Find out what's on
In this section information is provided on how to find 'What's Happening in Holland'. There are a multitude of sources you can turn to, here a few of them are listed, which will give you a startingpoint.
As you may have realized by now, the municipality is always a good place to start for information on just about everything. They can provide lists of clubs and activities.
Most Dutch cities have a website that will offer detailed information in English about all manner of interesting things going on in that particular city and its surroundings. The quickest way to find these sites is just by trying the city name as a web address followed by .com or .nl. Sometimes both of these combinations lead you to a different city website (such as www.denhaag.com and www.denhaag.nl); Sometimes only one or the other will give you the site you are looking for. Try them both, and if a website for your city does not appear, try another large city near to you.
Check the advertisements for interesting events. Dutch people are also rather active on the cultural scene, and there are therefore a great many interesting offerings at the theatre, museums and other special events. You may also find things such as happy hours or special nights for expatriate minglers at certain bars or establishments that include enough drink and/or food offers to make it worthwhile even if you don’t meet anyone!
There are several magazines specializing in announcements interesting to internationals, and there are free English newspapers such as The Amsterdam Times and The Hague Times. You may see these papers available somewhere in town, or you can check their websites for a list of locations. Also, if you can manage even a little bit of Dutch, local newspapers will have interesting events advertised. Even the free magazine that you will occasionally find lying around in the trains, Rails, is in Dutch but includes a monthly calendar of events of interesting suggestions for each day. Amsterdam Weekly is a new English newspaper aimed at both locals and internationals with a focus not on articles but on English reviews of current and upcoming events. It also contains classifieds on various topics from cooking and language classes to social groups that are free to publish and therefore feature less mainstream or purely commercial announcements. See www.amsterdamweekly.nl.
A few more media to check out:
• Amsterdam Media (World News Network)
• Hague News (World News Network)
• The Hague Online (local The Hague news daily for expats by ex-pats)
• The Netherlands Post (World News Network)
• The Amsterdam Post (World News Network)
Free booklets and flyers
Also worth picking up are the various free booklets and flyers that can be found on the counters in many cafes and restaurants. These will contain current listings and advertisements for a category of activities. Many of these handouts are for dance parties and/or nightclub events; some of them are for concerts and/or theatre productions.
Some companies and all universities have centres which organize a plethora of activities for all groups of people, such as the Shell company’s sites for its international workers at http://www.outpostexpat.nl/, which is full of useful information for everyone. The best place to find out this is your HR contact.
There are many good websites in English full of up-to-date information on What’s Happening in Holland. While the problem with the internet is usually how to find and judge what is a good site from among the many choices, the information here should give you more than enough to be getting along with.There are two useful categories of websites that will provide the best and widest variety of information: websites for expatriates and websites on events for the general public.
Websites for expatriates
Websites for expatriates are written by and specifically aimed at foreigners living abroad. Thus, these sites are aimed directly at you and provide easy access to a huge range of activities of interest to internationals. Here you can find up-to-date listings of social and other events around the country from parties to book readings and theatre productions. They also provide a forum for you to talk to other expats and connect with
them on a less organized basis through small gatherings that you can even organize yourself. Check these sites often and carefully. These sites are all in English and provide organized and up-to-date information and activity postings for people of all nationalities. You are certain to find other expat sites specific to your language group or nationality as well.
Some good expatriate websites:
- Newcome's Club
This is one of the most welcoming places to start.
A little bit of everything. Advice articles and active discussion forums.
Specifically for the Northern provinces.
This one provides an especially detailed list of possible social outlets. Supported by the Shell company.
- The Xpat Journal
A quarterly magazine for expatriates in the Netherlands.
- Access Magazine
A quarterly magazine and website with articles of interest to the international community in the Netherlands. This page lists social clubs.
Undutchables, (named after an excellent humor book on the Dutch culture) is a recruitment agency for internationals. It's website however provides many useful items such as this site of interesting activities for internationals.
International Resource Centre (IRC-Gelderland)
The is an internet meeting point for the expatriate community living in Gelderland Province, in The Netherlands. The aim of the portal is to gather, share and exchange up-to-date information, guidance and resources and to make these available to welcome, inform, support and enrich the life of the international community residing and operating in the province.
Websites on events for the general public
The second grouping of websites centres on events geared more to the general public—lighter on the social interaction focus, but heavier on a cultural focus or one of exploring Holland itself.
To start, http://www.lekkerweg.nl/nl/ (in Dutch only) has pages specific to different cities or regions and includes many categories of events. This site has a particularly useful free email newsletter called HOLL@NDNEWS. (To sign-up, look for a box to click in the margin or go to “Gen. Info” on the upper margin, right-hand side, where you will find information about the newsletter.) The newsletter is sent out regularly, and your subscription can even be personalized so that you get news about events that match your particular interests.
Another interesting site is www.culturelezondagen.nl (dutch only). This gives information about an ongoing project of planned ‘Cultural Sundays’ in or around the centrally located city of Utrecht. The site is in Dutch, but clarification can be requested for things that look interesting via their information email link.They also accept submission of ideas for future plans. In addition, both of the sites above contain a plethora of other useful links.
A last, helpful hint about social activities: If you plan to stay in Holland long-term and/or would like to know some locals as well as internationals, do your best to try a few activities advestised in Dutch at least every once in a while. These will take more effort on your part; they may be a little less comfortable at first. But this is the way to meet Dutch people!
Some other useful sites
How to Find 'What's Happening in Holland'
• Don't forget about the many Dutch cultural festivals that line the entire year.
Comprehensive information on the Netherlands by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Information about living and learning in Amsterdam
• www.loket.amsterdam.nl/ Virtual counter for Amsterdam citizens that provides information and services from both the municipality and public domain.
Activities, tips to survive, things to do, "crash course" and more by Undutchables Recruitment Agency.
• www.outpostthehague.com and www.outpostexpat.nl/
Expatriate information center with practical information supported by Shell spouse-to-spouse network.