Author Archives: Niki

About Niki

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Further anniversary surprises (Or: Cheesecake waiting in the fridge)

When Marco and I returned home last night from our vacation, we found a note on a paper bag from Roger. He had left two slices of chocolate cheesecake in the fridge. Double chocolate chip cheesecake to be precise – one of the the three flavors we had at our wedding reception, along with strawberry and cappuccino. Marco and I also had some Prosecco in the fridge.  That was the welkomstdrankje (welcome drink) at the wedding reception.

1 year anniversary double chocolate cheesecake

So – reliving memories one year later!

The cheesecake was from the Cheesecake Company in The Hague. I highly recommend it (and mention it frequently).

Categories: Marco&Niki | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Holding hands (Or: A year ago today)

A year ago today Marco and I were married.

wedding photo

This morning he surprised me with this:


These were the wedding favors we handed out during the reception that night. :)

Categories: Marco&Niki | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

September (Or: Signs the holidays are just around the corner?)

Last Friday Marco and I were in Zoetermeer, at the Albert Heijn. (I took off work at 12PM to start my vacation early…yay!) I was slightly confused to see kruidnootjes already available for purchase.

Kruidnootjes en meer display in Den Haag

These cookie like snacks are traditionally purchased around Sinterklaas time, or 5 December. It’s not even October yet! Though I must admit I was also a bit shocked to walk into a Xenos store and see Halloween items for purchase, although that was partly because Halloween hasn’t quite caught on in this country yet. Actually Marco said that everything you see above is traditionally sold around Sinterklaas time, not just the kruidnootjes.

Kruidnootjes display in Den Haag

As Marco, Roger and I are going back to the States for Christmas, I suppose Mom and Dad will have to start thinking about what they want to order from the Dutch delivery service! ;)


Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

De passage (Of: Nu 2x zo veel Passage)

It’s not too much longer before the addition to De Passage is open… That is a shopping area that connects a few important shopping streets together. It’s been quite annoying to have it under construction as of late, since that meant having to walk a detour to get where you needed to go.

De passage construction The Hague

But as of 18 September, it will be open again! Above you can see someone hard at work on the finishing touches. In the distance is De Bijenkorf (a retail store). I also have a lovely image of De Bijenkorf at Christmas time.

Categories: The Hague | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Dutch on Duolingo (Or: Now available on iOS/Android!)

I was pleased to receive an update from Duolingo – this update now includes the ability to learn Dutch. I have written about Duolingo before, but I personally think the experience is vastly improved by being on a mobile device. Duolingo is more on the minimalist side – there isn’t a lot to stare at on each screen. The iPhone version simply reduces the white space, without losing any of the look and feel of the PC version. And in this case, using your finger is much faster than using the mouse.

Duolingo for iOS

Duolingo for Android

Duolingo for the iPhone

Note that if your Dutch is already at a higher level you do have an option to test out of the various levels. Duolingo is great for reading, writing and listening, but the Dutch version does not have speaking exercises available yet (perhaps because this language course is still in beta).

Duolingo uses the concept of gamification – using gaming concepts (achievements, earning experience points, etc) in learning settings to make users keep wanting to come back for more.


Categories: Apps | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Couldn’t stay away (Or: On to B2-C1)

Last night I signed up for another Dutch course! I know that I said I would wait until the Spring… but I guess I just couldn’t stay away. This one will focus just on Dutch conversation though (to try and improve my speaking skills) rather than a full course offering (reading, writing, listening, speaking). The course I signed up for was at the B2-C1 level (see Wikipedia). Woo — moving into the ‘proficient user’ stage! Of course it comes with a textbook – which appeals to the librarian in me!

It begins in a few weeks – after Marco and I go on vacation next week. We’re heading off to the east of the country – Arnhem, Maastricht and the like.

Ik kijk uit naar vakantie, hoor!

Keep calm and learn Dutch

Categories: Courses | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Another letter from DUO (Of: Niet meer inburgeringsverplicht!)

Yesterday I received what might just be my last letter from DUO. At least on the topic of inburgeringsverplicht (the civic integration requirement).

letter from DUO about inburgeringsverplict

The letter says (roughly translated):

We (previously) sent you a letter. At the time we said that you had civic integration requirements. This letter informs you about the (current) status of your civic integration requirements.

You have received a complete exemption from your civic integration requirements.

Why have you received this exemption?

You have successfully obtained a Dutch language diploma. This diploma shows that you have done enough on your civic integration requirements. Therefore you are not required to do the civic integration examination.

Categories: NT2 Staatsexamen Programma II | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

A bribe of sorts (Or: Cakes by work)

Recently we had an all-staff meeting at work. One of the benefits of going to said meeting (which is held 3-4 times a year) is the coffee and cakes afterwards.

cakes by work

Talk about a sugar rush…

Categories: Food | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Pink traffic islands (Or: A touch of something unexpected)

Today while I was browsing (an English speaking news site), I read about a mistake which ended up bringing good attention to a Dutch town called Wijchen — the town council ordered more paint for the traffic islands but mistakenly used the wrong color code on the order form.

The result? Pink traffic islands.

pink road dividers Wijchen Netherlands

When I first read the article, they said the mistake would be corrected next week as it might otherwise might be a distraction. However, due to the public liking the accidental color choice, the news article was updated to state that the color will stay.

Categories: Transportation | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Lemon cake part two (Or: Marks and Spencer)

A while back I had taken a picture of the lemon cake at Marks and Spencer (which opened this year in The Hague). However the lighting wasn’t that great. So here it is again, as Marco and I went back last weekend…

lemon cake and coffee by Marks & Spencer in The Hague

lemon cake, small coffee, large cappuccino

The lemon cake is actually quite sour, especially the top layer. The trick is the slightly wet-looking area just below the icing and dark brown layer. Quite sour! Definitely recommend trying it out if you enjoy sour items.

And now I want lemonheads

bag of lemonheads sour candy

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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My Netherlands...

An English girls journey to learning Dutch

Expatriating Julia

Engels expat, spreekt een beetje Nederlands and loving most of the Dutch way of life!


A blog by an expat-since-birth multilingual mum living in the Netherlands with her Swissgerman husband, son and twin-daughters, about expat life, multilingualism, Third Culture Kids (and Adults), Culture and Parenting.


stumblings and mumblings of a university student.

A Flamingo in Utrecht

My new life in the Netherlands

Book Clubs ABC

your life... your way

Girl with Trowel

musings on life on the edge (of archaeology)

the adventures of an American living with a Dutchie


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