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Classic Dutch Films: Bert Haanstra Posted by on Dec 11, 2011

When I asked my father which Dutch filmmakers I should look into, he immediately thought of Bert Haanstra.  “There are some really good ones,” he said, “with no sound.”  I expressed surprise, and my dad made a joke about cheap Dutchmen. But I don’t think it was parsimony that motivated Haanstra’s choices, and in most…

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’80s Rap for the “Holiday” Season Posted by on Nov 5, 2011

I know I’m on a roll with these nostalgic posts, helping you imagine Holland as it was in the ’80s and early ’90s, but, hey, autumn is the time to be thinking about the past.  Today I want to introduce you, or re-introduce you, as the case may be, to the 1987 hit “Holiday,” by…

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Dat ik altijd huiswerk heb Posted by on Oct 25, 2011

I continue to think that music is a good way of starting to understand a language.  It takes work, but parsing the lines to a simple song can be a fun way to get into some new, perhaps offbeat, vocabulary.  Sometimes songs are a good window into nonsense words, or idiomatic facets of language that…

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Meneer Kaktus: Do you get it?? Posted by on Oct 13, 2011

When I was younger, and my family moved from the Netherlands to the US, my Dutch grandmother often sent me VHS tapes of my favorite Dutch television shows so that I could watch them in New York.  Those of you who were children in the Netherlands between 1986 and 1993 will remember Meneer Kaktus, a…

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Due to heavy traffic in Amsterdam, Dutch bikers cross continents Posted by on Aug 23, 2011

As we’ve all heard, the spirit of progressivism is strong in the Dutch.  For over a year, since July of 2010, Joost Nootenboom and Michiel Roodenburg – Dutchmen, both, in case you couldn’t guess – have been progressing through the North and South American continental masses, on bamboo bikes.  Their cause?  Clean water. They began…

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Tourism for iedereen at the Keukenhof Posted by on May 20, 2011

Last week I went to a place in the Netherlands where most Dutch people have never set foot:  the Keukenhof, a huge, heavily landscaped flower park outside of Amsterdam.  At the entrance, a Dutch flag hangs alongside a German one, and inside the last thing you are likely to hear is the sing-songy tones of…

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A few great things about Albert Heijn Posted by on Mar 27, 2011

If you live in the Netherlands, the Albert Heijn will be a part of your life.  This is not a bad thing, but it is an inevitability.  It’s not that there aren’t other grocery stores, but the AH symbol is omnipresent, and the blueish interior calls to passersby in all Dutch cities, promising attractive packaging…

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