26 Feb

Frisian Independence

Dear people of Holland,

As you know I successfully declared myself the king of your country sometime ago. This happened when I put up flyers around Amsterdam announcing the news and no one objected (thus making it official). It has been sometime since my last royal update so allow me to issue the following news.

It has been over half a year since I relocated my royal residence to Friesland (from the royal apartment of Rotterdam). Having spent some time among the Frisian people and getting to know their culture I have decided to grant them full independence from the rest of The Netherlands. I will not (as one of my Dutch subjects suggested) be ‘selling them to Germany’.

This plan means that the province of Friesland will become its own independent country free of Dutch control. Luckily Friesland already has its own flag, language and national anthem so they are already half way there. In order to achieve full Frisian Independence I will be making the following changes over the next few months.

Steps towards Frisian Independence:

1) Frisian will be added to Google Translate (Done).

2) Orange will remain the national colour of Friesland but it will be a slightly different shade of orange from the Dutch.

3) Dutch people within Friesland will now be considered ‘expats’ or ‘tourists’.

4) Border control will be set up between Friesland and The Netherlands.

5) Frisian passports will be issued to all residence of Friesland.

6) Canal jumping will be made an official Olympic sport.

7) Friesland will be represented by its own football team in the European and World Cup.

8) A Frisian edition of the Euro will be created featuring proud Frisian heritage such as; a Friesian horse, carbidschieten and a slow moving tractor.

9) A Frisian representative will be added to the UN.

10) Frisian embassies will be set up in all the major cities of the world.

11) Sloten will be declared the new capital of Friesland.

12) All websites hosted in Friesland will now end with ‘.fr’. Since this designation already belongs to France negotiations will be opened for them to change theirs.

13) A national Friesland day will be created.

14) The name ‘Friesland’ will be changed to ‘The Independent and Glorious Country of Fryslân’.

19 Feb

Speculoos White Choc Mystery

Case File #113d

My secret admirer mysterious speculoos supplier has struck again. I arrived at work one morning this week to discover another surprise gift on my desk. Last time it was a jar of Speculoos spread with a mysterious note asking, “What’s next?” This time I found out the answer to that question; a bar of white chocolate speculoos. The gifts are getting more extravagant.

White Chocolate Speculoos
Speculoos White Chocolate 1

Sadly there was no note with it this time, unless the message was to spice up my life. If that is the case I wonder if it is a proposal I should be slightly worried about (especially because of the image of the handcuffs).

I am still not closer to identifying the mysterious supplier of these generous gifts. One of my colleagues has claimed to know the identity of the person in question but he is not willing to say anything more. Since he is technically my boss I am not able to use interrogation to get the information out of him (not without it reflecting very badly on my next employee performance review at least).

My only hope is that my mysterious benefactor slips up at some point and gives away their identity. Until then I have a bar of white chocolate speculoos to enjoy.

Speculoos White Chocolate 2
12 Feb

Message in a bottle

Most regular readers will already know that about a year ago my wife and I moved up to Friesland. At the time of the move we had got as far as buying an empty field but it was still going to be a few months until a house was built on it. Not wanting to live in a tent on our newly purchased land until then we temporarily moved in with my parent-in-law.

The exciting news is that earlier this year construction on the new house began and a few days ago we were invited to visit the building site. To make things even more awesome the visit also included the opportunity to bury a time capsule/message in a bottle within the foundations of the house. As soon as I found out this was going to happen I knew I had to write something that started with the line, “greetings people of the future,” and that it would not be in any way serious. Here for you now is that letter. Since this version is going online some personal information has been redacted (to add to the mystery).

Greetings people of the future,

The letter you are now holding in your hands (or possibly examining under a microscope) is from February 11th 2016. Hopefully enough time has passed to make that impressive otherwise I’m afraid this is probably going to be a bit of an anti-climax. It would also be a bit unfortunate if not much time has passed because that would mean the house my family and I lived in (which was built on top of where this letter was buried) collapsed a lot sooner than expected.

You might have already noticed that this letter is written in English. Before we go any further I should point out that this is not an indication that the use of the Dutch and Frisian language began to go into decline in the early 21st century. It’s just that I am English and my Dutch sucks.

My name is Stuart ————. I was born on –/–/—- in London. I unintentionally moved to The Netherlands in 2001 and began a career as a game designer in Amsterdam. I once spent several hours trapped in a broken elevator in a deserted building at night.

My wife Simone ———– was born on –/–/—- in Holland. She is a teacher and once got stuck between the floors of her childhood home after falling partway through a hole in the floor between her upstairs bedroom and the ground floor toilet.

We met online in 2008, met each other in person a short while later, fell in love, and got married in 2010 in Rotterdam. At the time of writing this letter we have one daughter, Sophie ———— who was born on –/–/–, and a second child on the way. Sophie would like you to know that she currently prefers dinosaurs over dragons but I’ll be honest with you; that might have changed a few times once this letter is discovered.

I am giving this information about our lives for historical record in the hope that it will be of interest and that one day we will be featured in museum on whatever planets you have now colonized. Hopefully I’m not just making it very easy for someone to commit identity theft.

family letter


Bottle 01
Bottle 02

The letter was placed in a bottle along with a picture by my daughter (who was not too happy when she later realized she would never get it back) and hidden within the foundations of the house by the front door.

8 Feb

Top 100

This is just a quick update to let you know that Invading Holland has been nominated for the Top 100 International Exchange and Expat Blogs of 2016 (or IX16 for short).

If you would like to vote for Invading Holland or one of the other great blogs on the list it’s very easy. Just click the button link below, scroll down until you see the name of the blog you’d like to vote for (hopefully Invading Holland), hold your mouse curser over it and click the vote button that appears. After that you are done and can go about your normal life. Voting closes on February 21st.

Thank you very much for your help and normal blogging service will return in a few short days.

IX16 - Vote for this blog!
29 Jan

Language Mistakes

My Dutch Father-In-Law is extremely enthusiastic about speaking English. He’ll dive into an English sentence with the kind of fearless confidence I wish I had when speaking Dutch. It’s the kind of fearlessness where sentence structure, past/presence tense and pronunciation do not matter. They are minor details of little importance. The important thing is to just say the thing you are trying to say in the way ‘you’ think it should be said and let someone else work it out. This has resulted in a lot of unintentionally hilarious language mistakes and conversations (so many that this might have to become a new series) that often leave us more than a little confused.

A good example of this was earlier this year while we were helping to put away my parents-in-law’s Christmas decorations. My Father-In-Law had set up a model train track around the base of the Christmas tree, complete with a set of scenery.

As he packed away the individual pieces into their boxes he proudly showed off each one; a miniature snowy tree, a small phone box, a tiny bridge. They were all pieces he was planning to use later when building his real train set (once we move out and he got his spare room back).

More model houses and scenery were lovingly packed away. Suddenly, while holding up a tiny street lamp (itself decorated with a Christmas bow), he unexpectedly announced, “You can only get these when shopping with Christ.”

“Hu?” my wife and mother-in-law exclaimed in unison. Had my father-in-law just confessed to having a religious shopping experience? Could he have been on a shopping trip with the savoir of the Christian faith?

Luckily I am usually able to puzzle together the true meanings of my father-in-law’s sentences pretty quickly (probably because of years of playing around with the language myself). I’m sure Jesus would make an excellent personal shopper but I know that was not what he was implying.

“You can only buy them at Christmas time.” I translated for my confused wife and mother-in-law.

My father-in-law smiled. Who says you need to be able to speak a language correctly to be understood. Besides, language mistakes are sometimes more fun.