Insider Views
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Insider's Guide to Amsterdam

Insider’s Guide to Amsterdam

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Looking to avoid the tourist traps in Amsterdam and experience the city like an insider? Find the roads less travelled with our local’s guide to Amsterdam.

Poetry Review: Lydia Unsworth's Certain Manoeuvres

Poetry Review: Lydia Unsworth’s Certain Manoeuvres


Early in her essay collection, 'A Field Guide to Getting Lost,' Rebecca Solnit invokes the motif of 'terra incognita,' that blank unexplored space at the edge of things. Solnit tells us that, "not to know how to get lost brings you to destruction, and somewhere in the 'terra incognita'...lies a life...

Is Amsterdam safe to visit or live

Is Amsterdam safe?


Is Amsterdam safe to live or visit alone? An expat insider explains how safe Amsterdam is at night and in the red light district, plus areas to avoid and types of crime tourists should watch out for.

Dating the Dutch

Africanah Girl: 10 reasons to date or marry a Dutch man


Forget what you've read in cyberspace about Dutch men being uncool, unromantic or underdressed; Caroline outlines 10 reasons why Dutch guys are worth it.

History of Valentine's Day

The tragic, unromantic history of Valentine’s Day


The true meaning of Valentine's Day takes a different light when you learn the history of Valentine's Day. Who was St Valentine anyhow? Here we look at Valentine's Day around the world.

10 cool Dutch words that have no English translation


Dutch isn't the most widely spoken language, but these cool Dutch words are worth learning for those moments that no English word can express.

Dutch proverbs: How the Dutch express themselves

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The Dutch express themselves in sometimes baffling, but commonly used, ways. Expat blogger Dutched Pinay comes to grips with a selection of Dutch proverbs.


Who's that with Santa? An introduction to Black Peter


St Nicholas (Sinterklaas) and his helper Black Peter (Zwarte Piet or Père Fouettard) are the source of some controversy – who's that Black Piet giving out the gifts at Christmas time?

toilets in the Netherlands

Public toilets: A Dutch inconvenience


Going to a public toilet in the Netherlands is not like elsewhere – if you can find one. Amanda van Mulligen investigates the inconvenience of Dutch toilets.

Celebrating Sinterklaas: A guide for parents

Celebrating Sinterklaas: A guide for parents


Traditionally, in mid-November, two weeks before his celebrated Feast Day, Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands by boat from his home in Spain.

Zwarte Piet debate

Can I be a good mother and still accept Zwarte Piet?


If children survived the loss of golliwog figures, how about Zwarte Piet? Expat Ellen Duckenfield discusses if she can still be a good mother and accept her child's love of Zwarte Piet.

Zwarte Piet

Beloved Zwarte Piet: A Dutch perspective


Hedwig van Driel reflects on her beloved Dutch holiday traditions and the controversy that surrounds Zwarte Piet – in international circles, at least.

Dutch Christmas

Sinterklaas treats and recipes


Sinterklaas in the Netherlands is a time for presents and sweeties. Foodie Paola Westbeek shares her recipes for speculaas and kruidnoten, typical Sinterklaas treats.

Zwarte Piet racist

Africanah Girl: Is Sinterklaas and 'Zwarte Piet' racist or tradition?

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Much controversy has surrounded the blackface 'Zwarte Piet' helpers who arrive with Sinterklaas in Europe each year. Africanah Girl shares her side of the Zwarte Piet debate.

Halloween All Saints Day

The truth about Halloween you didn't know

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Have candy, costumes and commercialisation distracted us from the true meaning of Halloween? Here are some Halloween facts you should know before putting on your Halloween costume.

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