Lessons in Life

The Dutch political system invariably creates coalitions – and goodness knows how many parties will be needed this time round. The process of coalition building can take forever – well, months and months at least. Manifesto points are ditched, compromises reached, trade-offs agreed and finally the parties that have managed to find enough common ground … Continued

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 career. However, he never lost his affinity with the subject, and when I was moved out of reach of the Dutch … Continued

The Four Things You Didn’t Know About Dutch Meetings

In this article, the author takes a look into the details of a typical Dutch meeting. Let’s share his vision on the Agenda: The agenda, if at all present, consists, like most agendas, of the different points that are to be discussed. Makes sense, right? Initially, the Dutch agenda appears to be quite similar. There’s … Continued

Back to School

By Wijnand de Gelder Summer vacation is over. A new school year has begun. The children’s minds are still filled with images of their vacation and they are excited about their new class. Many of them are walking or riding their bikes to school via a new route. Children are vulnerable participants in traffic. All … Continued

A “B-” Is Good Enough

“Relax man” is an expression you might associate with a stereotypical Caribbean island such as Jamaica. But in Dutch schools, when it comes to being the best, the atmosphere is almost Jamaican; there is no pressure at all. In other words, Dutch students do not have any intrinsic motivation to perform or overachieve. This doesn’t … Continued

The President and the Taxi driver

By Bob Bragar It’s not the great and the good who are going to decide who is the next president of United States. It’s the taxi driver. This summer I spent an inspiring week at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. This was my third convention and the third time I was a delegate for … Continued

Dutch Vacation Days:

“It feels good to be back from vacation. Mostly it’s because I grew up in America, and Dutch vacations seem so long. Back in America, you’re lucky to get two weeks off in a row. In the Netherlands, if your summer break is less than three weeks, people think there’s something wrong with you. And … Continued

Managing Your Own Career Across Cultures

by Ruddy Swinnen and Sjaak Pappe For many expats, an international career can be a road littered with pitfalls, allergies and culture shock – but also with great fun, enhanced performance and inspirational new relations. Economies, companies and human capital are globalizing more and more. This encourages career change, offering employees the opportunity to develop … Continued

Building Bridges

For their regular columns in The XPat Journal, ACCESS, in 2017, will focus on how it represents, informs and manages the expectations of the local community and its service providers about internationals. In keeping with this advocacy role, ACCESS has recently partnered with three other leading members of the international community and launched a foundation, … Continued

The End of Optimism

I always believed that America’s greatest export product was its optimism. No country in the world could rival our ability to dust ourselves off and start anew. Despotism hadn’t etched itself in to our national psyches yet. We could still afford our short term memories. When I moved to Holland eight years ago, I ran … Continued

Walter Benedict & Franklin

Franklin and Walter Benedict, ever heard of them? Brothers maybe? Or cousins? In fact, it is neither of these, as they are not even related. ‘Birds of a feather’ comes much closer to describing their relation. Bas van der Elst and Jan-Willem van der Zee shared the lecture rooms at the Amsterdam faculty of Economics. … Continued

A Storyteller’s Lens

“Stories are contextual. They begin long before a professional goal has been achieved, fueled by incidents that have deeply impacted the teller. Workshop organizers, who ask me to help women learn to convey their professional accomplishments more confidentially, usually overlook this essential backstory. ‘Men speak up all the time,’ they tell me. ‘Why don’t we … Continued