Inburgeren basically means assimilation, and for me, it’s not just a goal, it’s now a requirement. When we initially came over, I applied to stay by invoking the Dutch American Friendship Treaty – a visa that allows me to live and work in the country for two years. But a lot has happened since that time – Manon and I were married this year (!), and I am able to remain in the country for five years. My end of the bargain requires that I learn the language and be able to answer basic questions about history, etc. within three years. And frankly, if I haven’t made more attempts to assimilate by that time, I probably should be shipped out on the next boat back to the US. I can’t think that my quality of life would be really good if I haven’t managed to adapt better to where we’re living by then. Right now, I call myself Rapunzel, as I work from home from my third floor home office, so I’ll need to put some effort into my inburgeren.
So, aside from that task, the immigration issue is somewhat settled, which frees me up to discuss everything else! I intend to talk about anything pertaining to the Netherlands, and more broadly, Europe: arts, culture, travel, economics, language, current events, maybe even a little politics and definitely random interesting and/or weird stuff we encounter. I will also (ahem) post more frequently.
There’s a new icon that I would like to introduce – whenever I describe a Dutch town, or highlight something taking place in the country, a map will highlight which province it is in. This is a homage to two friends who traveled through all 50 US states and documented their adventures. Like them, we are going to embark on a “touch ‘em all tour”. Since The Netherlands is a smaller county, it won’t take nearly as much effort or time – we have 12 provinces to visit. Since the majority of what people seem to know about the Netherlands centers around one area, the Randstad, an area that encompasses four of the county’s largest cities – Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht; I’d like to visit and describe the other provinces as well, to provide a fuller picture of what Dutch culture as a whole is like. While Manon points out that it is feasible to do a “donut” around the county and visit them all in one day, I’d like to spend a little bit more time on each.
So that’s the plan. If there’s any place you’d like us to scout out or any trips that you’ve enjoyed here, please send along your ideas.