As an expat, working and finding your way in the Netherlands is not difficult.
The country is well organized, compact and pretty internationally oriented. With lots of information also available in English. And many Dutch take pride in speaking some sort of comprehensible English.
So, understanding fully what's going on around you, and why, should be a piece of cake ? Well, that remains to be seen.
Because, when you listen to experts in the field, like long-stay guests and expats, you regularly hear sounds of frustration about peculiar habits and frequent miscommunications, and how difficult it sometimes is to get real contact with the Dutch.
It also is true that many foreign residents know rather little about the backgrounds of this country. May be just because on the surface, everything seems so easy.
To understand the here and now, some historical knowledge might come in handy.
For an overview of possibilities click here.
Newcomers and immigrants face the same problems and more. For in recent years the general mood towards newcomers, especially of non-western (islamic) cultures, became less friendly. To say the least...
Basically, many Dutch feel threatened by what they see broadly exposed on the news almost every day : massive hatred against "the west", cursed and blamed for all the wrongs in the world. Even more frightening, they hear echoes of that hate expressed by a small minority of recent immigrants to this country. "If they don't like our culture and customs, why did they come here to stay ?"
Of course, most newcomers just want to build up a living here, in peace. They work hard to learn the language and understand Dutch society.
In that process, something extra, a very practical confrontation with country, landscape and history by going out there on a walk or a tour would certainly make a difference.
For one thing, it may be interesting for newcomers to know that they are by far not the first ones in our long history. The numbers of today are even modest compared to what happened in the past.
Foreigners have come this way by their hundreds of thousands before. Did that create friction with the locals ? You bet ! Interesting stories to tell about that.
But problems were solved, obviously.
Large groups of people have always wandered in, and out of this country. See historical context on page The Dutch into the world.
Please, send a mail to check practical possibilities for a walk, tour or presentation.
To download a printable flyer on private history walks click here.
To download a printable flyer on bicycle day trips click here.