Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Look Back at 2009: The Best of the Blog Bits Here

To round the year off, I have decided to collate the ten best of the year's blog postings from A Letter from the Netherlands. This has been done by means of comments and visits that the post attracted and my own personal opinion, which quite frankly often counts for little but it's like giving a Christmas present to myself.....

So if you missed them the first time, or your memory isn't what it was - enjoy!

Lots of comments about things you just have to have from your home country and the range was amazing. It is something that will also be a part of expat life - missing things from home that you just can't get in the Netherlands.

This is such an issue for expats here. It takes a looooong old while to accept that Dutch customer service is a little different from other countries and gives whole new meanings to the word "customer service". It was a post that got you all commenting.....

A nice range of comments to this post, all agreeing that the Dutch know how to do dinners in the former of gourmetting and fondues. The whole concept of a 'gourmet' was new to me when I arrived here, but it works so well.

The anniversary of a year blogging came around so quickly and attracted so many lovely comments from amazing and inspirational people I have met solely through this blog. It is a special posting as it is a reminder to me of how The Writing Well and my writing career has grown, how the career choices I have made were the right ones, and how priviliged I am to be a part of the expat community, and in particular the expat bloggers in the Netherlands community!

This is a day that stays with me for three reasons: getting close up to the Dutch Prime Minister, sneaking a peek at the Crown Prince and the general atmosphere there is at this event. It is the second time I have attended and it gives such a great insight into Dutch history and culture, milling around and talking to veterans of the Dutch military. If you are near The Hague, it is definitley worth a visit in 2010.

This topic evokes a fair bit of comment and I remember receiving a few e-mails after this post. One from an American in Italy who said it is the same there. And I also got an e-mail from my former Dutch tutor who said after reading this post she was far more aware of the queue hopping trend here, and vowed never to do it again! The power of blogging.. if you can change just one person's habit.... :-)

I started the interview with an expat series back in January 2009, the first one with Jo Parfitt. The series has continued to run, almost by itself because of interesting people coming forward and wanting to share their views about life in the Netherlands. Isabella, a well-known name amongst us expats with her "A Touch of Dutch" blog, has been a personal inspiration to me and her insights into life here have been a help to so many. That's why this blog post is in the top ten.

This visit to Lelystad Aviodrome was whole new insight into a little piece of Dutch nostalgia and it was so well re-enacted that it left a lasting impression. I love learning new things about my adopted home, and am starting to realise I have more than a passing interest in historical events. Everything from the costumes to the atmosphere in the crowd gave the day such an amazing feeling.

This has to be the most shocking, saddest event in 2009 in the Netherlands, and review of 2009 will go without a mention of the horrific events that took place in Apeldoorn. Not only becuase of the tragedy and loss of life, but because of the effects that day will have on the future of this country, and the celebration of such an important day in the Dutch calendar, Queen's Day. There have been a number of events in the last decade that have gnawed at the innocence of the Dutch people; Queen's Day 2009 hit right in the heart of Dutch society.

Drum roll........ perlease......

Number 1: Positive Thoughts about the Netherlands: Dutch Language

Reminiscing back to my early days here in this country and the issues I had with the Dutch language, to the most recent event when my bi-lingual son caused some laughter in a hospital examination room at a time when it was most needed... not sure what Bert or his friend would make of it all though.......

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