A new app has recently become extremely popular across the Netherlands, ‘Ommetje’. A Dutch professor of neuropsychology, Erik Scherder, has devised the app, that hopes to get more people walking each day by adding some competition to the mix.

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New Baby Protocol

In the Netherlands there are protocols for lots of things: you don’t just pop over to your neighbours for a cup of coffee, but rather plan it in your agenda; and when it comes to a newborn baby, there are several unwritten rules you should try to follow.

So if a Dutch friend just had a baby, these are some things to keep in mind, or, if you are expecting yourself, these are some things you can expect from any Dutch friends who may want to visit, or things to take into consideration in introducing your new baby to the world.

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There are many wonderful things about being an expat and we often write about those things in these articles. Sometimes however, sad things happen. Someone close to you dies or you are invited to a funeral of someone maybe not so close, but you don’t know the right protocol. This article is intended to give you an idea of what to do in those circumstances. A time of grief is particularly hard when you are away from family and friends and it can be hard to focus and plan.

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Keeping connected with family abroad

In May this year my first grandchild was born and for this happy event, I stepped up to technology to help us get our relationship started.

It started the night he was born. My daughter Catherine and I prepared for a Skype chat from the hospital so she could give me the news and let me see him right away. There would be no sleep for me the night my grandson was going to be born so Hans and I set ourselves up to wait with snacks and music.

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Volunteer opportunities in English

If you speak mostly English and are looking for volunteer work, there are a surprising number of opportunities that require little knowledge of Dutch.

It takes some knowledge of Dutch to navigate the websites, which are all Dutch, to find such gems as: carpentry work, feeding animals in children’s farms, helping at a festival, working in a garden that produces food destined for a food bank, delivering meals, and doing English guided tours in museums.

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Starting new habits for a New Year

Well we may already be one month into the New Year, but I always feel that if you want to stick to that New Year’s resolution of getting fit and healthy, then February is really the time to commit yourself to it.

Going to the gym was a huge leap for me; I didn’t think I was someone who would enjoy doing exercise and getting sweaty. But I wanted to make a change and take control of my health and figured I would give it a try and I am glad I did because I have shocked myself. I actually enjoy going to the gym now, getting that bit of ‘me’ time, putting on my headphones with my favourite music and just moving- you can just check out of all the chaos for an hour or two. Sometimes it is a challenge to fit it into a busy week, but I know it pays off in the long run.

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DIY, where to start?

Since buying a house almost two years ago we have done a lot of work on it. From stripping every room of wallpaper and decorating, putting in new flooring, new toilet and having an extension built for a new kitchen, there has been a lot of learning and hunting for the best prices and deals.

My dad was a big DIY man, doing most of the jobs around my parents’ home himself and it rubbed off on me. So when we bought our home I was looking for a place that needed some work on it so that we could get it for a good price and make it our own. The house we bought certainly fitted into that category, having been previously owned for the last 50 years by a now 80 year old couple.

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Getting a dog

Regardless of which country you live in, there are lots of things you need to take into consideration before deciding to get a dog. The time commitments, costs (including unforesee) and whether it fits in with your lifestyle. You can find lots of general advice on getting a dog online, but here are some tips and advice specific to the Netherlands.

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