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Dutch Living

A few hours in Amsterdam

A few hours in Amsterdam, March 31st

Sander and I love to take what the Dutch call “een dagje weg.” It’s basically a day that you’re away from home and having a good time. For us, this means we head into Amsterdam for errands. These are pretty basic but each time there’s something new to experience. We go often enough that I think it would make for a good small feature! Today we skipped breakfast to head to our favorite restaurant Ramen-ya. I decided to try something…

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Lifestyle

How the Dutch do rainy days

I was more than a little nervous the first time I visited Sander’s family. His parents seemed like nice people over the phone but meeting in person is a different beast. The encounter went well and soon enough it was time for us to leave. On our way out his mother stopped me. She held up a large, grey, over-sized piece of clothing. It looked more like a dead tent than a Dutch rain poncho.   “Take this.” She said…

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Lifestyle

Glasses and Contacts

I never enjoyed wearing glasses when I was younger. They gave me headaches and I thought I looked stupid. That changed as I got older though. I remember getting into high school and unable to read the board. So I had to get glasses (I wore contacts during the day) and had the same optometrist for the next 15 years. When I moved to The Netherlands I made sure I had a year’s worth of contacts. When those ran out……

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Lifestyle Living in North Holland

Second Christmas

Christmas time in The Netherlands is unique. They have not one but two Christmas days. There’s the first day of Christmas. And then there’s the second day of Christmas. Both are public holidays and most stores are closed. So what exactly is second Christmas and how did we celebrate ours? An extension of Christmas While the 26th has significance for Christians, many people spend the second day like they do the first. It’s a time for family and friends. Many…

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Lifestyle Living in North Holland

Spending Christmas Eve in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a bit mysterious in the middle of winter. People from all walks of live come to it in droves but it’s like witnessing a secret meeting. There are people everywhere but the conversations are private. People bundle up to stay warm or pack into coffee shops where patrons mumble quiet conversations by candle light. Those that are outside are only there because the city is so beautiful even in the stillness of December. So why is Amsterdam the…

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Lifestyle Living in North Holland Tourism

Christmas Market at Assumburg Castle

Our first Christmas Market was located in North Holland in the town of Heemskerk. The castle was built in the 15th century but now serves as a hostel. The castle had been a standalone, it’s a large empty field behind. Now the garden is cultivated and well groomed. It would be lovely to come back in the spring to see it in full bloom. The Dutch and the Germans are very passionate about their Christmas markets. While Sander’s sisters off…

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Lifestyle Living in North Holland Tourism

Oosterpark Autumn Stroll

We had a few things to do in Amsterdam this weekend so we decided to drop by Oosterpark to get away from the city crowds. Autumn in The Netherlands is such a beautiful time. The colors are vibrant and the scents are strong. There’s a distinct nip in the air and everything feels more mysterious. We’ve never been to Oosterpark before but it’s the same as any other large park in The Netherlands. It’s roomy, beautiful, and filled with both art…

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Lifestyle Living in North Holland Tourism

Pride Amsterdam 2018

We stand squished between strangers. Cheers, screams and pounding music rise up all around us. Confetti rockets out of cannons and rains down on sweaty faces. Rainbow colors soar from windows and adorn painted cheeks. This is Pride Amsterdam 2018. The theme this year was “Heroes”. The website has the following statement: “Everyone knows someone who deserves the ‘hero status’. Think of people who take the lead, stand for something and also propagate it in public. It concerns people, whether…

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Lifestyle Living in North Holland

5 Dutch summer things I love

Summer is finally here! We have those hot days and mild nights that had been promised to us. Now what exactly do I love about a Dutch summer? There are a number of things but a few really stick out for me. Long days During the Dutch summer, the sun rises early and sets around 11pm. This makes the days super long! You wake up and the sun is up. You go to bed and the sun is just setting……

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