You have arrived, manoeuvred the hurdles of registration, figured out the transport system, managed to open a bank account – the gateway to just about everything here – and settled on a place to live. The shipment – from overseas or IKEA – has found its way to you, and slowly all the pieces of your new home, and life, are fitting together. And there you sit. Wondering what is happening on your doorstep, and what the neighbourhood has to offer. Regardless of whether your neighbourhood is more, or less, international, chances are, there are also Dutch neighbours. If, like many before you, you are awaiting the ‘welcome to the street’ invite from them, you may be disappointed. This is not to say that this is how it will be in every neighbourhood, or with all the Dutch, but, in general, there is a lesson to share.
At the ACCESS Welcome to The Hague programme, which they run four times a year on behalf of the City of The Hague, Caitriona Rush of At Home Abroad, which offers cross-cultural training and consultancy, introduces participants to ‘the iceberg’: the iceberg being a visual manifestation of ‘culture’, in any country. There is that which we see, and that which is hidden below, and needs to be discovered.