The Pieten Games

Pieten Games

“What are the Pieten Games?” I asked my wife while looking in confusion at the school letter my daughter had just handed me. “It’s a morning where the children take part in different Sinterklaas games and activities,” she replied. “They probably want you to look after a small group of the children and guide them around.” “Me?” “Yes. You.” “Oh… this is not going to end well.” The conversation was the result of one of […]

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Why I Love Sinterklaas

Why I Love Sinterklaas

When I first arrived in The Netherlands I had no idea who Sinterklaas was. I didn’t even know he existed. My first November/December in the country was deeply confusing for that reason. During the years that followed I learned a little bit more about the tradition but I largely ignored it. I observed it as an outsider, not fully understanding it or having a reason to celebrate it. Then I met a Dutch girl, we […]

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Secret Messages At Amsterdam Centraal

Secret Messages Amsterdam Centraal

Have you ever noticed how places such as train stations and airports sometimes hide secret messages within public announcements? They usually include a slightly unusual name which is in fact a code intended to communicate to the staff that there is a problem somewhere. For example, an innocent sounding announcement for a Mr Wolf to go to the main desk might actually be a message for security to run there as fast as possible because […]

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Five Ways To Fake Speaking Dutch

How To Fake Speaking Dutch

After many years of living in The Netherlands I have mastered the ability to fake speaking the Dutch language. It is something that came in handy when I first arrived in the country and is still useful to this very day (more so than it probably should be at this point). I probably should have used that time to actually master speaking the language instead but it is really hard. At least I can now […]

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