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Sarah Holland 04-05
Over mij

this is me

Welkom op mijn website! Here you can follow my year abroad in Holland! More will follow! (mijn school/my school) (mijn stad/my city) (mijn uitwisseling organisatie/my exchange program)


21-4-05 I know its been a while. I'm sorry, forgive moi alstublieft. The past few weeks have been really busy, especially with toetsweek (exams)...I passed them all! In most subjects I had one of the highest grades in the class. To further my bragging, my Dutch teacher didn't believe that I had written a paper that I had wrote for him, because despite the spelling errors it was beyond the level of "students your age, especially those who come from America", meaning of course a non-native Dutch speaker.
Beyond my utter blijschap with that (happiness) its been busy as well in the Netherlands. Stores are filling with orange things in preparation for the huge country-wide blow-out birthday party for Koningin Beatrix. My plans include taking the train to Amsterdam, going out with Amanda (fellow American) and selling things the next day with the Nauss's. It's Koninginnedag tradition for people to yardsale like crazy... old books, clothing, doesn't matter. My family loves yard sales, and I haven't seen one (or a good thrift store) in ages. Thus, consider my enthusiasm. I hope to spend a day in the vacation in Delft, former home of Vermeer and the prettiest city I've seen so far in the Netherlands. This weekend I'm going to the Keukenhof with friends (famous flower show/garden) and then going to the first-night sedar from Unkie Joey's former neighbors in Den Haag. I love Passover, and as much I would love to spend it with my wonderful, loving, amazing family I'm happy to do it the Dutch way.
In a similar spin, I want to say something to the three most inspiring people in my life, in NO SPECIFIC ORDER. I'll go alphabetical.
Anne, a.k.a. Mom, Mommy, Mama, Mother Avalanche: Mom, you have never been less than the best that you could be for me. Loving, affectionate, unconditionally understanding and sweet. We've always had a good relationship, although I haven't always confided everything in you. This year apart has made me realize how much I love you, my Mommy, mijn moeder. I don't know anyone who's as caring and sweet as you. As Hannah would say, you're the best Mommy for me, but as I would say, you're the best Mommy ever!
Hannah, a.k.a. Little Sistuh, Hannah-Bananah, Baby Guuurl and more: heej sweetie! I know we'll end up hating eachother a couple of weeks after I get home, but I love you! I always have, even when I (at a young age) was more than willing to give you up for adoption and/or smother you with any and all heavy items I could find around the house. You are my little Baby and I love you forever. I can't wait to see you again and watch movies and be sarcastic and laugh for hours on end.
Mark, a.ka. Daddy, Dad, Daduh, mijn vader: Daddy, I love you! I always have, I always will. This year has only made me appreciate you more. You taught me to tie my shoes, blow my nose, go to the potty, etc. You've always been there for me and I can't wait to give you a big hug and relish our mutual love of drop!
26-3-05 Heej ieder en een. Sorry that's its been so long. I'll make a short summery of the big points...
The weather-- the weather now in the Netherlands is (i'm assuming) a lot different than in Vermont. It's warm and sunny and the tulips and flowers are popping up. People are flocking to the Keukenhof (where all the tulips are). I'm hoping to go to soon. People walk around in shorts and T-shirts and there are displays of bathing suits in every store.
MAMA MIA!-- MAMA MIA! was good the first time in New York. It was great the second time (also in New York). It was even better for the third time in Utrecht, where the entire show played in Dutch. Simone Kleinsma played the headrole of Donna and was incredible. For those who aren't familiar with her, she's a big "star" in the Netherlands. She sings, acts, has her own t.v. show, etc. The ABBA songs were also in Dutch, but thanks to the fact that I know them so well and had listened to the Dutch MAMA MIA! CD a couple times I had no problem following it.
I can't say it was really "beter" than the American version, but that fact that I remembered looking at the website from the Dutch version a year ago and thinking, "heej, in a year I'm going to go see MAMA MIA! in Utrecht!" and the fact that I sat there in Utrecht watching it in Dutch made it great.
Connections-- the weirdest thing every happened yesterday and the day before. I was on the way to Assen/Groningen to visit Amanda and reading the Metro, i.e. the train newspaper when I saw the headline "Montpelier." I read the article and to my utter astonishment it was about the 10-year old Noah Nielson from Montpelier who won the Rotten Sneaker Contest! In Dutch it was the "Stinkschoenen Wedstrijd" but still! MONTPELIER! A KID I KNOW! How random! Amanda and I were watching TMF (the European MTV) yesterday and what happened to pop up but a little scroll-on message about the American Noah Nielson who won the Stinkschoenen Wedstrijd! HE'S AN INTERNATIONAL STAR!
05-3-05 Weer bij Sarah Nauss's. Zit nu achter het mooie scherm... luister nu naar de CD van MAMA MIA (Nederlands talige-liedjes) dat ik bij de grote wholesale winkel heb gekocht... zal nu in het Engels schrijven voor idereen die geen Nederlands spreekt.
Again at Sarah Nauss's. Sitting behind the beautiful screen, listening to the CD of Mama Mia (Dutch songs) that I bought at the wholesale store today... going to write in English now for everyone who doesn't speak Dutch.
In the last few weeks, I've fallen innocent victim to the griep (flu), recovered masterfully, threw myself into the world of strange social gatherings and attended a poetry evening, met some nice people, made some friends at school, enjoyed myself and found myself again in Amsterdam. The idea was to babysit for Sarah Nauss's kids when her kids went to a party, but Arthur ended up going to a disco party, so it's just me and Franklin now. The weather in Holland is, right now, unbelievable (for Dutchies, that is). There's snow! A lot of it, to be precies. As a result, I had to change trains about 3 times as apposed to none because "there were less trains riding between blablabla and blablabla". The conductors had to turn people away, the train stations were packed. Some traveler asked me (in English) when the stop for Utrecht was, he had to go to Schipol. I had a hard time finding the English words to answer, I started in Dutch... oops! I guess that's good for me, though. This morning I slept in, ate a wonderful breakfast, chatted and joined Jan and Sarah to the wholesale Cosco-esque store where I bought the MAMA MIA! CD (yes! I'm going to Utrecht to see it in two weeks... I recieved the tickets a couple of days ago!), a Dutch summery-of-2004 book complete with pictures (complete with graphic foto of a murdered Theo van Gogh with a knife in his chest) and deodorant! Yay!
Plans: Next weekend, Friday night travel to Amsterdam (again), Saturday meet cousin Judy in city, Sunday to Den Haag to visit Unkie Joey's old neighbors. The next weekend: Friday meet Lida in Utrecht, see MAMA MIA!, travel back to Tilburg (to probably sleep at her house). The next day, take train to Den Bosch for YFU gathering. Later, hopefully out to a cafe with someone I met at the poetry evening. The next weekend... Easter! Family party, maybe out with friends. The next... my birthday feestje! Further, a blur of visits to various people and fun things... the top being KONINGINEDAG IN AMSTERDAM ALONG WITH 70,000 CRAZY DUTCH PEOPLE! yay!
13-2-05 Back from staying with Sarah Nauss, her husband Jan de Wit, their sons Arthur (11) and Franklin (13) and their cats Miep and Charlie. I had an incredibly amazing time, soooo fun. I did so much (went to Jewish Historical Museum, went to concert of Nol Haven, i.e. Dutch singer from the 80's and his band, went out to eat, wandered around Amsterdam, ate bagels and lox, shopped at an international grocer and bought American goodies for my host family, ate a delicious home-cooked meal, helped Arthur make a website:, talked for hours about the differences between the Dutch and my fellow Americans, ate Frosted Flakes and homemade pancakes with VERMONT MAPLE SYRUP, drove through the gorgeous polders, had tea with the former host mother of Sarah Nauss, missed a train, caught another, ended up here).
I looooved being there. It was like a weekend home. I love their home, their life, their energy. They invited me to come up again. I'm going there definetly for Queen's Day to party among the Dutch in Amsterdam, and am definetly going to visit them in their lake house in Vinkeveen. They even invited Annemiek (i.e. host sister) to come too... I hope she can get work off. Must depart. Goodnight (welterwusten).
12-2-05 Only a short update to Baba. Contrary to popular belief, I haven't been ignoring your emails. In fact, I've been responding to each and everyone and you, for some reason or another, haven't been recieving them... maybe it has something to do with the fact you blocked my email earlier on in my cherrybat career. Maybe you could bug my father to help you out or something, but I AM responding.
9-2-05 In short news, I ended up staying an extra day by Lida's because it was so wonderfully gezellig, dus I'm home now. Friday I leave for the weekend in Amsterdam... yay! (I'm staying with Sarah Nauss). I'd also like to mention that my homesickness is nary to be seen. I really enjoy it now in Holland, things are going too fast! See VERHALEN too for a cool (longer) update.
30-1-05 See VERHALEN for exciting, wonderful update.
10-1-05 See VERHALEN for update...
8-1-05 Wow... I'm buzzing. Not from excitement/nerves surrounding tomorrow's koffee/thee debut with my new host family (although I am nervous), but rather about something entirely unrelated to my stay in NL... I'm inspired! To write, that is. Being my mother's daughter, I'm crazy about reading... and writing. When I wasn't skilled enough in the English language to get down to business on pen and papier, I imagined things, people, places. If I didn't have the inspiration for a full-blown story, I created book jackets (imaginary, of course), i.e. Suzy/Caroline/Ali is a young/smart/lonely girl living in rural Vermont/New York City/Holland... bla bla bla. My interest in writing was, after all, a big part in my decision to come here, to the Netherlands, to live among wooden shoes and windmills. Any creditable writer has seen exotic parts of the world (not entirely true). Ok, any creditable writer has felt alienated. Though I felt plenty alienated at MHS, in Vermont, I had a pretty care-free life. I wasn't abused or raped, nor did I have ADD or any terminal illness. But (but!), if I went abroad I would be a foreigner... in Europe! I could write about the trials and tribulations of being an American abroad! I spent hours fantasizing about the journal that would contain my "travel diary". It ended up being a partially used notebook, and I arrived in NL with absolutely no desire to write. No inspiration, no nothing... but here I am! Inspired at once! The inspiration in question comes from reading a web site from an 18-year old Californian college student... with a book contract! Upon reading this, I got jealous... no matter that her writing sucked... I want a book contract too! Thus, I bid my wonderful travel companion ( adieu for a much-needed WRITING RETREAT!
7-1-05 Heej allemaal! When I woke up this morning, Gijs informed me that I should be a "heel gelukkig meid" (really happy girl), because YFU had already found me a host family! They live in Roosendaal, in the provincie Brabant, close to Antwerp and Rotterdam. I'm so excited! I talked to the mother on the phone for a little while today... she said that I'm completely welcome in their house. They have two kids-- one boy who is 21 and not often at home (doesn't really live at home) and one girl who is 20 and does live at home. They've had many other exchange students before, thus they know somewhat how it works. I'm not entirely sure of their work, but I think she is a doctor/nurse working from home. As for her husband I don't know. They have a little dog and a rabbit! My room is big, while the house is "niet zo groot" (not so big).
Hanny and Gijs are taking me there on Sunday for coffee and also to look around the town/house. I'm moving in definetly on Wednesday, but not going to school in the interim. I was dissapointed about not getting to do Carnevel, but Hanny and Gijs told me that Roosendaal does Carnevel too-- big time. If I never explained Carnevel, it's probably because I didn't understand it. I still don't fully understand it. Basically people from the provinces of Limburg (where I was living), Noord-Brabant and Brabant dress up in what would be described as "silly clothing" party for a week... a sort of mix between Halloween and Mardi Gras. The reason... no idea. Lots of beer is consumed, a good tiem insures. Also schmink (face-paint, a German word) is used, just like with Halloween.
I also talked to Sarah Nauss today... she's somehow a friend of a relative or something who's living in Amstelveen (a suburb of Amsterdam)... she invited me to visit her! And she'd show me Amsterdam! YAY! She has two sons who are looking forward to "bossing me around", even though theyre younger than me. (11 and 13). She works at an International School and is going to ask around if anyone would be interested in showing me around/hosting me one weekend sometime, of course after I get settled into my new home. Sarah also invited me to go sailing or something... I didn't quite understand.
6-1-05 HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! My 2005 didn't start out so well but now everything is looking up. Due to some problems in my former host family situation, I'm switching families! I'm actually excited... I like new beginnings. It'll be like starting over again, only this time I speak Dutch! And well, according to most people here. Right now I'm staying with my area reps.-- Hanny en Gijs Janssen. They are soooo incredibly nice and warm. It's been a while since they had a kid in the house but they've been so accomodating and wonderful... too bad they're not taking in exchange students! Since I've been here, I've been to the gym with Gijs, wandered around Den Bosch and seen the inside of a beautiful old Romaanse church (St. Jan de Doper), and recieved a wonderful package from my wonderful American neighbors (the Koch's-- thank you so much! I love you guys!)
Best New Year's Wishes! ~~SARAH
26-12-04 MERRY CHRISTMAS! Here is my Christmas update...
For the past month or so the radio has been bombarded with Christmas songs, most of which I surprisingly like! Being a Jewish Vermonter, I haven't been privy to the usual volume of Christmas liedjes... while my host fam complains of being sick of them, I rather enjoy them! So... (dus), Christmas celebration officially began Friday evening, when we all sat down together (excepting Vera, who was going to a friend's birthday) to watch All You Need is Love on t.v. The premise... Nederlandse people with a spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend who lives abroad are suddenly thrilled! Why? Because they are some of the lucky 20 or so people who's family sent in letters to the station explaining their plight... the station fills out the paperwork (which under normal circumstances takes forever/and/or is impossible) and delivers the spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend to their spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend's door. Crying, happiness, etc. Very cute. When Wim and I were in Hilversum for the taping of the Staatssloterij show, we saw the All You Need is Love bus outside another studio! Coolies, huh? We ate yummy waffles that Elly made, along with a sort of (yes, alcoholic) punch.
Saturday morning we had breakfast around 9.30... much fruit cake...lekker! My favorite was a sort that Elly had made by hand... nutty and yummy and yeah... After a couple of hours, Roy (Vera's boyfriend) and Vera arrived. We played a couple of rounds of sjoelen (typically Dutch game, somewhat resembling air hockey, where you kind of thrust wooden pucks across a board and aim to land in certain areas)... I didn't do so well (but on the other hand, didn't do so bad)... then we ate... and did we eat! We started with creamy tomato soup, then moved onto a sort of pastry bread stuffed with salmon. Then came salmon filet, rice and salad... all was accessorized with sweet white wine. Dessert was champagne mousse... echt lekker!
After that (leaving us all totally stuffed), we drove (extremely rare, I live in a land full of bikers, only due to the fact that Roy and Vera had no bikes) to Oma and Opa Leenen where Elly's family was. We stayed for a couple of hours or so, everyone catching up and eating the typical Limburgse tart/cake. We went home around 7.30 or so, I don't know exactly. It was a totally green Christmas (i.e. no snow), but Dutch people are completely accustomed to that.
At home we watched a little t.v. then ate some boterham... I was totally full at this point. Then we watched A Town Without Christmas (Christmas movie), accompanied once again by punch, waffles and chocolate. I was in bed by 11 or so.
This morning was breakfast (tuurlijk) and then a walk (about 30 minutes long) to Oma and Opa Godding. Tante Nicole and her kids were there too... more cake and tea... then back home! Where we (Lianne, Wim, Elly and I) ate again! This time a yummy mushroom dish, pork, spinach, potato and cherries... and for dessert... an extremely rich, lekker chocolate mousse! After all this, I informed my host family that I didn't want to eat for the rest of the year...
I never understand Christmas, being Jewish and living in a country where Christmas means extremely cheesy carols and commercialism. But I've discovered that I like it! Here, at least. Here its like Thanksgiving... a time to be together with your family. And I wasn't even so homesick! (Constantly eating left me little time to be homesick)...
Vacation schedule: Tomorrow Caroline comes to sleep over... yay! She's really cool and wants to do a year abroad in the U.S., no matter how I've advised her to choose a different destination. Wednesday Lisa comes (she's from Michigan, also an exchange student living in Noord-Holland) for a couple of days... she'll go home Friday morning or so. Friday is of course New Year's Eve... just us at home. I was planning to go to Den Haag to visit friends of Unkie Joey and Auntie Dinah but it looks like thats not going to happen! MAD! Maybe I can get together with the other exchange students in my region... hopefully! PRETTIGE FEESTDAGEN EN EEN GELUKKIG 2005!~~SARAH
19-12-04 So. I'm trying for punctuation... intense, huh? So much has happened in the past week or so. Last weekend (11 and 12 December), I had a YFU "weekend" (more of a day) in Maastricht/Valkenberg. Pop drove me to the train station in Venlo Saturday morning (usually I bike, but he had to be there too), and Mayuko and I (Japanese exchange student who lives in Baarlo, i.e. close to Blerick) rode the train together. We saw Kaisa (Estonian exchange student) and we all met up with Maxence (from Wallonie), Lida (from Norway) and Asuka (also from Japan) in the train station in Maastricht. Relana, who was in the U.S. (Idaho) for a year with YFU, organized the weekend and introduced us to other guys who were in the U.S. for a year with YFU too: one lived in Illinois, the other Michigan.
We spent an hour or so walking around Maastricht... ik vond het een hele mooie stad (I thought it was a beautiful city)... older and more historically rich than most places in NL where I've been so far. We went on a Ferris Wheel and went skating and a little bit of shopping. After all that, it was around 6.30 or so... we walked to the train station in Maastricht, took the train to Valkenberg, walked to the bus station only to find that the bus wasn't running any longer... yeah, sucks. We walked about 15 minutes, were picked up by a YFU coordinator (we were staying by his house)... dinner/talking/games/movies until late. Bruce Almighty, for anyone interested, is NOT funny. I went to bed as I was exhausted and sick (I stayed home from school on Friday)... morning meant yummy breakfast (broodjes and toppings), walking into Valkenberg, waiting an hour in a qeue for the Kerstmarkt (filled with tourists as it is the only Kerstmarkt in a cave in Nederland/Europa)... I bought a little jewelry box for 6 euros...
From there I made some fotos, we ate lunch (krokets and frietjes for me), and walked to the train station where we said goodbye. Kaisa and I were feeling equally unthrilled to return to school the next day... waah. But we did (or she did, I was sick, Tuesday too)...
Wednesday the fam and I went to Dusseldorf (Germany) for the Kerstmarkt... didn't buy anything but enjoyed walking around, eating a big German feast and practicing my meager German (read: very meager)... we were back in Venlo by 10.20 or so)... Friday I had two exams (Biology and Social Studies)... they were ok.
The big news was what happened yesterday, which was extremely, extremely fun. Friday Pop asked if anyone wanted to go with him to the drawing from the New Year's lottery in Hilversum (the Hollywood of Nederland, as I've taken to saying... i.e. where movie stars live and shows are taped)... he works for a charter bus company and was driving some clients there and thus was invited to bring a guest (MOI) to the taping. We left Saturday around 2... two hours driving to Hilversum... I helped with the drinks on the bus. When we got there, there was a full buffet/bar for the 800 or so audience members. Pop said that alcohol is provided free to "loosen up" the audience so we all participate... haha.
We were given little battery-powered lamps (to sway during the slow songs) and a RESPECT2ALL bracelet (looks the same as the LIVESTRONG bracelets) for a specific song. I got to see more famous Dutch people than the average Dutch person does in their lifetime-- Frans Bauer, Rene Froger, Lange Frans and Baas B., several other artists and some American artists as well as some English artists. It was so much fun! (Waving our wrist wildly and singing along to the music.) It wasn't live but absolutely crazy with the camera work that these people had to do... WOW. There was also a clip from the Dutch version of Mama Mia... a medly with 2 Songs (Dancing Queen and Mama Mia, though in Dutch). Either my Dutch is good or I know ABBA too well, because I had no problems following the songs. We had to pretend that it was almost 12. midnight on New Year's Eve, because that's when the show is aired. When they had the countdown, about 100 people from the audience jumped on the stage and started dancing with the (probably shaken) famous Dutch artists. Then they were calmed down... it was an awesome Non-New Year's New Year's party. Apple tart after the show, brushed off the dusting of fake snow... we were back in Venlo/Blerick by 2.00 or so, I was in bed by 2.30. Lekker slapen...
Today Mam and I went to the photo exhibit from Pop and his foto club in Tegelen (a nice 30 minute bike ride away). Vera's at the movie theater now to see Ocean's 12... which was taped partly in Amsterdam... cool, eh? Am somewhat unthrilled about going back to school tomorrow... exams, yay!
6-12-04 wow. first, sinterklaas was awesome. i luuurv all of mijn cadeautjes. so veel! (so many) a nederlands vlag (flag), a Jip en Janneke foto album, plenty of clementines (o.a. the orange appels from spanje), a calender with images from NL, a poster from Amelie, a poster hoster, a Dove gift set, a necklace, bracelet, fleece blanket, a book about the Perigord (region in Frankrijk where i was with caves), a Nederlands book that i requested, wooden klompen (clogs) on a key chain, jip en janneke cards, a little bottle of shampoo, a CD (self gemakt from Wim, titled "Luister Leidjes" or Listening Songs, etc.
life here is settling somewhat. im homesick from time to time, often pissed of with various aspects of the culture (in no way an attack for any dutch people...) please dont ask me to defend myself! i go swimming twice a week at a zwembad (swimming pool) a ten minute bike ride from here and ive spent the last couple of saturday mornings taking a long walk (1 1/2- 2 hours) through the surrounding areas. my favorite route is the way to Boekend (een kleine boeren dorp- small farmers' village) about a 45 minute walk from here. its nice and peaceful on saturdays, and just a time where i can be/by myself and not translate every sentence that comes my way. ive made a handy little list for all y'all... everything applies to my life here in NL.
FAVORITE FOOD: theres so much stuff i like here, but um... GOD! i have no idea. stroop waffels with a cup of peppermint tea and honey??
LEAST FAVORITE FOOD: sour kraut... its not as if i havent been offered it in the u.s., but yeah, im just not feeling the love
FAVORITE DUTCH PHRASE: volgens mij (in my opinion...etc)
LOWEST MOMENT SO FAR: one morning sometime in october, things with the host family werent going well, i was cursing myself for making such a horrific decision (a year, what was i thinking???), just feeling all around crappy
BEST MOMENT SO FAR: i was in the car, anouk's dad was driving me, sandra and sharanne to the C100 to pick up anouk and i was just looking out the window and being like "wow, im here... and im doing ok!!"
FAVORITE DUTCH BAND/SINGER: hmmm... Marco Borsato??
FAVORITE SONG IN DUTCH: Afscheid Nemen Bestaat Niet
FAVORITE DAY OF THE WEEK: Saturday mornings when i have nothing to do but walk lazily around, shower and eat frietjes
FAVORITE DUTCH FEESTDAG SO FAR: Sinterklaas, natuurlijk
FAVORITE DUTCH TELEVISION PROGRAMME: Spring, or something like that... a Belgian (Nederlandstalig) teen programme, fairly stupid but easy to understand, ive only seen it once so, GAWD, ik weet het niet...
FAVORITE DUTCH STORE: the Aldi (super super super cheap grocery store, theres one in Bennington, VT... check out, HEMA (hier krijg je ALLES... clothing, cds, dvds, candy, meat, deli, baked goods, home decor, kitchen supplies, phones, etc etc), Vero Moda (clothing)
LEAST FAVORITE THING TO DO: defend America, my clothing choices/eating habits/personality/interests/etc...
3-12-04 dag allemaal. hoe gaat het? met mij het gaat goed. vanavond ik ga naar een klein Sinterklaas slaap feest. (hey everyone. hows it going? this evening im going to a little Sinterklaas sleepover.) we had a sort of secret santa deal... i had Pei Lai. tomorrow were having a family Sinterklaas feest, and Zondag is pakjesavond, otherwise known as the days when all Sinterklaas cadeautjes (presents) are opened! ik heb zin! (im excited!)... in news, Prins Bernhard died of cancer Wednesday evening. He was the father of the current queen, the German husband of former queen Juliana, who died earlier this year.

Prince Bernhard, father of Netherlands' Queen Beatrix, dies at 93

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (CP) - Prince Bernhard, the father of the Netherlands' Queen Beatrix, has died, the Royal House announced Wednesday. He was 93.

Bernhard had been diagnosed with cancer in mid-November. Last week, the Royal House said tumours had spread to his stomach and lungs, causing difficulty breathing. He was moved to Utrecht University Medical Hospital on Wednesday. Bernhard had been staying at the royal palace in Soestdijk, where he lived for six decades with his wife, the former queen Juliana, who died earlier this year.

The Dutch royal family has a special tie with Canada, which sheltered Juliana and her children, including Beatrix, after the Nazis overran the Netherlands in 1940. The family lived in Ottawa, which each year receives thousands of tulip bulbs from the Dutch royals as a token of appreciation.

The German-born Bernhard spent the Second World War years as aide-de-camp to then Queen Wilhelmina, who had set up her government-in-exile in Britain.

One of the most popular figures in the Dutch royal family, Bernhard received a stream of family visitors this week. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende had said the "whole country sympathized" with him in his illness.

The prime minister was to address the nation later Wednesday.

Bernhard's service as a pilot for the Allies during the war and his help in rebuilding the Netherlands, devastated by the Nazi occupation, earned him the respect of the Dutch. But his image was tarnished by a bribery scandal late in his wife's reign and by his openly rocky marriage and affairs.

Tall, handsome and active into his 90s, Bernhard was a dapper dresser, with glasses and a trademark carnation in his buttonhole. For the Dutch, Bernhard was an avuncular presence in his adopted country throughout the second half of the 20th century.

Outside the Netherlands, he was seen as a jet-setting, charismatic ambassador for the Dutch during postwar reconstruction. He helped found the World Wildlife Fund in 1961 and became its first president, and is credited with establishing the Bilderberg group - a secretive annual discussion forum for prominent politicians, thinkers and businessmen - which he chaired from 1954 to 1976.

Regular broadcasts on Dutch television and radio were interrupted for the announcement of his death Wednesday. The Dutch national anthem was played in his honour.

Bernhard was born Bernhard von Lippe-Biesterfeld, of impoverished German nobility, at Jena on June 29, 1911.

25-11-04 HAPPY TURKEY DAY! did you know...?
That when the name Holland is used instead of The Netherlands, it actually refers to the two Western coastal provinces, North and South Holland, which have played an important role in the country's history
That The Netherlands occupies an area of 41,160 square kilometres and is home to 16+ million people. Partly reclaimed from the waters of the North Sea, it is Europe’s most densely populated country.
That the Netherlands is one of the European Union's most dynamic centres of trade and industry. Dutch economy ranks sixth in the European Union and fifteenth in the world. The port of Rotterdam is the biggest port in the world. Amsterdam Schiphol international airport is the fourth biggest cargo-handling airport in Europe. That is why the Netherlands is often called the Gateway to Europe.
That with only 0.008% of the world's area, the Netherlands is the world's third largest agricultural exporter after the USA and France!
That the Dutch are the tallest people in Europe.
That both its people and their language are known to English-speakers as Dutch, a name derived from the old language named Diets. The old low-frankish dialects were very familiar to the 'low-german' dialects that were spoken in the most parts of northern Europe. Together they were referred to as 'nederduits' (low-german) and the language in the area of the low countries was called 'diets', which explains the name 'Dutch' in English.
That nearly a quarter of its surface area is below sea level. The lowest point in the Netherlands, near Rotterdam, is 6.7 metres below sea level. Its highest point, the Vaalserberg, is 312 metres above sea level. The Vaalserberg is in the southeast of the country, where the borders of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany meet.
That in the entrance lobby of the new town hall in Amsterdam there is a glass pillar filled with water. The level of the water rises and falls according to the rise and fall of the tide. At low tide the water level falls below ground; at high tide it rises to almost 7 feet above ground. This is to say, were it not for the sea wall and the city's defenses against the elements, Amsterdam would be swamped by the waters of the North Sea twice a day.
That the name 'Netherland' is derived from the Dutch word 'neder' meaning 'low', and the term Low Countries is used collectively for Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, a reference to the low-lying nature of the land.
That practically the entire west and low north of the country consists of polders: drained land which is mainly surrounded by dikes, within which groundwater levels can be controlled. There are some 5.000 polders in all. The largest polders are the result of the Zuyderzee works. Since 1920 - when the decision to carry out the works was taken - these have resulted in the inland sea (Zuyder Zee or Zuiderzee) becoming a lake (the IJsselmeer) and a gain of 1.650 square km of land.
That a second major project in the Netherlands' fight against the water is the Delta project. The construction of the Delta works (Delta Werken) started after a devastating storm surge hit the low-lying polders of the southwest Netherlands on 1. February 1953, killing more than 1.800 people and flooding large areas of land.
... and that the supposedly Dutch story, known as the legend of Hans Brinker - who supposedly put his finger in the dike to prevent a flood, was actually a literary invention by the American writer Mary Elizabeth Mapes Dodge (1831-1905), who was born in New York.
24-11-04 heeej... HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all you americans... wishing i was there :) here are some wonderlijk feiten (facts) about Holland, i.e. my foster home for the next seven and a half months (am i counting??)...

The Netherlands: facts and figures (taken from the U.S. Dutch Consulate's Website)

Unless otherwise stated, the figures below are for 2003

1 System of government
2 Geography
3 Population
4 Economy
5 Public holidays and commemorative days (2004)
6 Sources

1 System of government Top

Head of State

Queen Beatrix

Head of government

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende

System of government

Constitutional monarchy

National language




Capital city






Seat of government

The Hague





Number of municipalities

483 (2004)



Number of provinces



Provincial capital:













North Holland


South Holland

The Hague



North Brabant






5 Public holidays and commemorative days (2004) Top

New Year's Day

1 January

Good Friday

9 April


11-12 April

Queen's Birthday

30 April

Remembrance Day

4 May

Liberation Day

5 May


20 May


30-31 May


25-26 December

sorry this isn't longer but ik ben moe! (im tired!) LOVE~~SARAH

16-11-04 here is an interesting article over the results of the Dutch t.v. programme The Greatest Nederlander of All Time...

Pim Fortuyn crowned greatest Dutch person

16 November 2004

AMSTERDAM — Populist politician Pim Fortuyn, who was the first victim of a political assassination in the Netherlands in over 300 years, has been chosen as the Greatest Dutch person of all time.

Hundreds of thousands of Dutch people cast their votes via telephone or internet in recent weeks as celebrities took turns to champion one of 10 candidates for the title on television station Nederland 1.

Fortuyn was declared the winner with 115,000 votes compared to 111,000 for William of Orange. But in an interesting twist broadcaster Kro announced later that had all the votes that came in after the poll closed been counted, the situation would have been reversed.

When the late votes were counted, Fortuyn was on 130,000 and William of Orange on 161,000. 

Fortuyn broke the mould of Dutch consensus politics by promoting a strong anti-immigration stance.Openly gay, his sharp mind, combative style and campaigning against bureaucracy endeared him to much of the public who had grown unhappy with the "backroom politics" practised in The Hague.

He was gunned down by Volkert van der Graaf in Hilversum on 6 May 2002, nine days before the general election.

Willem van Oranje, known in English as William of Orange, had to settle for second place. Often described as the father of the (Dutch) fatherland, Willem van Oranje (1533 – 1584) led the uprising against Spanish control of the Netherlands. He was shot and killed in Delft.

Post-war politician Willem Drees of the Labour Party (PvdA) came third in the contest.

Drees (1886 to 1988) is fondly referred to as Vadertje Drees (Father Drees)  in recognition of his contribution to laying the groundwork for the welfare state after the Second World War.

Fortuyn's victory is all the more surprising as he never held public office.

War-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill and post-war Chancellor Konrad Adenauer won when similar shows were run in the UK and Germany.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

13-11-04 if ya wanna be like with me in like spirit, you could like download some music from the following artists...
Chipz - english songs, but from holland
Marco Borsato- dutch and english songs
Ali B.- Morrokans-Nederlands rapper
K3- from dutch speaking Belgium
Golden Earring- rock band, english songs but from Nederland
Meat Loaf- see above
Andre Hazes- recently dead, from amsterdam
8-11-04 Sinter Klaas is bijna hier! Het is een heel belangrijk "holiday" in Nederland, een beetje als Christmas. Sinter Klaas is een man (hij is niet grote als Santa Claus) met zijn Zwarte Petiers (black Peters, white people with black face paint, i.e. his workers) en een wit paard wie hij gaan rond Nederland met. Nu dat ik ben in Nederland, wij (mijn gastgezin en ik) gaan Hannukah en Thanksgiving hebben. WOOT!! En oh ja, misschien mijn YFU regio gaan naar London voor een dag met Wim's bus (company)!! Ik ben heel blij te gaan.
19-10-04 zie verhalen voor UPDATE
16-10-04 gisteren was een presentatie met YFU (twee outwisselingstudent, een uit Estland, een uit Japon, de Eest's meisje's gastzus, de Japon's meisje's gastbroer, een Nederlands jongen die was in Hongarie, Lianne en ik) naar Den Hulster, een school in Venlo. het was een heel leuk middag, met mensen die willen zijn een uitwisselingstudent en zijn ouders. ik heb met kaisa (de eeste's meisje) gepraten. zij is heel leuk. wij willen gaan naar amsterdam volgende weekend (misschien met Lisa) maar haar en haar familie zijn gaan naar duitsland voor herfstvakantie. zij woon in Venray, bij Venlo. Lianne is nu de (local representative) voor uitwisselingstudent, zo zij is nu plannen een 's middag voor de uitwisselingstudenten en de (retournees), misschien schatsen in Duitsland. woot!
vorige weekend ik heb naar Lisa (een andere amerikanse uitwisselingstudent) in Slootdorp (bij Hoorn). ik heb de trein gekrijgt op vrijdag, en ik heb naar terug gegaan op zondag. het was een heel leuk weekend.
28/9/04 ive reached my photo limit on my site so im putting my fotos on this site in the future:
22/9/04 back from an extended bout of laziness... (is that how you spell it? my english grammar is getting worse) i have some pics of my room and from elly and wim's party. my room is beginning to feel more like my room, although im still shopping for a poster to cover part of my blank wall. school is ok, though last week wasn't that great. i was feeling homesick and anti-social but a couple of friends helped me cheer up somewhat. i still miss home, and family and HANNAH, who is growing up so fast (too fast, yesterday she was still my little baby sister), but im trying not to think about all that. check verhalen and photos throughout the week.
11/9/04 verhalen updated... pictures of venlo and the house will be coming soon on my new camera...!!
9/6/04 today is my "first" day of school... actually i just have a meeting with the headmaster-type guy, whom they call a "mentor". its just me and him, so he can show me around and get me set up for classes. my appointment's not until 2, so i have a while. tomorrow i get my books and meet my class, and wednesday is my first school day. AHH!!! anyways, the digital camera got lost in france, so i wont have pictures for a while (wim and vera took pictures with their non-digitals but the pictures havent been developed yet). for all of yŠll technical people, i dont get on AIM a lot because its so overwhelming. im also planning to cut my internet time down to three times a week, so ill try for friday, monday and wednesday.
saturday night was lianne's eighteenth birthday, so i got to meet her friends and we went out in venlo to a couple different bars (yes, where they serve alcohol). it was the Limburg Song Night (the province of limburg where i live had a dialect of dutch that is very different from actual dutch) and they were performers so we danced around and it was fun. we got home (by bike) at about 3 in the morning so we were all very tired. yesterday (sunday) was the family party, where i got to meet relatives and close friends of the family and that was nice too. next saturday is wim and elly's anniversary party, so there will be about 60 people there. WOOT!! also saturday was my first solo bike trip into venlo. i went shopping at HEMA and a store called Vera Mode where i got some (cheap) clothes. i even communicated with people! (mostly with ja, nee and ik niet sprek nederlands, ik sprek engels (i dont speak dutch, i speak english).
9/3/04 back from France. was very nice and relaxing (longest "holiday" i can remember). was surprised that i actually like duck (i didnt have foie gras), but very glad to be home (my home for this year) anyways, verhalen (stories) will be coming soon.
8/19/04- back from orientation camp. was very fun and made lots of friends that i will (hopefully) keep in touch with. leaving tomorrow for france for two weeks, and probably wont have access to a computer in those two weeks so bye for two weeks!!
p.s. i put some pictures from orientation camp on the site, but more will come when i return.
8/14/04- leaving for week of orientation camp. be back soon