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.

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Elf Fantasy Fair

The Elf Fantasy Fair is a two-day event taking place twice a year in The Netherlands. The April edition is on the grounds of Kasteel de Haar in Haarzuilens. In September, it is held at Kasteeltuinen Arcen.

The theme this year is Good Fairies – Bad Fairies. While this changes annually, core events remain the same with most visitors dressing up in simple to elaborate costumes. Along with watching or trying role playing games, crafts, dancing, storytelling, parades, music, archery, readings and book signings by famous fantasy authors, you can tour this castle which has a moat, and picnic in the woods and gardens among the many strange inhabitants. They might remind you of characters in stories you read or movies you saw.

The castle is family-owned. On the tour, we were told the family has had several famous visitors. It’s stunning inside and has modern conveniences. I can daydream about being 12 years old with free reign of it to explore the turrets and hallways and the enormous numbers of rooms and take in the view from all the windows. It would take all day.

There are stalls with related items for sale. Among the handcrafts available are leather goods and jewelry. There are craft supplies, books and clothing in shops to entice you on your way around the grounds. The food trends to healthy and delicious. Tip: bring your own snacks and drinks and augment them with Elf Fair fare.

The Elf Fair in Haarzuilens is reachable by train and a shuttle bus service. In spring, Kasteel de Haar is magical with everything in fresh green around it. You could easily imagine yourself in a fairy tale. If you want to go this year, you can try the atmosphere in the fall at Kasteeltuinen Arcen.

Here are some pictures from this spring.

Exploring Europe by Car

If you plan to explore Europe this summer by car, you need to prep your car for all the countries you will be travelling through. This may include safety equipment, car repair supplies and breakdown cover.

Before you plan to leave the country you need to check your car insurance covers you when driving in other countries. You may also wish to take out European breakdown cover (pechhulp) and purchase a road map that covers the areas you will be traveling through.

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Schiermonnikoog is an island that’s a 45min car drive and only a one-hour bus drive away from Groningen.

“Monnik” means “monk”, “schier” is an archaic word meaning “grey”, referring to the colour of the monks’ habits, and “oog” translates as “island”. The name Schiermonnikoog can therefore be translated as Grey Monk Island.- (Wikipedia)

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StudentArts extends services to international employees and their families

Healthcare provider StudentArts in Groningen will start to extend its services to better meet the needs of internationals. StudentArts is already serving many international students, but will now also welcome international employees and families.

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