Connect International Blog

Welcome to the Connect International Blog!
Starting from January 2017, Connections is moving fully online and digital in the form of a blog.

We will keep you up to date on international news, events and more, with articles published through out the month. You can also now easily search back through our archive, with articles going back to 2009.

Become a Connect International member to automatically receive a monthly overview of published articles.

Useful Apps for Expats in the Netherlands

Google Maps

For any newcomer no app is more useful than Google Maps (or other similar apps). Took a wrong turn and are completely lost? Need to do the grocery shopping, or get into town with the bus?

With the app you can navigate in real time, let it know if you are travelling by car, bus, bike or on foot and it will give you the best routes. Need to take the bus or train? It will even tell you when the next bus or train leaves.

Google Maps is available for Android and IOS devices, and via your web browser on your computer or laptop. Save mobile data by downloading your local area map at home through Wi-Fi before you head out.

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Rights of Tenants

All newcomers to the Netherlands are confronted with the necessity of having to find housing. This can be a very stressful period as it involves a fast-track course in learning housing-market conditions and regulations, as well as possibly having to adapt your lifestyle to the space available, the neighborhood and the surroundings.

In the Netherlands one important distinction to make is that between social-sector housing and private-sector housing. Although most of the rights and obligations for tenants are the same regardless of the sector, the main differences revolve around the price of the rent, its eventual increase and the authority to contact in case of dispute.

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What’s inside: Frikandel

A frikandel (or frikandellen if you are eating 2 or more) is one of the most popular and typical Dutch fast-food dishes, closely followed by the kroket (what’s that? Check back next month).

It is a sort of minced-meat hot dog, first eaten in 1959 in either the Netherlands or Belgium; no one is really sure. It is typically deep fried and eaten on its own, on a bread roll (called a ‘broodje frikandel’) or with mayonnaise, curry ketchup and diced onions (called a ‘frikandel speciaal’).

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Culture Shock

The American Heritage Dictionary defines culture as “the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought characteristic of a community or population.” It can also be viewed as “a system for creating, sending, storing, and processing information. It is how we talk, behave, understand and act.” (Edward Hall, Anthropologist).

It is perhaps no wonder, then, that we experience culture shock when we are transplanted from one culture to another! Culture shock, the sense of disorientation and the resulting anxiety and stress, is a normal reaction to adjusting to a culture other than the one in which we were raised. Familiar cues, including general behavior, customs and norms, word usage, facial expressions and body language, are gone and we feel insecure as a result. In essence, we feel like a child again, having to relearn almost everything we took for granted in our home culture.

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