Leeuwarden/Friesland Cultural Capitol 2018

Written by: Charmaine Andre and Shannon Zurhaar

Leeuwarden: Cultural Capital of Europe 2018! It’s been the talk of the town the past couple of years and the city of Leeuwarden has been hard at work with its improvements to the city to show the world how beautiful it is. You have probably noticed the white boy & girl statues, the pedestrian area and changes by the train station, the flags, flowers, trees, among many other things. But what is ‘Cultural Capital’? And what does it mean for Leeuwarden and Friesland?

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Bilingual Children / Tweetalige Kinderen

As an immigrant from a non-Dutch speaking country, whether temporary or permanent, with children, you face some hard choices.  Do you send your children to a local school or to an international one, what language should you speak at home, what if the parents already speak different languages?  Is it “safe” to introduce yet another one?

 

When are you bilingual?

The definition of a bilingual person is someone who speaks two languages fluently.  It really all hangs on your definition of what is fluent.  Some people believe you are not truly fluent unless you can also think and/or dream in that language.  Others find it a requirement to be able to speak that language without a “foreign” accent.  For others it is not just about language but also about cultural heritage.

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Culture Shock

The American Heritage Dictionary defines culture as “the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought characteristic of a community or population.” It can also be viewed as “a system for creating, sending, storing, and processing information. It is how we talk, behave, understand and act.” (Edward Hall, Anthropologist).

It is perhaps no wonder, then, that we experience culture shock when we are transplanted from one culture to another! Culture shock, the sense of disorientation and the resulting anxiety and stress, is a normal reaction to adjusting to a culture other than the one in which we were raised. Familiar cues, including general behavior, customs and norms, word usage, facial expressions and body language, are gone and we feel insecure as a result. In essence, we feel like a child again, having to relearn almost everything we took for granted in our home culture.

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Dutch Golden Age

The Dutch Golden Age was a period in Dutch history, roughly spanning the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, art and military were amongst the most acclaimed in the world.

The first half of the 17th century was taken up by the Eighty Years’ War (the Dutch war of independence from Spain). After winning their independence, the united Dutch Republic ran the country in peace for the last half of the 17th century.

It was during this time that Dutch explorers travelled the seas, trade by the Dutch East India Company flourished and the Dutch Old Masters began to prevail in the art world by creating realistic portraits.

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Bakkeveen Car Boot / Flea Market

I really enjoy the Dutch tradition of car boot sales (called ‘vlooienmarkten’ in Dutch).  I enjoy the leisurely stroll, looking at all the interesting items and, most of all, getting some great bargains!

One market I look forward to each year are the monthly car boots in the small village Bakkeveen in Friesland.

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Dutch History :: De Ruyter

Michiel de Ruyter, born in Vlissingen was a Dutch Admiral known worldwide for his most famous
exploit: sailing into England and coming home with the English Royal flagship.

In his early days, he worked for a Dutch company in Dublin. His talent on the waves was quickly
revealed and he rose through the ranks. His career was extremely varied and worth looking into.
It was in commanding ships that his talent came to the fore and he fended off pirates so
successfully that some didn’t bother with him anymore.

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A B C …

A new school year and your child will be moving up a grade (or ‘groep’ as they are called in Dutch), or maybe starting school for the very first time. Not all schools use the same teaching methods, especially between the international schools and Dutch schools. But regardless of where you decide to send your child, at the end of each school year every primary school pupil should be, more or less, on the same level of basic skill sets.

It is handy to know what skills your child will be focusing on during the school year so you can complement their studies at home too. Here is an overview of the basic standards for each school year to help with this.

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POKÉMON GO!

Over the summer the Netherlands (and the rest of the globe) got overrun with Pocket Monsters: Pokémon! If you weren’t one of those who had downloaded the app, you surely saw people who had, roaming the streets and gathering in public areas around monuments, with their eyes glued to their mobile device.

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