Leeuwarden/Friesland Cultural Capitol 2018

Written by: Charmaine Andre and Shannon Zurhaar

Leeuwarden: Cultural Capital of Europe 2018! It’s been the talk of the town the past couple of years and the city of Leeuwarden has been hard at work with its improvements to the city to show the world how beautiful it is. You have probably noticed the white boy & girl statues, the pedestrian area and changes by the train station, the flags, flowers, trees, among many other things. But what is ‘Cultural Capital’? And what does it mean for Leeuwarden and Friesland?

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Bilingual Children / Tweetalige Kinderen

As an immigrant from a non-Dutch speaking country, whether temporary or permanent, with children, you face some hard choices.  Do you send your children to a local school or to an international one, what language should you speak at home, what if the parents already speak different languages?  Is it “safe” to introduce yet another one?


When are you bilingual?

The definition of a bilingual person is someone who speaks two languages fluently.  It really all hangs on your definition of what is fluent.  Some people believe you are not truly fluent unless you can also think and/or dream in that language.  Others find it a requirement to be able to speak that language without a “foreign” accent.  For others it is not just about language but also about cultural heritage.

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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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Dutch Golden Age

The Dutch Golden Age was a period in Dutch history, roughly spanning the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, art and military were amongst the most acclaimed in the world.

The first half of the 17th century was taken up by the Eighty Years’ War (the Dutch war of independence from Spain). After winning their independence, the united Dutch Republic ran the country in peace for the last half of the 17th century.

It was during this time that Dutch explorers travelled the seas, trade by the Dutch East India Company flourished and the Dutch Old Masters began to prevail in the art world by creating realistic portraits.

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