Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Intercultural Training for Expatriates Day.  On Friday, January 25th Vicki and I participated in a Culture Orientation provided by her company.  It was a one day crash course in everything Dutch.  We had participated in one of these sessions back in June when we moved to Ireland (yes, surprisingly there were some cultural differences among the Irish that we discovered).  Both training sessions, were extremely helpful and fun.
Vicki and I had done a little homework before we left for the Netherlands because we figured the cultural gap would be a bit larger than in Ireland.  We picked up a book called “The UnDutchables,” which has been a fun read with some useful information.  I’ve also been immersing myself in every Expat Blog and other Expat sites for the Netherlands.  One of my favorite blogs is “Stuff Dutch People Like.”  
At the end of the training day, we walked away with A TON of resources and lots of useful information.  Too much for one post.  But there were two big takeaways for me.
“doe maar gewoon”or “be normal”  I can do that, I can learn how. It’s an interesting mantra. My take on it is, just be cool, don’t brag about stuff and contribute to the greater good.  Parts of this may seem a bit foreign to  folks back in the States.  For instance, you will NEVER see a car with a “My Child is an Honor Student at XYZ School,” here in the Netherlands, it’s not common to boast about success.  Even in the workplace, you would never see an “Employee of the Month” plaque other types of recognition.  If you work hard then everyone succeeds, individual performance is not recognized.  For any Dutch readers, how did I do with this explanation?  Let me know.  Thanks.
The second takeaway from the day, the Dutch do not wear 180s. In case you don’t know about 180s, they’re like ear muffs for guys (& I guess girls too) but they fit around the back of your head, not the top.  They keep your ears warm, and I have sensitive ears, so I like them.  Vicki makes fun of me for them.  If you watch my “Klunen 2013 DannyZ Style”  you’ll see me sporting my 180s.  I’m also wearing them in the above picture.  

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