“Dutched Up! Rocking the Clogs Expat Style” is a compilation of short stories written by 27 lady bloggers living in the Netherlands. Before I start the book review I should probably clarify that I have never lived in the Netherlands myself. In fact, I have never even been to the Netherlands. (Yes, I know, it is only a few hours drive away. Yes, I have good friends living there. Yes, I am sure the towns, the windmills, and the tulips are all beyond lovely. There are really no excuses for not having traveled to the Netherlands and I promise I will correct this one day soon.)
Why did I read the book despite having no connection to the Netherlands? As it happens it was edited by a good friend of mine (akaThe European Mama) and contains contributions by several of my favorite expat bloggers.
I am happy to say that I was not disappointed. The tales of life in the Netherlands are as diverse as the ladies behind them and tell about dealing with a foreign language and culture, in one form or another. There were stories that I found hilarious (e.g. being short in a land of tall people), and stories that I could relate to (e.g. about finding friends), and there was one story in particular that made me wonder. It was written by Iulia Modi (she blogs at Social Fusion Amsterdam) about some cultural differences she encountered in the beginning of her relationship with her Dutch partner. Among other things, she writes:
“Eastern Europeans interpret everything. We always think there is more than you say and that most of the time you are lying if something seems a bit strange.”
Do we? I am an Eastern European and this statement definitely does not apply to me. I would also not have a problem with my partner spending time alone with his friends, which is another thing that she mentions as typically “Eastern European”. Does it mean that the Northern breed of Eastern Europeans is different from the Southern one in this regard? Or is it just me who is exhibiting untypical behavior? Your guess is as good as mine!
Overall, “Dutched Up!” is a must-read for those of you who have lived, are living, or would like to live in the Netherlands. Yet I am sure that also those lacking such experience will enjoy this diverse collection of short stories.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book for review purposes, all views are my own. Click here to find out more about this book.