Love is in the air!

Commercials and store windows all over the place push us to buy chocolates, flowers, teddy bears and all kinds of merchandise with hearts printed on it. But is this really the way to express true love? And is romantic love the only one that deserves to be celebrated? How about loving your family and friends? How about self-love? Here are some ideas that we believe say “I love you” louder than a million heart-shaped chocolates with a teddy bear inside.

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Becoming a Dutch Citizen

Being a British citizen, I have had a lot of questions following the UK’s vote to leave the EU, as I know many of my fellow Brits have had as well. And while there are no definite answers yet on what Brexit will mean for us, I wanted to be sure that my future here in the Netherlands with my Dutch partner and child would not be affected.

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Talk to your neighbours and make a party out of it!

Today (19 May) more than 30 million people across 36 countries celebrate the Neighbours’ Day. This initiative, originally set up in Paris in 2000, aims to foster community connection and create better neighbourhoods where people enjoy living. Besides strengthening the direct involvement of citizens in their neighbourhood, it helps to create an area of intercultural dialogue, mutual aid and mutual consideration, while making the knowledge of one another easier and participating in the decrease of any prejudice or stereotype.

But in fact you don’t need any special day to just go talk to your neighbours. Just introduce yourself, and if you feel some kind of connection, invite them over or ask for some advice. And if you already know people living next to you, consider organizing a BBQ, or a potluck, or a playdate for kids. Whatever you decide to do, you will feel more integrated and find yourself more rooted instantly.

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Feeling a little blue? Here are some tips!

Did you know that Monday this week (16 January) was supposedly the most depressing day of the year? Blue Monday is said to be a combination of weather, financial problems, a return to work after the Christmas break, low motivation and abandoned New Year resolutions. Add to this list typical expat issues (which might feel more dominant than usual during these cold and dark days): the culture shock, the language barrier, feeling homesick and experiencing the lack of personal or professional network – and even the most positive people can start feeling a little blue.

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Connect International is growing and changing

As 2016 draws to a close, we would like to make our Stichting Connect International members aware of some exciting upcoming changes to Connect International. In addition to providing information and support to internationals in the provinces of Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe, and organizing events and activities to connect them to the region, Connect International has also offered relocation services to companies and organizations to assist their employees with moving and settling into the Netherlands. As of 1 January 2017, the commercial relocation services formerly provided by Stichting Connect International will be offered by a new organization, Connect Relocation v.o.f. run by the same great relocation team. More information about Connect Relocation v.o.f. can be found on their new website (live as of 1 January 2017):

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Vacation Park Holidays

We hebben dit weekend een huisje” (“We have a little house this weekend”) or “We gaan in de vakantie in een huisje” (“We are going in a little house in the vacation”). If you mingle with the Dutch, you will have heard these phrases. People regularly book holiday homes in vacation parks for a break with their family, wider family get-togethers or boys/girls only weekends away.

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