Having grown up outside of Chicago and living on the east coast (NJ/NY) from 2008-2012, I have now set my sights on the Netherlands — the Hague to be exact! I arrived in the Netherlands on December 18, 2012.

Name: Awesome Niki (formally “Lego Lady” at the public library job)

Occupation: Not Your Average Librarian

Hobbies: Gaming (text-based MUDs), learning Dutch

Favorite sports: American football, hockey — (and perhaps now soccer/voetbal…Β )

Favorite TV shows: Game of Thrones, Big Bang Theory, Community

What I look forward to doing next:Β getting a job and mastering allllll the rules of the Dutch language.


49 thoughts on “About

  1. Malou Prestado

    Welcome to Holland, Niki! And welcome to Den Haag! That was also the first city where I live since coming here to study. I hope you’ll have a great time here. Den Haag will always be my favorite city.

  2. Congrats on the upcoming move! Den Haag has some really lovely areas, and if you get cravings for American baked goods, my friends there have a company called American Baking Company. They’re cupcakes and everything else are to die for! Good luck with the move!

    • Their, not they’re. Eeps!

    • Hiya! Where did you say this bakery was? I just moved here myself last September and could go for some non-European fare πŸ™‚

      • Unfortunately, I’m not sure of the names of the places that sell their stuff (Coffee Company, perhaps), but if you check out their website (under construction), they have an e-mail address and links to Facebook and Twitter. Tell them Alison from Utrecht recommended them and they’ll be sure to tell you how to get their stuff. They do a lot of markets and such on weekends. http://www.americanbakingcompany.com/

    • Atelier English - copyediting and copywriting

      OMG, yes, you can get American Baking Company cakes and small treats at all the Coffee Company places. There are two locations in The Hague. Those baker-angels-great-guys even make authentic key lime pie!

  3. Thanks, Alison from Utrecht! Have a nice weekend πŸ™‚

  4. Jacqueline

    Hey Niki.. gefeliciteerd met je besluit naar Den Haag te verhuizen!! Hoop je tegen die tijd ook een keer te ontmoeten!

  5. Hey Niki, thanks for having a look at my blog.

    Good to hear you’re planning on moving to NL, just a quick tip, never call voetbal (footbal) soccer here πŸ˜‰ It’s THE national sports and we are pretty proud of it and really hate it when it’s called soccer, haha. Too bad you won’t be here already for the European Championship this year, that would have been a great way to get introduced to our voetbal madness πŸ˜€

    • It definitely won’t be on purpose, that’s for sure! I already had the difference engrained in me after taking Spanish (fΓΊtbol vs fΓΊtbol Americano). But I predict it will definitely get me a glare at least once.

  6. Welcome to NL πŸ™‚

  7. You certainly plan ahead, eh? And why are you moving in December? A month that falls in a friendlier season may be, well, more friendly.

    • I am trying to be nice to my employer. The fall semester is about twice as busy as the Spring semester, and it took me a good semester of my own to “get into the groove” after starting the job in mid-August of 2009.

      So hopefully if the new person starts in the Spring it won’t be as daunting a task for them. Hopefully.

  8. Hi! Thanks for following my blog and “introducing” me to you. I’m new to blogging and excited about the adventure of moving to Holland too. Looking forward to following your story as well. Tot ziens.

    • You should put more of your story in your “About” page… especially what the countdown for your blog post titles is about πŸ™‚ Is that when you are moving to the Netherlands? I tried looking at the earliest posts but wasn’t 100% sure πŸ™‚

      • Thanks for the feedback – I will make the changes that you recommended. I loved how your blog had categories too – I’m just barely tagging documents, but I’ll get there, I hope!

  9. I am just nosy (about your “about” page).

    I like categories but then it’s harder to use categories and tags at the same time for whatever reason. And I think my categories will be a whole heck of a lot more effective once I move, since I can seek out new fodder for posts then πŸ˜‰

  10. Whoa! I think you might be the best friend I didn’t know I had. I’m of Dutch heritage and visited a couple of years ago. My wife is a librarian. I love Chicago; New York is awesome, too. We like all the same television. Legos rule.

    Following your blog, now, and looking forward to new posts! πŸ™‚

    • Looking at your bio… when I was an undergraduate I also did a fair bit of writing (poetry and short stories), though not anything lately. The desire seems to have gone anyway, though maybe it will come back down the road. I was an English major/writing minor. Which is why Dutch grammar is usually pretty fun to figure out. Usually! Thanks for the comment πŸ™‚

      • Yeah, I hear you: the desire to write, it comes and goes.

        I love languages and language-building, and I’ve wanted to try my hand at Dutch ever since our trip the The Netherlands. So I’m looking forward to perusing your posts about that and seeing what I might me getting myself into if I ever took it up!

  11. Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you enjoy your time in Holland. πŸ™‚

    • I find it hard to make time to study Dutch. Fortunately your stories in Dutch tend to be short enough that I can stop and peek. And always having the English translation helps. Amusingly, I was reading the one about perfect compassion when I saw I had a comment I needed to read. πŸ˜‰

  12. Good to hear that. Good luck with learning this strange language that is “more exceptions than rules” as I sometimes say as a joke. πŸ™‚

  13. Welkom Niki, you’ll enjoy Den Haag. We’ve been here 3 years a love it. I laughed when I saw you write ‘soccer’ and thought along the lines of Somedaysoonart! Voetbal is truly a world sport, not simply a national one for several countries. My daughter played elite club level for years, I’m married to an ATCK who grew up playing street futbol in Italy, and knew it was huge worldwide, but you really don’t get the sense of it until you live here. Just use the Dutch pronunciation for voetbal and you can retain football for our US game. Very exciting that your countdown continues.
    BTW, categories are for your readers, tags are to help gain followers πŸ˜‰

    • Regarding soccer… yeah. πŸ™‚ Problem is, American football has been my favorite sport for over 10 years. So that word is sort of ingrained into me. I’ve taken to using voetbal for soccer these days when writing, so that makes the compromise a bit easier for now.

      Regarding tags… I do have a bit of trouble tagging things outside of the box, as it were. But I just removed the tag cloud widget, so that should make it easier to tag randomly but not without merit. Before that, I thought it made the tag cloud look messy, but I primarily use categories now anyway for sorting.


  14. D.

    Hi Niki!
    Nice from you to follow my blog, and as I see here you are going to move to The Hague! Which is awesome because well it is like a 10 minute ride with the metro or tram from my house and The Hague well is nice :]
    I also go often to The Hague with my friends, but not as much as I wanted to >-<

    Looking forward to more posts of you ;3

    Love, D.

    Also, when you come here and it is summer and it is very hot then the best place to cool down is the cinema Pathe Spui. One of my friends said that to me, because they have a very good airconditioning there.

    • Pathe Spui is the only theater I have been in so far, but I definitely liked it!

      Have any tips on where to cool down in rural New York? *giggle* Just kidding. The forecast tomorrow is for 36C or so, and a bit worse on Thursday actually.

  15. Hi Niki, sorry if I leave you this message here, but have you thought to sign up your blog on http://www.expatsblog.com/blogs/netherlands? I really like your posts about your life in The Hague πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks. I really should do that. I held off on it last year because I wasn’t officially in the Netherlands yet. ;p

  16. Hello Niki!
    Congratulations on your new life, new country base, and maybe even your new hobby (voetbal)? haha πŸ™‚ Tons of luck and best wishes for the upcoming big event! I came across your blog when looking for something about how life was at Den Haag and just found it so nice and interesting. I want to study Dutch too, so reading all your tips on it, random words and even the real lessons material is just super useful, thanks! I was to Den Haag recently and really loved it, itΒ΄s such a nice city! And watching all the beautiful pictures of it that you post brightens up my day :D!
    Thanks and IΒ΄ll keep looking forward to your updates! (Even though I still have a lot of catching up I want to do haha)

    • Very cool about learning Dutch! πŸ™‚ My favorite website is http://www.dutchgrammar.com, though I am definitely a grammar nerd. You can also watch Dutch TV at http://www.uitzendinggemist.nl/, though not all episodes are available outside the country. Zapp (green icon) is for kids 6-12, and Zappelein (also green) is for kids 2-3 years. Though without subtitles it can be hard in the beginning. You can also google for ‘nederlandse kinderboeken online’ (dutch kid books online), for example: http://kinderboek.webdocument.nl/. To be honest though, my Dutch didn’t start getting really decent until I moved here. πŸ˜›

  17. Mark

    Niki – Any example you can provide of the “Certificate of Non-Impediment” you came up with and how you got it? This would be MUCH APPRECIATED!! πŸ™‚

  18. Alberto Cogorno

    Hi Niki,

    I am a consultant and find myself constantly moving around working in different cities. The next place I am going to be is The Hague where I will be placed for between 3 -6 months.

    I started doing some research on the web on accommodation options when I came across your blog, very nice btw!

    I wanted to ask if you had an opinion on whether it is better to live in The Hague or commute from Amsterdam or Leiden?

    Kind Regards,

    • To be honest I am probably not the best person to ask. πŸ™‚ I moved here to be with my now-husband, and he already lived in The Hague. There was no discussion of living anywhere else, really. I’ve also only been to Amsterdam a handful of times (I find it a bit too busy for my tastes) and Leiden only to transfer a train to get back to The Hague and similar.

      I have heard some horror stories about the Dutch rail system though – it’s not every week of course, but delays are frequent in this country it seems. Generally it takes about an hour to get from Amsterdam to The Hague at the end of the workday (not sure if it’s any different if you are reversing the direction). It’s only about 10-15 minutes to get to here from Leiden. If you want an in between choice, Rotterdam is about 30 minutes.

      That being said, if you’re only here for 3-6 months it’s probably less annoying to deal with the delays than if you lived here much longer. You also have to consider what you want out of the city outside of work – going to the theater, the movies, and similar cultural events. Though you lose a chunk of that time if you’re commuting 90+ minutes a day.

      Personally I’d minimize my stress and try to find something in The Hague or nearby (Leiden, Delft, Voorburg, Zoetermeer, Rijswijk and etc). They are all within 10-15 minutes.

      • Donna

        Hi Niki..been reading your posts since last night when I found it. I was wondering if you could email me. I am hoping you could help me with some additional information about The Hague. Thanks so much! Donna

  19. Alberto

    Hi Niki,

    I just got to The Hauge last week, your blog has been very useful, thank you πŸ™‚

    I was wondering if I could be a little cheeky and ask you for a recommendation on a place where I could meeting a friend for a drink. I have no idea where to suggest.

    • Maybe the Zwarte Ruiter in the Grote Markt (Centrum)? I have never been there but my husband and some of his friends have. I also wanted to try the Fiddler Cafe but haven’t yet. It’s by the Grote Kerk (Centrum) and an Irish bar. Apparently they have over 200 types of beer (maybe 220 now). πŸ™‚

  20. Hi Niki.
    Just stumbled upon your blog today and I think its refreshing. So I started following. But first I’m gonna browse throught your posts for inspiration and entertainment πŸ™‚
    Cheers from Twente.

  21. Karin

    Gefeliciteerd! leuk dat je voor het examen bent geslaagd.
    Ik heb mijn examen pas gedaan. Ik ben erg benieuwd op de uitslag. 5 weken wachten lijken zo lang!
    Hoe lang moest je op die wachten?

    • Ik denk 4 1/2 of 5 weken. Het is wel lang in het begin maar na een paar weken is het niet zo erg… Leuk dat je de toets gedaan hebt. πŸ™‚ veel succes met de uitslag!

  22. Niki,
    Welcome to the Netherlands! … and of course to The Hague,

    I can assure you that it’s a wonderful city to live in and there are lots of places to see, things to do and excellent people, both expat and natives to meet.

    There are many exiting places to discover… from cooking groups to sporting, something for everyone. As you can easily see, I love living here.. it’s very very different from my other “home” in New Zealand and yes, I can guarantee that you *will* have moments where you hate the Dutch system etc, but over time you will learn to love the best of both worlds and the differences will be things to cherish.

    Welcome to the roller coaster that is the process of settling down in any new country and culture, it’s learning curve extraudinaire but an experience of a lifetime, Enjoy!

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