5 Jun

At The Zoo

It was our last weekend in Rotterdam and we had decided to take a break from packing boxes by taking our daughter to the zoo. The day was a great success. Our daughter had a great time running around from animal to animal. We saw big animals, small animals, flying animals, crawling animals and everything in between. Our daughters favorites were the lions, the fishes and the snakes (she is now convinced that every worm is a snake and is not afraid of them at all).

By the end of the day we were all very tired and it was time to go home. We decided to ride the little zoo’s train back to the car park to save us walking. During the ride I spotted an animal that I had not seen yet during the day, a Rhino.

“Oh look.” I exclaimed loudly, “ They even have an…”

I quickly searched my brain, trying to recall of the name of the animal in Dutch. I knew that I knew it but it was eluding me. I could have just finished the sentence in English but I was trying to show off. What was it again?

“… eenhoorn.” I quickly finished when the word suddenly popped into my head.

I heard a couple behind me begin to chuckle immediately. It only took me a second to realize why. I’d got the name wrong. The Dutch name for a Rhino is not eenhoorn. It’s neushoorn.

What I had actually just shouted was, “Oh look. They even have a unicorn.”

28 May

Friesland Stu

Every once in a while it is time for a change. It was just such a change that brought me to The Netherlands fifteen years ago and I have enjoyed every moment of it. However, it is time once again for a change, a new location and a new challenge. It is time to move on… to Friesland!

Ok. I know Friesland is technically within The Netherlands but I’m not entirely convinced that it is not its own country. After all it has its own flag. It has its own language. It even has the word ‘land’ in the name. The only thing its missing is its own currency, king and border control.

But yes. I am moving to Friesland. In some ways that bit of news is probably more of a shock than if I had actually been moving to another country. You probably have questions. I’ll try to answer them.

“Wait! What?! Friesland?!”
Yes. Friesland.


“Does this mean that you will be changing the name of your blog to Invading Friesland?”
No. The name is still going to be Invading Holland. After all, until I can prove otherwise Friesland is still a part of The Netherlands. Plus, I’m going to continue working in Amsterdam, so I’ll be spending just as much time around the Dutch as I will the Friesians.

“Wait… What?! You’re going to travel back and forth between Amsterdam and Friesland every day! Are you crazy?”
Possibly… but let’s be honest, we already knew I was a little crazy. The good news is I do most my writing on the train so I’ll have more time to spend here.

“Soooo…. does this mean you’ll start writing about Friesian stuff now?”
Probably… but this blog won’t suddenly become 100% Friesian. There are still lots of things to explore about the Dutch and there will always be stories about my own accident proneness to share. So don’t worry about a sudden theme change. It just means that there will be some extra stuff. It also means I’ll finally be able to answer questions like; What is the difference between a Dutch Circle Party and a Friesian Circle Party?

“So why are you moving to Friesland?”
It’s something that’s been in the planning for a while and we’re finally getting an opportunity to do it. My wife and I have always loved the area and we think it will be a great place for our daughter to grow up… I’ve been telling other people that we are moving there to raise cows but that is a lie.

“That sounds reasonable. Is there anything else we should know?”
Oh yeah… our new house has not been built yet so we’ll be spending the next few months living with my parents-in-law (in Friesland) but I’m sure that won’t lead to any crazy or amusing stories… Nop. Not at all.


Friesland Flag Stu
11 May

Speculoos Ice Cream

Most of you already know about my unhealthy Speculoos/Speculaas addiction and about the many Speculoos products that I have tried. I’ve written about them so many times that I am in danger of becoming Holland’s leading expert and reviewer of Speculoos products. I’m honestly surprised that none of you have tried to hold an intervention to put a stop to it.

But I guess you didn’t have to. My addiction came to an end last year when I tried the terrible Febo’s Speculooskroket. It broke me. I couldn’t even finish it. It was so bad that I turned my back on all things Speculoos related. They were all forever tainted. Speculoos would have to do something pretty amazing to win me back.

Something like…

Ben & Jerry’s Speculoos Ice Cream

Well played Speculoos… well played.

As soon as I heard about Ben & Jerry’s Speculoos Ice Cream I knew that my time free of Speculoos’ control was over. There was no point trying to avoid what I knew to be true; I had to try it. It seems that I was not the only one to reach this conclusion either. The entire population of Holland has been feverishly buying the stuff too. It took me two weeks to find a shop where it was not completely sold out. I even had to enlist the help of other people in my search. It was my wife who eventually tracked it down and presented me with a tub. She might be regretting this now though because (a) I didn’t let her have any and (b) I am once again addicted to the amazing taste that is Speculoos. The trauma of the speculooskroket has been forgotten. Long live Speculoos

29 Apr

Win Tickets

It’s competition time. The nice people from Undutchable have given me two tickets to give away for their annual Eurovision party.

Not only will the party include a live viewing of the Eurovison Song Contest (already exciting in its own right) but there will also be live DJs, a Fairy Tale dress code, prizes and more. It’s all going to be held at Amsterdam’s St Olof Chapel on the 23rd of May.

To win all you have to do is answer this question:

“If you were writing your own song for the Dutch Eurovision Song Contest entry what would you call it and why?”

The most creative and funny answer will win the two tickets. Just leave your entry in the comments below (don’t forget to fill in your email). The competition is open until midnight on the 5th of May. The winner will be picked the following day and emailed the details about picking up their tickets.

If you’d like to guarantee yourself a place at the party you can already buy tickets from the Undutchable website. They are 20 euros each or free if you have worked through the agency before.

Koningsdag Search

UPDATE: We have a winner! Congratulations to Ashley.

21 Apr
Koningsdag Search
This cartoon first appeared in the March/April edition of DUTCH:The Magazine
Check out The Invading Holland Guide to Koningsdag