in turn is only issued by the civil affairs/tax authorities
taken in one place, at one time. Not only does this facilitate
once your residence papers have been processed by the
the immigration process for foreigners coming to work and or
immigration authorities. The value of the services provided
study in the Netherlands, it extends a more welcoming hand
by the Expat Desk become immediately apparent when one
to those whose knowledge of Dutch is limited and whose
looks at the whole picture.
expectations may differ.
Mr Nufir Yasin Ates, who will be a Ph.D. student at the
In October of 2008, The Rotterdam Development Corpora-
Erasmus Medical Centre for the coming three years, was the
tion (OBR) officially opened an Expat Desk in the World Trade
first one to benefit from the expedited process and had his
Centre, to provide expatriates and internationals with informa-
working papers, so to speak, within a few days of arriving.
tion on everything from housing and education to recreational
While he acknowledges that “... because I was the first one
opportunities in the area. In January of 2009, they extended
who arrived after the procedure had changed, I was given
their services with a pilot programme aimed at simplifying the
special treatment,” he also confirms that “... my friends who
resident permit application procedure for highly skilled and
arrived after me had no problems at all.” This pales in com-
knowledge migrants. According to Job Laasche, who works
parison to stories which have circulated in the past, in Rot-
at the Erasmus Medical Centre, “... since the start of the Expat
terdam and elsewhere, about frustrations regarding the steps
Desk pilot programme, the process has improved, particularly
required to actually be able to ‘get on with life’ once one has
with regards to the duration of the procedure.” Mr Laasche
arrived in the Netherlands.
assists an average of 37 employees per year who come from
These changes are largely a result of the experience of Ms
overseas to work at the Erasmus Medical Centre and has
Lilian van der Steen, who for six years worked in the acquisi-
been doing so for some time. Besides providing a quicker
tions department of the OBR as the first point of contact for
process, “... getting everything done in one visit to City Hall is
companies interested in or in the process of establishing
a great benefit.”
operations in Rotterdam. Based on her personal contacts with
Given that officially one cannot start working before the
expats, she knew first-hand what they needed as they arrived
process has been completed, this speeding up of the process
to settle in the city, and where the OBR could best bundle its
is of course of great significance. Furthermore, as those who
efforts. Her continued contacts with the international commu-
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World Trade Centre, Rotterdam
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nity based in Rotterdam and the personalised attention from
from the moment they applied for and received their MVV
the Expat Desk in Rotterdam continues to garner respect and
(Authorisation Temporary Stay) while still in their home country.
commendation. Mr Dongkui Fang of the Bank of China was
The goal of this being that, upon arrival, the residence permit
expansive in his praise of the professionalism, personal atten-
could be picked up at City Hall at the moment of registration,
tion and knowledge of the Desk, stating that, as a foreigner’s
with the issuance of the BSN three days later. Until now, the
first point of contact they “... could not find a better one” than
assessment process only began once registration at City Hall
the staff at the Expat Desk.
had taken place, within five days of arriving in the Netherlands.
Rotterdam currently has an estimated 30,000 expats and
Allowing the process to start at the MVV-stage has already
plans to add to those numbers in the coming years. Being
reduced the total time of processing a residence permit from
able to welcome them, make them feel at home and allow
approximately seven to four weeks, and efforts continue to
them to settle as quickly as possible is a strong incentive not
be made to reduce this even further. The fact that the process
only for the individuals involved, but also for the companies
can be undertaken at one central point remains one of the pilot
considering Rotterdam as a European or Dutch base. The
programme’s greatest assets - saving everyone, expats and the
goal of the Expat Desk is just that, to offer a friendly face and
HR departments responsible for assisting them, time and effort.
comfortable environment in which the needs and concerns of
The current evaluation of the pilot programme so far indicates
expats - from meeting their bureaucratic obligations to finding
that in the very near future this will be an integral service of the
particular services - can be met. The pilot programme is still
Expat Desk for all companies wishing to handle the bureau-
that, and will continue to expand in the very near future, iron-
cratic requirements of their incoming knowledge migrants.
ing out wrinkles and continuing to improve until it meets its own stated goals. Nonetheless it is a beacon of light for those simply unsure of the sequence of bureaucratic requirements and how they work, but more importantly, it ensures that these are completed properly, efficiently and within a shorter period of time than before. For the companies participating in the pilot programme, the procedure for their knowledge migrants started
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For those knowledge migrants coming to Rotterdam and interested in taking advantage of this new one-stop procedure, additional information and links to the relevant forms can be found on www.rotterdam.nl/expatdesk. Alternatively you are welcome to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 010 - 205 2829.
The strength of Segment Relocation & Expat Services?
We are the personal touch that expats need! After arrival in your new country, it would be nice if someone takes your hand and leads you through all the official procedures. At Segment Relocation & Expat Services, we understand that wish and have made it our core business. Currently we are the leading authority in accompanying newly arrived expats in The Netherlands. From the moment you arrive at Schiphol (didn’t you always dream of your own pick up service at the gate?), we will take care of you. We’ll lead you through all official procedures, i.e. at immigration and city hall. That isn’t where our support ends. Do you need a bank account? Doctor? School for your children? Job for your partner? We are here to help you. Not only on the first day, but during your whole stay. Behind the scenes, we’ll already have arranged your work and residence permits. Housing? No problem. You are here to work. We will ensure a carefree stay.
OUR SERVICES IN SHORT • Personal guidance through all the official authorities • Applications for work and residence permits • Assistance with practical matters • Courses for HR professionals • Familiarization Courses • Housing
More information? Feel free to contact us! email@example.com - phone +31 (0)33 434 50 99 WWW.SEGMENT.EU
Do you need assistance with the Dutch residence and immigration procedures?
XCent Expat Support is the answer! XCent Expat Support; Professional service for companies, that wish to employ foreign employees in the Netherlands and educational institutes, that wish to enable foreign students to study in the Netherlands. Do you want your foreign employees to start working as soon as possible? Do you want their relocation to the Netherlands to be organized efficiently? Do you want all of the residence procedures for the relocation of your students to be completed as efficiently and smoothly as possible? XCent Expat Support is your professional partner in Dutch residence and immigration procedures! XCent Expat Support offers the strength of expert consultants who have years of experience in working with various local and regional authorities. We will advise you on how to complete the various residence and immigration procedures as efficiently and smoothly as possible. Your foreign employee will be able to start working as soon as possible while you don’t have to worry about a thing. For an overview of our full range of services or for a free consult with one of our consultants, please contact: XCent Expat Support P.O. Box 152 5201 AD ’s-Hertogenbosch Phone: Fax: E-mail Internet:
e XC E N T E
0031 (0)73 – 68 68 608 0031 (0)73 – 68 68 606 firstname.lastname@example.org www.expatsupport.eu
Expatcenter A Warm Welcome to Amsterdam
As far as urban centres go, Amsterdam is not afraid to lead. That is just one of the reasons why it attracts the best expertise to the region, a healthy percentage of
which is international.
nership project with companies in the private sector that offer specific expat services. Through the partnership, expats are referred to these partners on matters such as legal advice, taxes, banking, insurances, international schools, child care, employment, etc. A full list of the Expatcenter’s new partners can be found on the Expatcenter website.
The Website for All Things Amsterdam This past year, the Expatcenter, along with the City of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Partners, Amsterdam Tourism & Convention Board, Amsterdams Uitburo, and amsterdam inbusiness launched what is today the most comprehensive international website on Amsterdam - the Iamsterdam portal site (www.iamsterdam.com). Iamsterdam always has a finger on the digital pulse, with daily news updates, special features and a wealth of useful information for expats - including detailed articles on essential topics such as residence permits, finding a job, child care, or apartment-hunting. The numbers speak for themselves.
Another reason is the Expatcenter, which opened in June
The portal site is now visited by over 250,000 readers each
2008 as one of the first offices of its kind in the Netherlands
month, who can consult the site on the following categories of
to cut relocation red tape and smooth the process of settling
issues: What’s On, Visiting, Living and Business. The section
in. How are things, a year later? You could say expat business
for Living clocked 20,000 visits in August alone, proving its
worth as a cultural directory of Amsterdam (in English) for an
The number of highly skilled migrants that visits the Expat-
established multi-cultural expat community.
center is increasing on a monthly basis, averaging at around 300 new expat clients, with India at the forefront followed by
As You Like It
the US, Japan and the UK. That number shot up to 400 in
As well as an already simplified registration process, the
August - its busiest period yet. The Expatcenter’s appeal is
Expatcenter now also offers alternative shortcuts to to arrang-
clear. Employers can use its services to initiate the application
ing the papers you need. Its key strength as a service provider
procedure for a residence permit before the new employee
lies in its flexibility: keeping both international companies and
has even arrived in the Netherlands. Once here, that just
their expat staff happy. It is now possible to pick up an IND
leaves the expat a single trip to the Expatcenter to pick up a
approval (beschikking) at the Expatcenter two weeks after
residence card and finalise the registration process.
a residence permit application has been filed. This means a migrant can start working straight away.
The Complete Package The Expatcenter was created to better meet the needs
of international companies and their expatriate employees.
The Expatcenter has many plans to further extend its services
The fast-track service covers both the Amsterdam area and
in the future, rolling out content in new formats to complement
Amstelveen, as a joint initiative between the two cities,
the current website, as well as informational brochures and
together with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND)
booklets. Thanks to its strong partnerships, government back-
of the Netherlands.
ing, and an internal network of highly knowledgeable staff, the
Its location in the WTC in Amsterdam’s Zuidas makes it an easily accessible one-stop-shop for those seeking assistance
Expatcenter ensures a comprehensive package of service to expats moving to Amsterdam. Welcome to the city.
in dealing with government regulations and other, expatrelated, issues. Whether it’s a question on parking, taxes or health care, the Expatcenter staff is ready and able to offer assistance with expert attention.
Forming Partnerships This summer, the Expatcenter officially launched a pilot part-
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Contact Expatcenter Amsterdam - World Trade Center Amsterdam: F-Tower Strawinskylaan 39 (second floor) - 1077 XW Amsterdam E-mail: email@example.com Tel.: 020 - 254 79 99 Internet: www.iamsterdam.com/expatcenter
THE XPAT JOURNAL
Holland Dance Festival Celebrating Five Decades of Modern Dance Tradition Samuel Wuersten is a kind, modest man, with warm welcoming eyes and a drive to - as he describes it - bring together people and dance. He has been the artistic director of the Holland Dance Festival - a biennial dance festival - since 1994, while he is also artistic director of the Rotterdam Dance
Academy and guest programmer dance for the Lucent Dance Theater. “The main theme of this year’s Holland Dance Festival revolves around the 50th anniversary of the Nederlands Dans Theater,” Samuel explains, “and I am very excited, because this represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dedicate an entire festival to one particular dance company. But we don’t want to make this merely a nostalgic tour. The Nederlands Dans Theater has crossed roads with many important choreographers and is a model for companies across the world. It has brought groundbreaking ideas for structuring companies, and has influenced how the dance company of today should be perceived. For instance, with its junior and senior dance companies and with Kylián’s revolutionary idea that, rather than having one soloist, one should emphasize the fact that all dancers are equally interesting and that they are all fine artists. It is ideas like this that have made dance history.”
Family Tree Samuel continues: “Also, many important choreographers have set their first steps here, after which they ventured into international careers across the and to give a historic perspective, but, instead, to capture the dynamic of the moment, and to show where dance can go, in the future. The festival will show the family tree of the Nederlands Dans Theater, and the fact that it is at the root of a family tree that has spread across the globe. And what is really wonderful,” Samuel tells with quiet pleasure, “is that people are excited about this opportunity to pay tribute to the Nederlands Dans Theater. They have bent over backwards to contribute something special to this celebration. For instance, The Batsheva Dance Company will be showing a new creation, as well as the work of one of its protégés - showing that ideas continue, are passed on and have a long life.”
THE XPAT JOURNAL
Samuel Wuersten - Photo: Antoinette Mooy
globe. As I said earlier, the idea behind this festival is not so much to look back
Compania Nacional de Danza
When you look at a piece that was created in the sixties
As part of the program, “Nacho Duato will be revisiting an
and compare it to pieces that are created now, what are the
early period of his choreographic career, by bringing back the
differences that you see? “There is a difference in move-
famous Spanish singer Maria del Mar Bonet to accompany
ments,” Samuel answers, “and in the esthetics in general. The
an older piece of his. Having this unique singer provide live
approach to how pieces are structured has changed. Pieces
accompaniment to Duato’s piece is something very unusual
created a few decades ago had a beginning and an end. Con-
and rare,” Samuel explains.
temporary pieces often have an open composition; they begin and they end, and yet you don’t quite know how or why. Yet
somehow, things are also the same,” Samuel continues: “If
Despite the fact that the festival is not set up as a nostalgic
you look at old movies and study the steps and movements
tour, it will also have a historical component, Samuel informs
of the dances, you realize that they could be repeated today
us. For instance, Introdans will be recreating two old works
with as much effect. The evolution of what man can do does
from the 60s, by Anna Sokolow and Glen Tetley. “Also that is
not change so rapidly that things become vastly different over
unique,” Samuel tells enthusiastically. “It is quite an endeavor
just a few decades - hair and clothes, however, are much more
to recreate an old work. Sokolow’s piece is called Rooms, and
was created to illustrate the isolation of life in the cities, which was an issue that was considered potentially problematic in
the sixties. It is a time piece, but is still very contemporary.”
“Reconstructions are always very appealing,” says Samuel.
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Hubbard - Todd Rosenberg
“Some pieces are historically interesting to revisit, others are truly powerful. I remember seeing a piece in the eighties that I thought was the greatest piece under the sun - now I find it quite predictable,” he smiles. Samuel, as director of the Rotterdam Dance Academy, will be playing the double role as he directs this academy in a piece called Symphony of Psalms, an old piece of Jirí Kylián’s. Samuel inclines his head in modest humor as he explains: “Kylián does not really like to visit his own old work; he refers to it as Jurassic Park - but it is one of those pieces that is not at all dated. All I can say, is that there are no rules for what works and what doesn’t work, you still have to have an idea of what is meant by the piece.”
Beautiful Samuel’s aim is to share the pleasure of dance with as many people as possible: “I consider myself a mediator who connects the audience with dance and dance with the audience. Dance does not rely on language and is therefore a great art form. I find the idea of seeing the body as an instrument, a translator of ideas and energy, very appealing and interesting. What current generations are doing in their leisure time is very virtual, with computers and games and simulations - while watching someone perform live is so much more beautiful.
IT Dansa - Ros Ribas
The intensity of such a moment is very empowering and it does something to people in a good way.”
Growing Up “The Netherlands is well-suited to arranging a festival of this dimension,” Samuel explains, “as there is a high level of acceptance of dance in this country. And while the dance history of this country is relatively young, it has contributed to contemporary dance for 50 years. Which means that, while all efforts within this field have gone into creating new work, new choreography and developing new dancers, it does, in fact, have a considerable tradition in modern dance. And the fact that we can conclude, observe and celebrate that, in reality means that dance in the Netherlands has grown up. It can no longer be seen as haphazard, and without a context; it has a place in history, it has a tradition, and it has contributed to how modern dance companies are perceived throughout the world. And celebrating that, is what this festival is all about.”
The festival will take place in The Hague, on various locations, from October 28 through November 15. For more information, visit www.hollanddancefestival.com.
THE XPAT JOURNAL
EXPATDESK ROTTERDAM Rotterdam is a hospitable international city. The city welcomes you as an expat with open arms. When you come to live, work or enjoy life in Rotterdam, we offer tailor-made information. The Expatdesk Rotterdam is the place to find the answers to all of your questions.
EXPATDESK ROTTERDAM WORlD TRADE CEnTER ROOM 337 / 338 BEuRSPlEin 37 ROTTERDAM PhOnE +31 (0)10 - 205 28 29 EXPATDESK@ROTTERDAM.nl
By Deborah Valentine
Mastering the Softer Side of Banking “At ABN AMRO, we provide a comprehensive service that will suit your international lifestyle. We meet all your banking needs, wherever you might be
and whenever you need it.”
Lars Tomson in The Hague and Rick Scholten in Amsterdam manage the International Clients’ branches and, together with their teams, ensure that ABN AMRO is becoming increasingly visible in the community as well as active within it. As part of this strategy, ABN AMRO is supportive of and present at many community events - such as the ‘Feel at home in The
With these opening lines, ABN AMRO greets its English-lan-
Hague - International Community Fair’ in
guage Internet visitors with the promise of a service tailored just
The Hague, the ‘i’m not a tourist Fair’ in
to their needs. For those interested in the bank’s ‘Expat Service’,
Amsterdam - and organisations - such
the promise goes a step further: “It is a unique combination of
as ACCESS, and the Amsterdam Expat
our best banking services and personal advice from our Expat
Center. For Lars Tomson “...getting to
advisors.” As Lars Tomson, Director of International Clients at
know the individuals involved is the best
ABN AMRO’s Kneuterdijk offices in The Hague well knows,
way of knowing how we can best serve
though, no two ‘international clients’ are alike, nor do they
them”. Their regular presence at events
require the exact same services. In fact, ABN AMRO’s interna-
such as The Hague International Network
tional clients are not simply those expatriates who relocate to
and the Expat Center Partnership Programme in Amsterdam
the Netherlands; they include Dutch clients who are relocating
and columns in publications such as The Local Expat mean
overseas. A broad category in which there is little homogeneity.
that they are regularly in touch with the very people they strive
So, how does ABN AMRO live up to its promises?
to serve and thus are able to hear what the day-to-day issues
For Lars, it is through the ‘softer side’ of banking that ABN
may be for them. The importance of having a soft landing
AMRO is able to offer its international clientele the particular
when arriving in a new country has not escaped Lars or Rick,
products they need and require. Personal attention that is based
and at ABN AMRO they are there to do everything they can
on an awareness of cultural differences, a curiosity about learn-
to ensure that their clients are guided and supported through
ing, a service-minded mentality, and a determination to find
the banking end of the process - from answering questions,
to assisting in making the appropriate decisions, to completing certain requirements. An integral part of being able to do
The Softer Side
so is being able to communicate effectively with their clients.
For the newly arrived in the Netherlands, ABN AMRO is a
While English and Dutch are the bank’s official / principal lan-
prominent feature on the high street, and is proud to be a choice
guages, ABN AMRO International Clients can communicate
service provider to the expats here, and overseas, Dutch or
in approximately 23 different languages when a particular
otherwise. The International Clients’ branches allow the ABN
point is difficult to communicate or understand. However, for
AMRO to put together product packages tailored to the par-
anyone who has relocated to a new country, it is a well-known
ticular needs of individuals who come to the Netherlands for a
fact that language is but one element of communication. The
shorter or longer period of time, as well as to the needs of Dutch
team at ABN AMRO has been listening and is also inherently
individuals who go overseas for an ‘expat’ posting. Its products
aware of the many elements of communication. They appre-
and services are varied, competitive and can be adapted. What
ciate that everyone is different and brings with them different
makes this a successful formula is the way in which it is person-
expectations and experiences - when it comes to banking or
ally managed and enhanced to meet the needs of the individuals
anything else. Being aware is half the battle, the other half, of
course, being: listening carefully and being prepared to find
THE XPAT JOURNAL
solutions, and to move forward - keeping in mind, of course,
er side of banking, yet without this added value, the products
what is feasible. This appreciation for ‘difference’ comes
and services of ABN AMRO would be just one of the many
from an overall sense of curiosity, and being cognizant of
other ones on the market.
the fact that not only do those who arrive here have different experiences, but that those who are already here, the team at ABN AMRO for instance, also have different expectations, experiences and ways of doing things. In order to gain a greater understanding of working cross-culturally, the team at Lars Tomson, The Hague
For more information about ABN AMRO and its Expat products and services visit www.abnamro.nl/english or contact Lars Tomson, International Clients The Hague, at 06 - 10 016 512, or lars.tomson@ nl.abnamro.com, or Rick Scholten, International Clients Amsterdam, at 06 - 51 301 354, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Rick Scholten, Schiphol Airport
The Hague office recently supported a research project that
For the curious
was undertaken by a student at The Hague University into
ABN AMRO is an institution in the Netherlands, with a history
the effect of making broad generalisations about cultures.
going as far back as 1824. In its more modern formation, it
“People’s expectations differ,” according to Lars, “...so it is
dates back to 1991, when the Algemene Bank Nederland
vital that we use a bit of awareness to be able to respond
(ABN) merged with the Amsterdam-Rotterdam Bank (AMRO).
ABN had its historical roots in what was once the Neder-
The final, key, ingredient of this ‘softer side’ of banking,
landsche Handel-Maatschappij (Netherlands Trading Society,
according to Lars, is the presence of strong hospitality genes,
NTS) when it was established, by Royal Decree, in 1824 by
as he calls it, which means that, while being aware of differ-
King Willem I as a means of tackling Holland’s then declining
ences, the team strives to find the common points with a cli-
trade. It was only in 1864, when the NTS merged with the
ent, thus making each feel welcome in their new home. With
Twentsche Bank, that it changed its name and became the
the possibility of a safe and secure Internet banking system,
Algemene Bank Nederland (Netherlands General Bank, ABN).
ABN AMRO’s clients can be served 24 hours a day. And for
As an established and credible player in the financial sector
the international clients; in English, if they wish. For their Pre-
today, it offers a range of products from day-to-day banking to
ferred Clients, this also entails a Personal Banker and a 24hr-
investments, loans, insurances and mortgages.
number, which they can call with specific queries. Providing
In 2007, ABN AMRO was acquired by the consortium of
accessible services is one element of hospitality. Another is
Fortis, RBS and Santander. A year later, the Dutch government
the determination to support the continued evolution of The
bought Fortis Bank Nederland, including its interests in ABN
Hague and Amsterdam as international cities, which they do
AMRO. As of December 24, 2008, the Dutch state replaced
by being involved in and supportive of a number of initiatives,
Fortis as a stakeholder in RFS Holdings, which continues to
public and private.
manage ABN AMRO. True to its service-mindedness, ABN
Mastering the ability to listen, awareness of difference, a
AMRO uses the website to keep its customers informed of
determination to find common ground and solutions, while
developments, assuring all that their deposits with the bank
capitalising on its inherent hospitality genes, may be the soft-
THE XPAT JOURNAL
Winging It in Zeeland During July and August, three slices of the Netherlands turn into a German party pie. The otherwise sleepy region of Zeeland has long been a summer haven for our neighbours and it doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out why. Stretched-out beaches down three peninsulas, picturesque towns, salty sea snacks and long sunny days dominate the summer senses.
But if you want to steer clear of the caravan trail, head down
Glider planes have been around for more than a century.
south in the autumn months. Once there you can bike, ride,
Today’s models are engineless, streamlined planes that can
drive or sail the Delta works, but soaring on a glider plane pro-
lift one or two people above the clouds and, with favorable
vides you with a bird’s eye view and experience you wouldn’t
weather and sufficient skill, let them stay there for hours.
want to miss out on.
Marco’s longest flight lasted for over seven hours and without the luxury of airplane food, stewardesses or toilets, any urge
I See Land
while up in the sky has its own DIY solution.
Marco Donders pulls the orange lever to release the line from
Our flight will last about thirty minutes, but time flies when
the winch and our lithe glider shoots up towards the sky,
you’re living a dream. There’s something sublime about scoot-
gathering wind under its wings. “We watch for buzzards and
ing through the sky completely unfettered, several hundred
other birds of prey,” he says, dipping the nose just a bit. “They
metres above the ground. To understand how this anti-gravity
know where to fly.”
act is possible, think of the atmosphere as an ocean of air
While he talks, my stomach is still catching up with me. The
flowing constantly around the Earth in relatively predictable
first seconds feel a bit like skydiving, except for that we’re
patterns. Uneven heating almost anywhere on the planet’s
going up instead of down.
surface can cause atmospheric hot spots. Like bubbles in a
As we swoop along the treetops, we slowly begin to rise
pot of boiling water, the warmer air rises rapidly in columns
into the sky, buoyed by the imperceptible tide of wind flowing
that can reach thousands of metres in the sky before they
out of the west and washing up and over the forested ridge-
cool enough to condense into the cumulus clouds that form at
line. The towns and paddocks below reveal every detail of the
their top. These warm air elevators are called thermals. When
topography, along with traces of streets and trees. Peering
a soaring bird or glider pilot finds a thermal bubble, they make
through the crystal-clear canopy inches from my nose, I can
tight circles inside the updraft, riding it higher and higher,
turn my head and see the magnificent panorama of Zeeland
essentially corkscrewing their way into the sky.
before me. Straight ahead lay Walcheren and Zuid-Beveland
Once we have found our bubble, Marco quickly points out
with just before it a teeming brick land, which Marco identifies
we’re not the only ones riding the wave. Around us, another
plane and four birds effortlessly float about in this whirlpool
THE XPAT JOURNAL
Note to the reader: Jeroen Swolfs, our photographer, left to photograph and record each main street of every capital on the globe for his new project ‘Streets of the World’. I’m slightly jealous. If you are too, check out his website: www.streetsoftheworld.nl. But where one goes, another one shows. Tijmen Wisman, often found sleeping at his desk, finally left his boring job to pursue a far better picture of life. This is his first issue.
By Suzanne Schreve - Photography Tijmen Wisman
bubble too far away. We make a right turn and head back to base. In Marco’s practiced hands, the glider touches down its one wheel on a small strip of red rubber in the middle of a paddock. The ride is surprisingly smooth and probably far less bumpy than a drive along the country roads over which we soared. A tractor stands close by to pull us back to the starting point, where the rest of the weekend gliders welcome us back. The glider organisation is set up, run and owned by its members and oozes a community feel. Young and old come together to fly into the sky and while on the ground, chat to us about their stories of how the magic of cloud hopping got them to come back for more. It’s exactly this openness and friendly demeanor, which will characterise the rest of our weekend in Zeeland.
of wind. I’m jerking my head around to take it all in and just
as I have my face pressed to the window for a closer look,
The only issue about visiting Zeeland is that there’s a smorgas-
a buzzard appears below me. For a couple of seconds his
bord of places to see and things to do. First off, there are three
head comes up and our eyes meet. I truly feel like I’m flying,
‘islands’, each with its own appeal and history, because the
even though I’m the bird in a cage. It’s a Kodak moment that
delta has always been a continuously changing area. A histori-
I have no picture of to show you; but just imagine watching a
cal atlas of the present Zeeland would be like an illustrated
National Geographic film in open-air Imax, while weightless.
chronicle of the continuous struggle of man against water.
After the moment has passed, Marco informs me we’re off
But whatever changed through the ages, an obvious start,
to find another bubble. We’re looking for cotton ball clouds
but often left out of the travel itinerary, is a visit to Middelburg
with a level line at the bottom, but while we’re searching for
on Walcheren, Zeeland’s capital. Its history dates back to the
another ride, the plane swiftly descends towards the town
early ninth century and has left its marks throughout the city
below. When we can easily make out the cars parked in
even though it’s been raided, flooded and bombed.
the streets, Marco says we’re too close for comfort and the
We decide to start at the beautiful late-gothic city hall,
THE XPAT JOURNAL
the relative peace and prosperity. Finally, in 1574 at the end of the Spanish war and a two-year-siege, the protestant army of William of Orange reclaimed the church and ordered the catholic monks out of the abbey and the city. Now that they had literally been driven away from their home, their abbey ended up in the hands of the provincial government. Shortly thereafter, the Golden Age swept Middelburg into a frenzy of wealth and vitality. After Amsterdam, it held the second most important office for the VOC, the Dutch East Indies Company. Ernst speaks about the massive sailing boats that used to dock here, which would have been a spectacle that even the New York skyline would have bowed to; an impressive fleet of thirty boats, most of which each easily reach a length of 65 metres with 30-metre masts poking into the sky. And although the Zeelanders were nifty boat makers, they were more skilled at officially stealing them from the French, Spanish, English and Portuguese. built between 1452 and 1460, but when we arrive it is almost drowned out by the screaming lights and visitors from the funfare. Luckily we stumble upon Ernst Norbert, artist and city guide extraordinaire. Norbert has lived in Middelburg for ten years and started out as a guide after just two weeks of being there. Blessed with the gift of the gab and flair for entertainment, you can custom-order a tour in combination with arts, degustation or any imaginable workshop. For the ladies, Ernst even does the special ‘kilted’ tour and, so he claims, he’s a man hanging on to traditions. But the real art lies in his knowledge and passion for the history of Middelburg. Packed with crayons and stories to tell, Norbert leads us to where the first inhabitants, the Flemish, put a pole in the ground on the highest point above sea level, a mere six and half metres. Ernst redraws the construction on the pavement and we then follow his lead down to the abbey, a tranquil sanctuary in the city centre. Here you can still breathe in ageold history jumbled up with modern-day vivacity. The abbey, originally a monastery, was built in 844 by Norbertine monks and in its entire structure also encompasses the 1165 years of ensuing events. During the Middle Ages, Middelburg flourished into an important trading city and the monks provided the growing population with their special Witheren beer. Just like most beer brewing monasteries, it constituted a means for survival. These monks however had perfected their brewing to an exact science, with skills to make their own medicines from the central herb garden, which still exists today. Although Middelburg was initially built to protect the population against Viking raids - its name refers to a ‘burg’, a ring-walled stronghold - the same Vikings returned both for their love of Flemish women and of course, the beer. In the 16th century, floods, epidemics and war harshly disrupted
THE XPAT JOURNAL
Throughout the times, regardless of who owned it, the abbey remained a place of serenity, which can still be felt today when walking through its corridors, strolling across the middle square, or taking a break in the herb garden. The government re-designated most of the buildings for its own purposes, but kept the complex intact. It wasn’t until the bombing of 1940 that most damage was done. Yet the most heart-rending day was still to come. On October 3, 1944, hundreds of English bombs blew a hole in the Westkapelle dike, completely flooding the island of Walcheren. That which was once called the ‘Garden of Zeeland’, was reduced to only a sheet of water as far as the eye could reach, with church spires and roofs sticking out, and trees that would never bloom again. Many died, including forty-three people who had sought refuge in a mill, but instead were forced to let go as the water carried them all away. Even though this great tragedy shook up the whole of the Netherlands, Middelburg rose out of its depths and many buildings were restored to their original stature. There is much more to tell and show, because this city
close to the sea, you guessed it... there’s lots and lots of
doesn’t tire easily. It has over 1,200 monuments, a once again
seafood. Our entrée consists of three taster bowls of different
flourishing arts scene, tons of watering holes and restaurants,
shellfish. Mussels bathe in delicately balanced Thai juices,
and many festivals to boot. Even though the complete histori-
steamed cockles prepared in a tomato garlic and basil fusion
cal centre had to be rebuilt after the devastation, Middelburg
and lastly, razor shells grilled on wood coals with shallot vinai-
is a city that deserves much more than a few hours - even if
grette. Let’s repeat that again, razor shells. Just like me, those
all you’re after is a taste of its ambiance. And if you feel like
of you from European shores might only know them as those
touring the city in kilts, simply barefoot or in combination with
painstakingly sharp long shells you used to cut your feet on
painting or wine tasting, Ernst will make it happen.
while happily darting through the sand. With that in mind, eating this delicious creation is like finding out mosquitoes taste
Zeeland is also the place to go if you want to drench your
The rest of the night, bold and soft flavours are served
taste buds in Michelin-worthy dishes. With many one or two
in equal measure. The entrée is followed by herring in a soft
star-restaurants, and even a three-star restaurant, the choice
gazpacho for a second course, topped off with lobster for the
is endless. But instead of nibbling on some godly dish best
main dish. When satisfaction hits the stomach like my head
served to people with little stomach capacity, our pleasure
did a soft pillow six hours after the main course, you want to
comes from finding that one restaurant that sparkles without
meet the man with the plan. The chef, Dirk-Pieter, is much like
having a star. Of course we found it. Restaurant de Vluch-
the restaurant itself; a laid-back Australian dude who goes
thaven sits quietly tucked away in a corner of Bruinisse on
snorkeling in the afternoon and at night makes lemon zest and
Schouwen-Duiveland. From the outside it looks like an Aus-
sprigs of thyme dance around a kitchen tabletop. At the end
tralian beachside snack-shack with a painted lobster covering
of the night, we’re invited over for a chat and find out that he
the entire outside wall. We are a bit taken aback, wondering
was born with a culinary gift. Having grown up in a successful
whether or not we have come to the right place, until we step
restaurant and hotel business, Dirk-Pieter moved into his own
onto the charming, beatific terrace with water views to match.
kitchen 14 years ago. Going organic was part of that natural
It is completely understated beach chique, with wooden
flow and an extension of his and Rixt’s lifestyle. Four years
floors, tables and chairs set amongst red rose bushes, pear
ago they’d actually decided to sail around the world, but in
and olive trees. Blankets hang over chairs for colder evenings
order to sell the restaurant for a decent price they had to fix it
and candles fuel the romance. Although no napkins are laid on
up. Once Rixt put her hands to the interior decoration, more
your lap for you, the staff is at your beck ‘n call, even if that
people discovered the restaurant’s appeal and de Vluchthaven
means offering to hold the breadbasket if there’s no room left
thrived. So they decided to stay.
on the table. Because your table will be full if you just let the owners, couple Dirk-Pieter and Rixt, do the ordering for you. De Vluchthaven is mainly an organic restaurant and being
While Tijmen and Dirk-Pieter discuss the finer parts of politics, UFOs, organic food and privacy issues, I pick at the cheeses laid out on the table and lay back under a starlit sky,
THE XPAT JOURNAL
literally is a bed in a closet. It might sound claustrophobic, but it’s an old Dutch tradition and completely romantic like the rest of the B&B, especially the garden. Although Appeltuin
apple garden, during breakfast I primarily notice pear trees. Most houses in Zeeland actually do have various fruit trees in their gardens, which could almost qualify as mini orchards In summer you will frequently find boxes of fruit and vegetables at the the only stars that really count. Just after four A.M. we drive
road’s edge with a self-service sign. You grab what you want
back to our B&B, where in the morning another healthy yet
and leave payment in the money box next to it. And that is
seriously tasty breakfast will await us.
precisely the nature of this peaceful corner of the Netherlands. When I think about it, Zeeland is almost too cliché with
Curling Up in a Cupboard
its wide sea views, windmills, dykes, quaint medieval towns
There are as many choices in accommodation, as there are
and friendly inhabitants, but I guess such is the nature of a
places to go, see and eat. You can stay at the Gouden Leeuw
city dweller. Who wants beach hugging beauty set amongst
hotel, a centuries-old inn in Scherpenisse, or at the lovely art
tranquil landscapes anyway?
gallery-cum-hotel the Bloemfabriek, an old flourmill situated next to the dike of the Westerschelde. But you can also opt
Things to do left out
to sleep at the Appeltuin, a charming B&B in an old fishing
1 A stroll on the beach, naturally. 2 Plucking oysters along the dikes. The season starts in
house run by a couple with a penchant for destined love. They initially met through Maartje’s mother who then lived in Indonesia part-time, but went their separate ways after a brief, memorable love stint. Time, jobs and lovers passed until ten years later, Maartje returned to Indonesia and the coupe
September and you’re allowed 10 kg each. Just bring a knife, a bucket and a bottle of sparkles.
3 A visit to Veere, Walcheren. 4 Lunch at Badpaviljoen in Domburg, Walcheren, inspira-
fell in love again. Fast forward to the present, they have two
tional home to Dutch painter Piet Mondriaan.
children and Maartje runs the B&B with similar romantic devo-
5 Hidden from view and most maps, national park
tion. We sleep in an old ‘cupboardbed’ or bedstee, which
Restaurant de Vluchthaven
Hotel De Gouden Leeuw
Tel.: 06 - 57 258 905
Tel.: 0111 - 481 228
Tel.: 0166 - 663 901
B&B de ‘Appeltuin’
B&B de Bloemfabriek
Middelburg - Ernst Norbert
Tel.: 06 - 12 248 083
Site in Dutch, but tours available in French
Tel.: 06 - 42 527 081
Per night for two € 75, including mouthwa-
Zeeland Festival Website
Tel.: 06 - 25 290 027
€ 25 per flight NOTE: flight season from May till October.
Prices vary per tour, minimum € 9 Artists’ website: www.ernstnorbert.nl
THE XPAT JOURNAL
Note: All websites in Dutch only.
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Diary of Events Autumn 2009
Dates: September 6 - October 4 Location: Various locations in the city of Groningen For more information, please visit: www.noorderlicht.com
The list of events contained here is only a selection of the many activities, shows, exhibitions, etc. taking place in the Netherlands from September through November. We do not pretend to be complete, but we do hope this list offers you an interesting and varied selection. For a more extensive list of happenings, we recommend that you visit: www.holland.com
This is the third adventurous Pure Jazz event in The Hague. It has become a multiple day event, with 5 venues, 8 stages and more than 150 performers, such as Mdungu, Habib Koité & Bamada, Straight Up Jazz, 21st Century Band ft. Dion Parson, Marius Preda, and many
Human Conditions Noorderlicht International Photofestival
Pure Jazz, Mdungu
more! It is the kick-off of this year’s jazz
photo event - offer their personal views
season in The Hague. The main venue
on themes that define the human con-
on Saturday will be Theater aan het Spui,
dition. Stuart Franklin, Lauren Heinz,
while there will be a free programme on
Simon Njami, Marc Prüst and Bas
the Rabbijn Maarsenplein, while there
Vroege take us with them to conflict
will be an afterparty on the Grote Markt,
areas, and provide their commentary
in Café September and Music Café
Human Conditions - Noorderlicht International Photofestival
on developments in the vanguard of
Supermarkt. On Sunday, the main venue
engaged, narrative documentary pho-
will be Korzo5HOOG, with an allday pro-
It has been said that conflict is what
tography. On the basis of weaponry
gramme on the Rabbijn Maarsenplein.
gives life its meaning. It is what feeds
Melis underscores the absurdity of war.
progress and lays the foundations for
Six diverse exhibitions, but one power-
self-conquest. At the same time conflict
ful thread: the love and the horrors of
has left a trail of destruction through
which man is capable; the struggles
history. It is a phenomenon with many
that remain hidden from the eyes of the
faces: the tormented face of inner con-
world. Thus Noorderlicht deliberately
flict, the bloody face of war, the empty
turns the spotlight on the footnotes of
Dam Tot Damloop
gaze of hunger, poverty and oppression.
world history, on ordinary people and
The 25th jubilee of the Dam tot Damloop
In an ambitious and probing photo
their circumstances, their will to live and
will take place on Saturday 19 and Sun-
their capacity to destroy.
day September 20. The Dam tot Dam by
festival, Noorderlicht curator Wim Melis
and five guest curators - a first for the
THE XPAT JOURNAL
Dates: September 12-13 Location: Theater aan het Spui, Korzo5HOOG, The Hague For more information please visit: www.purejazz.nl
Dam tot Damloop
night will be the climax of this jubilee. It will take place, as a once only event, on Saturday 19 September, the eve of the Netherlands biggest running event. Thereby, in one go, an extra 25,000
Date: September 21 Location: City Hall Atrium, Spui 70, The Hague For more information please visit: www.feelathomeinthehague.com
emphasis is on discovering new music and on showcases held by labels and companies presenting new artists and DJs. As well as the official nighttime programme, a multitude of parties and club nights will take place all across the city,
entries become available and as a result a total of 60,000 participants can take
Amsterdam Dance Event
making Amsterdam the centre of the
part. Consequently, the Dam to Damloop
Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) has
dance music world. Whether it’s electro,
is one of the biggest running events in
become Europe’s most important con-
techno, drum & bass, funky grooves,
the world this year.
ference on dance and electronic music.
club or avant-garde you fancy, there
The competition programme itself
During the night, it is a festival, drawing
will be something for even the most
is confined, together with the 4 Mile
talents from across the dance music
(and the new Women Win Damloop) and
spectrum to venues around the city.
the Mini Dam to Dam Run, to Sunday.
Over 500 DJs and artists are expected
Therefore it will only be possible to take
to take part in the event, with parties
part in a recreational 10 Mile Run on
going on throughout the night, with the
Dates: October 21-25 Location: Amsterdam, various venues For more information please visit: www.amsterdam-dance-event.nl
Saturday for both individual runners and business teams. Every participant will
Amsterdam Dance Event
receive a 176-page jubilee book as an extra present; a collector’s item, which looks back impressively on the 25 year history of the Dam to Dam Run.
Date: September 19-20 Location: Amsterdam For more information please visit: www.damloop.nl
International Culture & Leisure in Holland 2009/2010 Fair On September 20, the international community can find out about the major international culture and leisure events taking place in Holland during the cultural season 2009/2010. For more information, see our article on page 54.
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I Am Not a Tourist Fair
diverse facets of the art of dance, the
The “i am not a tourist” Fair 2009 will
Holland Dance Festival will be a reunion
have all the valuable resources from
of former dancers and choreographers of
previous years, but with extra attention
the Nederlands Dans Theater, gathering
given to lifestyle and community-related
in The Hague from all over the world.
resources for the experienced expat.
For more on the festival, see our article
Those of you that already have your
on page 32.
bearings in the Netherlands can therefore enjoy as many of this year’s features as can the newcomers - including food, entertainment and networking fixtures.
Dates: October 28 - November 15 Location: various locations in The Hague For more information, please visit: www.hollanddancefestival.com
For more information, see our article on page 60.
Date: October 25 Location: Beurs van Berlage, Damrak 277, Amsterdam For free registration visit: www.expatica.com/iamnotatourist
and visual art are central. A fantastic company of writers, musicians, artists and filmmakers will share the respec-
Crossing Border Festival 2009
tive podia of the Koninklijke Schouwburg
Crossing Border is one of the largest
(Royal National Theater) and the Nation-
literary and music festivals in Europe,
ale Toneel Gebouw (National Stage).
and boasts a well-deserved reputation
World-class musical stars and big names
as a unique international festival where
from the literary world, along with rela-
the combination of literature, music, film
tively unknown musicians and the most important writers of tomorrow will congregate and share in the city’s Toneelkwartier (Theater Quarter). The line-up is yet to be announced, so be sure to visit the website closer to the date.
Dates: November 19-21 Location: various locations, The Hague For more information, please visit: www.crossingborder.nl
IDFA - International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam Over the last 18 years, the IDFA has become one of the most prestigious and leading documentary film festivals in the world. With approximately 300 documentaries from across the world, IDFA offers a
Holland Dance Festival 2009 From October 28 through November 15, Dance City The Hague again shows itself as the international centre of dance at the 12th edition of the Holland Dance Festival, the largest biennial dance festival in the Netherlands. This year, the festival will boast over 60 performances, more than 100 workshops, and a dance parade with over 1,200 amateur dancers. In addition, this year’s Festival will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Netherlands’ standard bearer of the dance: the Nederlands Dans Theater. Besides an international platform to present the
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Meetings with new people and new places, but above all with new worlds and subcultures. Impressions of faraway places are suddenly brought right up close and personal!
its fifth anniversary, this year the festival is setting its sights even higher. For instance, with the introduction of competition programmes for best film and best diverse platform for screening and debat-
music video. With more than 100 films
ing films, as well as for discovering new
and documentaries in the wide range of
documentary trends. It offers a meeting
themed programmes presented at truly
place for film makers, producers, buyers,
exceptional locations, this year’s festival
and financiers. Come and have a look at
promises to be a massively inspirational
this cultural and creative event!
experience. The Shoot Me Film Festival
Dates: November 19-29 Location: Various locations in Amsterdam For more information, please visit: www.idfa.nl
Shoot Me Film Festival
opens up previously unexplored terrain: Trespassing is allowed!
Dates: October 15-25 Location: Various locations in The Hague For more information, please visit: www.shoot-me.nl
Agrippina Photo Myléne Siegers
roles and characters, with men and women dressing as men, all of them in search of true love. A dynamic narrative drive with a torrent of sound and
This year, the Shoot Me Film Festival will,
music creates one of the most acces-
lenging programme focused around inde-
International Programme The Royal Theatre
pendent film. Independent filmmakers’
The Royal Theatre is considered one of
years for a wider Dutch and international
takes on topics of current relevance will
the most important podiums in the Neth-
audience. The theatre will also stage
be presented in unexpected locations,
erlands for international performances.
Haendel’s opera Aggripina, the story of
such as a tram tunnel and a riding school.
This season they will be presenting a
Empress Agrippina, a master manipula-
But Shoot Me presents more than just
number of great international produc-
tor who stopped at nothing, including
film. Special/themed programmes cre-
tions, which are popular with both the
conspiracy, incest and death, and her
ate a stimulating blend of humour, food,
international community and with Dutch
insatiable thirst for power. Yasser: Shake-
music and parties to create a complete
theatre-lovers who want to broaden their
speare meets the Middle East is the story
experience that appeals to all the senses,
horizons. For instance, there will be the
of Yasser Mansour, a young, idealistic
in a four-dimensional filmic sensation.
play Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, which
and fervent Palestinian actor, who, as
The festival centres around meeting.
follows a succession of exchanges of
he prepares in his dressing room to go
for the fifth time, present a fresh, chal-
sible Shakespeare productions of recent
on stage to play Shylock, the archetypal Jew in The Merchant of Venice, finds himself torn between his Palestinian identity and the role he is about to play in Shakespeare’s controversial play about social segregation and (violent) emancipation. In a spirited monologue Yasser Mansour furiously manoeuvres through a topical political reality and highly-charged Shakespearean worlds.
Shoot Me Film Festival
Dates: Twelfth Night, September 24-26; Aggripina, October 16-18; Yasser, November 25-28 - Location: Koninklijke Schouwburg, The Hague For more information, please visit: www.agrippina.nl or www.ks.nl
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Autumn 2009 important photogrphers in the United States. This autumn, the Hague Museum of Photography is showing the five bestknown series by this highly individual photographer, centred around her two great loves: The Family and The Land. After graduating from college in 1974, Mann returned to her hometown of Lexington, Virginia, where she concentrated on photography. Her Immediate Family series instantly brought her international fame. For ten years, she had photographed her children as they grew up on her farm in Virginia, following their development from childhood to adolescence. Later, Mann turned her lens on nature and the landscape of her home state Virginia for her series Motherland: Virginia. For the series Deep South, she travelled to the southern states, where the history of the Civil War is omnipresent. “These pictures are about the rivers of blood, of tears, of sweat that Africans poured into the dark soil of their thankless new home,” she wrote. In the series What Remains, Sally Mann shifted her focus from growing children, nature and the ever-present past, to death and transience, while the series Faces, a series of por-
Sally Mann, Candy
Sally Mann - The Family and The Land
traits of her now adult children, brings Mann full circle, and is
Everything about the work of Sally Mann (US, 1951) breathes
the hopeful conclusion to What Remains.
atmosphere. Her use of antique cameras and 19th-century photographic processes gives her work an almost tangible authenticity. Her unique view of the world, and the way she manages to capture it, have made her one of the most
Oman The Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam has reached an agreement with the Oman Ministry of Heritage and Culture to organise an exhibition on the rich culture of the country. It will show approximately 250 top pieces from various Oman museum collections. Oman is modernising, but also wishes to emphasise its cultural heritage, as a result of which it has its own unique way of becoming a modern nation. The exhibition will allow visitors to witness the distinctive cultural traditions of Oman. Just like the Netherlands, due to its location close to seaways, the country has a strong tradition of trade, particularly incense and perfumes. Important themes will also be the sultanate and Ibadism, one of the earliest schools of Islam, to which most Omani belong. Furthermore, the exhibition will focus on old naval and land maps, manuscripts, archaeological finds, the unique architecture of the forts, and the country’s famous silverware. Visitors will also be able to familiarise themselves with the country’s literature, music, dance, politics, religion and modern development.
Dates: October 17 - April 18, 2010 Location: De Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam For more information, please visit: www.nieuwekerk.nl
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Dates: September 26 - January 10, 2010 Location: The Hague Museum of Photography, The Hague For more information visit: www.fotomuseumdenhaag.nl
Khanjar, Curved dagger, Al Saídi style
Anton Mauve, Ride along the Schevening beach, 1876
of the work of other Laren painters, what his influence was on
Together with Teyler’s Museum in Haarlem, the Singer Muse-
what is called ‘the Laren School’.
um in Laren is organising a double exhibition on the work of Anton Mauve. This is the first time that there will be an overview of his complete oeuvre in the Netherlands. The exhibition in the Teyler’s Museum will focus on his early works, from the period that he worked from Haarlem, Amsterdam and The
Dates: September 18 - January 19, 2010 Location: Singermuseum, Laren, province of North Holland, Teylers Museum, Haalem For more information, please visit: www.singerlaren.nl and www.teylersmuseum.nl or www.anton-mauve.nl
Hague. It will also focus on his masters and students, such as Van Gogh. The exhibition in Laren will focus on his works from the time he worked from Laren, and shows, with the help
Alfred Stevens The Belgian artist Alfred Stevens (1823-1906) caused a furore in Paris with his paintings of intriguing, elegant and distant women. But this successful chronicler of the beau monde in the latter half of the 19th century originally started out as a painter of historical and socially realistic scenes. It was at the Paris World’s Fair of 1855 that Stevens achieved a breakthrough, with a painting of a beggar woman and her children in the snow. But Stevens soon jettisoned this subject matter for the model in the studio, and more particularly for portraits of society ladies and tableaux taken from the daily life of the upper classes. These paintings, display similarities with the work of artist friends such as Edouard Manet, James Tissot and James McNeill Whistler. They evoke the spirit of gay Parisian life. In his paintings Stevens achieved a striking and convincing rendition of the complex emotions of the contemporary sophisticated woman, at the same time paying considerable attention to clothing and interior.
Dates: September 18 - January 24, 2010 Location: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam For more information visit: www.vangoghmuseum.nl
Alfred Stevens, Reading woman
Cézanne - Picasso - Mondriaan
abstraction - the creation of the foundations
of Cézanne and Picasso in 1911. He was
Picasso picked up where Cézanne left off.
of modernism - will be visible in Cézanne -
particularly impressed by Cézanne’s work.
Mondrian then went on to take a revolutionary
Picasso - Mondrian as never before.
This prompted him to visit Paris, where he
step towards abstraction, based on the work
Picasso was inspired by past masters,
saw the Cubist work of Picasso and realised
of these predecessors, as will be revealed in
though always in a very immediate way,
what direction he should take. Thanks to the
the extraordinary exhibition Cézanne - Picas-
explicitly using individual paintings as his
Gemeentemuseum’s comprehensive Mondri-
so - Mondrian. Unlike his impressionist con-
source. The influence of Cézanne went much
an collection, the exhibition will highlight both
temporaries, Cézanne took as his basis the
further, however. He merged the Cézann-
his Cubist work and the exciting development
geometric essence of natural forms (cone,
esque style into cubism, based on the exam-
towards abstraction that followed.
sphere and cylinder). In this and other ways
ple of African sculpture. This led him to a rev-
he laid the foundations on which Picasso built
olutionary way of exposing the various faces
further. The exhibition will also show that both
of an object. The similarity of theme - bathers,
Picasso and Cézanne were highly impor-
card players, harlequins, apples, smokers - in
tant factors in Mondrian’s development. The
the work of these two artists is striking. Piet
evolution from impressionism, via cubism, to
Mondrian (1872-1944) discovered the work
Dates: October 17 - January 24, 2010 Location: Gemeentemuseum, Stadhouderslaan 41, The Hague For more information, please visit: www.gemeentemuseum.nl
The Art of Fashion Fashion as a source of inspiration for art and vice versa! A large international fashion exhibition about how fashion draws close to the visual arts in many ways. In The Art of Fashion, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen investigates the borders between fashion and art, showing how the borders between art and fashion are becoming ever more blurred and how both disciplines continually influence each other. Today’s fashion designers use installations and performances, and their designs are often more sculptural than wearable. The H+F Fashion on the Edge programme allows designers to abandon the strict rules of fashion and make work unconstrained by other considerations. The relationship between the two disciplines is revealed by these and other works at the cutting edge of fashion and art. Especially for this exhibition, Viktor & Rolf, Hussein Chalayan, Walter van Beirendonck, Anna Nicole Ziesche and Naomi Filmer will be awarded with exclusive assignments as part of the H+F Fashion on the Edge programme. The exhibition will also feature work by Dai Rees, Jana Bartak, Martin Margiela, Comme des Garçons and Bless. The exhibition is part of the official programming of Holland Art Cities 20092010.
Dates: September 19 - January 10, 2010 - Location: Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam - For more information, please visit: www.boijmans.nl
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Viktor & Rolf Bedtime Stories Dress 2005 Photo Peter Stigter
The Knight’s Tour and Lunar Distance The Knight’s Tour is an international group exhibition presenting the work of six prominent rising artists: Jennifer Tee, David Jablonowski, Roger Hiorns, Christina Mackie, Nina Canell and Navid Nuur. In a world that seems largely dematerialised by a wide range of digital developments, these artists work to arrive at new sculptural approaches to ‘the object’. The creation process plays a key role in their work, and the choice of materials holds a special significance for these artists. For example, organic materials such as animal brains and wood, and minerals like semiprecious stones and copper, are used for their ‘magical’ aura. The works are not just a concrete form, but acquire a meaning that transcends their appearance. These artists manage to breathe new life into the Modernist notion of the aura of the artwork. Lunar Distance is an international group exhibition presenting the work of Anna Barriball, Jeroen Eisinga, Ceal Floyer, Aurélien Froment, Douglas Gordon, Christoph Keller, Zilvinas Landzbergas, David Maljkovic, and Charlotte Posenenske - all of whom (except for Charlotte Posenenske) were born around 1969, the year in which Neil Armstrong and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin were the first to set foot on the surface of the moon. The images of the moon landing showed a new world: a world in which technology is omnipresent, and at the same time a world in which a great deal of scepticism exists about the ‘truth’ of images. Which impact do increasing technologisation, globalisation and mobility have on our experience of the world? Lunar Distance shows videos, collages, drawings, objects and installations that on the one hand explore the relationship between image and meaning and on the other our perception of reality in the digital age.
Dates: September 12 - November 29 Location: De Hallen Haarlem, Grote Markt 16, Haarlem For more information visit: www.dehallen.com
Aurélien Froment, Théâtre de poche, 2007
New Horizons - The Hague School and Modern Dutch Landscape
Bernardus Johannes Blommers, Fresh Sea Fish
By the end of the 19th century, the flat and open Dutch landscape with its famous cloudy skies and mills changes once and for all as railways, channels and bridges appeared. The attractive landscape, captured by various painters belonging to The Hague School, rapidly changed. With over thirty historic photographs and an exquisite selection of The Hague School paintings from the collections of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Neue Pinakothek Munich, Kunsthal Rotterdam casts a surprising glance at the landscape painting and photography of the 19th century. It includes works by painters belonging to The Hague School, amongst whom Willem Roelofs, Anton Mauve, the Maris brothers and Johan Weissenbruch. As subject of their paintings they chose
landscape. The business-like photo series which they made
places where the rise of industry and cities was still visible.
clearly show how the Dutch landscape was permanently and
Also photographers showed a keen interest in the alterations
radically changed by the end of the 19th century.
of the landscape. Commissioned by the engineers at Rijks-
Dates: September 12 - December 6 Location: Kunsthal, Rotterdam For more information, please visit: www.kunsthal.nl
waterstaat a small group of photographers, amongst whom Pieter Oosterhuis and Henri de Louw, documented the examples of the constructional tour de force that emerged in the
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This is the ninth in our series of ‘travel tips’, with excerpts from the new edition of Here’s Holland, by Sheila Gazaleh-Weevers, with Shirley Agudo and Connie Moser. For more information about this guide to travel and life in Holland, see www. heresholland.com.
Brabant The Best of Brabant - a southern Catholic province where people are relaxed. Varied landscapes, fine castles, Carnival celebrations, jazz festivals,
truly exceptional family recreation parks and memorable WWII sites.
One of the largest Dutch provinces, with its southern boundary just short of running the entire length of the Dutch-Belgian border, Brabant has the best of two worlds. Under Spanish control for many years, Brabant joined the northern provinces in 1648, but after years of differences, split from those provinces. The result was that South Brabant became part of the newly formed country of Belgium in 1839, while North Brabant remained part of the Netherlands, with strange results that still remain today (see further).
Breda, Brabant’s best known town, has a rich past, a pleasant
historic center, a church with gravestones marking the graves of ancestors of the Dutch Royal family, castles, and parks with ancient woods. It was granted its town rights in 1252 and changed hands many times, as battles raged around the castle belonging to the family of William the Silent, Prince of Orange, leader of the Dutch revolt against Spain. It is from this prince that the present royal family descends (House of Orange-Nassau). Other significant historic facts linked to Breda are that Charles II of England lived here in exile before being restored to the throne in 1660, and that in 1667 a treaty was signed which transferred the American colonies of New York and New Jersey from Dutch to British control. The Gothic Church De Grote Kerk (1400) took 150 years to build and is the tallest (97 meters) and one of the most beautiful in the country. Visit on a Friday morning (market day), when its 45 bells ring out over the square. Breda Castle, now home to the Dutch Royal Military Academy, has had many famous residents and seen many important struggles throughout Dutch history. On the square outside its Stadhoudersport entrance, many battles took place, and many Protestants were burned at the stake here during the Inquisition (visits arranged by VVV). Nearby is the Beguinage, a peaceful little quadrangle surrounded by medieval dwellings with their herb and flower gardens, where, like its elderly lady residents, you can take refuge from the busy world outside. Southeast of Breda, the attractive towns of Baarle Nassau and Baarle Hertog represent a unique situation. Since South
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By Sheila Gazaleh-Weevers
Brabant broke away from Holland to join Belgium, due to new
Willemstad, with a moat and ramparts built in the shape of
borderlines, some residents of Baarle Hertog (which officially
a star and an arsenal that was built in 1794. Further south
is Belgian territory) have no alternative but to pass through
is Bergen op Zoom, a 12th-century stately old fortress town
Holland to go, perhaps but a few meters, from their Belgian
with the Gothic palace of the marquises of Bergen, which
homes to their office - also in Belgium! It has been necessary
was besieged fourteen times. Its 12 rooms hold archeological
for the authorities to duplicate everything here, from electricity
finds, furniture, carpets, and artworks from the 16th through
systems, post offices, and police departments, to even their
18th centuries. The beautiful City Hall on Market Square is
mayors - each with his own Town Hall.
also open to visitors in summer, Tuesday-Saturday,1-4:30
Further east, â€˜s Hertogenbosch, the provincial capital of
P.M. Check with the VVV about the guided walk through the
Brabant, was once the wooded hunting preserve of the Duke
old town July through October. Tilburg, to the east, is a uni-
of Brabant (Hertog meaning Duke, and Bosch, woods). Its
versity town, an educational center specializing in electronics
magnificent square and Gothic cathedral make it worth a visit.
and service industries, but with a history of wool, textiles and
Note its 150 pillars, highly decorated choir stalls, fine statues
the wine trade. It has an interesting working Textile Museum -
and paintings, not to mention the grotesque gargoyles of its
which could be confused with a factory - many galleries and
exterior. Market day is on Wednesdays, when there is also a
museums. In June, it hosts the Festival Mundial, a fine inter-
cattle market. A horse market is held there on Thursdays.
national festival of music with musicians from many cultures.
Once a village, it grew on the Maas river and along the Dukeâ€™s estate and received its municipal rights in 1185. Its
Further south is Eindhoven, the city of light and science,
city walls and ramparts kept enemies out, helping preserve
which has grown to become the fifth most important city
some of the old buildings that still grace the canals and nar-
in Holland economically. It has had worldwide influence on
row streets of its old town section. For castle buffs, there are
electronic and commercial development since Gerard Philips
also many castles in the area. Other towns of interest include
opened a small factory there in 1891 that made light bulbs.
the boatersâ€™ and water-sports paradise; the fortress town of
Take a tour of the Philips Incandescent Lamp Factory, where
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retired employees show you how lamps were made over a Bergen op Zoom
century ago. Youngsters will enjoy the Historic Open Air Museum (Historisch Openluchtmuseum), representing a village from 750 50BC, based on archeological finds in the area. Visit between April and October, when people dress as they were in prehistoric days, and carry out prehistoric work such as hewing out logs or boats, making bread in outside ovens, and more. Special weekend events include the re-enactment of invasions, prehistoric music festivals, etc. You can join in handicraft demonstrations, learn to forge iron or spin wool, play music, or dance prehistoric style. Overnight stays can be arranged. In contrast, Eindhoven’s van Abbe gallery has one of the most vibrant collections of modern art to be found anywhere. Two scenic stops in the area are the Collse Watermill and the Genneper Watermill. Both can be visited. If art is your thing, the town of Son en Breugel is thought to be the birthplace of Breugel senior, of the famous family of painters, and nearby in Nuenen you can visit what was briefly Vincent van Gogh’s home and studio from 1883-85. Youngsters are certainly not forgotten in Brabant. There is a children’s theme park paradise set in the woodlands in Kaatsheuvel. Called de Efteling, this unique Enchanted Forest is full of recognizable life-size fairytale characters, including Snow White, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, and more, as well as many modern additions. It was designed by the famous Dutch artist, Anton Pieck in the ‘50s and has won many international awards, surpassing some years’ Disney standards. There is an amusement park, a boating lake, play areas, and a monorail that goes around the whole complex to view the countless other activities which enchant children of all ages. (You can spend the night at the Efteling Hotel.) Also in this area you will find the Beekse Bergen Safari Park, a recreation complex with a bungalow park, campsite and boating lake with beach. Well organized, the park is safe for humans as well as for the zebras, elephants, giraffes and countless other animals - not forgetting the many cheeky monkeys. Kept at a safe distance, all the usual imposing safari-type animals can be seen in their ‘savannah’ habitat, either from your car, from a bus or from a boat, all of which makes for an exciting family day out. Apart from what is touched on above, Brabant offers the visitor a rich and varied selection of venues and something for every age and interest, from Carnaval festivities in February, Jazz and music festivals in May and June, to castles and year-round markets.
For full details of this and all other Dutch provinces with their events, with maps, addresses/websites, directions, opening hours, etc., the author, Sheila Gazaleh-Weevers refers you to the guidebook Here’s Holland available from Holland Books, VVVs, and from: firstname.lastname@example.org (See ad on page 73)
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International Culture & Leisure in Holland 2009/2010 Fair On Sunday, September 20, The Hague will see the
The Hague, City Hall Atrium
debut of a diverse and culturally welcoming fair tailormade for the expat & international community which showcases International Culture and Leisure
activities in Holland. The majority of the expat and international community in Holland work for international governmental or corporate organisations. In the region known as the Randstad - which encompasses the 4 major cities in the Netherlands (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht) - this population is estimated to be around 120,000. This group consists of people residing in Holland from just
a few months to as many as 20 years or more. Within this group there are more than 80 nationalities as well as multiple cultures and languages. What tends to unite them is the choice of English as the common language for communication, though for many it isn’t their native tongue. Many expats and internationals are accustomed to living in large cities. For them, a travel time of an hour to work or to go
as information on events in Holland organised by other inter-
and see a concert is normal. Therefore, for many the Randstad
national cultural organisations, such as, for instance, African
could be considered as one large city as you are only an hour
and Asian cultural activities. In addition, around 40 sports
away from all the main cities within the region.
and social clubs from The Hague region will be represented
For top-quality international culture and leisure events in
at the fair.
particular, the organisers of the International Culture & Leisure in Holland 2009/2010 Fair believe that expats and internation-
For children there will be an activity area, while adults can
als are prepared to travel one hour. However, how can this
enjoy a coffee area where they can relax and meet friends.
public easily find out about what is happening within an hour’s
This event replaces the ‘The International Community Fair’
drive from home? The answer is the International Culture &
- which, last year, attracted nearly 200 organisations and over
Leisure in Holland Fair.
4,000 visitors. The International Community Fair was targeted at The
On September 20, the international community can find out
Hague’s expat and international community, while the new fair
about the major international culture and leisure events tak-
extends a welcome to all the expats and internationals living
ing place in Holland during the cultural season 2009/2010.
in all of the Netherlands.
There will be over 100 culture and leisure organisations present ranging from classical music to water rafting. Additionally there will be information on careers and education, as well
For more information and ticket order go to: www.FeelathomeinTheHague.com.
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By Robin Pascoe
Calling Young Writers - Friendship in a global society is the theme of a new writing competition for expat children One of the hardest things for children of international families who find themselves moving from country to country is leaving their friends behind. But a nomadic lifestyle has many benefits as well. Not only are kids exposed to a variety of cultures at a young age, they
also end up with friends all over the world.
ument the global social history of expat life. Of course modern communication methods have made it much easier to keep in touch with old friends - children no longer have to labour over writing letters and wait for the post. “One of the first things kids ask about when looking at a new home is whether there is Internet,” says Anke de Vries of expat housing company Your Amsterdam Housing. “They are all busy with Facebook and MSN.” But as well as keeping in touch with old chums, helping their children to make new friends is a priority for parents. “I think for most parents the most impor-
So friendship was a natural theme to choose when The Inter-
national Herald Tribune, DutchNews.nl and The XPat Journal decided to launch their Young Writers Competition for expat children. The competition is a chance for budding young journalists, poets and storytellers to showcase their talents and write about their personal experiences. “When children move to live in another country, their
experiences are very different from those who stay in one place,” says author and creative writing mentor Jo Parfitt, who is one of the judges for the Young Writers Competition. “The constant moving that they have to do becomes second nature, like riding a bike. And the initial pain of being the new kid in town and saying goodbye over and over again can have tremendous value.” Indeed, all the entries to the competition will become part of the Expat Archive Centre in The Hague, which collects and preserves writings and artefacts which doctant thing is that your kids find new friends,” says Angela
Young Writers Competition The Young Writers Competition is aimed at children between aged 6 to 18 attending international schools in the Netherlands or the bilingual streams in Dutch state schools - but anyone can take part, as long as the entry is in English. The competition closes on December 31 and the winners will be announced in early February. Schools and parents as well as those interested in entering the competition, and companies which may like to sponsor the event, can get more details via the website: www.youngwriterscompetition.nl.
Tweedie who has lived in the Netherlands for two years. “I only truly felt at home once my daughter brought her first friend home to play. To me, it meant we had finally settled in - never mind the unpacked boxes.” Jo Parfitt says that all these experiences deserve to be “preserved, shared, written down. This competition is just the kind of thing young people need to take that first step towards expressing themselves. The judges and prizes will give them something to work towards, a goal. And I for one can’t wait to see what they come up with.”
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Make the Right Choice Our first class facilities, combined with a diverse British international curriculum, make the BSN a stimulating learning environment for every child.
The AICS - provider of worthwhile experiences. We are a unique Primary and Secondary school located in Amsterdam, offering International education in English. We “cause” community-based, international learning for students of all nationalities, abilities and classes living in the Netherlands. We are pleased to offer:
• The International Baccalaureate
Diploma Programme (IBDP) for children aged 16 - 19 years • The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IBMYP) for children aged 11 - 15 years • The International Primary Curriculum (IPC) for children aged 4 - 10 years
We welcome children aged 3-18 years and will soon be opening admissions for our new Day Care Centre for 0-3’s which will start in January 2010.
• 3 hours of Dutch per week • Additional English lessons (EAL) • Activities organised by the AICS and
We also now offer both A Levels and the IB Diploma Programme to students from 16-18 years.
the Dutch community
With 85 nationalities on our roll, we are experienced in helping children settle, whatever school system they come from, and provide dedicated English Language support for those who need it.
• Affordable tuition,
Primary School (€ 3.900,-); Secondary School (€ 4.800,- 5.800,-)
To find out what British international education at the BSN has to offer, contact our admissions team: Tel: 070 315 4077 Email: email@example.com www.britishschool.nl
The IBDP is an internationally recognised preuniversity course of study that leads to the acquisition of the IB Diploma, offering entrance into universities and institutions of further education worldwide. Prinses Irenestraat 59 • 1077 WV Amsterdam • T: 020 - 5771240 • E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amsterdam International Community School www.aics.eu
The International Choice
What school is best for your child? That’s a question that makes you think... and isn’t that what a good education should do? Does it make you think? Think about the world around you, the whys and the hows. At ISA, we encourage thinking because sometimes the best answers can be found just by learning to ask the right questions.
Your child’s future t: 06 147 60 597 e : m o n i q u e @ q u a l i t y r e n ta l s . e u w w w. q u a l i t y r e n ta l s . e u
Powered by The International School of Amsterdam Sportlaan 45 - 1185 TB Amstelveen - The Netherlands Tel. +31 20 347 1111 - www.isa.nl - email@example.com
Abuzz with BMW’s
Here, you will notice plenty of distinguished cars; diplomatic
feel at home. They are professionals in the truest sense of the word,
and corporate limousines, company cars, flashy roadsters,
and are familiar with catering to the very individual needs of interna-
sports utility vehicles designed for the ‘urban jungle’ - this
tional corporate and diplomatic clients. They speak the language, they
city seems to be abuzz with BMWs. But where do you go for
know their way around in your world. Think of all the paperwork and
formalities that come with exporting and shipping your car, think of tax-
There is no mistaking, on the outskirts of The Hague, highly visible
free requirements, think of cars that require top-level mobile security for their passengers and chauffeur.
from the A4 motorway with the company badge atop its impressive
steel and glass building: this is where BMW Den Haag resides. There
As for the financial side of any transaction: you’ll be surprised by the
is something special about this BMW ‘Niederlassung’. It goes without
terms and conditions - pleasantly that is.
saying that the showroom is spacious and filled with all the latest shiny
vehicles. Visitors instantly feel at home, and are treated like guests of
At BMW Den Haag service is not merely an option, it comes as a
honour. That’s what you have come to expect from BMW, isn’t it? This
standard feature and is written in capital letters. An additional service
‘something special’ has to do with the people who want to make you
centre in town, one-stop-shopping, temporary replacement cars, serv-
THE XPAT JOURNAL
The Hague, city of peace and justice, seat of the Dutch government and numerous non-governmental organisations, home of the headquarters of many international corporations and, above all, a city bustling with activity.
ice inclusive programmes, BMW and MINI car insurance, customised
BMW Den Haag
financial products: at BMW Den Haag they pride themselves in going
Forepark (main office), Donau 38-40 - 2491 BA The Hague Tel: 070 - 301 71 70 www.bmw-denhaag.nl
that extra mile for you. Take the special sales representatives team. These people offer you the benefit of their broad experience, taking care of all inquiries and formalities while you concentrate on more pressing business or family matters in your new country. They go about their job as a BMW: quickly, discretely and extremely efficiently. And it does not stop, once your car has been delivered. Now life really
Mr Rochèl Schmitz Diplomatic Sales Specialist Tel: 070 - 301 71 42 - Fax: 070 - 301 71 72 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
begins. Ever thought of driver’s training? Of course, it sounds like fun. But it is very educational as well. It is an event that focuses on personal protection as well as on control of the vehicle in extreme situations. Once again, the people at BMW show that they know: business or leisure, it’s always about driving pleasure.
Mr Floris de Gruyl Diplomatic Sales Specialist Tel: 070 - 301 71 40 - Fax: 070 - 301 71 72 E-mail: email@example.com
THE XPAT JOURNAL
‘i am not a tourist’ Fair Will Attract Thousands of Expats Annual expatriate fair to offer free resources, information, networking and entertainment to
internationals living in the Netherlands AMSTERDAM - On Sunday, October 25, at the Beurs van
lifestyle fair for even the most experienced international.” This year’s fair will offer much more entertainment in the form of a mini SpeedDate, wine tastings, and presentations on meditation and public speaking. There will also be workshops on improv comedy, salsa and chocolate and sushi making. Internationals will also have the opportunity to meet with expat-orientated groups and clubs, well-known expatriate authors, universities and many other organisations.
Berlage in Amsterdam, Expatica will hold a one-day fair for
“It’s always a great time for everybody,” said Managing Part-
internationals to obtain information, meet with expatriate-ori-
ner Mark Welling. “Whether they are newcomers, single, a fam-
ented service providers and network with thousands of other
ily or someone who is only on temporary assignment, attendees
internationals. For those expats still finding their way in the
will surely walk away with something extra.”
Netherlands, over 55 companies will be available to offer advice
Worldwide Broker, Eurohome Relocation Services and Voer-
in housing, recruitment, relocation, taxes, and banking. In addi-
man International are the GOLD sponsors of the ‘i am not a
tion, approximately 35 organisations, schools and universities
tourist’ Fair 2009 and will be there to answer questions regard-
will be present. They can also attend informative presentations
ing relocating, moving and finances.
on the 30%-tax ruling, job hunting, mortgages, and how to succeed abroad. “’i am not a tourist’ 2009 will still offer the valuable resources that are so crucial for newcomers, as well as provide a wealth
Other sponsors include The British School of Amsterdam, H&N Associates, Undutchables, Expat Mobile, The Guestcard, ABN AMRO Bank, Expatcenter Amsterdam Area, Rotterdam School of Management and Unique Multilingual Services.
of information regarding entertainment and cultural pursuits for those who have already settled in,” said Event Manager Danielle de Groot.”In this respect, ‘i am not a tourist’ 2009 is a Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam
THE XPAT JOURNAL
FREE tickets to the ‘i am not a tourist’ 2009 can be ordered at www.expatica.com/iamnotatourist/visitors_info.php.
Learn your way
e for th
e informatio n session on October 21 and November 6, 2009 www.nyen
foundations of international management We offer you the foundations of international management in an international context. Are you a manager or specialized professional and do you want to take your career to a next level? Then step up with this programme, that broadens your managerial view beyond your own area of expertise.Become an broadly skilled business leader and ‘learn your way’ in the international world of management. FIM (Foundations of International Management) offers you three intensive trimesters of key business and management learning: Financial Analysis & Value Team Leadership & Organizational Effectiveness Value Strategy & Marketing The program is characterized by a combination of solid academic theory and practical application. Business cases, discussions and business encounters are all important elements, in addition to the essential management theories. Additionally, the learning process is enhanced by allowing participants to compare and discuss their own organizational issues and real-life experiences. After each session participants will be asked to submit an assignment on a related topic. After completing the full program, participants will use these assignments as the basis for an international business consultation or a business plan. When ﬁnalized, the consultation will be presented to the participants’ organization, a designated Nyenrode
professor, the program manager and a selected group of fellow participants. During the ﬁnal session of each trimester there will be Guest Lecturers given by inspiring entrepreneurs, executives and CEOs from international organizations, involving discussions covering critical international business and management issues. FIM is a one-year English language program, starting January, April and September (2010). Participants can enter the program at the start of any one of the three trimesters, but can also choose to follow only one or two of the trimesters. Each trimester consists of ﬁve sessions, which take place every fortnight, starting on Friday afternoon and concluding Saturday morning or afternoon. For more information visit www.nyenrode.nl/ﬁm, or call t +31 346 291 469.
ABC Autumn Top 5 In 1972, a couple of young enthusiastic Americans came to Amsterdam, the city where anybody, anything and everything goes, and decided to open a store with American erotic magazines and
book remainders bought for 10 cents a pound dry weight. That was more than three decades ago. Today the American Book Center has grown into one of the
been preparing for catastrophe for years by stockpiling sup-
biggest, maybe even the biggest source of American (and
plies and learning to live off the land. Two ex-Gardners have
British) English-language books and magazines on continen-
also survived: Ren, a dancer at a sex club who is in quaran-
tal Europe. For general information about the store and their
tine after her protective covering was damaged, and Toby,
stock, visit www.abc.nl.
locked inside the health spa where she had started a new life
Especially for the readers of The XPat Journal, the staff of
in hiding from a man anted to kill her. Through flashbacks,
the ABC has compiled a list of books, rich in imagination and
Ren and Toby consider their possible fates, and the lives that
human spirit and, sometimes, with a touch of retro.
have led up to them, giving a detailed and thought-provoking profile of their world. There’s lots of bitter gallows humor here,
HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY Audrey Niffenegger € 17.95
and gruesome violence in places, but also tenderness and
Julia and Valentina are identical twins; ordinary teenagers,
she uses for the bizarre products of her imagination are irri-
indifferent to everything beyond their home and each other.
tating after a while, but perhaps this is Atwood mischievously
hope. If I had one criticism it would be that the cutesy names
When they inherit their estranged Aunt Elspeth’s London
poking fun at her chosen genre. The Year of the Flood is not
flat, the girls move in, full of youthful enthusiasm, and start
her best book - for that you should pick up The Blind Assassin
their new lives next to Highgate Cemetery. They have also
or Alias Grace, but Atwood writes brilliantly without seeming
inherited some unusual neighbours whose own lives seem to
to even try, making this is one of her most accessible and
be coming apart: Robert, Elspeth’s mysterious former lover;
enjoyable novels to date.
Martin, the obsessive compulsive who lives upstairs; Marijke, his dissatisfied wife; and Elspeth herself, who apparently is
2666 - Roberto Bolaño € 12.95
not quite ready to shuffle off this mortal coil. For the first
2666 is a 900-page novel about a series of unsolved murders
time in her life, Valentina develops an interest which excludes
in Mexico, divided into five smaller inter-connected novels. It
her twin, and together with the ghostly Elspeth, they hatch
is also so much more: the weird swan-song of a dying Bohe-
an ill-fated plan to give Valentina more independence. Her
mian Chilean poet; an incomprehensible, messy, gruesome
Fearful Symmetry is a haunting modern-day Gothic romance
and ultimately pointless work that also just might be this mil-
with the same winning combination of commercial plot and
lennium’s first literary masterpiece. Bolaño’s previous books
semi-literary writing style that made The Time Traveler’s Wife
were tightly written and neatly plotted. Here he meanders,
a bestseller. Suspend your disbelief for a few hours and you
digresses, leads us to dead ends, presents stories within sto-
will be rewarded with richly imagined characters, wonder-
ries, and generally refuses to conform to any of the expecta-
ful settings, secrets, surprises, and of course, Niffenegger’s
tions we might have about fiction. Although long, frustrating
trademark beautiful prose.
and disturbing, Bolaño’s prose flows beautifully through his very talented translator, and 2666 is a surprisingly easy read.
THE YEAR OF THE FLOOD - Margaret Atwood € 22.95
Dark themes of randomness, fragility, ennui, madness and
Atwood’s eagerly awaited new novel is set in a weird and
nihilism drench the book, and yet despite all of this you will
dangerous, but very believable dystopian future. In a corpo-
find yourself drawn forward towards the end, in which nothing
rate culture gone bad, a global pandemic wipes out most of
is revealed or resolved. Reading it, you feel at once fascinated
the earth’s population and only a few people survive. Among
and depraved, rather like watching someone get run over by
them are The God’s Gardeners, religious hippies who had
a truck and being unable to look away. Readers familiar with
THE XPAT JOURNAL
authors like Joyce and Pynchon or Borges will feel less diso-
rent that shows through the haze. Inherent Vice sags ever so
riented than others, but nothing will sufficiently prepare you
slightly in the middle where the plot becomes muddled, but
for the exhilarating experience of reading 2666.
the second half is even more wonderful than the first.
INHERENT VICE - Thomas Pynchon € 21.95
JULIET, NAKED - Nick Hornby € 23.99
Post-modern novelist Pynchon usually has a rambling style
Tucker Crowe, American rock star, wrote one of the great
and is known for his blatant flouting of the rules of fiction.
break-up albums of the 1980s and then disappeared. Anne,
Now he has reigned himself in to write a work of genre fic-
an English fan, writes a negative review of the acoustic
tion - a hard-boiled detective story at that - and the result
version of the album, and her Crowe-obsessed boyfriend
is an enjoyable hybrid of Raymond Chandler and The Big
disagrees with her so vehemently that he ends their 15-year
Lebowski. Perpetually stoned L.A. private eye Doc Sportello
relationship. Tucker himself, however, agrees wholeheart-
is a shrewd detective, but works mostly on hunches and hal-
edly with Annie’s opinion and the two strike up an unlikely
lucinations. His “general policy [is] to try to be groovy about
friendship across two continents via e-mail. Both see their
most everything”. Doc’s ex-girlfriend Shasta asks him to help
correspondence as harmless flirtation, until family problems
protect her current boyfriend, Micky, from a kidnap plot but
bring Tucker to England. Juliet, Naked is about our tendency
shortly afterwards Shasta and Mickey disappear, and Doc
to over-analyze, and about reaching middle age and finding
sets out to find them. Set in the early ‘70s, just before the era
out that you might have wasted the best years of your life on
of of Nixon and free love gave way to Reagan and Thatcher,
something you didn’t entirely believe in. Perhaps a little more
Doc’s L.A. is populated by dope fiends, bent policemen, surf-
mature and introspective than High Fidelity or Fever Pitch,
ers, hippies, suspect dentists and even possible zombies.
Juliet, Naked is classic Hornby: obsession, music, love and
Pynchon’s usual mix of high and low brow references are
loneliness are the themes here again, and the style is funny,
here, along with hilariously stoned conversations, cliffhang-
realistic and cinematic, and tinged with sadness. Thoroughly
ers and terrible puns. But flowing through drug-fueled highs
and deliciously enjoyable.
and torturous lows there’s also a darker, brooding undercur-
THE XPAT JOURNAL
ToughDrive Sport The Toughest External Hard Drive Yet to Withstand Extreme Conditions
Recently, Freecom, an award-winning manufacturer of external hard drives and portable storage devices, launched the ‘ToughDrive Sport’, a durable, shockresistant, 2.5” external hard drive designed to endure even the toughest conditions. This latest addition to the ToughDrive family is perfect for heavy duty users that want to carry their data on the move, whether that’s backpacking around the world, cycling up mountains or running to catch a plane.
with an integrated USB cable designed to look and feel like a climbing rope. This makes the drive extremely portable, as no external power adapter is required to charge the drive. It is ideal for mobile use given its size and robustness, and the internal anti-shock mechanism will insulate the hard drive against unforeseen shocks that might otherwise break the drive and result in the loss of hundreds of hours’ worth of videos, photos and music, or spreadsheets and documents. The ToughDrive Sport holds up to 500GB of information and the Turbo USB 2.0 connection offers transfer speeds of up to 30 percent faster than competing solutions for downloading or uploading data. The drive also features secure password protection whereby the user’s password is encrypted and stored on a 256bit hardware chip - to access the contents of the drive, the user must enter the password for the chip. This added security feature give users peace of mind even where the most sensitive information is concerned as, if the drive is lost or stolen, no one will be able to access the data it contains without the password. In these instances, the drive would need to be reformatted and this would automatically erase all of its contents, ensuring information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
The ToughDrive Sport is available in Europe with a recommended retail price of € 109.
The ToughDrive Sport features a handy loop in one corner so that it can be easily attached either to a bag, or even to a belt - allowing people to carry their data hands-free. In addition, the drive can withstand falls of up to two metres and is
READERS’ OFFER Specially for XPat Journal readers: a 20 % discount on the Freecom ToughDrive series. To order, visit: www.freecom.com Please enter the promotion code: XPATTOUGH.
fully protected against the adverse weather conditions that go hand in hand with outdoor pursuits. The ToughDrive Sport has an outdoor sports design and to complete the look, it comes
THE XPAT JOURNAL
Note: This offer is only valid in the period September 10 to December 5, 2009
RENT A LUXURIOUS APARTMENT IN THE HEART OF THE HAGUE
Oasis of peace and quiet in a busy city centre Living in style in a stately monument • Luxurious apartments from 60 m 2 to 285 m2 • Fully equiped gym in the building • Own parking on the secure grounds • Fulltime Facility manager • Landscaped gardens • Several safety and privacy measures (like video intercom, own safe and alarmsystem) • Own separate storage room • Possibilities to rent fully furnished.
WILLEMSPARK, THE HAGUE • In the city centre, 5 minutes walk from the exclusive shopping area • Nearby all city centre facilities • Tram and bus stops at ca 100 meters • 10 minutes from the main highway A12/ A4/ A13 • Incredible views • 10 minutes from the famous beaches at Scheveningen • Near the Peace Palace and a big park/woodlands
Info: +31(0)70 350 72 02, www.palladium-group.nl or firstname.lastname@example.org Palladium Group: Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, UK, Netherlands, USA, Dubai
Hot Pink By Shirley Agudo
Hot Pink is an intensely colorful photo book about Amsterdam’s annual Canal or ‘Gay’ Parade - the only one in the world that is held on canals - by American expatriate and photojournalist Shirley Agudo, a long-time resident of Holland. Through Shirley’s dazzling photographs, we come face-to-face with some of the revelers in this brazen spectacle celebrating human rights and freedom of expression, in regard to gay and lesbian rights. In the bold spirit that defines Amsterdam, this annual event takes place on the first Saturday of every August. If you’ve never seen it, Hot Pink will take you there. Great gift and souvenir book for friends and family! Books are reasonably-priced at €10, and can be ordered directly through XPat Journal, at www.hollandbooks.nl.
To see a sample of photography from the book, as well as other photography and books by Shirley, visit www.shirleyagudo.com. ISBN: 9 789490 239015
The Dutch Tongue How Nancy Learns Dutch Thanks to Thomas
By Ben van den Have
Written in the form of a conversation between a student of the Dutch language, Nancy, and her local linguistic expert, Thomas, Ben van der Have takes the reader on a journey of language learning which goes far beyond the rules of grammar and vocabulary teaching. The Dutch Tongue is an accompanying guide for anyone is taking, or has taken, lessons in Dutch yet who is still struggling with being able to use, develop or improve their newly acquired skills. As a linguist, Thomas adds his knowledge about the systems of languages to his explanations about the challenges of the Dutch language in particular. He explains why for instance the level of difficulty or ease of learning a new language can be determined by the student’s own native language. Thomas simultaneously explores some familiar but universal particularities of the Dutch language which confront all students. When to use de or het before a word is not clarified, nor is the correct use of er provided, but there is reassurance in knowing that you are not alone in your confusion as to why it exists. The ‘scripts’ of conversations in a restaurant, shop or with your boss or neighbour will trigger a smile in anyone who has wondered when to say what to whom, and how - how to answer the telephone in the Netherlands even has its own ‘script’. One thing is certain, taking a language course is one thing, knowing how the natives use it, is another. The Dutch Tongue is a guide to just that - not more grammar and rules - rather, the ‘how to’ to applying them.
Price: € 16 - To order visit: www.scriptum.nl or www.hollandbooks.nl - ISBN: 9789055946334
THE XPAT JOURNAL
Weight Loss Power Slim - Protein diet Power Plate - with Personal Trainer Body Sculptor - slimming and wellness all in one
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Reshaping Your Body and Face Accent - facelift or liposuction without surgery
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Ericson Laboratoire - Non Surgical Anti-Age Therapy
Action Visit us now for a FREE introduction class on the Power Plate and win a spa!
Permanent Hair Removal
Ellipse and Harmony For all skin and hair type and color
Beauty Corp Den Haag Willem Witsenplein 7 2596 BK Den Haag Tel: 070-3262926 email@example.com
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WE KNOW HOW TO MAKE YOU FEEL AT HOME!
As an expat you want to feel at home and settle in as soon as possible. Finding yourself a suitable house or apartment is priority number one! Due to our personal touch and extensive experience, the Rental Department will be able to find you the appropriate accommodation and advice you on all aspects of the rental market.
Time to move forward? Considering buying or selling your property? The Makelaars Associatie offers you professional advice on all aspects of real estate: selling, buying, rental, letting, property management as well as mortgages and insurances.
We have the know-how, you get the service!
learn something new and open up to new possibilities With a distance learning course from The Open University you can study from home and fit learning around work and family commitments. We offer 580 courses and 100 qualifications, from introductory short courses, to undergraduate and masters degrees. All our courses are taught in English. To find out more, contact us quoting NEGAXP
Stevinstraat 201, 2587 EG Den Haag T (070) 352 68 00 F (070) 352 22 61 E firstname.lastname@example.org W www.makas.nl
Telephone: 070 360 7443 Netherlands@open.ac.uk www.open.ac.uk
The Kurhaus Hotel:
A Grande Dame The history of the Kurhaus hotel in Scheveningen dates back to almost 200 years with a thirteenyear-old Queen Wilhelmina signing the guest book in 1893.
own particular character and historical details, and by meeting modern quality requirements regarding luxury and comfort. Guests are treated to five-star luxury and comfort at all times, in combination with the classical Kurhaus service. The Kurhaus team is keen on making your stay as enjoyable as possible, offering modern rooms equipped with innovative facilities, surrounded by the inspirational Kurhaus with its magnificent authentic details. The moment you walk in the Steigenberger Kurhaus Hotel, you will find yourself in a charming oasis of soothing colours and spacious corridors. The executive and superior rooms, which are part of the 253 guest rooms, have recently been completely restyled with taste and audacity. For the business traveller, the Steigenberger Kurhaus Hotel is delighted to introduce the Executive Lounge, which is divided into areas that are comfortable and designed for both working and relaxing. The impressive Kurzaal is the jewel in the crown, and the beating heart of the Steigenberger Kurhaus Hotel. It is home to the Kurzaal restaurant which combines an authentic atmos-
phere with live music daily. Here, you dine under the famous glass dome that was painted with breathtaking Frescos by Belgian painter Van Hoeck in 1904. Guests to the hotel, whether it be for business or for pleasure, aspire to an environment of contrasts that is both luxurious and contemporary.
This monumental former wooden bathhouse, dating from
The Steigenberger Kurhaus Hotel reflects an ideal combi-
1885, seems to exude a magical kind of magnetism, which for
nation of Grandeur and Modern Contemporary in architecture,
decades has attracted royalty, high-ranking officials, celebri-
design, innovation, service and quality.
ties, artists, business people and many, many tourists to this location by the sea. As far back as the 1920s, the Kurhaus was known as an
exciting musical stage for many an artist - including Maria Cal-
Reserve your room, meeting, lunch or dinner and experience the world of luxury and opulence at the Steigenberger Kurhaus Hotel.
las, Marlene Dietrich and Edith Piaf. The Rolling Stones made history here in 1964 with their shortest concert ever, due to an over-exuberant audience. Those were the roaring sixties! The Steigenberger Kurhaus Hotel has lived many lives, but has still managed to maintain her character as a grand elegant dame for almost 200 years. This is partly due to the close attention that has always been paid to the preservation of her
THE XPAT JOURNAL
Steigenberger Kurhaus Hotel Gevers Deynootplein 30, 2586 CK The Hague P.O. Box 80654, 2508 GR The Hague Tel.: 070 - 416 26 36, fax: 070 - 416 26 46 www.kurhaus.nl or www.kurhaus.steigenberger.com E-mail: email@example.com
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THE XPAT JOURNAL
La Table Is Celebrating!
Anniversary edition of the lifestyle fair in Naarden The holiday lifestyle fair will take place, for the 15th time this year, from November 12-15. In the pleasant surroundings of the Grote Kerk in Naarden-Vesting you can find tips on how to organize an elegant dinner, by means of a sizeable selection of tables that
have been set in a variety of styles. Top Decorators This 15-year anniversary will be celebrated in style. Aside from exclusive interior decorating, culinary delights and lifestyle accessories, extra attention will be paid to fine tableware and special themes. Menno Kroon, a well-known Amsterdam decorator, will be sharing his imaginative and inspiring ideas on how to decorate a table with, a.o., beautiful, hand-made ceramics by Mobach. Also Wilhelmine van Aerssen, whose collections include
Designers Guild, Ralph Lauren Home,
Osborne & Little, and Nina Campbell, will be sharing her
the dining table and will gladly share with you how she does
views on contemporary party tables, together with Villeroy
this during the four days of La Table. The Patissier of the
& Boch. Designer Saakje Visser, together with the Harlinger
Amstel Hotel will give a tasty demonstration and share valu-
Earthenware and Tile Factory (Harlinger Aardewerk- en Tegel-
able culinary Christmas tips.
fabriek), will be showing a singular white tableware with wax
seal, showing the name of the giver. Fernande Hora Siccama,
La Table in Short
Flower Designer pur sang, will be presenting her spectacular
The Grote Kerk and the Fortress of Naarden (Naarden-Vesting)
annual Christmas table.
are unique and pleasant venues for this festive fair. During the weekend of La Table, the stores and antique shops in
La Table Lecture Theater
Naarden-Vesting, including the restaurant Het Arsenaal, will
This year, the fair’s visitors will again be able to attend count-
be open on Sunday. This year, Paul Fagel of Het Arsenaal, has
less interesting lectures on a variety of subjects, in the Lecture
put together a special lunch and dinner menu, in celebration of
Theater. Nahnya van Voorst Vader, of Eettiquette in Naarden,
the 15-year anniversary of La Table, for the visitors of this fair.
will be giving a presentation on contemporary table manners
and rituals, compared to those of the olden days. Mickey Six,
La Table Lifestyle Fair
of the Zilverbank, will be there to talk about silver and vari-
Location: Grote Kerk, Marktstraat 13, Naarden-Vesting
ous types of silver marks, while art historian Sanny de Zoete
Dates: November 12-15
will tell about the history of Damast table linen and napkins.
Hours: Thursday, 10 A.M. - 6 P.M. - Friday, 10 A.M. - 10 P.M. -
Riekes Oswald of the Harlinger Aardewerk- & Tegelfabriek will
Saturday and Sunday, 11 A.M. - 6 P.M.
be there to give a presentation on hand glazing and the paint-
Admission: € 15 at the door - € 12.50 per person, via
ing of earthenware, using the Majolica technique. Fernande
Hora Siccama will make beautiful Christmas decorations for
For more information: www.latablesfeerbeurs.nl
THE XPAT JOURNAL
The BMW International Diplomatic Sales Programme is a unique service designed especially for diplomats and members of international organisations. Our goal is to make the ownership experience of our vehicles a convenient, trouble-free and rewarding experience. Our two BMW dealerships â€“ BMW Den Haag & BMW Amsterdam â€“ have a highly-qualified workforce with motivated and professional employees, who can take care of all your wishes. We are also a Damage Guarantee Partner and a Category I FOCWA Guarantee Company. We only work with original BMW parts. In the event of damage, we will take care of all correspondence with the insurance company and we will offer you a replacement BMW while your car is being repaired. We can also offer you individual advice from our own sales representative. Our vast experience means that we can take good care of all your enquiries and formalities relating to the purchase of your BMW, from the selection and ordering of the vehicle, to export, shipping and other administrative matters, however straightforward or complicated your tax-free requirements may be. We will take care of the whole sales process, so you can take care of your family and make yourself at home in your new country.
Sheer Driving Pleasure, Freude am Fahren, Le plaisir de conduire, Maakt rijden geweldig.
www. bmw-amsterdam.nl bmw-denhaag.nl
BMW Amsterdam bv, Pieter Braaijweg 2, 1099 DG Amsterdam, T +31 (0)20 460 46 90 BMW Den Haag bv, Donau 38-40, 2491 BA Den Haag, T +31 (0)70 301 71 70 BMW Den Haag Centrum (service partner), 2e Schuytstraat 290, 2517 TT Den Haag T +31 (0)70 302 82 80 BMW maakt rijden geweldig
Photography Bastiaan van Musscher
PAN Amsterdam This year sees the 23rd PAN Amsterdam, the most important national art and antiques fair in the Netherlands. The fair attracts a huge variety of art lovers, both young and old, with a wide range of antique and modern art at prices from € 250 to € 1 million. PAN Amsterdam is also a
good venue for potential art buyers who would like to look around and make comparisons. Range
PAN Amsterdam offers an exciting combination of antique and modern: old masters alongside contemporary art; modern and antique jewellery, old and contemporary silver, ceramics and glass; antique furniture and 20th-centur design. Equally surprising is the diversity of art from Classical Antiquity and non-European cultures, including Asian, African and Pre-Columbian art, ethnic art, and new Japanese and South Korean painting. This very diversity encourages many people to make impulse purchases and blend styles and periods into their own individual collection.
Design The fair’s latest innovation - the design pavilion - is PAN Amsterdam’s response to demand
More than ever, art buyers are mindful of quality. 18 specialist
and design. In 2008, PAN
vetting committees guarantee this quality at PAN Amsterdam.
Amsterdam introduced this
They are made up of more than 80 experts, who assess the
pavilion featuring 20th-cen-
quality, authenticity and condition of all the art objects before
tury furniture and lamps by
the fair opens. If an object does not satisfy the requirements it
leading national and inter-
is immediately removed from the fair.
national designers such as Charles and Ray Eames,
PAN Amsterdam is the most efficient way to visit 120 gal-
leries, art and antique dealers in one afternoon. They will be
delighted to share their knowledge with every art lover, even
W.H. Gispen and Grete Jalk.
if you are not planning on buying anything. This is why PAN
This made PAN Amsterdam
Amsterdam is an annual highlight for 35,000 art lovers.
the first general art and antiques fair to give vintage design a permanent, prominent showcase.
THE XPAT JOURNAL
Dates: November 22-29 Location: RAI, Parkhal, Amsterdam For more information, please visit: www.pan.nl
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TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHY: TV CHEF PIERRE WIND
There Really Is Such a Thing as the Dutch Dream You can also climb to the top with a VMBO-high school diploma. This is a specialist Dutch high school diploma that focuses on practical training from grade 7 onwards, with graduation taking place when the 10th grade has been completed. It might not be the highest degree out there - to the contrary - still, that is no reason to look down on it. Believe me, I’ve seen it; you can get to the top on a high school diploma.
Aside from what you study, it is of course of great importance where you do your internships and whether people believe in you. And that is something that is up to you to make happen. In my profession, the restaurant business, it is very important whether or not you get to do your internships in a Michelin restaurant. You can get to the top without working in one of these restaurants, but that is considerably more difficult. Once you have gotten into a Michelin-restaurant, and you are accepted, then your bed is made. If you do your best, the chef
You just have to want it enough. You have to want to be among
will call one of his colleagues, etc. In many cases, at an even
the best. That is the only attitude that is indispensible if you
better restaurant - for your following internship. And that’s how
want to get to the top. I would like to put this even stronger. I
you make your way up.
think that if you want to make it to the top in a practically-ori-
Or course, it’s hard work - 60 hours a week are still no
ented profession, following this direction in high school might
exception, but you do receive a free special education. I
prove to be to your advantage; because here you truly learn a
learned my love of food. I learned how to motivate the people
profession. Provided the government doesn’t ruin it. But that’s
who work for me. How to spoil my guests. The finer tricks of
serving and cooking. But, most of all, the difference between good quality and bad quality. My most important lesson was an aversion against snobbism. Because that is something that still surprises me. Why is there so much snobbism at the top? You imbibe your expensive whiskey, and then order an expense bottle of wine for your guests, while you know nothing about wine (though your guests think you do), only to impress your guests. Only to impress them. “How can you be so sure about that?” I hear you wonder. It’s very simple. If you drink whiskey first, then you numb your taste buds, so that, at least during the first hour or so, you can’t tell the difference between cheap grape juice or an expensive chardonnay. Believe me, you can impress your guests, too, with ice tea and filet of chicken. You can get to the top without truffles, foie gras and lobster.
Recipe of the Day: Clay Chicken a lot of green edible clay (at least 600 gr powder clay: can be found in organic stores, the pharmacy or a drugstore) • stuffing: 25 gr chopped leek, 25 gr coarsely chopped onion, 2 sprigs of thyme, 2 sprigs of rosemary, 2 sprigs of cilantro, 2 slices of lemon, and 2 cloves of garlic. The exact amount depends on the size of the chicken • glaze: tsp curry, ½ tsp chili
paste (sambal), 1 tbsp orange juice, and 2 tbsp mustard • 10
large leaves of Surinam arrowhead elephant’s ear, or 25 leaves of wild spinach or Dutch lettuce • 1 chicken
Stuff the chicken with the leek, rosemary, cilantro,
thyme, garlic, onion and lemon. Glaze the outside of the
chicken with the mix of curry, chili paste, orange juice and mustard. Wrap the arrowhead elephant’s ear leaves (or whichever leaves you are using) around the chicken, until you can’t see any chicken anymore. To make the leaves a little more pliant, run them through boiling water and then let them cool straight away in cold water. Following the instructions on the packaging, prepare the clay powder. Wrap it around the chicken, until it is completely covered up. The best way to do this is to put a sheet of plastic foil on the counter, cover this with clay, and then cover this with another sheet of plastic foil. Use a rolling pin to flatten the clay, remove the top layer of foil, place the chicken on the center of the clay and wrap the clay around it. Don’t forget to remove the outer layer of plastic foil now too. Place in a preheated oven, at 180 ºC, for approximately 45 min. Due to the fact that the chicken is tightly wrapped up, it stews in its own juices - and tastes better. Chip off the clay, remove the leaves and the skin - and enjoy!
Tip: Great in combination with rice, curry sauce and broccoli!
Recipe of the Day: Injera and TzatZiki Per person: Injera: 1 part teff flour (or millet flour) • 1 part flour • max. 1 gr baking powder • water • olive oil, for in the pan TzatZiki: 1 cucumber • 3 cloves garlic • 1/4 liter Greek or Bulgarian yogurt • 2 tbsp olive oil • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar • white pepper and salt
Injera: Mix both flour types, with a little salt if you like, and the baking powder, in a bowl. Add water and stir it in until the mix reaches the consistency of yogurt. Pour a little olive oil in a non-stick pan to bake the pancakes. Don’t bake them brown.
TzatZiki: Rinse the cucumber and remove the seeds, then slice it. Press the garlic and mix it with the yogurt, cucumber, vinegar (and/or lemon juice), pepper and salt. Slowly add in the olive oil while stirring. Let it all cool in the refrigerator for about an hour.
Recipe of the day: Rose Crêpe for 2 pinch of salt • 3 tbsp olive oil • 400 ml water • 100 ml rose
syrup (can be obtained at a Surinam toko or organic store) •
appr. 200 gr sifted flour • 3 eggs • syrup to taste • if you want: edible flowers Mix the eggs, rose syrup, olive oil and water in a bowl. With a
whisk, mix in the flour all at once. This should yield a mix with the consistency of yogurt. If not, add a little more flour - or water, depending on what you need. Run the mix through a sieve, to remove clumps. Bake the crêpes, preferably in a non-stick pan. When they are done, pour on some syrup and decorate them with the flowers. Roll them up. You can buy or order edible flowers in a specialized vegetable store. Be sure to rinse them, to remove any unwanted visitors.
Tip: Of course, you can also use jam, powdered sugar or honey.
THE XPAT JOURNAL
ADVERTISERS IN THIS ISSUE ABN Amrobank - www.abnamro.nl
inside front cover
ACCESS - www.access-nl.org
Actys - www.wonenmetactys.nl
The American Book Center - www.abc.nl
The American Int. Community School - www.aics.esprit-sg.nl
Amsterdam Expat Center
outside back cover
Ortel Mobile - www.ortelmobile.nl
inside back cover
BMW Diplomatic Sales - www.bmw-amsterdam.nl
Beautycorp - www.beautycorp-denhaag.nl
The British School in the Netherlands - www.britishschool.nl
Expatax - www.expatax.nl
Expat Desk Rotterdam - www.rotterdam.nl/expatdesk
Here’s Holland - www.heresholland.com
Hollandbooks.nl - www.hollandbooks.nl
Holland Handbook - www.xpat.nl
Housing in Holland - www.housinginholland.nl
I’m Not a Tourist Fair - www.expatica.com/iamnotatourist
Int. Culture & Leisure in Holland Fair
The International Herald Tribune - www.iht.com
page 76 page 2
The Int. Language Recruitment Fair
International School of Amsterdam - www.isa.nl
Juno Beauty Salon - www.schoonheidssalonjuno.nl
KLM Health Services - www.klmhealthservices.com
Kurhaus - www.kurhaus.nl
Makelaars Associatie - www.makelaarsassociatie.nl
Nova Relocation - www.nova-relo.com
Nyenrode Business University - www.nyenrode.nl
The Open University - www.open.ac.uk
The Open University Business School - www.open.ac.uk
Palladium - www.palladium-group.nl
Personal Relocation - www.personalrelocation.nl
Quality Rentals - www.qualityrentals.eu
Segment Groep - www.segment.eu
Tandartspraktijk De Zuidas - www.tandartspraktijk-dezuidas.nl page 43 Vroondaal - www.vroondaal.nl
Webster University - www.webster.nl
Xcent Expat Support - www.expatsupport.eu
VISIT WWW.XPAT.NL FOR OUR ADVERTISER LINKS
Funny You Should Ask About... Employment Funny you should ask about employment because, like many, I too have been unemployed and desperately seeking. As a 24-year-old Americanborn expatriate, I found myself thrown into the employment abyss at a time when people all over the world were - and still are - cringing at the very
thought of job-seeking.
the time, “Today, a Bachelor’s degree is mandatory and often minimal for most jobs and, to some extent, a Bachelor’s is equivalent to a high school degree 20 years ago.” That makes me pause and wonder... when will it end? Will my future children be pressured to obtain their Ph.D. just to get their foot in the door for their desired career? Despite the emerging competitive expectations of today’s job market, one cannot deny the advantages that a top-level education can offer. By the same token, networking through fellow students and professors is undeniably an excellent skill to employ when looking for career direction. In fact, while in the process of obtaining my Master’s degree in Counselling at Webster University in Geneva, Switzerland, I discovered that finding what career is best suited for you is often accomplished
Having been an expatriate since the age of eight when I left
by taking the wrong path and finding out what you do not want
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to move to the Netherlands with my
family, working was never really an issue as I was always a full-time student.
My studies in Switzerland led to a close friendship with another American expatriate who provided me with a few
As a child, I often filled my mind with thoughts of potential
contacts for a Swiss magazine. Two weeks later I found myself
career ambitions - to be a singer or a poet, for example. The
sitting in the office as the new Editorial Assistant for an intern-
realm of imagination was endless. However, the joyful, carefree
ship with that magazine. The entire process was perhaps coin-
expatriate time as a student eventually came to an end, and I
cidental - right place at the right time - however, it immediately
found myself among the masses that are ‘well-educated, well-
opened my eyes to the world of writing, publishing and... well,
travelled, yet still looking’ for direction in life. How was I going
loving what I currently do. I’m now a freelance writer applying
to make my way in the world... to determine my career path and
for a Master’s in Global Strategic Communications instead of
ultimately find employment that suited me?
Counselling. I’ve changed my total focus. However, once you
Fortunately, being an expatriate does give us one automatic advantage - whether applying to a university or looking for a job
ing from higher-degree graduates. As I hear from people all
discover your direction and ambition, as I did, what do you do next?
- particularly when we repatriate. The degree of adaptivity and
With employment an issue that is running through the minds
open-mindedness required for individuals to be relocated to
of millions of people in this current economic downturn, it is
foreign countries is a powerful character enhancer that employ-
no wonder that most online job searches come up cold. And
ers will certainly not overlook - so, as expats, we must not sell
when your closet is a suitcase, as mine has been for the past
ourselves short. I personally have had to expand the margins
three months - moving from one country to another - trying to
on my CV page to near-breaking point in order to accommo-
arrange interviews with potential employers is extremely dif-
date all the schools I have attended in various countries... and
employers do take notice. However, while my extensive expatri-
On top of that, there are the ever-frustrating, expat-related
ate experience may add undeniable glamour to my resume, in
issues of figuring out which visa you will need to work in a
today’s world, ‘glam’ is still not enough.
specific country, whether the petition for the visa will even be
To be honest, even my Bachelor’s degree awarded from
accepted by the potential country’s government, how you will
McGill University, ranked as the top Canadian university, seems
go about getting health care, and whether or not your partner or
to pale in the piles of applications that employers are receiv-
family members can be included in any employment packages
THE XPAT JOURNAL
By Alison Agudo
provided. The job of looking for employment
there - waiting in line - who will. That is precisely
and setting yourself up in a new country is often
why finding a career that you are passionate
more time-consuming and exasperating than
about is perhaps more important than anything
the actual job itself. Many companies handle
else. Of course, we all have expenses that must
this for you but, in my case, I’m on my own in
be paid, and sometimes an interim job outside
dealing with it - repatriating to the United States
our area of interest is necessary. But we should
with my partner who is half German/half French,
not give up on what we really want to do for the
and not a US citizen. (A touch of global nomadic
ease of ‘what we can do’. Otherwise we will find
madness, for sure, but in the end, it does make
ourselves frustrated, bored and unhappy - and
ultimately looking for other work.
Unfortunately, there are even fewer guar-
Bottom line: Identify where your strengths
antees in the current employment market than
and interests lie, and follow your dream... no
ever, and while this can certainly be discourag-
matter how many times that dream may change.
ing, it also is a chance for the best to be drawn
You will be amazed at what comes your way,
out of us. Becoming lazy or seemingly ‘disinter-
and how content you’ll be in the end. Trust me.
ested’ on the job - once you have one - is an occurrence that we have all experienced either with ourselves or witnessed in our co-workers, and it is something that really is not tolerated anymore. The competition is stiff, and if you
Alison Agudo is an American freelance writer currently pursuing a Master’s in Global Strategic Communications. She often writes about travel and expatriate life based on her own experiences.
cannot do your best, there is someone else out
Enjoy the panoramic view of the North Sea!
Delicious dishes and refreshing drinks, combined with a panoramic view of the North Sea. This is only possible at the Terrace of the Steigenberger Kurhaus Hotel. Come to the historic Kurzaal to enjoy a wonderful dinner with four persons and pay for three. Our three course menu is available from € 32,50 p.p. Restaurant Kandinsky is the perfect place for an evening of fine dining at the North Sea. Reservations for the Kurzaal Restaurant or Restaurant Kandinsky: telephonenumber +31 (0)70 41 62 713 or e-mail email@example.com
www.kurhaus.nl haut E
cui S iNE
Steigenberger Kurhaus Hotel . Gevers Deynootplein 30 . 2586 CK Den Haag/Scheveningen THE XPAT JOURNAL
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