Stephanie Dijkstra

Stephanie Dijkstra is a Third Culture Kid in every possible way. Raised in four countries on five languages by Dutch/American parents, both of whom also grew up in several countries, and having visited more than 30 countries before she reached the age of 18, the world is her home. Having spent her childhood explaining each parent’s culture to the other and translating the multilingual gibberish that she was used to for the benefit of non-family members, she is very pleased that these two survival tools have turned out to be something with which she can earn a living. In an attempt to become mainstream, she got a Master’s degree in Law followed by an MBA, but soon owned up to her thorough disinterest in a commercial career and, the minute the opportunity arose, pursued her true passion: anything to do with words and people.

Stephanie is Editor-in-Chief of The XPat Journal

All Stephanie's Articles

Deciphering the Dutch Health Insurance System

Medical insurance is one of those matters that the Dutch have devoted particular thought to – meaning that the outcome is characteristically complex. It is a topic that... read more >

From the Point of View of… Brad Taylor

As Brad Taylor, Physical Education teacher, strides down the school hallways, the students respectfully make way, but with a smile. He addresses them in English – for he... read more >

From the Point of View of… Frankie McCoy

Frankie McCoy has been living among the Dutch for too long. Her office is freezing and when I put my down jacket back on an hour into the interview she says, “Oh dear, I... read more >

Providing for Unforeseen Events – Insurance

Owning ‘things’ brings not only pleasure, but sometimes also headache. What if there is a storm and a tree falls on your house? Or what if the pipes burst on a freezing... read more >

From the Point of View of… Kiri and Leonidas Kikis

When you first meet the Kikis brothers, you are struck by their almost old-fashioned deferential demeanor; polite, gracious, and gentlemanly, they shake your hand, open the... read more >

From the Point of View of… Sonia Sin

Sonia Sin’s first steps into entrepreneurship were when she founded Service at Work, here in the Netherlands: “I’d be traveling every other month: to Egypt, India, South... read more >

From the Point of View of… Jonathan Talbott

18 years ago, Jonathan Talbott came here to study at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, which was founded in 1826 by King William I. The school is well known for its Early... read more >

From the Point of View of… Robin Pascoe

“You are NOT Robin Pascoe,” are words Robin has heard on more than one occasion. “Oh, but I am,” she answers matter-of-factly, “I’m just not the Robin Pascoe you... read more >

From the Point of View of… Neil Aaronson

Intrigued by his specialty, I have to ask what it means exactly: a Chair in Quality of Life. It turns out not to be quite as light-hearted as it sounds. Neil explains: “My... read more >

Carnival – Den Bosch Style

Beer Every year, in February or March, for three days, many towns in the southern part of the Netherlands are packed with people, dressed in all manners of strange costumes,... read more >

From the Point of View of… Jing Zhang

While weaving a path through the busy Hoog Catherijne ‘shopping mall’ in Utrecht, on our way to a quiet place for a cup of tea and our interview, Jing Zhang says: “I... read more >

From the Point of View of… Mardjan Seighali

“Many people fail to realize that refugees have been through a lot, not just to get here, but also before. There is a reason why they have become refugees. And they carry... read more >

Becoming an Entrepreneur

According to the website,, the number of self-employed persons in the Netherlands is growing explosively; approximately 130,000 persons start up their own... read more >


When it comes to history, Zeeland, due to its location on (or, if you will, in) the sea, and with one part only accessible by tunnel or by driving through Belgium, has had... read more >

From the Point of View of… Arjen Wiersma

“What the Dutch don’t understand is that the democratic premise behind the Poldermodel can only be achieved within a group that has the same background/values, and the... read more >

Redoing Your Home

Few people have bought a house of which they thought: ‘Yup, precisely the way I wanted it,’ and left everything the way it was. On the other hand, few people are as notorious... read more >

Hidden Defects

In a number of the articles in this issue of The XPat Journal, the authors have focused on the challenges posed by defects in the property you have bought or rented. The matter... read more >


When I think of Ghent – located nearby in Belgium, approximately 25 minutes west of Antwerp, yet only 22 kilometers from the border with the Dutch province of Zeeland... read more >

Are the Dutch Bonobos?

Chris Smit’s article, Nothing to Hide, mentions Geert Hofstede’s dimensions and how – on his dimension Feminine-Masculine – Dutch society scores high on the Feminine... read more >

Higher Education for International Students

In this global world, studying abroad is not only popular and possible, but often also a prerequisite for getting a job. And one of the best places to follow an international... read more >

From the Point of View of… Sally Squirrell

Traveling alone had an unexpected side, too: “I had always thought that it would be just one crazy, massive party – but I didn’t really meet as many people my own age... read more >


For a city this modest in size, Haarlem is rich in fascinating museums. We started out at the Frans Hals Museum, where we thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition... read more >

(In)famous Healthcare Customs

Elsewhere in this XPat Journal, you have read about what to expect when visiting a specialist and about mental health care for expats. In this article, we will go into the... read more >

North Sea Jazz Festival

This year is the 40th edition of the North Sea Jazz Festival. A world-famous three-day event that attracts people from around the world. What better way to prove this than... read more >

National Park Maasduinen

Ask anyone if they know of a big park in the Netherlands, and they are sure to come up with De Hoge Veluwe National Park. However, another park that is at least equally as... read more >

From the Point of View of… Albert Dolmans

“I decided that if I painted full-time, I could probably make a living off it, so I quit my job. Through the huge network I had in California I was able to arrange a lot... read more >

Visiting a Specialist and Hospital Care

If you have to see a specialist in the Netherlands, you have to take a rather roundabout route to get there – at least, if you’re not used to the Dutch system. We have... read more >

New Rules on Temporary Contracts and Dismissal

To the delight of employees and to the dismay of some employers, there are few countries where employees enjoy as much protection against dismissal as they do in the Netherlands.... read more >

From the Point of View of… Ana Fernández

“I like to believe that everyone has wisdom that we can benefit from. Also the people in that little village in Spain, who have never gone beyond its boundaries; what they... read more >

Mi Casa Could Become Su Casa

Of course, there are a lot of benefits to buying a house. Apart from the fact that you own real estate of which the price may increase again, there is the advantage of a tax... read more >

From the Point of View of… Kalindi Soni

Kalindi Soni didn’t go from rags to riches, she went from riches to rags. “I’ve learned that when you’ve gone from having everything that you could want, to having... read more >


For a city as modestly-sized as Nijmegen, it has a significant place in Dutch history. In fact, it is presumably the oldest city in the Netherlands, and recently celebrated... read more >

From the Point of View of…

Our interview for this month took place in the soon-to-be former home of Mrs. Ruby Vos (she’s moving to a new house). Ruby moved here in 1994 with her Dutch husband. However,... read more >

From the point of view of…

Eighteen months ago, Steve Dailey came to the Netherlands for a day. And he’s been here ever since. What started out as a day of consulting, turned into an employment contract... read more >

From the point of view of…

Julia Townsend has her own business in England. On the day she landed a big contract, she came home jubilant, hardly able to wait till her husband came home, so that she could... read more >

From the point of view of…

To Federico Cheri, the Netherlands is the European equivalent of the American Dream: the Dutch Dream. If you come to Holland and you work hard, you can become anything you... read more >

From the Point of View of…

Dubravka, who studied English Language & Literature in Zagreb, as well as Philosophy, has two jobs: one, teaching English Teaching Methodology at the University of Utrecht... read more >

Meet Socrates, the Camarasaurus and Buddha

If Spring this year proves to be wet and cool and you are looking for something to do (with or without kids), then Leiden is an excellent place to start with the following... read more >


Gouda is a lovely city to walk through, thanks to its reasonably compact size, historic buildings, clean appearance, car-free center and pleasant atmosphere. But there is... read more >

From the Point of View of… Deborah Valentine

Deborah on being placed abroad: “Partners embark on the adventure together, but once the adrenaline of the first year wears off and the house and spouse are all sorted,... read more >

Letter from the Editor Sept 2016 Issue

When I was ten years old, I moved to South America with my Dutch father and American mother. Though my father loved history, he had studied law in order to be ensured of a... read more >

Following in the Footsteps of an Emperor

The Utrechtse Castle Route takes you through an area you could explore for days. In this issue of The XPat Journal, we take you along the manors, mansions and castles of this... read more >

For this issue of The XPat Journal, we interviewed Marjolein Leopold-de Vos tot Nederveen Cappel, who was born in Indonesia and survived a Japanese internment camp during... read more >

National Park Weerribben Wieden

  Though very few people know about it, it really should come as no surprise that this country, riddled as it is with canals, should have its own Venice. Not a city,... read more >

Step-by-Step Buyer’s Guide

It would be nice if the process of buying a house were simply a matter of “yes, I would like that one” and handing over your credit card. Though this may be the case for... read more >

More than Half the Fun

As I sit behind my desk, I can see the snow falling. Beautiful big, white flakes. And I know the woods nearby will be full of moms and dads, dragging their kids on sleighs... read more >

From the Point of View of… Nancy Mayer

Nancy Mayer has a very special life; she makes a living teaching people how to sing. Or, in reality, how to find their voice. For she also gives speaking lessons. “Fantastic... read more >

Scholarships and Grants

In this article, we go into the possibility of arranging a scholarship or grant if you are coming to the Netherlands as a non-Dutch national to study. We also provide a short... read more >

Coming to the Netherlands as a Student

When coming to the Netherlands as a student, special immigration procedures apply. Which specific requirements are to be met depend on your nationality and the purpose of... read more >

Leeuwarden, European Capital of Culture 2018

The center of Leeuwarden is cozy and manageable in size – the one time we got lost lasted about 20 seconds – and the people are very friendly. At the end of the market... read more >

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