Welkom heatwave!

Posted on 01. Jul, 2015 by in Culture

Although the beginning of summer was cool and rainy, this week marks the first real hittegolf in the Netherlands! Today is the warmest July 1st since 1901! Temperatures are above 30 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) and there is no sight of rain for the next week…which makes me VERY happy! Although the Netherlands isn’t the top beach destination in the world, there are plenty of activities for this very warm weekend!

  • Strand
    There are plenty of beaches in the Netherlands to spend the weekend in. The most common one is Scheveningen but there are plenty more beaches to enjoy the sun and take a dip in the water.
  • Vijvers en rivieren
    Although the central and eastern parts of the Netherlands have no sea, there are plenty of lakes and rivers where you can swim in. In Roermond, I have been to a lounge by a lake and it almost feels like the beach. Perhaps this can be something to repeat this Saturday!
  • Strand volleyball
    The Netherlands is hosting the  Beach Volleyball World Championships. Some of the host cities are Den Hague, Amsterdam and Rotterdam and the games are open to the public (with a ticket, of course). The finals will be this coming Sunday.
Beach Volleyball (photo by David van der Mark taken from Flickr.com)

Beach Volleyball (photo by David van der Mark taken from Flickr.com)

While the heat is a nice relieve from the cool weather, a heatwave in the Netherlands is just as dangerous as anywhere else. The following video talks about the dangers of overheating and what to do to prevent it.

YouTube Preview Image

Where do you like to go when the temperatures get very warm? What do you do to prevent overheating?

Related Vocabulary:

de hittegolf- heatwave
de warmte- heat
de uitdroging- 
de tropische temperaturen– tropical temperatures
het Nationaal Hitteplan– National Heat Plan which is the plan with rules and suggestions to follow during a heatwave, especially with at-risk populations
de transpiratie– sweat/transpiration
de schaduw– shade
de opwarming– warming up


Love Wins!

Posted on 30. Jun, 2015 by in Culture

Love Wins  (photo by Robert Couse-Baker taken from Flickr.com)

Love Wins
(photo by Robert Couse-Baker taken from Flickr.com)

There has been a lot of hype with the recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States to legalize gay marriage. About 26 million Facebook users updated their photographs with a rainbow flag, and many companies also joined the rainbow flag craze. Even the White House issued an image of the house with a rainbow flag.

When my husband got home from work, I excitedly updated him on the news across the pond. When we talked about the decision by the Supreme Court, he wasn’t the least bit excited nor did he see it as a landmark. I was shocked! How could this news not be big regardless of what your opinion on the subject is?

I finally commented about his lack of surprise, and asked what his opinion on the subject was and he simply replied, “Waarom niet?”

It took me a while to understand his attitude towards the subject. I grew up in the U.S. and in Mexico (Only  a handful of states in Mexico allow same-sex marriage, but the Mexican Supreme Court recently ruled that all states must accept same-sex marriage licenses from other states). Last week’s decision was a big deal in my head, but not in his. I began my research on the topic to understand where he was coming from.

In 1979, the Netherlands accepted what was called a samenlevingscontract that allowed same-sex couples could have limited rights when living together. Couples didn’t have to be registered at the gemeente to have these limited rights.

In 1997, the Netherlands finally allowed a registered samenlevingscontract for everyone. Many couples regardless of their sexual preference have benefited from this, especially those not wishing to marry but to live together.

On April 1st, 2001, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. In Amsterdam, the burgemeester married the first couples to be benefited by this law.

After having researched the topic in the Netherlands, I realized why my husband wasn’t the least bit surprised nor moved. For the last 14 years, it has been common practice in the Netherlands. While discrimination might still be around, the laws have been more inclusive of everyone for far longer than other countries. It seems that love has been winning in the Netherlands for quite a long time!

Does your country have similar laws?

The Dutch Toilet

Posted on 19. Jun, 2015 by in Culture

A few weeks ago, I had Israeli friends visiting me here in the Netherlands. And they told me how surprised they were about the toilets in the Netherlands. They complained about the “shallow flusher”, which was just gross!

A Dutch "shallow flusher" toilet

A Dutch “shallow flusher” toilet

They were used to the traditional “deep flusher” used in most other countries. The shallow flusher has a flat surface, a plateau, which is basically dry. But why use the shallow flusher? To be honest of you, I am a fan.

First, the shallow flusher is very useful for studying waste – it tells you a lot apparently. Second, the water does not splash back on your buttocks when using it. Very useful and hygienic!


Apart from this different toilet, many Dutch households also decorate the small lavatory extensively. And small it is: sometimes you sit with your knees against the door!

It can be decorated with different colored little mats to rest your feet on, little ornaments, and other neat things. One thing that will always be there, is a wall calendar, as for example a scheurkalender, with one sheet for each day. The inhabitants of the house will also have the birthdays of all their acquaintances and friends in that calendar! Additionally, something you will see a lot are news papers, magazines, and frequently, the Donald Duck. This is the Mickey Mouse Magazine in the Netherlands – one of the most circulated weeklies in the country. So prepare for some funny Disney stories while taking your time in the quiet room.

In Dutch, the toilet is actually called de WC (water closet). It is pronounced with capital letters, resembling saying way-say. Another word used is het toilet, which is the same spelling as in English, but is pronounced the French way (from toilette). It would sound like twalet. Both words can also be used

de WC/het toilet – the toilet


Other ways to say it

Going to the toilet is not seen as the most polite way to announce that you need to go. It is often seen as unnecessary, and just getting up from, say, the dinner table, is enough to know what you are going to do. Of course, if you do not know where the toilet is, or you would like to be polite about it, you can ask:

Waar kan ik de WC vinden? – where can I find the lavatory?

Yes, in the Netherlands, the lavatory is referred to simply as WC, as in the end, it is the most thing in that room!

If you have to say that you are going to the toilet, there are some euphemisms that can help you:

Een kleine boodschap doen – Deliver a small message.

even moeten – just having to go (ik moet alweer! – I have to go again!)

omgekeerd eten – eating in reverse

Het was weer twee keer doortrekken – I had to flush twice again

Well, you get the message!


Do you think these kind of toilets are weird?

Are you used to small lavatories, and do you know other cultures where they are decorated so much?