Whipped Cream Architecture

Whipped Cream Architecture

It might sound like an odd title, but once you read the first few paragraphs it makes perfect sense. Whipped cream is a book of photography with a few pages of information about the origins of the white painted stone 'wigs' that grace the gables of the grachtenpanden (canal houses) in Amsterdam. If the subject matter floats your boat and you are curious about, or interested in the history of Holland_Ž“s distinct architectural style then this is likely to appeal. Whipped cream is a nicely presented glossy picture book without being ostentatious, and a perfectly respectable addition to any Dutch coffee table collection. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  More >

A Wanderlust For Life

A Wanderlust For Life

An American expat blogging about life in Amsterdam while traveling around the country and throughout Europe. More >



I try to create a relationship with this mysterious city. I love it and can’t get enough of it. More >

Amsterdam Foodie

Amsterdam Foodie

Amsterdam restaurant reviews, seasonal recipe suggestions and all the latest culinary news from a local foodie. More >



Amsterdam based actress invites you to dive with her into the cultural life of the city. More >

Atlas of Amsterdam

If you like big chunky books packed with illustrations and odd bits of information you can't do better than the English language version of the Atlas of Amsterdam. This weighty tome contains over 250 pages of full colour maps, photographs and diagrams detailing the minutiae of Amsterdam, from the number of bikes to a map of Zorgvlied cemetary, from property values to a guide to the city in Rembrandt's time. Want to know about protected trees, the location of gay bars, where murders and gangland killings take place or simply where you can find a specialist book shop? It's all there. The atlas is divided into clear topics focusing on key aspects of the city's development, from its evolution to the make up of the population, its industries and culture. The final section zooms in on the eight borough regions. It's a coffee table book to pick up and put down rather than something to read in bed. But there is a fascinating fact on every page. The translation is deft if a little clumsy in places, but given the main focus is on the visuals, the odd convoluted sentence is easy to ignore. And at just under €30, the atlas would be a great gift for any Amsterdamophile. Buy this book  More >

Calvin’s Head

A murder mystery set mostly in Amsterdam which starts out with a dog finding a body in Vondelpark. A great opening to an enjoyable thriller, perfect for your own sunny summer afternoon in Vondelpark (hopefully minus the homicide.) The book follows American Jason Dekker and his dog Calvin who are currently living out of their Jeep in Amsterdam. Dekker moved to the Netherlands to finish his thesis on Van Gogh and, after falling in love with a semi-famous Dutch artist, finds himself on the streets after his lover dies. Calvin finds a body in Vondelpark and Dekker sees a way to get himself get himself (and Calvin) off the streets. Through a series of moves that, in hindsight, seem absurd but in the context of the moment, seem rational, Dekker ends up adopting a parrot, giving a serial killer amnesia and convincing him that they are lovers. While this may read as the plot of a comedy, it’s actually a dark thriller that keeps the reader engrossed in the plot and wanting more. The novel is written predominantly from Dekker’s point of view, but occasionally jumps to Calvin’s, an odd transition that doesn’t add much to the book overall but can interrupt the flow. Though not fantasy, Calvin does seem to have a bit more to offer than the average Golden Retriever. Author David Swatling is a longtime Amsterdam resident, moving to the city from his native United States in 1985. Calvin’s Head is the author’s first novel but a sequel to the book is in the works. Buy this book  More >

Native English for Nederlanders

Native English for Nederlanders is a collection of newspaper columns by the Financieele Dagblad's deputy editor Ron van de Krol. The book shows international business men and women how to use the English language like a native, with a sprinkling of cultural insider information on top. website  More >

Atlas of Amstelland: the biography of a landscape

Atlas of Amstelland: The Biography of a Landscape presents the history of Amstelland through a series of maps based on the results of recent research, which illustrate the transformation of the landscape from desolate marsh to beloved green oasis on the edge of Amsterdam. From the 11th century onwards the peat marsh on the edge of the world was gradually reclaimed. A section of the Amstel even originated as a drainage canal. In the 13th century a new power arose: Amsterdam. In the 17th century, the Dutch Golden Age, this former modest village near a dam in the Amstel grew into one of the largest metropolises in Europe. Its proximity brought about major changes in Amstelland. Much of the landscape was radically altered by the turf industry and subsequent drainage. Its peat meadows could be quickly inundated to form an impenetrable barrier around Amsterdam. In the course of centuries, relations between city and countryside became thoroughly intertwined to the point where each can only be properly understood by studying them together. Buy this book  More >

The Hague and the best of the Netherlands

Published in 2013, The Hague and the best of the Netherlands by Violetta Polese and Blake Evans-Pritchard, elects The Hague, and not Amsterdam, as the focus city of the book. The rationale behind this choice is that many expats relocate to The Hague. Although a valid explanation, curious readers may suspect the additional motive behind choosing The Hague is that it was the adopted home of the authors during their time in the Netherlands. The book is written in three sections, closing with a short language lesson supplemented by audio download. Essential Dutch Information The first section concentrates on information essential to people moving to the Netherlands, such as health insurance, opening bank accounts, paying taxes, and labor laws. The explanation of the Dutch economy and political scene in just two pages - is a gift to readers. Further, the concise history of the Netherlands (p62-73) provides the basics to understanding famous artworks, churches and monuments visited by millions of tourists each year. The Hague The advantage of the author'Ž“s first hand knowledge of the city and the local surroundings becomes obvious in the section dedicated to The Hague and surrounding areas. Walking and cycling routes, museums, sporting options, restaurant reviews, descriptions of neighborhoods, public transport, and hidden gems within the city _Ž are all tried and tested by the writing team. Contact details including opening hours and cost are met with comments on value and services. This is particularly useful if you are new to the city and need a bike repair store (p138), a cheap barber (p135) or a Japanese restaurant (p178)Ž yet don'Ž“t know where to start looking. Best of the Netherlands Undoubtedly the final section of the book will face some criticism from both locals and temporary residents alike. With the exception of South Holland, each province is limited to a few pages. This raises questions about the authors' views. Did the authors not like Haarlem, Hilversum and Eindhoven? And why does Amsterdam'Ž“s Red Light District get almost double the coverage given to the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh'Ž“s museum combined? Regardless what the answers may be, The Hague and the best of the Netherlands is an informative, interesting, sometimes unusual city guide, filled with insider information and enthusiastic recommendations. Buy this book Ana McGinley  More >

Bicycle Mania

The title and cover picture promise an eccentric and lighthearted peek into the Dutch love affair with all things on two wheels. What you get is a chunky little picture book with some nice photos and a few pages of bicycle facts and trivia. If you've ever wanted to know how many bicycles there are in Holland (approximately 18 million), or that there are 29,000 kilometers of cycle paths throughout the country, then this might titillate. And if you're curious to know the reasons why cycling is predominant in the Netherlands (all seven of them), you're likely to enjoy thumbing through this. But beyond the stats (and there are oodles of boring ones) and comparisons between cycling policies both here and abroad, there's not much to hold the reader's attention unless you're a hard-core cycling fanatic, and even then it might be a little too pedestrian. It is however good to look at and I sometimes found myself wondering what pretty part of Holland I was looking at, and wishing the author had referenced the photos with their locations. It's the kind of book you might take off someone else's bookshelf to flick through and it certainly has charm, but probably not to a native, or a long-term expat who sees it all for real on a daily basis. Nevertheless, if you fancy a quaint addition to your novelty reading collection then this has appeal. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  More >

Food Shopper’s Guide to Holland

Dutch cuisine is a tad underwhelming, and for foody expats grocery shopping in Holland can be a disappointing and stressful experience, especially if you can't understand the lingo on the packaging. But thanks to two American writers (of European extraction) and their somewhat biblical Food Shopper's Guide to Holland, a maiden voyage to a Dutch supermarket need no longer result in you wanting to open a vein. Food groups and ingredients are split into chapters so that everything you could possibly want to look for is easy to find, and described in both Dutch and English. There is also plenty of good information about speciality shops and what they are called by the natives. A thoroughly comprehensive appendix contains further details on where to buy household items and kitchen supplies as well as an extensive grocery vocabulary and an index of international food shops throughout the Netherlands. Apart from its general usefulness, what I really liked about this book is its cheerful tone. Authors Ada Koene and Connie Moser clearly loved researching and writing their book and you get the feeling they really felt there was a big need to help out the expat sisterhood with the tricky task of food shopping in a foreign land. My only quibble is that the Netherlands isn't quite the culinary treasure trove that Koene and Moser enthusiastically suggest and in reality newcomers to Holland are likely to be disappointed if they expect the range and quality of food products on offer in their home country. Sure, any ingredient can be found if you look hard enough, but realistically this will require scouring ethnic stores and international shops throughout a city rather than locating everything in one supermarket. Having said that, the Food Shopper's Guide to Holland is enjoyable and interesting to read and a truly helpful guide for any newcomer to Holland and if you're sensible enough to peruse it before your first excursion to Albert Heijn, you should find the experience a little less perplexing. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  More >

How to be Dutch

A familiar face to many expats in the Netherlands, Greg Shapiro is an American comedian, writer, television presenter, vlogger and collector of Dutch peculiarities. As a resident of the Netherlands for over two decades, Shapiro has had ample opportunities to expand his collection of cultural idiosyncrasies, considered ‘normal’ by the Dutch and ‘absurd’ by everyone else. It is these cultural oddities that form the foundation for Shapiro’s professional life. How to Be Dutch, The Quiz is Shapiro’s latest book. It follows his 2014 book: How to be Orange: an Alternative Dutch Assimilation Course which tied in with the live show Shapiro was performing around the country at the time. His new book is written as a quiz loosely based on the Dutch assimilation or inburgering exam. The quiz contains multiple-choice questions arranged under topics including Dutch fashion, cuisine, stereotypes, and health care. Selecting the correct answer is often difficult because all options can seem ridiculous yet totally plausible. A good example is: While biking, you see a group of tourists edging toward the bike path ahead of you. When should you ring your bell? Ring as early and as often as possible Dutch bikes don’t have bells Wait until you are almost on top of them (pg21) Edgy at times as questions touch on such sacred cows as Zwarte Piet, slavery and racism, Shapiro provides readers with the arguments and relevant history needed to gain insight into the Dutch culture. He doesn’t shy away from complaining, appearing foolish, or exposing the nonsensical. His comparisons are influenced by his own American background, a familiar standpoint for non-Americans thanks to decades of television and films. How to Be Dutch: The Quiz is not an anti-Dutch book. Instead it is an amusing look at the country and culture many migrants have chosen to be part of, whether on a temporary or permanent basis. Recommended for anyone looking for a fun, easy read or wanting to assess their own assimilation into the Dutch culture. Ana McGinley (The correct answer is C)  More >

Expat Women: Confessions

Expatriating to a new country is exciting, but it can also be daunting. If you are about to embark on your first trip as a 'trailing spouse', then you could probably do with some reassurance from someone who knows the ropes. In case you don't meet that 'someone' immediately, a copy of Expat Women: Confessions, will make an excellent first companion. Expat Women: Confessions, 50 Answers to your Real-Life Questions about Living Abroad, is the brainchild of Andrea Martins & Victoria Hepworth who are also the founders of the website of the same name. Confessions is presented in a question and answer format and focuses on the most common problems faced by expat women every day. Issues like dealing with loneliness and coping with the loss of professional identity, as well as the more serious problems of alcoholism, domestic violence and infidelity are all dealt with sensitively. Both authors are seasoned expats in their own right, as well as expat wives with children, and with the benefit of their combined experience, each question is answered constructively, providing practical advice and information along the way. A comprehensive Resources section includes an invaluable list of books and websites for the rookie, or veteran expat alike. There isn't much that Andrea Martins & Victoria Hepworth don't know about relocating worldwide and Expat Women: Confessions is their latest gift to the expat sisterhood. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  More >

The Bee’s Tour of Gouda: Buzzing Through Vinita’s Lens

Cheese. Hard, tasty, bright yellow cheese. That's what appears in many people's minds when they think of Gouda. But of course the cheese gets its name from a very historical little city in the South of Holland that's featured in The Bee's Tour of Gouda: Buzzing Through Vinita's Lens. Author Persephone Abbott and photographer Vinita Salom have lovingly researched their hometown and created a suggested walking route that takes in the beautiful city of Gouda in a historical, cultural and pictorial manner. At only 70 pages long and handy A5 size, it's an ideal travelling companion should you fancy an educational ramble around a little city that began as a settlement in the Middle Ages, built around a fortified castle. It would be fair to point out however, that this baedeker would suit seasoned visitors and tourists, prepared to pore over and decipher the hand drawn maps, as opposed to baseball-capped Floridians and the like, who might find it too intricate if they are attempting to do the entire Netherlands in a couple of days. Despite the obvious research that has gone into creating this packed little guide, it has the feel of an economically produced booklet rather than the book it strives to be. If you are looking for accommodation or places to eat and drink, then Tour of Gouda will not be of much use, but if you're interested in Gouda's history, then this will certainly educate and fulfill the more enlightened traveler. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl www.shelleyantscherl.com  More >