candles in the windowroyalty free (reuse possible without attribution)
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Christmas from home in Haarlem: shining light on an Irish tradition

Making sure there is a candle flickering in the window is one tradition from home that will be lighting up my festive time in Haarlem this year. It is an Irish tradition, now brought to the Netherlands. Not travelling home for Christmas is…
festive hot cocoa and whipped creamroyalty free (reuse possible without attribution)
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A festive Dutch lesson for Christmas lovers

Ho, ho, ho! Christmas is here! The – normally – most wonderful time of the year is definitely going to be somewhat different this year, and maybe even difficult for some of us, so we thought it would be a good idea to try to raise everyone’s…
Ukraine trees with snowroyalty free (reuse possible without attribition, but attribute at the end of the article anyway)
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Festive Traditions: Ukraine vs the Netherlands

Many expats celebrating the festive season in the Netherlands will also incorporate traditions from home. Sometimes it can be an overwhelming time, especially for kids, and parents need to decide what to celebrate and when, how to accommodate…
upside-down reflection
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Can we really compare our cultures?

Across the globe, ways of life differ immeasurably – yet people are people. They will always compare – and, generally, they will always like to complain (at least a little bit). So, it might be only natural that when you experience a new…
Christmas treeroyalty free (reuse possible without attribution)
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Feeling blue this festive season?

Some of us, this year more than ever, might be dreading the upcoming festivities. Not being able to travel home to be with loved ones is going to be tough for so many people. While some might be putting a brave face on, determined to decorate…
steak and rosemaryroyalty free (can be reused without attribution)
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Putting wild game on the menu

Most of our favourite comfort food is born in the recipes that mom made for us when we were kids – but as our palettes mature and we learn to cook on our own, we venture away from mom’s recipes and build our own comfort food repertoire.…
xmas cardroyalty free (reuse possible without attribution)
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Writing Christmas cards to Haarlem's elderly residents

It’s the festive season and a perfect time to do a good deed for fellow residents in the city, right? How about penning a little message on a Christmas card as a surprise for someone who might not otherwise receive any Christmas mail? It could…
Sinterklaas
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Sinterklaas versus Santa Claus

They both work in the same sector, wear red, and have a big white beard. For Piet's sake: what's the difference?  The Big Day Sinterklaas: Sinterklaas' "heerlijk avondje" / delicious is 5 December, although Sint arrives with a steamer…
Simpel Award Website of the year 2020!Simple
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Simpel voted Website of the Year 2020

On 26 November, 2020, Simpel was voted the 'Website of the Year 2020' by the Dutch public, making it the overall winner of the 20th edition of this exciting election. The Website of the Year election* is the largest online public award…
From December 1, face masks compulsory in all indoor public places in the NetherlandsUnsplash
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From 1 December, face masks compulsory in all indoor public places in the Netherlands

To reduce the spread of the coronavirus, it is compulsory to wear a face mask in all public indoor spaces for everyone aged 13 and older from Tuesday 1 December. Anyone not wearing a mask can be fined €95. The new law provides a legal…
Christmas wreathroyalty free (reuse possible without attribution)
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Haarlem happenings in December

December is here and the festive season is just around the corner! Things won’t be quite the same as usual – there is no annual Kerstmarkt* this year – though, there are still some festive (and non-festive) events happening, all the while…
booksroyalty free (reuse possible without attribution)
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Family sagas my grandmother would have loved to read

The recent passing of my grandmother has made me think of how some of my favourite books depict grandparents and family relations. My grandmother passed away on 6 October 2020. Due to COVID-19 related restrictions, I was not able to go…
coronavirus masksroyalty free (reuse possible with accreditation)
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Dutch coronavirus response: survey for internationals

A new survey aimed at internationals living in the Netherlands about how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting their daily lives has been issued by ICAP, the International Community Advisory Panel – which is an initiative put together by four…
Sint Maarten 2020 in HaarlemSven Brandsma
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Sint Maarten 2020 in Haarlem

Every year, children sing songs at the door during Sint Maarten on 11 November. This could increase the chance of coronavirus spreading, though the chances are reduced when everyone is careful and follows the guidelines. The celebration can…
Haarlem churchroyalty free (reuse possible without attribution)
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November happenings for Haarlem's 775 years

This month our November events are fully focused on the fantastic occasion of Haarlem celebrating being a city for 775 years! Haarlem’s calendar for November has at its heart the fact that the city has a big birthday happening this month!…
Haarlem 775royalty free (event logo)
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Haarlem: 775 years!

On 23 November, in the year 1245, Haarlem received city rights from Count Willem II. That means that this month marks exactly 775 years since Haarlem could call itself a city. The festivities that were planned had to be curtailed due to the…
kids on bikeroyalty free (reuse possible without attribution)
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Cycling with kids in the Netherlands

Dutch kids grow up on bikes – and it is never too early to get them out on two wheels. Until they are old enough to cycle on their own, they will need a little help. This post outlines my experiences of cycling with kids in tow. Living…
kids jumpingroyalty free (reuse possible without attribution)
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The Netherlands ranked best place to grow up by UNICEF report

According to a recent UNICEF report, Dutch kids come out top in a league table of well-being outcomes across 41 of the world’s richest countries. Though, there is always room for improvement. UNICEF’s Innocenti Report Card 16 – ‘Worlds…
coffee signroyalty free (reuse possible without attribution)
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Dutch coffee quirks

Yes, it is official: the Dutch drink an awful lot of coffee. However, the coffee landscape in the Netherlands brings with it unique experiences and traditions. Read on to discover more! Coffee – one of life’s simple pleasures enjoyed…
autumn canalroyalty free (reuse possible without attribution)
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Haarlem happenings in October

The autumn agenda has some seasonal events taking place in October in Haarlem. The calendar is dotted with art, food, performance and perhaps some spooky happenings. Don’t forget to follow the guidance in compliance with RIVM guidance and…
Agatha Christie booksroyalty free with attribution ( CC BY-SA 3.0 license))
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Agatha Christie books you should read (and read again)

During these recent strange times and periods of uncertainty, I have found myself going back to the comfort of Agatha Christie’s classics and, again, the 'Queen of Crime' did not disappoint. In March, when lockdown hit and it was clear…
the discomfort of eveningroyalty free (promo shot of the winning book)
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Dutch win for the 2020 International Booker Prize

The Discomfort of Evening, by author Marieke Lucas Rijneveld and translator Michele Hutchison, was announced as the winner of the 2020 International Booker Prize at the end of August. A number of 'firsts' came with this announcement, as this…
STAD AMSTERDAM AT THE MARITIME MUSEUMTHE MARITIME MUSEUM AMSTERDAM
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Stad Amsterdam at the Maritime Museum

The clipper Stad Amsterdam will be moored at The National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam until the end of March 2021. The clipper Stad Amsterdam will arrive at The National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam at the beginning of September. After…
view from the cathedralroyalty free (photo is author's own)
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September events in Haarlem

Haarlem’s events agenda is slowly getting busier in certain areas. The calendar for September has food markets and open monuments, along with some morsels of history, healthy options and pop quiz questions. Is there something here that interests…
to be continuedroyalty free (reuse possible without attribution)
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Funny language flops of an expat

The best way to master a foreign language is to jump in and start interacting with the locals. Sure, you will make mistakes – such as signing off an email with 'friendly vegetables' instead of 'kind regards' (writing groenten instead of groeten),…
Thermometers, hand gel, ordering by phone and long rows of chairs: this is what the sit down edition of Haarlem Jazz & More looks like this year.
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Haarlem Jazz Sit-Down Edition: thermometers, hand gel and long rows of chairs

Thermometers, hand gel, ordering by phone and long rows of chairs: this is what the sit-down edition of Haarlem Jazz & More looks like this year. Haarlem Jazz & More is a unique multi-day event in the old town of Haarlem. Due…
Haarlem wine storeroyalty free (image provided by the store owner; can use without attribution)
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'A sense of place' is our favourite wine store in Haarlem!

After Markus Praat spent 6 months managing a wine store in Brooklyn, he decided to bring some Brooklyn air back to Haarlem. Now, he has opened a new, truly cosy and welcoming wine store that does things differently: selling honest products in…
GreenJoy
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August happenings around Haarlem

For anyone staying around Haarlem this August, we picked out a few events and happenings that caught our eye. Don’t forget to follow the guidance and make your reservations (where required) early. As the long summer days and nights continue,…
Sidney Waerts street art Haarlemroyalty free (author's own pic)
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Haarlem’s otherworldly street art by Sidney Waerts

What’s your favourite activity to do when you move to a new city? Mine is to get out and wander around, always opting to take the road less travelled – to not follow the crowds and instead head down the back streets and quirky small lanes…
enjoying liferoyalty free (reuse possible without attribution)
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Lessons learnt since my last birthday

Every year, we celebrate our own birthdays – and what a good opportunity this is to look back and see what has been experienced, discovered and learnt about ourselves in the last year. A birthday is a milestone… an anniversary date…