In April 2013, I received an email from a stranger. The gist of the message was whether I wanted to be part of a book about expat life in the Netherlands. I, of course, said yes.
That stranger turned out to be Olga Mecking, who you may also know as The European Mama – and she was – in all seriousness, together with Lynn Morrison (aka The Nomad Mom Diary and also the brainchild behind the project), putting an expat anthology together.
What did I want to write about? they asked. Marriage, babies and friendship, as it turned out. And coincidentally, those three themes have run through the creation of this book over the last eighteen months.
The book, our baby, is now a reality, available as an eBook on Amazon and iBooks. For more than eighteen months, it’s been a labour of love for Olga and Lynn, that is not yet over. The duo is currently busy bringing the physical book to life, but even when that is completed the group of women expat bloggers they gathered together for the sole purpose of writing a book will not be disbanded.
What started of as relative strangers getting together, virtually, in a Facebook group, to bounce ideas off each other for possible chapter themes ended in a group that formed its own identity. Over the course of eighteen months the group changed, no longer comprised of strangers but virtual friends. Members of the group now organise meet ups, ask each other for advice, pick each other’s blogging brains and ask each other general questions about life in the Netherlands and beyond. There is a common thread that weaves our group together.
Every single woman that contributed to Dutched Up! has a special place in her heart for the Netherlands. Each woman found love here, had children here or couldn’t quite find a reason to leave this little Dutch land. For that reason, nobody wanted to launch a book on to the market full of stereotypes and the usual dashing of negativity and bashing that the locals are susceptible to.
The Dutch often get a bad press in expat surveys, blog posts and expat forums. The stereotypes precede them. But actually the Netherlands has so much more to offer those expats willing to dig deeper within themselves, those who adapt to Dutch ways, learn to love the things that make the Netherlands so different to their homeland. In short, getting Dutched up is no bad thing and it’s something that the contributors to this book know first hand.
The Netherlands has an affect on those that truly make it their home. It’s like a wayward child you come to understand – and love unconditionally – warts and all. And that’s the basis of the book “Dutched Up! Rocking the Clogs Expat Style”.
Dutched Up! is an honest look at what expat life in the Netherlands can throw at you as an expat woman. It’s about the Dutch culture, which is frank and open. It’s about cycling when you haven’t cycled since you were a kid. It’s about feeling like a toddler as you learn the basics of life all over again – talking, shopping and the laundry. It’s about working in a new country and making friends. It’s about being in love with a Dutch man. It’s a book about giving birth in a country that favours natural birthing and sends a stranger to your home as soon as you welcome your baby to the world. It’s about raising that same baby in a country different to the one you yourself were raised in. It’s about working the healthcare system to get more for your ailments than a box of paracetamol. It’s about learning what makes a place home. It’s about mastering the art of saying goodbye.
But, most of all, Dutched Up! is a collection of stories written by 27 women about adapting, about learning that expat life is a series of bumps in the roads and realising that travelling over them makes you a better person than you used to be.
Note of the publisher
Where you can buy Dutched Up!:
Contributors to Dutched Up!:
Expat Life With A Double Buggy – Amanda van Mulligen
Smart Tinker – Lana Kristine Jelenjev
Naturally Global – Katherine Strous.
The European Mama – Olga Mecking – , who just published her first article on expatsHaarlem.
Stuff Dutch People Like – Colleen Geske
Expat Since Birth – Ute Limacher-Riebold.
- Why New Year’s Eve is My Least Favourite Day of the Dutch Year - December 28, 2016
- Mastering Dutch Words That are Longer than Your Arm - April 7, 2016
- Behind the Scenes of the New Book ‘Dutched Up! Rocking the Clogs Expat Style’ - December 2, 2014