±JOIN OUR FREE NEWSLETTER

±Compare Expat Providers

Expat Health Insurance Quotes

Foreign Currency Exchange Quotes

International Moving Quotes

We're very social! Follow Expat Focus on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+

Expat Focus Facebook PageExpat Focus on TwitterExpat Focus Pinterest PageExpat Focus Google+ Page

Notify me when new content is added about a country

±Expat Focus Partners

Articles

Netherlands > Articles

Netherlands

The Dutch Kitchen

Sunday June 24, 2012 (23:16:14)

by Martha Andrus

The Dutch kitchen is pretty basic and mostly involves a lot of green vegetables, potatoes and sausages. A typical Dutch meal involves mashing potatoes and vegetables together and adding sausages.

French fries can be found most anywhere and the favorite place to find the Dutch is at a French fry stand. If you order 'patat met' it is French fries with mayonnaise, which is the favorite of the Dutch. You will also find fresh fish stands sprinkled through the shopping centers and on the corner of the street. You will see the Dutch standing around the fish stand, eating their favorite smoked or raw pickled herring and always with fresh chopped onions. This is not for me but I do appreciate 'watching' them. I will order kibbeling, which is a fresh white fish, battered and deep fried and served with a sauce.   more ...

Netherlands > Articles

Netherlands

Learning Dutch and How to Survive It

Sunday June 24, 2012 (23:14:19)

by Liz Cross, Crossover Translations

Approximately 20 years ago, I was sitting on the Harwich-Hoek van Holland boat with two friends and a peculiar little guide book. We were taking turns to recite “Spher-ayhkt OO ng-gels ass-too-bleeeeft?” and other natty phases to each other. After a while, we began wondering if we were doing the right thing going to live in a country where people use words like ass-too-bleeeft, even if we were only planning to stay for a few months. Frustrated and slightly unnerved, we gave up and went to watch Robocop in the ship’s cinema instead.

I think that initial optimism followed by shock and awe is a common first reaction to learning Dutch. Ok – unlike me and my friends, not everyone is stupid enough to set off for a new country, thinking they can pick up enough of the language on the cross channel ferry to have a cosy chat when they arrive. The trouble with Dutch is that it is unlikely that you will have heard it anywhere else before you arrive here as it has a pretty small language area. Even if , unlike us, you are smart enough to listen to language CDs beforehand, this is no substitute for the real thing. Despite similarities to German and shared words with English, Dutch really is in a class of its own. The other, much-repeated problem is that most Dutch people speak such good English that you feel like an idiot for even trying and you feel like more of an idiot when they answer your stumbling attempts to speak their language with a smooth reply in near-perfect English and what often looks like a badly-concealed smirk on their faces.   more ...

Netherlands > Articles

Netherlands

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

Sunday June 24, 2012 (23:07:55)

by Stuart Billinghurst

Fiets (bicycles) are a very common sight in Holland. They are a popular mode of transport and it is estimated that there are more than 16 million of them in the country. This number may or may not include the mangled, rusting, one-wheeled, non-roadworthy bicycles found chained to lamp posts, bridges or sunk at the bottom of the canals around the country. Even if it does there are still a lot of them in use every day.

Some bicycles look like rusty old frames that have been handed down through the family generation after generation. In most of these cases the locks seem to cost more than the bikes themselves, and there is no need for a bell since the squeaking of the wheels is enough to give any pedestrian a fair warning. Some Dutch people like to paint or decorate their old bikes as well. When visiting Amsterdam it is usually guaranteed that you will see at least one bicycle chained to a bridge somewhere that has been decorated with plastic flowers or painted with bright circular patterns to make them more unique. Another reason for this could be to turn away bicycle thieves.   more ...

Netherlands > Articles

Netherlands

Amsterdam's Red Light District

Sunday June 24, 2012 (19:36:42)

by Stuart Billinghurst

I've already written about one of Holland's well-known vices, the drug culture. There is of course another vice which the country is very well known for. Something that brings a particular kind of tourist to certain shady areas of the country, to indulge themselves in special ways. Yes, you've guessed it. I'm going to talk about windmills.

Alright. I'm not really going to talk about windmills. I'm going to talk about the sex industry in Holland. Holland has a very open view towards sex, and prostitution is legal and regulated in most cases. If you want to see just how open the Dutch view towards sex is (or you are on a stag night) you will find no better example than the Red Light District in Amsterdam. It is a network of alleyways containing hundreds of tiny one-room apartments where prostitutes wearing just underwear or bikinis offer their services from behind glass doors. It's also a place where you can find live sex shows, peep shows, sex museums and shops that sell the kind of toys you won't find in London's Hamleys. Amsterdam has the most well-known Red Light District but a lot of towns have their own versions as well. It's also not unusual to pass a sex shop in the main street of some towns.   more ...

Austria > Articles

Austria

Surviving The Office Jungle Abroad

Saturday June 16, 2012 (03:00:46)
Britta Pichler
There are a plenty of helpful articles focusing on how an expatriate can find a dream job abroad, get a work visa, and settle into the adopted country. All of these represent big hurtles needing guidance in and of themselves, but what happens when you start actually working? What are the real challenges? And how do you overcome them?

As working professionals, we know that the office can be a jungle. There are millions of articles, books, blogs, and other resources on how to survive life at the office. By that, I mean how a native can survive the office in their native country. But what about expatriates who have to survive in an office environment where the co-workers speak an entirely different native language, follow a unique social etiquette, and function in a completely dissimilar manner from what the expatriate has previously experienced?   more ...

Andorra > Articles

Andorra

Tax Haven Andorra Raise Residency Entry Price

Wednesday June 13, 2012 (18:21:38)
Capital Andorra, la Vella
by Roger Munns

For years Andorra has been one of Europe's top tax havens, with the same tax benefits as Monaco but with property at less than a quarter of the price.

Recently the country passed legislation which in effect has increased the minimum investment required to become a resident.

As one of Europe's most popular tax havens, Andorra has until now been seen by many looking to move their assets to a low tax jurisdiction as an inexpensive gateway to fiscal paradise where there is no income tax to pay.

But this has just changed, and while the country is still a cheap option compared to better known Monaco, the costs and procedures of gaining residency have changed with the overall aim to bring more high net worth individuals to Andorra.   more ...

Germany > Articles

Germany

Bach, Building and the Berlin Wall – about Germany and Living There

Tuesday June 12, 2012 (02:29:06)

by Rachel Fuecks

Germany is a good place to invest in property.

House prices here in Germany have been stable for a long time and are beginning to rise, unlike the situation in the UK. I only discovered this some time after I had bought, demolished and rebuilt a small house in a place no-one in Britain has ever heard of. That was in 2004. I can now say definitely that it was the best and most exciting thing I have ever done, and I haven't exactly led a sheltered life. Hence my website, a dokuwiki, to which I am constantly adding, with the intention of introducing maybe a few English-speakers to something they might want to explore. If anyone would like to contact me there is an email address on the first page of my website.   more ...

Germany > Articles

Germany

Moving to Germany (Deliver Me From Insanity!)

Tuesday June 12, 2012 (02:24:08)

by Katie Toppel

The night before our container was scheduled to arrive, we saw the enormous truck parked outside our apartment building. With an early arrival, it was obviously ready for our 8:00 am appointment the following morning. Maybe it was due to that glimpse of our container or the thoughts of my clothes and shoes dancing in my head, but that night felt like Christmas Eve. I could barely sleep anticipating the unpacking and rediscovery of all our stuff!

Bright and early the next morning, we heard the bell announcing the arrival of our lovely team of deliverymen, who would spend hours with us unloading all of our precious belongings that spent the last 6 weeks floating to Germany. The man who initially rang the bell didn't speak much English, but repeated "container" over and over just to make sure we understood his purpose and presence at our door on that particular morning. I went off to work because I figured it would be okay to put in my whopping three hours while my husband remained at the apartment, but I only got to 10:15 before his text saying, "Can you come home?!"   more ...

Germany > Articles

Germany

Expats Alone at Home in Germany

Tuesday June 12, 2012 (01:52:35)

by Hilly van Swol-Ulbrich

A hot and sultry summer’s day in Frankfurt, Germany.

“Oh”… says Dewi,“I am amused, while at home in India, we set our air-conditioning to cool down to 27 degrees”…and chuckled… “This is what you call summer, and say it is so hot!”

We smiled as we crossed the street on the way to the canteen. For my eyes the buffet offered a great choice - for the eyes of an Indian, with specific religious dietary restrictions - I could see that she would soon grow tired of the canteen.

“So, how have your first weeks been”? And we talk about the difference in the workplace, what to observe in daily life, the do’s and the taboos. Dewi also asked about relevant places for shopping and favourite places to go and maybe visit.   more ...

Germany > Articles

Germany

How I Fell in Love With a German City

Monday June 11, 2012 (20:38:57)

by Martha Andrus

I fell in love, at first sight, with a beautiful, quaint city called Rothenbach O.T. Upon entering the city from the freeway, it looks much like any other European town. Narrow, cobblestone streets dotted with churches and homes. But as you drive further into the city, you see a huge concrete wall, much like a fortress. Parking is outside of this wall and, as you walk inside, you feel as if you have stepped back in time. The first thing you see is the brick streets which are only used for pedestrian and bicycle traffic and an occasional taxi. Also, you will see buggies being pulled by two horses.

The buildings are so very old but they have been renovated and painted in beautiful, light colors of peach and yellow, beige and white and all with tiled roofs. There are apartments above the retail stores, with hotels and restaurants making up the majority of this city. Flower boxes are a must and are seen on every window of most every building full of bright, blooming plants.   more ...