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The Netherlands was never really a place that fit in my horizon. It was a place I knew certain things about that most people know too but there was nothing that really made it special to me. Till I read this book.
A collection of essays by expat bloggers in The Netherlands opened my eyes to how tall the Dutch are, how complicated their language is, how blunt their words are, how they steal bikes left and right, how their doctors don't really want to see you, and how stress and worry free they are when it comes to their kids.
The book also showed me the realities of expats in a country that is totally alien from their own. I loved the diverse voices and how so many different countries were represented. I even enjoyed guessing what country the blogger came from based on how they wrote - the Americans and British have a distinct way of writing and I don't just mean how differently they spell their words from each other.
Now I definitely want to visit this country! And I feel my horizons have definitely broadened after reading this collection!
I only gave it a 4 because not all essays were as good as the others, but most were very interesting!
This was definitely interesting. Many of the stories and cultural elements were relatable to me as an expat in France. (Or am I really an expat if I'm here for life?). But there were so many other cultural elements that were 100% Dutch and it was fun to discover all of them, from riding bikes, coffee dates, pregnancy, language... If you like visiting other countries vicariously, you'll love this anthology.
I am an American living in NL. While reading, I mumbled to myself many times and laughed at the familiar. Read this if you are in the NL. or will be soon. You need a mention of the candle tray in most all Dutch households and the lanterns in the windows. (Cozy, I now have both)
This is an amazing book to read. It is entertaining, informative and very well written. The 4 women put together a collection of stories about their experiences in such a way it makes you feel like part of it.
Reviewed in the United States on November 17, 2015
I recently read Dutched Up! Rocking the Clogs, Expat Style by Expat Women Bloggers, and enjoyed reading about life in The Netherlands. The book is an anthology of short stories by female writers and topics address the many cultural differences experienced while living abroad. I laughed aloud when the issue of stolen bicycles came up as I know how important it is when your primary mode of transportation goes missing. The infuriating feeling of someone stealing your bike is akin to stealing someone's horse in the 1800s in the US. Best solved with a duel at high noon! I could relate to many of the commonly experienced expat things like feeling lost, gaining/losing friends, and finally feeling at home in your adopted country that the book addresses. The chapters are short and entertaining, so the book is easy to put down and pick back up again. It is also a great way to discover new bloggers and to continue reading about their adventures after you've finished the book.
Reviewed in the United States on November 22, 2014
Having lived in the Netherlands for over 30 years it was with a little trepidation that I turned to Dutched Up – Rocking the Clogs, Expat Style. Would I be confronted with clichés which have long ceased to shock, and preconceptions which had long since blown away?
Not at all.
After the first contribution, I found myself jotting down notes: small baby (yep, as a shortist English woman I’ve been through that one); small bike (yep I still struggle to find a bike which allows me to put my feet on the ground); having children who speak better Dutch than you – oh absolutely, even after 30 plus years.
Yes, there are the bus drivers who accuse you of being rude, discount spinach you don’t want, the visitors from hell who won’t go home, the awful silence when your six year old says ‘s*** in front of his English grandparents, the horribleness of weak fruit tea, the unbelievable fabulousness of kraamzorg, the fact that you will never truly understand your Dutch husband – it all seems so familiar and so true. I had forgotten quite how.
If you are a new arrival, this book will let you know you are not alone. If you’ve been here for some time, you will find yourself nodding in agreement and if you’ve left, you will find yourself nostalgic for a rusty bike and glass of hot water that once looked at a teabag.
Reviewed in the United States on November 19, 2014
In under two months, I will be an Australian ex-pat living in The Netherlands so this book release was perfect timing. As I married a Dutch man, and had the joy of visiting the country a few times, I was already aware of the cultural differences between the Dutch and the Australians, but this book gave me more insight and honestly, while it confirmed some things I already knew, it really opened my eyes up to the experiences I will face.
As soon as I purchased this book, I read it all in one sitting. The writing from the group of women who contributed felt like I was sitting down with a group of girlfriends who had already paved the way and were imparting there knowledge onto this newbie. It is honest, it made me laugh and at times made me feel quite raw due to my already climbing nerves of my impending move. On the flip side, it did actually calm some nerves as well!
I have been fortunate enough to already have connected via social media with one of the contributors so I already feel like there will be a friendly 'voice' to reach out too when I get homesick, but this book will also be a constant companion as I am sure I will read it over and over to remind myself that I am not alone.
For anyone who is thinking about moving to The Netherlands or is planning a stay there, this is a must read.
What is it about? Various female bloggers from the North America, Australia, the UK, the Philippines, India, Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Greece and Nigeria share snippets from their lives as expats in the Netherlands. With topics ranging from the ubiquitous bikes to the Dutch obsession with “doing normal” to food and shopping, birthdays, doctors and even childbirth. Who is it for? For any expat that is thinking of or has already joined their Dutch partner here or is thinking of coming to the Netherlands to live. Personally, I would read the book before coming and probably not understand a lot of it (for example most of the Dutch language references are not translated) and then read it again after I have been here a while and then TOTALLY get it! Who wrote it? A list of the authors can be found at: http://www.amazon.com/Dutched-Up-Rocking-Clogs-Expat-ebook/dp/B00PFVFE28/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415867516&sr=8-1&keywords=dutched+up+kindle and at other sites selling the book. They are all female bloggers with existing sites and I like that the book lets you know about their blogs, so that if you are more interested in crocheting or food or being a (young) mother in the Netherlands, or any of the other topics they specialise in, or just if you enjoy one of the writing styles more than the other, you know where to go. What did I think of it? Although it is a good book for dipping into, depending on what topic you want to tackle that day, I read it in one go in a morning and literally laughed out loud , cried, tut-tutted and just recognized so much. Although the book touches on the standard “circle parties”, Dutch “directness” and of course biking, and the “gggggggggggg sound”, it manages to escape the clichés and by providing such personal stories, it gives a fresh take on things. All the writers are female and as far as I can tell the vast majority are mothers which tends to slant the book ‘s take on things a bit. The writing styles vary (although the overall quality is very good), which makes it more personal and also allows for everybody to find something that appeals. If you are feeling a little lost and alone as a “foreigner” to the country this is a wonderful book full of others who “get it”. Even if you are fully dutched up and rocking your own clogs in a big way, you will be able to have a good laugh and a cry over this book and maybe be introduced to some fabulous new blogs to follow at the same time.
I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology of articles by this very diverse group of expat bloggers. It takes the reader from arrival to departure and through the minefield of experiences that becoming settled in the Netherlands entails. Sometimes critical, always candid, often heartwarming and very funny too, this book is a must for any new arrival in the country. A really great read, and the added bonus is that we are given the links to the blogs from which the articles came, so sources of a lot more reading!