visit to This is Holland

When you live in Amsterdam like me, you don’t go around to tourist attractions a lot, because you’ve already seen it all. Why make a 4-hour long boat trip along the Amstel, when you pass the exact same route as you do on your bike every day? We still did it and it was a bit of a boring attraction for us, but we still had a fun night, maybe because of the ‘advocaatje met slagroom’ – an alcoholic treat you eat with a little spoon. Last weekend though, we went to a much more exciting tourist event in Amsterdam: This is Holland
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Practice your Dutch and talk to a stranger with a dog

If you live in the Netherlands, you can get some free Dutch practice whenever you want. There can be some problems though. There will be cultural differences between your current location and your homeland. Can you just address a random Dutch person and have a conversation with them? The answer is no. There are certainly conventions for small talk. But one group is notably susceptible to hear the right words: Dutch dog owners. It’s quite easy to please them and practice your Dutch at the same time. Read here how to approach them and what to say.
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What is most important for learning Dutch?

Some people learn Dutch faster than others. This is a fact. But why? Of course this has to do with motherland, background and education. But even more important is your overall skill set.

There is one skill that is most important for learning Dutch, and that skill is listening.

Forget about the meaning of the words, but start to listen to intonation and rhythm. Start with getting the feel of the Dutch language.


By listening well, you’ll also learn to speak Dutch well. Improve therefore your listening skills, because:
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Uitwaaien in The Netherlands

The first week of January the Washington Post dedicated an article to the Dutch custom of ‘uitwaaien’ (Check Forvo for the pronunciation). Although the article focuses a bit too much on surfing to explain the concept, I thought it was quite interesting. Does it really explain an aspect of Dutch culture or does it actually show an aspect of American culture? As a Dutch native, I assume the latter. But yes, that’s my point of view from Amsterdam. I wonder how other world citizens think about it.
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Organising a Sinterklaas party for non-believers

Mid November every year Sinterklaas arrives in Belgium and the Netherlands, together with his servants that are throwing ‘pepernoten’ and ‘tumtummetjes’ into the crowds. Hundreds of children are welcoming him, singing and expecting presents in their shoe. But that’s the Sinterklaasfeest for children. The Sinterklaasfeest for the older non-believers is very different.
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Translation sites


It is great that we have all those translation tools that help us to translate Dutch to English. You will get the greater picture of the text. Automated translations to other than English languages will not be that good, while translations from any language to Dutch can be completely absurd.

Does this mean that you shouldn’t use Google Translate, Deepl or your own favourite tool? Definitely not. Translation tools are very helpful, but you have to learn how to use them. Let’s have a look at a few things:
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What can go wrong when you have a Dutch partner?

Once I have a Dutch partner, I’ll learn Dutch within 3 months. If only learning Dutch with a Dutch partner was that easy!

A lot of people without a Dutch partner seem to think that this will be the case. Expats with a Dutch partner will tell you that it doesn’t work that way. Your Dutch partner doesn’t magically instill you with Dutch language skills. On the contrary: having a Dutch partner can be quite frustrating when learning Dutch.
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Full Moon Poem

Many decades ago I stumbled upon this poem about the full moon. I don’t know the writer, and I even don’t know if it’s originally Dutch or a translation. Memorise this poem and recite it to impress your Dutch friends and give them just a little bit the creeps.

Zelfs een man die godvruchtig bidt,
‘s avonds voor hij slapen gaat,
kan een weerwolf zijn als het wolfskruid bloeit
en de maan vol aan de hemel staat.

Even a man that says his prayers at night,
can be a werewolf if the wolfsbane blooms
and the moon is full and bright.

Sleep well!