Category Archives: Almere

The ins and outs of living in Almere

Translations of “Almere Deze Week” edition 15th of August 2018

Almere Deze Week is a weekly newspaper with local news for the inhabitants of Almere. It is published in Dutch. Below you find summaries of a selection of the articles of this week’s edition translated into English for the community of International Almere.

All summaries have been translated with the permission of the editors of “Almere Deze Week”. The board of international Almere wishes to hank Courtesie ( for their quick and accurate work to translate the summaries into English, so that the international community of Almere can be informed and feel connected with the city they live in.

The original articles in Dutch can be found in the hard copy version of “Almere Deze Week” and online via this link: The page numbers behind the titles refer to the pages of the newspaper where the articles can be found.

Below you find summaries of 6 articles with the following titles:

  1. KAF results heavily disappointing
  2. Almere DIT WEEKEND – in your mailbox on Friday, 7th September
  3. Number of wasp reports increasing
  4. Water police contribute to safety in water-rich Almere
  5. Almere residents provide free holidays in Italy for fellow citizens
  6. Join Almere’s 30 km run on 30 September


KAF results heavily disappointing (page 1)

By Marcel Beijer

STAD CENTRUM – KAF (Kunstlinie Almere Flevoland) failed, by a big margin, to achieve last year’s budgeted results. Although there were more visitors to the premises, the number of paying entrants to the theatre, expo, academy and Citylounge (catering) was heavily disappointing. This is evident in KAF’s 2017 annual report.


Due to the political recess, Alderman Hilde van Garderen (VVD) has not yet seen the annual report. “But of course I have already received some signals. I am not going to say anything about it yet. There will be a management meeting with the KAF after the recess and I think it’s fair that this will give KAF ample opportunity to clarify the figures.” Van Garderen also points to the cultural plan that is currently being drawn up, which naturally includes KAF. “It’s clear to me that we need to be able to do more with this beautiful, iconic building. The future redesign of the Esplanade will bring the KAF ‘closer’ to the center.”

KAF draws far fewer paying visitors than expected. (Archive photo: Almere DEZE WEEK)


New: Almere DIT WEEKEND – in your mailbox on Friday, 7th September (page 1)

ALMERE – Almere Stad and Poort will get a second newspaper as from Friday, 7 September – Almere DIT WEEKEND (Almere This Weekend). The initials ‘ADW’ are no coincidence.  As Almere DEZE WEEK (Almere This Week) will publish this second, Friday edition.

The Tuesday newspaper, Almere DEZE WEEK, will remain the source for news and background stories, interviews, articles and sections on homes, going out, sport and politics. Almere DIT WEEKEND will offer ‘lighter’ content, focusing on Saturday and Sunday, with fun reader promotions, recreation and entertainment tips, weekend news and weekend columns.

For more information, also for advertisers, phone 036-5300765 or email info@almereditweekend.


Municipality acts on threat to public, Number of wasp reports increasing (page 5)

By Robert Mienstra

ALMERE – The wasp nuisance in Almere is increasing rapidly. “Years ago, we received fewer than ten reports per year”, says Rob Bulsing, ‘Schoon’ supervisor at the municipality. “Two years ago we had 20 reports. Today we have already passed that number for 2018.”

“If a wasp stings you, remain alert. When it stings, a substance is released that alerts other wasps to danger. So they can also attack”, says Bulsing. “The same applies if you kill a wasp. The same substance is released and other wasps are triggered to go on the attack. Always remove a dead wasp and then clean the surface well to remove this substance. And never strike a wasp. Blowing it away is safest. The wasp experiences that as wind.”

Wasp nests can occur anywhere. And they are useful creatures. (Photo: Adobe Stock)


Water police contribute to safety in water-rich Almere (page 7)

By Robert Mienstra

ALMERE – The disturbance on the Weerwater lasted only a few minutes. The Almere water police had spotted a red speedboat behaving strangely, opposite Lumièrestrand beach.

This week Almere DEZE WEEK went on patrol, spending an afternoon on the police boat.

Warm welcome
It’s striking that most skippers warmly welcome the police officers; that their presence is appreciated. There is almost always a greeting or a short chat. Children ashore wave and dance when their boat passes. “The public value our presence, they are very positive”, the officers say. Then add, laughing, “Well, not always”.

From left: Hans Jansen, Andries Sloterwijk and Ro Teunissen wait for the lock in De Kromme Wetering. “We’re there to promote safety on the water.” (Photo: Almere DEZE WEEK)


Almere residents provide free holidays in Italy for fellow citizens (page 9)

ALMERE – Whether it’s a week in the Veluwe, camping in France or a trek through Canada, most children and young people will go on holiday this summer. Those who cannot go on vacation are often those with the biggest need to do so. Hans Wendel and Berbara van Doorne of the Il Rifugio foundation want precisely this group to enjoy a week of vacation. And they have done something about it. Last week their first guests flew from Almere to Italy.

Almere residents Hans and Berbara have bought Il Rifugio, in the Italian region of Tuscany. Two habitable houses, a fruit orchard and a large meadow. It’s no coincidence that the first families that have been offered a week’s holiday at Il Rifugio also come from Almere. “We focus on families and children whom we know will benefit from a week of relaxation in a new environment”, says Berbara. “As a result of our volunteer work, these are mainly Almere families and children from children’s homes in Poland.” The first Almere guests are enthusiastic: “I don’t have to worry about anything. All I have to do is enjoy it here.”

The Il Rifugio foundation survives on donations. The organization has ANBI status, which means donations are tax-deductible, even if the contribution is in kind. For more information visit

Time to enjoy a holiday in Tuscan Italy. (Photo: supplied)


Join Almere’s 30 km run on 30 September (page 19)

POORT – ‘De 30 van Almere’ (the Almere 30) will be run on Sunday, 30 September. Last year more than six hundred runners participated and fast times were set.

Topsporthal will be the epicenter of the 30 of Almere for the third consecutive time. This is a convenient venue for picking up your race number, changing clothes, having a rest or a massage, or just sitting down for a chat.
Kids Runs (of 1 and 2 kilometers) and a 5 kilometer run will again be available. So there’s something for every runner, whether you are preparing for an autumn marathon or just want to participate in a fun, social run.

Last year more than six hundred runners participated in Almere’s 30. (Archive photo: Fred Rotgans)


Note: All of the above-mentioned articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition 15thof August. The summaries were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs

A 2 minute video about Courtesie you can watch here:

International Almere welcomes Expat Mortgages


International Almere welcomes Expat Mortgages as a new sponsor

Expat Mortgages is an independent company devoted entirely to providing expats (internationals) with mortgage advice in a language they understand (English).

They aim to give expats the same opportunities as Dutch citizens when it comes to financing a home in the Netherlands. And because they are independent mortgage brokers they can deal with any bank or mortgage provider in the Netherlands, that has a proposition for expats.

For more than 10 years Expat Mortgages has been helping expats realize a big dream, buying a house in the Netherlands, and they worked with thousands of expats from different countries.

As of May 2018, Expat Mortgages has become an official sponsor of International Almere. The collaboration between the two comes very naturally, since the two organizations share similar values and goals. Coincidentally Expat Mortgages has the same vision as International Almere organization – to make the non-Dutch residents feel at home.

The two partners believe that by sharing knowledge and experience they have better chances in achieving this mutual goal. They are planning to organize different events and seminars, publish informative articles and many other activities to equip the internationals with enough knowledge about the Dutch housing market.


Translations of “Almere Deze Week” edition 2 Mei 2018

Almere Deze Week is a weekly newspaper with local news for the inhabitants of Almere. It is published in Dutch. Below you find summaries of a selection of the articles of this week’s edition translated into English for the community of International Almere. All summaries have been translated with the permission of the editors of “Almere Deze Week”. The board of international Almere wishes to hank Courtesie ( for their quick and accurate work to translate the summaries into English, so that the international community of Almere can be informed and feel connected with the city they live in.

The original articles in Dutch can be found in the hard copy version of “Almere Deze Week” and online via this link: The page numbers behind the titles refer to the pages of the newspaper where the articles can be found.

Below you find summaries of 7 articles with the following titles:

  1. Remembrance Day in Almere, 4 May
  2. Memorial for Children, on 4 May from 18.00 hrs
  3. This year: sixteen Royal Decorations
  4. Almere residents feel increasingly safer
  5. Nine out of ten Almere residents enjoy living in their own neighborhood
  6. New ‘dog map’ for Almeerderhout issued by Staatsbosbeheer
  7. Liberation Day Festival in Almere


The inheritance of freedom: Remembrance Day in Almere, 4 May (page 5)

ALMERE – On May 4, in Almere, the victims of the Second World War are commemorated at the Dolphin monument in Haven. All those who fell during the Second World War, and during other wars around the world, are remembered. We contemplate living in freedom and reflect on all those who, to this day, are restricted in their freedom, for whatever reason. The central focus is on how to pass on the inheritance of freedom.

(Photo: Almere Deze Week)


The commemoration can be followed via livestream at the Grote Markt and also in your living room. A link can be found at


Memorial for Children, on 4 May from 18.00 hrs, Het Bos der Onverzettelijken renewed (page 7)

 By Robert Mienstra

VERZETSWIJK – Jeugdland Stad and the Bos der Onverzettelijken organizations are holding this commemoration of child victims for the twenty-fifth time on May 4th. From 18.00 to 19.00 there will be an informative tour. At 19.30 hrs the commemoration will be performed by and for the Children. The commemoration takes place at the sculpture, ‘Het Tandwiel’ (the gear), at the edge of the Bos der Onverzettelijken next to Vrijheidsdreef, at Verzetswijk.

The Anne Frank tree – at the center of the Herdenkingsveld (memorial field).

(Photo: Almere Deze Week)

Het Tandwiel shows parts of the history of the Second World War on a monthly basis. (Photo: Almere Deze Week)


This year: sixteen Royal Decorations (page 7)

 By Robert Mienstra

STAD CENTRUM – Mayor Franc Weerwind presented no less than sixteen royal decorations last Thursday at the Kunstlinie Almere Flevoland. Most of those decorated had been brought the hall under false pretenses, to make the surprise even bigger.

The mayor presented sixteen Royal Decorations – twelve Members, three Knights and one Officer of the Order of Orange Nassau. In total, 2,912 Royal Decorations were awarded in the Netherlands.


Almere residents feel increasingly safer (page 9)

ALMERE – In comparison with four years ago, any feelings of insecurity among the inhabitants of Almere have diminished. The report shows that residents rate the livability and safety of the neighborhood higher. Various forms of nuisance have been reduced, as has the number of victims of crime. Social cohesion in the neighborhood remains stable. This is a selection of the results of Veiligheidsmonitor-Wijkpeiling 2017 (security monitor district survey 2017), in which more than 8000 Almere residents participated.


Nine out of ten Almere residents enjoy living in their own neighborhood (page 19)

 ALMERE – Almere’s residents rate the livability of their neighborhoods at 7.2. They experience fewer traffic and social nuisance than inhabitants of other large municipalities. This is evident from the large survey of residents on safety and quality of life in the neighborhood, carried out in the autumn of 2017. All the information – by district, neighborhood and topic – can be found at Nearly 26,000 Almere residents aged 15 and over were invited to fill in the questionnaire and 8,029 responded.


New ‘dog map’ for Almeerderhout issued by Staatsbosbeheer (page 31)

HOUT – As of this week a new ‘dog map’ is available for the Staatsbosbeheer (national parks board) areas in Almere. The map shows where dogs are allowed to run loose, have to be on a leash or are totally prohibited.

The leaflet can be downloaded from

The rules that apply to the areas can also be read on the entrance signs.

 (Photo: Almere Deze Week)


Liberation Day Festival in Almere (page 33)

ALMERE – As is the case every year on Liberation Day, there will be a number of spectacular performances throughout the city center. There will be performances throughout the day on the stage at the Esplanade, by big names like Ronnie Flex, Douwe Bob and Coen & Sander. The Grote Markt and Restaurantplein Belfort will also host live artists.

Visit  for a complete overview of performances and activities on 4th and 5th May.


Widened Waterlandseweg opened (page 41)

 ALMERE – The widened Waterlandseweg (N305) was opened on Tuesday 24 April by Flevoland deputy, Jaap Lodders. The Waterlandseweg has been widened from two to four lanes in order to keep Almere accessible as the city grows.

The doubled road width will ensure that traffic will continue to flow smoothly and safely in the future.

The wide central reservation with trees preserves the forested character of the Waterlandseweg.

(Photo: Almere Deze Week)


Note: All of the above-mentioned articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition May 2, 2018. The summaries  were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs

Translations of “Almere Deze Week” edition 25 April 2018

Almere Deze Week is a weekly newspaper with local news for the inhabitants of Almere. It is published in Dutch. Below you find a selection of the articles of this week’s edition translated into English for the community of International Almere. Long articles have been summarised. All articles have been translated with the permission of the editors of “Almere Deze Week”. The board of international Almere wishes to thank Courtesie ( for their quick and accurate work to translate the articles into English, so that the international community of Almere can be informed and feel connected with the city they live in.

The original articles in Dutch can be found in the hard copy version of “Almere Deze Week” and online via this link: The page numbers behind the titles refer to the pages of the newspaper where the articles can be found.

Below you find 7 articles with the following titles:

  1. ‘Economic recovery continues’ (page 3)
  2. Hindu temple inaugurated with special ceremony (page 5)
  3. Big Loetje restaurant for Almere (page 23)
  4. Holiday feeling on Almere beaches (page 33)
  5. King’s Day in Almere (page 35)
  6. Modderrun (mudrun) 2018 registration started (page 36)
  7. Roman era at the Natuurbelevingcentrum de Oostvaarders (page 45)


‘Economic recovery continues’ (Page 3)

By Kirsten Thuis-Woudenberg

ALMERE – The financial statements of the Municipality of 2017 show a positive result of 11.9 million euros. Alderman Mark Pol of economic affairs presented the annual financial report to the municipal council on Thursday. “The annual accounts show that the economic recovery is continuing,” said Pol positively.

Over the past year Grondbedrijf, in particular, generated significant revenue. The sale of building land raised 32.7 million euros. In the crisis years, less construction took place and Almere’s financial position was severely affected. But things have changed, says Pol. “The results are so positive that our reserves have been replenished to the level of 2013, when this council board started.”

Alderman Mark Pol during the presentation of the 2018 budget. (Photo: Almere DEZE WEEK)

The housing market in Almere picked up sharply in 2017. “Land was sold for 1,656 homes”, according to Pol. “That is much more than in recent years. In addition, the number of companies grew by 500. Interest in industrial sites is growing and the vacancy rate of offices has decreased. “The efforts to transform vacant offices into homes or hotels, such as the Strawberry building, are contributing to this.”

Pol expects even more positive figures for land issue next year. “Land issue continues to increase rapidly and land prices are rising. It is already going faster than it was in December of last year. We have to work hard to meet the demand. However, we must remain cautious. In the past we invested in land development even if we didn’t have a direct prospect of selling it. For the future, we should only invest in land issue and in preparing the land if we are certain that we can sell it.”

A less positive result in the accounts was the Youth deficit of 1 million euros. There was also a negative result on waste disposal and processing. “The quantity of residual waste has not fallen as expected, which means that the costs are higher. On the other hand, a smaller proportion of the plastic, metal and drinks cartons collected appears to be recyclable, thus reducing the remuneration for these materials.

A reserve of 4 million euros was released in the accounts, but Pol wants to encourage the new board to keep saving. “In previous years, money had to be added, constantly. The task now is to replenish the reserves. Make hay while the sun shines.”


Hindu temple inaugurated with special ceremony (page 5)

By Kirsten Thuis-Woudenberg

INDISCHE BUURT – It was a striking scene on Friday 20 April. 108 women dressed in yellow saries formed a procession around The Golden Temple of Shri Vishnu as part of the blessing of the temple. Following performance of various ceremonies and rituals, the Hindu temple at Tempo Doeloestraat 250 was officially inaugurated.

It was six years before the temple was ready. According to spokesman Krish Bahoran, the temple is very special. “This is the first Hindu temple in Flevoland”, says Bahoran. “It is intended that a service will be provided here every Sunday and that special Hindu holidays will be celebrated here.”

According to priest Bramhdath, each of the ten statues of the different gods will be blessed in the next three days. “The images are blessed with mantras. This takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. After that, different rituals are done. The god Ganesh and mother earth are worshipped. After that the 108 women enter the temple. They carry jars on their heads and are dressed in yellow, the favorite color of the god Vishnu. The number 108 stands for the 108 names of all gods. A service is then performed by the priests in the temple.”

The Hindu temple will hold open days from 11.00 to 18.00 on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 April. As part of the opening ceremony, a fortnightly Shri Vishnu ‘puran katha’ will be held from 30 April. This is an Indian religious story-telling custom. It starts at 6 p.m. daily and there is also a daily pooja, the ritual by which Hindus venerate a deity, Parvachan and Aarti, and high-placed priests. There is an opportunity for everyone to offer persaad and daan. For more information, please visit or call 036-5217600.


Big Loetje restaurant for Almere (page 23)

STAD – The famous steak restaurant, Loetje, will have a restaurant in Almere. This was reported on the website last Monday. The restaurant will be located in the currently empty Martinez tower, which is currently being converted into a leisure building. It will also house the new Hotel Plaza.

Trinity Vastgoed I has entered into a lease agreement with Loetje Groep for 840 square metres of restaurant space and 265 square metres of partly covered outdoor terrace in the Martinez building at Mandelaplein 1. The property has an area of 20,000 square meter and is 80 meters high. An immediate neighbor of the NS Station at Almere Center, it is being redeveloped into a multifunctional building housing a 222 room hotel, 141 short-stay apartments, a fitness club, business lounge and a limited number of office suites.

The hotel and the short-stay apartments have already been rented out to the Plaza Hotel group in Heilbronn Germany. Completion is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2018.


Holiday feeling on Almere beaches (page 33)

ALMERE – Almere has a coastline of 42 kilometers and the largest catamaran beach in Europe. A long coastline means lots of pleasant beaches where everyone can play, relax and swim. Many beaches are equipped with a welcoming restaurant or cafe. An ice cream vendor regularly passes, offering refreshing ice creams. Most of the beaches in Almere are equipped with toilets and showers.

The ten Almere beaches are free of charge for young and old.

Haven surf beach

The surfing beach at Haven is located next to the Haven beach, which offers views over the Gooimeer and towards Huizen. Haven surf beach is very suitable for watersport activities. The beach has parking facilities.

Duin beach baths

The Duin beach bath is on the south side of the yacht marina. Here children can romp, run and swim. The beach can be reached via the ferry or a walkway. Near the beach is a playground with a tree stump route through the reeds, a panna field (soccer), swim rafts and a water playground. Children can also play with the super-mikado. The beach has a large fireplace with benches around it and admission to the beach is free.


The Noorderplassenstrand is located behind the Hogering on the edge of Waterwijk. It has toilet facilities.

Atlantis beach

Atlantis beach is located at the Archerpad on Weerwater. The lawn at Atlantis beach offers a beautiful view of the skyline of Almere. The beach is suitable for various water sports.

‘t Hoofstrand

This beach is located on the Noorderplassen. It has toilet facilities. The beach is very suitable for water sports.

Almere Haven Beach

The beach at Almere Haven is a sandy beach, located on the outskirts of Almere Haven. It is adjacent to the Strandweg and the Sluiskade. The beach offers views over the Gooimeer where, on a good day, many windsurfers are to be seen. There is ample parking at the beach as well as toilets and outdoor showers. The beach is suitable for families and children. Strandbrasserie  De Jutter is located on this beach.


Situated on the IJmeer, this is a large beach. Visitors can choose to sit on the sand or on grass. Strandpaviljoen Poort Dok, Marina Muiderzand and HarbourHouse restaurant are all located here.


The Stedenwijkstrand beach is located in Almere city near Hengelostraat/Oeverpromenade. The beach offers views over the Weerwater. The center of Almere is a 5 minute  walk from here. Toilet facilities are available.


Lumiérestrand is located in Filmwijk between the Lumiérepad and the Fellinilaan.


Fantasiestrand is located behind Oorweg/Bergsmapad, on Weerwater. The beach offers a beautiful view of the skyline of Almere. The beach is suitable for a variety of water sports.

For more information, please visit


King’s Day in Almere (page 35)

ALMERE – The King’s Day Holiday Festival in Almere starts on Thursday evening, 26 April, and continues until Friday evening on 27 April. There are free markets and musical activities in many places.

Anyone can sell items at the free markets in a number of streets and squares in the centers of Almere City, Buiten, Haven and Poort. The free market starts in Almere City and Almere Buiten on Thursday evening 26 April at 17.00 and lasts until Friday 27 April at 17.00. In Almere Poort (Cascade Park near Het Klokhuis), Lumière Park in Filmwijk and Almere Haven, the free markets will take place on King’s Day itself.

It is not permitted to reserve spots for stalls with tape or paint. It is allowed to set up in front of a shop, if it is not open during King’s Day. Shops that are open can be recognized by the posters. An overview of the free market areas can be found on

Come by public transport, or by bike

The city centers are easily accessible by public transport. Bicycles can be parked in the covered bicycle parking facilities within walking distance of the free market. Cars can be parked in parking garages and car parks in the centers of Almere. Please note that cars parked in the free market zones and access roads will be towed away. In Almere Buiten stopping and parking on the Equator is not allowed.


Amplified music is only allowed in the area of the commercial market. It may not be played louder than 70 decibels. In the free market area un-amplified music is permitted. No music or noise is allowed at night between 00:00 and 07:00.

Food and drink sales

For food safety reasons, no (homemade) food or drink may be sold on the free market. The use or sale of gas cylinders is also not permitted on the free market. Retailers are allowed to sell food and drink if they normally also sell these products in their shop. Only the hotel and catering industry are allowed to sell alcoholic beverages, on their own terrace or in their premises. The sale and serving of alcohol is prohibited in the free market areas.

Commercial market

There is a commercial market on the Stadhuisplein in Almere Centrum.

Cleaning and enforcement

Didn’t sell all your stuff? Then take it home again, donate it to the recycling shop or take it to the recycling platform. The recycling platforms are open from 09.00 to 17.00 on Saturday 28 April. The platforms can be found at Vlotbrugweg 36 (Almere Buiten), Argonweg 81 (Almere Poort) and De Steiger 113 (Almere Haven). Locations of recycling shops are listed on recycling Empty packaging and other waste can be placed in the containers at the free markets.

More information: /koningsdag.


Modderrun (mudrun) 2018 registration started (page 36)  

ALMERE – Young families, sports enthusiasts and disabled athletes can once again compete with each other and the elements during the weekend of 5, 6 and 7 October in the Modderrun (mudrun) 2018. Early bird registration started last week.

The obstacle course of 3, 6, 9 or 12 kilometers leads through the forests of Stadslandgoed de Kemphaan. The participants have to overcome 14 to 28 obstacles on the course. Such obstacle-runs have become very popular, worldwide, in recent years. And now the first annual mud-run in Almere is also on the agenda.

“Obstacles can include high walls to climb over, mud basins to crawl through and ditches to wade through”, says Ed Bergman, the designer and builder of the obstacles.

Young families do the mudrun together. (Photo: supplied)

On Saturday the course will host participants from 12-16 years and 16+ years. With courses of 6, 9 and 12 kilometers, this is a big challenge for even the most fanatical athletes. On Sunday the course is for young children with their parents and it’s a family day. Especially for this target group, a shorter track of 3 kilometers will be constructed. Sunday morning is an important day for the organizers, with the first starting group being for intellectually challenged athletes.

Early Bird registrations have started. After 1 June the entrance tickets will be increased in price. For more information, please visit .


Roman era at the Natuurbelevingcentrum de Oostvaarders (page 45)

(Oostvaarders nature center)

OOSTVAARDERSPLASSEN – Roman history will be the central theme throughout the country during the National Roman Week, from Saturday 28 April to Sunday 6 May,  Both young and old can also get to know the Roman history of the Netherlands in a creative way, in Flevoland.

In Natuurbelevingcentrum de Oostvaarders, at Oostvaardersbosplaats 1, there will be objects from the Roman era on display. For children up to 12 years there is a treasure hunt map  on sale for 1 euro.

The theme of Roman Week is ‘Mobility’. The Roman presence in the Low Countries brought four centuries of peace and stability. As a result, there was plenty of movement along and across the limes, the border of the Roman Empire. For the first time, a large number of travelers were able to cover large distances safely, via roads, rivers and the sea. Traders, civil servants, soldiers were all on the road. In order to make a profit, to exercise their office or to reach their place of military occupation. From North African commanders to Frisian traders, from emperors to Batavian relief forces, the Low Countries were a meeting place for people of all kinds. Moreover, there was not only a lot of physical movement. Some provincials also went a long way in amassing a great deal of wealth.

About National Roman Week

Together with dozens of museums and archaeological and historical organizations, RomeinenNU puts this special period in our history at the heart of the National Roman Week every year.


Note: All of the above articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition April 25, 2018. They were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.n


Our members recommend – Almere Veertje!

Special guest post by Katie Schmitt!

Our experience

My husband and I had the pleasure to be part to take a trip this year on Almere Veertje , and now I am eager to share our experience from a newcomer to Almere’s point of view!

The almereveertje website provides all necessary information, unfortunately exclusively in Dutch. So if you are still working on your Dutch language skills, my suggestion would be to opt for contacting the ferry staff via e-mail, or just give them a call. It won’t be a problem for the staff to answer your questions in English. Continue reading Our members recommend – Almere Veertje!

Member Recommendations – Festive Season Turkey and Goose!

We asked our members recently about where to find the best turkey, goose and poultry in Almere for the upcoming festive season – and here’s their best picks for you!

Hans v.d. Bor – On the market in Stad (Wednesday and Saturdays) (turkey and goose)

” I got a big turkey from the market in Stad last year” – Michelle 

 “I always get it from Hans in the Market” – Christina

Kalkoen Express
Poulier Slagerij j. Tromp (Purmerend) (turkey and goose)

“Tromp is awesome!” – Tanja

Kalkoen Bestellen
Poelier Rijlaarsdam Almere (turkey and goose)

“We got turkey legs and rollade here last year (also kipfilet) and it’s great quality too!” – Brenda

De Worstmakerij 

“There’s a great wholesale butcher in Lelystad, who’s dirt cheap and has the best pork belly! They do turkey too.” – Maarten

Don’t forget, you can still get turkeys from Albert Heijn and from Jumbo (frozen), and closer to Christmas you can also get them fresh in the supermarkets!

Internationals in Almere are welcome at the FREE music festival this weekend – Popronde Almere 2017!

Guest Post by Jens Lendering, producer of Popronde Almere!

This Saturday (September 30th), the city centre will transform into a music festival landscape as the Popronde will land there for the eight time. The newest and hottest upcoming Dutch (and international) acts will present themselves for free (gratis!). Popronde Almere hosts 38 shows at 15 different locations with stages within shops, restaurants, bars, cafés and even on the street. If you are an expat living in Almere, this is the perfect opportunity to get to know great locations within Almere as well as new bands that may even break through and become big artists. After reading this guide, you will know everything you need to get started! Continue reading Internationals in Almere are welcome at the FREE music festival this weekend – Popronde Almere 2017!

November 11 is Sint Maarten!

November 11. In the evening children (with their parents preferably) go door to door with a lantern and get candy in exchange for singing Sint Maarten songs. The feast has gained popularity in the Netherlands. In the previous century it wasn’t celebrated everywhere, but somehow it did find it’s way to Almere quite early on. It’s the name day of Utrecht’s Patron Saint Martinus van Tours, and the origin is purely speculation. Continue reading November 11 is Sint Maarten!

Holiday Season Appeal – Can you help us?

It’s August, and being the busy little bees we are, we’re already planning ahead to December and our annual holiday festivities.

December’s holiday season is is a difficult time of year for our families.

Many do not have the opportunity to travel back to their home country, and often spend the holiday period alone, thousands of miles from their loved ones. We aim to try to alleviate this by hosting events aimed at keeping the festive spirit for everyone.

Every year, we plan 2 parties – one for the kids of the group, and one for the adults.  The kids party has magicians, crafts, gifts and a visit from Santa. The adults party is a sit down, 3 course dinner designed to provide a night of  relaxation and a festive atmosphere before the stress of the holiday period starts.

It’s increasingly difficult financially to put on these events, without eating into our reserve funds.

This year we are looking for a little help from all of you to spread our message and make our 2016 Holiday parties the best ones yet!

We are specifically looking for donations of raffle/tombola prizes, financial donations to help subsidise the cost of the children’s event, sponsoring a family in difficulty (financial, medical etc), or even just volunteer some of your time to help us organise the event, approach potential sponsors or be there on the day to help run an activity.

Ultimately, it all comes down to the amount of support we get as to how awesome the party is, and more importantly, how cheap we can put it on for.  We are a group of volunteers, and we very rarely call out for help – but this time we need you! If you can help us in any way – donations, financially or volunteering – click here and send a message through to us about how you can help us make 2016’s December events the ones to remember! (And don’t forget to share the message – the more people who see it, the more chances we have of people helping us!)

christmas appeal holiday webpage email

US Fatca Compliant Investments

So I guess the first thing everyone is asking is why did an Australian go to a seminar about US Investments and Pensions?  Well, I see the questions going up in our group all the time, and in other groups I belong to, and I hear some of my friends from the US cursing the beast that is ‘FATCA’.

So purely out of curiosity, I went along to find out a little more about the beast that has people quaking in their boots, as well as to find out more about what our new sponsors do, and what they can provide for our members. Continue reading US Fatca Compliant Investments

Don’t forget to register … Getting to know Poort is this week!

This sponsored post contains affiliate links to our sponsor – the Atlas of Amsterdam. 

It’s time for our annual photo hunt ! June 4th at 2pm – meet us at the bus station at Almere Poort and get to know Almere’s newest section – Almere Poort! (Sponsored by the Atlas of Amsterdam). This is a free, fun and family friendly event, but everyone is welcome to join in!

Continue reading Don’t forget to register … Getting to know Poort is this week!

Welcome back in 2016!

It’s been a while since we caught up with everyone, and for that we’re really sorry!  Things have been crazy around our offices with the holidays and even some of the board being on holidays across the globe.  Thankfully, everyone is back in one piece and we’re excited that 2016 is shaping up to be a great year!

Become A Member.

We’ve updated our events policy and placed a copy on the website and in our Facebook Group so it’s easier for everyone to see.  Please take a moment to read through – nothing has changed, but now it’s all in one place.

February is a busy month! Check out the flyer below for all our upcoming activities – but not only do we have First Friday Night Drinks starting back, and our Quiz Night, but our faithful new regular event, the “Buiten Mums Night” is back.

Mark the date as well – February 26th is our AGM. This year we’ve started a dedicated section on our website for the AGM so you’ll be able to see all the information before we start!

As always, you can keep up to date by following us on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus or simply tuning into our calendar here on the website!

Hoping to see you all soon at one of our events,

Gerard and the International Almere team.

Here's what's on the plans for February!

Kasteel Almere – Open to the public!

October 31st saw an amazing opportunity for residents of Almere – our very own famous ‘modern ruins’, the Kasteel Almere was opened for public viewing.

Recently purchased by local businessman, Ton Theuniss, the Kasteel will eventually become home to the Netherlands newest amusement park “WitchWorld“.  Ton and his partner in imagination, Anne Marieke Groot have developed an amazing story of the “Gravin van Almere” (The Earl of Almere), and plan to release a series of children’s books in line with the opening of WitchWorld, somewhere in 2019/2020.

WitchWorld will also feature a restaurant and function centre and creative workshops,  as well as attractions based around the central theme of witches, wizards and of course, the Earl of Almere and his stories.  It promises to be an exciting place to visit!

Tell us your stories of your visit to Kasteel Almere, and what you hope to see happen there!

A look insideKasteel Almere

“Buiten Mums” Night!

What an amazing night out in Almere Buiten!  October 19th saw us getting together at an old, but favourite haunt of ours – the GrandCafe Seventies Eighties.  The night proved to be a popular one, so you’ll now find us there on the second Wednesday of every month.  You don’t have to be a mum, or live in Almere Buiten to join us either – the idea just came from a group of Buiten based mums who thought it’d be nice to get out on a weeknight!  See you all on November 11th (maybe for a well earned drink after Sint Maarten? )

buiten mums october promo

International Almere

International Almere – Connecting Expats In Almere

Welcome to International Almere!

We’re a group of volunteers from all over the world whose mission it is to help others connect and meet in Almere.  We all know what it’s like to end up in another country and try to find a social network – so come along to our events (or feel free to contact us on ) and meet us.

We started with humble beginnings in 2010 – a group of ladies meeting on Friday nights for drinks, and over the past 5 years have evolved into a large group covering many nationalities and cultures, with  families, singles and couples.  Building a social network can be difficult for expats, and we aim to try to ease the transition into life here in the wonderful city of Almere.  International Almere is a volunteer based, not for profit organisation that creates opportunities for expats, internationals and internationally minded locals to create and foster friendships through regular activities and events.

We host a monthly Friday Night Drinks (held on the First Friday of every month at the Apollo Hotel, Almere Stad – Koetsierbaan 2, 1315SE Almere). You’ll find us in the restaurant area – and we’re hard to miss!

We also host a monthly Quiz night on the third Friday of the month, also at the Apollo Hotel.  You can find more details about our events by clicking here or by emailing us at . .

We also offer a membership package (which is now open for 2015!) which provides you with discounts on specified events, advance notice and registration on some events, and your first drink at our First Friday Night Drinks for free. More information, including an application form, can be found here.

More questions? Don’t be afraid to email us at

Looking forward to meeting you soon!

The Board, and Members of International Almere.


Bake Off 2013

The date – September 21, 2013.  The place – The Apollo Hotel Almere.  The Challenge – Who is International Almere’s best baker?

10 contestants lined up, each with their delicious entries ready to tantalise the judges.  The winner would be selected by popular vote – and the prize?  A voucher to Almere Haven’s own “De Leukste Taarten Shop”, bragging rights on the cover of the first IA cookbook and of course, the coveted crown of “International  Almere’s Best Baker”.

The entries were diverse. Cakes and pies and cheesecakes were all contending fiercely.  Each baker divulged their secret recipe and competition was fierce!

The Entries:

Chocolate Rasp- whatever berry cake! – Rebecca Komen

Red Velvet Cake –  Sandie Lind Pedersen

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies – Patricia and Jordan Weber 

Lemon Chiffon Cake – Dominique Du Toit

Covered Dutch apple pie – Carla Van Der Weide

Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake – Maarten Muijs

Honey Blueberry Cake – Georgina Riddle

Citrus Shortbread Bites – Becky Riddle

Quiche Recipe –  Eddie Veltman

Rum Balls – Carly Bridgeman


The judges filed in, tasted each entry and slowly, deliberately cast their votes for the best entry.  As the evening went on, the delicious treats quickly emptied, and the votes were cast.  The adjudicating panel oversaw the voting process to ensure that each vote was cast correctly …

Then, the moment of truth.  The contestants waited in anticipation for the vote counting and the crowning of the IA Best Baker.

And the winner?

Voting was fast and furious, and Maarten Muijs emerged victorious, with his entry of the Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake.  Second place was a dead heat with Sandie Lind Pedersen’s Red Velvet Cake and Eddie Veltman’s Quiche scoring the honours.

A huge congratulations to all our winners and a huge thank you to all our entrants for your fantastic baking efforts! And also a big thank you to our judges who helped decide our winners … See you at the next bake off.


Maarten and his award winning cheesecake!
Maarten and his award winning cheesecake!
Margreet Kwakernaak

Getting to Know – Margreet Kwakernaak

Margreet KwakernaakMargreet Kwakernaak, teacher and owner of Suitcase talen

Who is Margreet Kwakernaak? Though teachers have to answer many questions, they seldom have to answer this question. The role of the teacher is to help other people to learn and not to focus on themselves.

I was born and grew up in the beautiful town of Delft. My father was as well a teacher of German as well as an assistent director at two schools: one at daytime and the other one at night. My mother rose the 4 children (3 boys and 1 girl) and run a very well organised household. My father was mild, my mother was strict. I think I have both characteristics.

After secondary school, I left home to study in Amsterdam. I studied Spanish language and literature at the University of Amsterdam and, in the evening, arts at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy.

During the first 21 years of my career I always have been teaching Spanish as well as handicrafts and drawing. After 21 years of unruly teenagers I left secondary school to continue teaching Spanish at an adult school. It was the work with adults that I really liked and I started Suitcase talen in Almere, with help from my partner. As we both had jobs during daytime, we started with English and Spanish evening classes.

I am a workaholic but my partner was not, and Suitcase talen was the end of our relation. I moved to an industrial estate in Almere Muziekwijk. In the first year a was responsible for the construction of a building of 436 M2 and as soon as it was finished, Suitcase talen started growing. With a team of 20 free lance teachers Suitcase talen offered English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Russian to employees of the international companies in Almere
In 2002 we started experimenting with Dutch. I did the intakes and sometimes had to replace my teachers, and with some extra schooling and help of my collegues, I learnt to teach Dutch. It was not difficult after teaching Spanish for so many years.

When I got a new neighbour, an instruction pool for children, hell started. 7 days a week there was the constant clapping of doors of many cars, on the parking places of the building where I worked and lived, on weekdays form 8:00 until 21:00 and in the weekend until 16:00.

In 2006 I wrote the first of 7 textbooks on Dutch, Dutch for Dummies. I loved to dive deep in this writing task during the weekend, after my daily organisational and managing work.

In 2007 I was happy to rent my building to gemeente Almere. Long before I moved to the actual location in Almere-Haven, I had decided to stop managing and that I wanted to have a small school and teach rather than manage other teachers.

And so it happened that the smaller Suitcase talen became, the better got its reputation. My decision to specialize on highly educated students, finally, after 15 years of not feeling at home, reconciled me completely with Almere. Interesting students, Almere becoming a real town with good sport facilities, a growing international group- I love to provide you with quality classes for now and the near future.

Introspection: why it matters to teach children to think about their thinking

By Lana Kristine Flores-Jelenjev

When I was teaching psychology to college freshmen one of the questions I often asked my students was “what is your favourite color?”. Soon enough after they answered that question, I then proceeded to the next question, WHY?

How about you? what is your favourite color? Why do you like it? What about that color that speaks to you?

Perhaps we can also use another question, when out on a date and your partner asks you, where do you like to eat?  Or what?  How much of a struggle do you have with making such a decision?

Now let us put it on a bigger scale, when was the last life-changing decision that you made? How long did you deliberate on it? How did you come about making that major decision? How did you know that it was indeed the right choice?

The ability to weigh options and make decisions are skills that as adults we sometimes grapple with. But if we look closely to what those skills are and the building blocks that are needed for them- one essential factor is present. These skills are based on our ability to introspect.

Some people might think that time used reflecting on one’s self is time wasted. But nothing could be further from the truth. Knowing yourself and having awareness of yourself is very important. Introspection and its byproduct, self-awareness are essential to any decision-making (be it small or life-altering), focus, prioritization and action. It is the reason why there are a lot of self-help and psychology books aimed at finding and knowing one’s self.

Another way that we can emphasize on the importance of introspection is through this activity. Think about a behaviour that you do quite easily or naturally, like opening a can of soda. When you pull the tab, what else do you do? Do you put the tab all the way back or do you let it up? Why do you do this? Habit? How did it become a habit? How did the daily things you do become so? How did you form thoughts, ideas and ideals about friendships? About justice? About parenting? About anything you value? There must be a reason why you cry foul over certain issues, or why you say, there are certain issues that you can let go. Introspection is the core in which we learn to understand ourselves better.

Now let’s do another scene and this time consider other people, when was the last time you paid attention to the way your child think? Hopefully not in a belittling way, but seriously, when did you say to your child, I like how you think? Or I like how you solved that problem?  It can even be as simple as “I like how you did that”

These questions are essential in teaching children that not only are we aware of their actions, we are also “present” as parents in our interaction with them. Asking these questions and saying these dialogues open up the opportunity for children to be reflective as well. Asking themselves, “what did I do? What did I come up with? What did I solve?

Perhaps as adults we tend to think of children specially younger ones as not fully capable of introspection because if we think hard about it, when do we really see the first signs that children can reflect on their mental state? Children’s ability to notice and reflect on their own mental states and experiences, and go further up a notch, be able to attribute such states to others, seem to be too big to expect from young children. UC Davis researchers Simona Ghetti, assistant professor of psychology at UC Davis and Kristen Lyons, a graduate student in psychology at UC Davis proved this notion wrong with their studies on metacognition in early childhood.

Their study showed that preschoolers aged 3-5 are capable of pointing to a photo of a confident-looking face when they felt confident that they had the correct answer to the question gave, and, they were also able to point to a photo of a doubtful looking child when they were not as confident with their answer.

This study provides a clear picture of how children use introspection, showing them more capable of such a skill than what we gave them credit for. Results of the study showed that children can introspect about their doubts or more specifically their awareness of their uncertainty for that moment.

Wouldn’t it be grand if, children grew up mastering such a skill? Self-awareness is a prerequisite for a wide range of milestones and decisions. For example,  how to choose the best career? Or why get into a relationship with someone? What can you do to make yourself happy? At the heart of all these questions is our ability to introspect and find the answers.

Like with adults, children need the tools to help them hone their introspective skills. Here are some dialogue prompts that you can try at home to start engaging your child in thinking about his/her thinking:

  1. What makes you say that?
  2. What are you thinking?
  3. How did you feel?
  4. What could this person be thinking?
  5. What could this person be feeling?
  6. What made you excited today?
  7. What was the best part of your day?
  8. What was the least that you liked about your day?
  9. Why do you like it? (best followed by what makes you say that?)
  10. Tell me something that made you happy today (use the other emotion words like frustrated, sad, angry)

Remember, that as much as these prompts are for your child/children, it is also for yourself. Find the time to share your thoughts with your child or the entire family during family conferences. Let everyone know what you are thinking and feeling and make it visible. Through this children realize that the chatter that goes on in their head is pretty normal and sharing it with their family is important. It also gives each other the opportunity to talk about not just what excites them or makes them  positive but most importantly the deep, dark and ugly thoughts that keeps them awake at night and uncertain. Self-awareness is also about building self-esteem and by being able to share these negative thoughts, we also give our children the chance to reflect on their fears and face them.


Lana is a child development specialist focused on sharing her expertise with parents on engaging activities to do with young children at home. She is also an education consultant that emphasizes on the importance of using gifted pedagogy in the regular classroom. She writes in her blog Visibly Engaged issues that parents and teachers can relate with and shares articles that they can benefit from. Lana also recently opened her webshop Smart Tinker that promotes the use of educational toys and how it promotes multiple intelligences (M.I.)in children. She is currently writing a book on how to promote M.I. at home through simple yet engaging activities.

Getting to Know – Greg Shapiro

Meet Greg Shapiro, International comedian, actor and author, and long term sufferer of ‘Multiple Nationality Disorder’.  Greg recently visited Almere with his ‘Greg Shapiro Presents : Brendon Burns’ show which gave audiences a taste of what was to come on November 7th – Superburger, The man with split nationalities! – where he discusses at length his struggle with MND, Dutch culture and also his new book, ‘How To Be Orange’.   

Greg meets Bu, the International Almere Bear.
Greg meets Bu, the International Almere Bear.


1. The Netherlands is an interesting country to live in – what’s your favourite part of living here?
Biking! I love the fact that our family car has 2 wheels, and you don’t necessarily have to spend half your day in a car just to get your daily work & shopping done.
2. Do you describe yourself as an expat, and international, or something else?
I’m an expat. I’m the textbook definition. I came from Chicago, moved to Amsterdam – and stopped.
3. What advice would you offer to a complete stranger who wants to move to the Netherlands?
Do it! it feels foreign and familiar at the same time. Especially if you’re from the US. The Dutch have a history of individualism, capitalism, liberalism. So many factors that define America actually started here. I feel much more at home than I’d ever expected.
4. What has been your biggest challenge since moving here? 
The Dutch language is an aesthetic car crash.
5. If you had to leave tomorrow, what would be the one thing you would take with you?
My beautiful, blond, half-Dutch family. And stroopwafels.
6. What is your favourite Dutch tradition, and how do you celebrate it? Do you still celebrate holidays and traditions from your home country?
Can’t wait for Queen’s Day to become King’s Day. Someday, I hope to take part in the tradition of sticking your head through a big target and yelling at Dutch people until they pay money to throw eggs at you.
7. You describe yourself as having ‘MND – Multiple Nationality Disorder’. Tell me a little more about that.
It’s about moving to a different country and getting culture shock – but also getting culture shock when you get back home. It’s about Dutch people who’ve lived abroad, moved back and don’t recognize it anymore. It’s for the 3rd culture kids with multiple passports. When you never feel 100% at home anywhere – that’s ‘Multiple Nationality Disorder.’
8. You mention in your book about speaking Dunglish – and being fluent in ‘Google Translate Dutch’. Tell us about a time where your Dutch went horribly wrong…
I once did a performance in Dutch about what a humiliating experience the Dutch language is – for the speaker and the listener. I tried to get my all-Dutch audience to realize that their language is an aesthetic car-crash, and – as a civilization – they deserve better. They didn’t get it.
9. Most of us who come here have to do some level of Inburgeringscursus to maintain our residency. What was the most useful or interesting piece of information you learned in your course? What was the most useless?
The most interesting bits of my assimilation course came from the unexpected quarters, like when the woman from Turkey explained that the headscarf was banned when she was growing up so that – for her – when she wears a headscarf in the Netherlands, it’s not a symbol of oppression, but a symbol of liberation. Still, the instructor told us on the exam just write ‘symbol of oppression.’
10. Finally, you’ve visited Almere, you’ve filmed a movie in Almere … tell us your favourite part of Almere!
I quite liked the show I did at the top floor of the World Trade Center. Flevoland is a modern miracle, and you can see the whole thing from up
Greg’s book – “How to be Orange” is available through for the astoundingly low price of  €14,95.  Do yourself a favour and read it!
Want even more hilarity?  Check out Greg’s Show at De Nieuwe Bibliotheek, Almere on November 7th –  tickets available here

Getting to know us – Sarah Leonard

We all know the lady behind the numbers and the money at International Almere, but how well do we really know her?  Find out more about Sarah!

Where were you born?

I was born in Maidstone, Kent, England in 1973, yes  that makes me 40 very soon.

Where have you lived?

I spent a few years living with a friend in Belton  Lincolnshire, this was to save me travelling every weekend to party  and drink  my weekends away, this was the rebel years of my life, I  never went to uni so this was my time to be wild.

Where can we find you online?

Contact with me is easy, I can be found on Facebook,  yes I have a mobile phone but most of the time its switched off, that’s  not normal I here you say, but I like it that way.

Almere is an inter­est­ing and unique city to live in, describe your favourite part of liv­ing here.

We came to Almere as my partner Kay brought a apartment  here, he brought it just from  plans on paper, we came over to  see the progress of the build about every 12 weeks, he lived in Ermelo  at the time with his parents and I was still in the UK, his sister lives  here so we knew what we was coming to, Kay gave me the key to the apartment  after I had finished doing a 5km race of life event for cancer around  my local park, in them days I was fitter and thinner.

Almere is a good place to live for us as Kay works  in Amersfoort so the train takes his strain on the daily commute, there  are lots of nice places within 1 hour drive and you can be in Germany  or Belgium in 90 minutes. Camping is a big part in our lives so it perfect  to be so close to major motorway links. Kemphaan is great and there  are many open parks so there is no need to stay in the concrete jungle.

Where is your favourite place to go out or eat out in the city?

Eating so is not something we do very often, but the  places we enjoy are an the Van de Valk hotel live cooking and brunch,  Yamas and Athene in Tussen de vaarten.

Would you define your­self as an expat, an inter­na­tional, or some­thing entirely different?

Expat or international, well for me not any of these  I just think of myself as a Brit living abroad.

How long do you plan on liv­ing here for?

I think that we are pretty much staying here for a  long as I can see, Kay’s works in the private health care insurance system  and we don’t really have that in the UK so he would need to find a  job there doing something else that pays good money, travel cost and  flexi working hours. We have our apartment for sale at the moment, we  will stay in Almere.

Tell us how you found Inter­na­tional Almere?

The way I found International Almere was via a friend  of a friend, I never really used computers before I came to Holland,  so had no idea of Google, search engine etc, My friend came to visit  her friend who lives in Amsterdam so I went to meet them both for lunch,  she told me them about a group that she was in and to join up, so I  came home found the web site and asked to become a member, I was asked  to write a small piece about myself, so that’s what I did, I had many  welcomes and hello from people but the only person that lived in Almere  was Connie, She told me come meet the local group on Friday night at  Jordaan, This took me 2 months to pluck up the courage to go, that night  I took my partner  for support, I arrived at the place went to  the bar to order a drink and then stood there with my dumbo ears trying  to listen for the English people, I was nervous and really wanted to  leave but then in came Connie all bubbly so I made my move to introduce  myself, I was introduced to the small group of woman, lucky for me I  was not the only new person that night so it was a bit easier, our partners  went to another table and chatted together as at that time it was no  men allowed. I enjoyed by evening and everyone was nice and friendly,  one person stood out the most Gina smith, as she comes from the same  town as me in England but we have never met before, so I have never  looked back and have enjoyed many a night out.

Have you been to any Inter­na­tional Almere events?  Which was your favourite?

I have been to most of the events that International  Almere host, I don’t really have a favourite  as they are all  good in there own way and you always meet new people.

What advice would you offer to others who are thinking of taking the plunge and moving to Almere?

My advice to anyone  reading  this is to come along and meet us all, it’s a big step at  first but really we are all in the same position and making friends  helps ease the journey. Trust me there is someone here that you can  connect with, if the first night you don’t find them, just keep coming  they will be there in the end. I would not have stayed here if I didn’t  make good friends at the group.

What has been your biggest challenge since arriving in Almere?

The biggest challenge for me when I moved here was  not working, I worked a lot in the UK and enjoyed my work very much,  so sitting at home was not my thing, and the hardest of all was on a  Sunday when back in the days when I arrived nothing was open, supermarkets  , shops all closed, and I was used to just going out shopping on my  days off. I now work at Letterland international school  doing  the lunch duty, and I have been treasurer for this group now for just  under 2 years.

 If you had to leave tomor­row and could take only one thing – any­thing – from Almere, what would it be?

I would take sate sauce as Kay can’t live without it!

What is your favourite Dutch tra­di­tion, and how do you cel­e­brate?  Do you still cel­e­brate hol­i­days and tra­di­tions from your home country?

Dutch celebrations are not really done in my home  as we don’t have children, and Kay’s family do not do anything apart  from birthdays when I have to go and sit in the circle, and eat cake.  Christmas for me is the best I have a big tree and love to decorate  my home, I have spent only 2 Christmas days here and not really enjoyed  either, so sorry I go home to my family and open my presents, and then  enjoy shopping in the sales after.

Family is the biggest thing I miss from home, but  I am lucky as I can get home very quickly if needed, and I have a special  tariff on the phone so I can call for only 10 cents for as long as I  like .I got my 74 year old father to use Facebook so he can also keep  tracks on me and look at my photos. Marks and spencers is now here so  I can get some home comfort food when I feel  the need.

Sarah Leonard - the lady behind the numbers on our 'Getting to Know Almere' event :)
Sarah Leonard – the lady behind the numbers on our ‘Getting to Know Almere’ event 🙂
Sarah and her partner, Kay on one of their many camping trips!
Sarah and her partner, Kay on one of their many camping trips!


Want to see yourself here? Fill out the form!

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Date Saver! 20th September is the Bake Off!

International Almere is organising a BAKE OFF! We have so many talented bakers, so why not let them have the chance to display their baked goods, and you to have the chance to taste them!
So save the 20th September in your agendas because it’s going to be a tasty night! So come along for drinks downstairs and taste some goodies upstairs!
For €5 per entry for non- members and €4 for members, you can enter your home made (from scratch- no packet mixes!) baked goods. If you want to enter two different products,  you are more than welcome, but its still a per entry price.
Now for those of you interested in tasting these delicious delights it’s only going to cost you €2 and you can taste them all! After you have tasted your fill you get to vote on which baked good you think is the best!
As an entrant you need to email your chosen recipe, so please don’t entre grandma’s secret sponge cake. All of these collected recipes from the entrants will be turned into a cookbook that will be available for purchase at a later date. So we know you have always wanted the recipe for Carly’s rum balls? You can wait to bake Maarten Muijs’ cheese cake? Well soon, that might just be possible!
1st PRIZE – €40 gift voucher towards the workshop of your choice at the “Leukste Taartenshop” in Almere Haven ( PLUS The front cover and starring recipe of the first International Almere Cookbook (available soon!)
2nd PRIZE – A gift pack (also from the Leukste Taartenshop) valued at €15
So get your baking hats on  because you need to get your entry form in together with the recipe and your payment to International Almere by 13th September!
Bank : ING
Name: Ver. International Almere
Account: 5570680
There are no facilities to warm food at the Apollo available, so please take this into consideration when you decide what you want to enter.
Whilst we can’t tell you what to enter, there are a few guidelines.  Baked goods in this example are cookies, cakes (cupcakes, cakepops, etc included), fruit pies, mini quiches, slices etc. We don’t have the facilities for serving or heating meals, so please no lasagnes, stews etc.  The rule of thumb is that if you can serve it for afternoon tea, a high tea etc – that is perfect.
Please send an email to  with  the following subject line “Entry for Bake Off”
Your email must contain the following:
Your name
The Name of the Recipe
The full recipe (this is for both entry into the cookbook and to address any dietary concerns).
Get baking!

How well do you know Almere?

The date – 1st September, 2013.  The challenge – with your team, find all the pictured landmarks on your page and take a photo with your team.  The result?  A fun, family day out with lots of laughs and lots to learn about our awesome city!

Meeting at the Belfort’s awesome mosaic tile seats and clocks – 30 people divided into 6 teams and were given their pictures and instructions.  And so, the race was on!

Did you know that Almere has a marker that indicates how far below sea level we are?  Where can we see all the pipes and cables that connect Almere to all it’s facilities?  Can you find the hidden beach in the city?  And where is that giant hand???

Thank you to the students of the International School Almere for their hard work on this project – without you we would not have had such a successful event.  Thank you to the families who made it out today – how much fun was it?


The crowds at the Apollo after!
The crowds at the Apollo after!
Who is this bear?
Who is this bear?
The pipes of Almere
The pipes of Almere
That giant hand!
That giant hand!
Finding the way!
Finding the way!
Tree hugging!
Tree hugging!
Group picture!
Group picture!
Gerard and Irma find their way ..
Gerard and Irma find their way ..









Getting to Know Us: Zejna Kaunic

Time to meed Zejna, our favourite photographer. In her short time on this earth Zejna has experienced a lot and has as diverse a family as one could possibly. Go ahead see yourself (see what I did there?).

Where were you born?
I was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina back in 1983. This was Yugoslavia back then.

Zejna Sarajevo

Where have you lived?
I have lived in Sarajevo, het Gooi, Baarn and Almere.


Where can we find you online?

You can find me on Facebook (Zejna Kaunic) and I have a Facebook page for my Photography company (See Yourself Photography). I also have a Hyves page that i never use, and also a Linkedin profile. But I am by far most active on Facebook.


Wedding photo

What brought you to Almere?
Well my mom and I came to Holland in 1992 due to the war in my home country as refugees.  After living in a refugee camp here in Holland for almost 2 years, and the war in my country was not near its end so returning was not an option, my mom got an apartment assigned to her in Almere haven. This was back in 1994.


My mom met my step dad at the NT2 course when he opened the door for her during a lunch break. There is romance in integration. Don’t lose hope people!  Afterwards we moved a few times to Almere Muziekwijk and Almere Buiten. When I moved out of the family house I decided to stay near everybody so I’ve lived in Waterwijk and Kruidenwijk too.  I’m a super – Almerian!


Almere is an interesting and unique city to live in, describe your favourite part of living here.

I like the city centre that is near where there is a variety of shops to shop from but also the quite living among green gardens and nature parks. I like that everything is well connected via public transportation, I like the fact that Utrecht, Lelystad, Amsterdam and Schiphol are really near!

How have you best been made to feel at home since you arrived?
I had to go to a Dutch school and learned the language there just from being in the class. I also met kids and they became my friends. I think that was that for the biggest part. Just being a part of everyday life doing what everybody does. So this is my advice to all newcomers, participate and go out and mingle and all will be all right. But it took me quite a few years to accept the fact that we would be staying here and not returning home to Bosnia. There is a crucial difference in moving to another country because you want to or because you have no other option. But now I’m pretty well adjusted, at least I hope so after 20 years spent here.


Where is your favourite place to go out or eat out in the city?
I like bagels and beans in the new part of the city centre because they serve great fresh juices and bagels. I like the all you can eat concept of Atlantis. And I love the Mexican-hot pizza of New York pizza (haha).


Would you define yourself as an expat, an international, or something entirely different?
An international from an international and diverse new-found family! Because my mom and I are from Bosnia and speak this language with each other, my step dad is from Iraq as is my stepbrother, they speak Arabic with each other, we (mom, dad and I) speak English and my brother and I speak Dutch with each other. Just imagine our dinner table, 4 languages at all times. My fiancée is half Dutch half Caribbean he speaks Dutch and Papiamento. My best friend is a Korean girl. So International multicultural it is! And proud of it!

Zejna and fiance

How long do you plan on living here for?
I think I will be living here for a while, maybe even forever. Although I have a secret wish to move to a sunny climate one day.


Tell us how you found International Almere?
Back in 2010 Connie (IA) and Katy from NELCA came across me on Hyves and asked me to help them with a charity project. I took pictures that were made into a calendar and the money collected from the sales of this calendar was donated to cancer research. After that we stayed in touch. I also photographed Sonja and Julians’ wedding in 2012, met a few international Almere members there too and came across some old friends. I bought a bike from an IA member. And did some family shoots as well. So eventually I met quite a few members here and there.


Have you been to any International Almere events?  Which was your favourite?
I went to magic mike ladies night! Wohooo. Got my ticket from Connie but she wasn’t able to get in because it was sold out. The silly thing is that I sat between everybody but was too shy to really speak with anyone. So this was a funny favourite moment… I sponsored the Christmas dinner but didn’t go. This is one that I would like to join in the future or the bbq in the summer.


What advice would you offer to others who are thinking of taking the plunge and moving to Almere?
If you are an international, IA is a great place to meet people, ask your questions and feel a part of a community. There is no need at all to feel alone, everybody is welcome and all the members are super helpful!


What has been your biggest challenge since arriving in Almere?
The weather. But this is Holland in general. I feel that Holland has fall for 9 months a year, and spring, summer and winter for the 3 months that are left. So the grey, rainy everlasting weather knows to get its toll on me from time to time. I need more sun! Also good job opportunities. Although most people know me as a photographer, I actually majored in pedagogy. I used to work for a quality kindergarten and did photography on the side along with a photography study. Loved to combine my 2 passions, photography and childcare. But the overall childcare system has changed a lot over the past year especially in Almere. I am now officially overqualified to work at a kindergarten and probably too expensive due to the economic crisis. So that’s a shame. Also the company that I used to work at has been sold and no longer exists.  I am a firm believer that our government should not cut down and economize on (preschool) education

Zejna motorcross

If you had to leave tomorrow and could take only one thing – anything – from Almere, what would it be?
My mom! Haha. Can’t go without mama! And my camera(s)… oops that’s more than one thing!


What is your favourite Dutch tradition, and how do you celebrate?
I love Queens day. Soon to be kings day. I love the overall celebration, the atmosphere and love love love the free market. Love to walk around and look at and buy old stuff.


Do you still celebrate holidays and traditions from your home country?

I do. We celebrate Bajram. This is also known as Aid well known to Turkish and Arabic people. We visit family and friends and eat a lot of sweets like baklava. Children are supposed to wear new clothes and congratulate adults and then they receive some pocket money.

I like to go to Bosnia on 1st of May. This is the day of labor (arbeid in Dutch). Everyone is free and people go to their weekend houses, barbecue and eat, drink and sing all day. (Not quite the same if you do it here). Food and friendship is something very important in Bosnia, one and another compliment each other.

More in the Getting to Know Us series:

Getting to Know Us:  Caroline Mackie

Getting to Know Us:  Juliette Kuijpers Ter Weijden

Getting to Know Us:  Gerard Danks

Getting to Know Us:  Stephanie Ernst-Milner

Getting to Know Us: Nicole Peetsma-Epker

Getting to Know Us: Carly Bridgeman

Getting to Know Us: Becky Riddle


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Drop us a line by filling out the form below and we will be in touch with all the details:


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Getting to Know Us: Caroline Mackie

Meet Caroline, a Scot who has lived in the Netherlands longer than she has ever lived in Scotland.  You’d think that would diminish the accent, right?  Not a chance.  And as a huge fan of the Scottish accent, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Caroline also has the loveliest Westie named Luna.  I’ve been plotting ways to steal her for quite some time….

Caroline at an IA party
Caroline with the Scottish contingent – Petra and Carol Ann
Where were you born?

I hail from Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland.

Where have you lived?

Well, I grew up and worked in the city centre. Also lived a WHOLE TWO MONTHS in Copenhagen once upon a century. It was a tossup between there and Amsterdam where we’d move to. Amsterdam won, although I have never actually lived there.

Where can we find you online?

Facebook of course… then I do HAVE a twitter account but can’t get my head around the necessity for it so very rarely visit it – @carolinemackLWD. And my own business website – I’m now a busy bee with translating:
LWD Translations and Editing

What brought you to Almere?

After a 13 year rental stint in Weesp where our kids basically grew up, we wanted to buy, and Almere was the only reasonably priced option in the vicinity at the time, 20+ years ago (I’ve been here a while). I had only been to Almere once before, when they opened the train line and gave a free trip! It was just sand, sand and more sand then… nightmare! But we were pleasantly surprised and have been in the same house since moving here.

Almere is an interesting and unique city to live in, describe your favourite part of living here
The real Caroline
Photoshop? No way!

Well, I USED to say… it’s easy to leave and go to Amsterdam hehehe. But I really do think there are so many advantages to living here. Great shops – when you include all the ‘industrial’ estates, you hardly need Amsterdam at all these days. Lots of job ops too (I’m pretty sure!) I KNOW it’s great for kids, lots of green, water and wildlife. Loads of schools to choose from too. I’m not sure anything is missing nowadays. Ok so there are no OLD buildings but it makes up for that with new some pretty cool new ones.

How have you best been made to feel at home since you arrived?

Probably not really a question for me, being here for so long. But I have to say, what IA does is just terrific. I could certainly have used just such a bunch of folks 33+ years ago! We should however encourage (even) more ‘integration’ – especially in the area of Dutch language. Maybe one night a month when everybody HAS to speak Dutch… or something? (well, not ‘HAS to speak…’ but… ‘should be encouraged to learn’). Maybe have everything labelled in Dutch at any meet-ups? Have everyone feel free to offer a suggestion ‘how to say it in Dutch’ blabla… Use our Dutch (speaking) members more and not let them get away with using our meets for them to speak and improve their English!

Where is your favourite place to go out or eat out in the city?

I’m not all that discerning really, although know what I don’t like. The fact that they allowed a Macdonald’s on stadhuisplein is already a huge thorn in my side every time I pass it. I have honestly not often been in a restaurant where I had anything bad to say about the grub. SERVICE on the other hand…

Would you define yourself as an expat, an international, or something entirely different?

I HATE the expression ex-pat and its blatant misuse but that’s me again. So, no, I’m not an ex-pat. And I read only the other day of a survey showing high percentages of PEOPLE LIVING IN NL not considering themselves European which I can’t quite get my head around. I’m a Scot, living abroad. I will never be Dutch (even if do ever get my Dutch passport… don’t start me!) Having lived here in NL longer than I ever have in Scotland, I’m a bit of a puzzle really. But that’s the way of it.

How long do you plan on living here for?

We DID only plan on ‘a couple of years’… ‘until the kids go to school’… ‘until the kids go to secondary’…hehehe. Here for the duration now. We’re only a 1 hour flight away… so lucky compared to those from USA, or AUS…PERU ffs! I leave now? I’m in my daughter’s in Glasgow before bedtime (she grew up here from 6 months old and went to be an au pair for six months… 14 years ago!) Practically speaking, the same if we lived in the same country in different cities and travelled by public transport, which we do as neither of us drives.

Tell us how you found International Almere?

I was out at a ‘promote your business’ type of affair, in Amsterdam, and met a Scottish lady, Deirdre. She pointed it all out to me… who knew?! She also introduced me to Mrs. Matamoros, for which I am forever grateful and am annoyed we all didn’t know each other long ago already (although I was practically in at the start… well near anyway… of IA).

Have you been to any International Almere events?  Which was your favourite?

I turn up at the odd event… and was well impressed with the Christmas do.

What advice would you offer to others who are thinking of taking the plunge and moving to Almere?

Do it! Especially if you have kids. Wish I could convince my elder girl who lives in Amsterdam but that’s not going to happen. I still have hopes for my girl in Glasgow. She grew up in NL and lived in Almere from age 14 and might just come back from Glasgow yet.

What has been your biggest challenge since arriving in Almere?
Caroline with her “long suffering” husband

‘Nother one not really for me but I can imagine myself turning up as a newcomer now…must be daunting! Tip though, persevere with the language, it’s bloody wonderful when you know it. Some fabulous literature too… they don’t tell you that much at school anywhere outside NL (or maybe they do now, things will have changed since I went to school)! Insist on folk speaking Dutch to you and before long, your Dutch will be waaay better than (most folks’) English (which is after all the lingua franca we all use). Watch Sesame Street even if you don’t have kids!! I honestly learned loads on there, after I got over Bert and Ernie sounding ‘wrong’ (I now think the originals sound ‘wrong!!’ but that took a while).

I always wonder how I would have fared if I’d gone to say… Spain, or CHINA, instead of NL. I mean who the heck emigrates to ‘Holland’ from the UK?! Well ok, quite a few folks but… it’s just not a language you hear much… or if I did, I thought it was German! – in fact I was here for about a year before I realised the difference in sound from German to Dutch… embarrassingly bizarre I know, but true.

If you had to leave tomorrow and could take only one thing – anything – from Almere, what would it be?

I honestly don’t know! Assuming, for the exercise we’re not talking ‘husband’ etc. I know I really wouldn’t miss the wispelturig (it’s a word! Look it up!) attitude of the Dutch, but if I was going from here TO Scotland, I could list a bunch of things that’d get my goat about folks there too so… really don’t know.

What is your favourite Dutch tradition, and how do you celebrate?  Do you still celebrate holidays and traditions from your home country?


I am somewhat of a ‘traditionaphobe’ if I’m honest. Although, that’s not entirely true… I just don’t honestly LIKE ‘all things orange’ and the ‘ouwejongens krentebrood’ nonsense. I was thrown into Sinterklaas only a couple of  weeks after coming here, and thought it was great… until I realised there was then no SANTA here (at the time anyway). And now it’s all mixed up and ruined for me really. I get livid when they start it all up mid-October (if we’re lucky and they’re late!). Valentine’s Day, and Hallow’e’en were also non-existent here until not all that long ago and ‘they’ just do it all wrong so it bugs me. I should probably just embrace it all eh? And will perhaps do so… eventually… for my grandchildren’s sake. Maybe not though, don’t quote me. But please Nederlanders, you’re NOT all royalists, you’re just NOT… you just really like an excuse for a piss-up, which is fine by me too  OH and while I’m on a rant a bit… I find it so sad that Wilders is given credence specifically in ALMERE How embarrassing! So much for the ‘traditional’ tolerance of the Dutch.

There was a time when flights were really, really expensive and a fortnight’s holiday in Southern Spain with the four of us was cheaper than one of us going to Scotland for a week. And we all know that when we go ‘home’ we want to take presents, eat out a lot and generally look the big-shot traveller and play happy families, visiting the whole time and not really seeing the place at all. So the choice was simple and there was a period of 10 years when I didn’t go ‘home’ to Edinburgh at all. I finally got there… I was like an addict needing a fix by that time…. And while I did have a great time, I found that when I came BACK to HERE, I was ACTUALLY coming home. So I suppose home is where you hang your hat… lay your head… where your heart is… blablabla. It takes a while, and you can take the girl out of xx but you can’t take xx out of the girl… yeah, all that. We often wonder how we’d be if we’d stayed in Edinburgh. Impossible to tell but we’ve done ok, have to say, despite quite a few setbacks – could have been better, could have been worse too. It has to be worked at a little, you have to let go a little and you have to also dig in a little and make yourself at home, wherever you are on this planet. Here endeth the gospel according to Caroline.

More in the Getting to Know Us series:

Getting to Know Us:  Juliette Kuijpers Ter Weijden

Getting to Know Us:  Gerard Danks

Getting to Know Us:  Stephanie Ernst-Milner

Getting to Know Us:  Nicole Peetsma-Epker

Getting to Know Us:  Carly Bridgeman

Getting to Know Us:  Becky Riddle


[box style=”rounded”]Would you like to take part in the Getting to Know Us series? We would love to hear from you!

Drop us a line by filling out the form below and we will be in touch with all the details:


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Getting to Know Us: Gerard Danks

Meet Gerard, the first bloke in our Getting to Know Us series.  Born in arguably the most beautiful of all English counties, Gez (as we lovingly like to call him) like many of us here at International Almere moved to Almere for love. Together with his lovely girlfriend and fellow team mates in the Upsidedowners, Gez is famous for reigning supreme at the hugely popular International Almere Friday Night Quiz.

More about Gez:

Where were you born?
A hospital in Truro, Cornwall, UK.


Where have you lived?
All over the UK, nearly! Mevagissey, St Austell, Exeter, Swansea, York, Warrington, Bristol, Blackwood, Maes-Y-Cwmmer, Oostzaan and now Almere!

Where can we find you online?
Realistically, only Facebook. I have a Twitter account (@cmdrstarion) which I might look at once a week.


What brought you to Almere?
Prior to Almere, Irma (my girlfriend) and myself were in a rented flat in Oostzaan. I’d been living over here for nearly two years at the time and we needed a bigger place to live. We ended up looking in Almere for houses, as they were reasonably priced for the size, it’s relatively central for visiting Irma’s family, and we’re handily not far from a train station with a direct link to Schiphol.


Almere is an interesting and unique city to live in, describe your favourite part of living here.
I like how, as a new city, there’s been a lot of thought put into the infrastructure. For example, the bus lanes and cycle paths being separate from the normal roads, plenty of green places (even the rooftop lawns in the middle of town!), and ease of connection to the rest of the country. Though a direct road to Harderwijk wouldn’t go amiss, instead of having to drive up to Lelystad first!


How have you best been made to feel at home since you arrived?
I wouldn’t say I’ve been ‘made’ to feel at home, rather, I just feel at home here. The pace of life and the city is very similar to what I grew up with in Exeter. I couldn’t see myself living in Amsterdam (certainly not downtown Amsterdam!) – too hectic and full of klote toeristen and their bloody trolley cases!


Where is your favourite place to go out or eat out in the city?
Can’t go wrong with Rhodos, in my opinion. It’s the Greek just opposite Almere Centrum station. The first time I came over to The Netherlands to visit Irma, we tried to go to a tex-mex place in Zaandam, but it was fully booked. As a back-up, we managed to get into a Greek, about 10 minutes walk from where she lived. I’d never had Greek food before, and wasn’t even sure what it entailed. But Irma assured me I’d like it, as it was mainly grilled meats. I found out that night that I liked Greek food, and ever since I’ve always had to go “one more time, just to make sure”. Rhodos is nice and handy too. Being right by the rail station, it’s only a few stops from us so we can both have a drink and not worry about who’s driving home.


Would you define yourself as an expat, an international, or something entirely different?
I’d most likely say expat. Though ‘european’ comes to mind as well. I wouldn’t go so far as international though, having never been outside of Europe.


How long do you plan on living here for?
For good! Or possibly till Irma kicks me out. (Love you really!)


Tell us how you found International Almere?
Kind of through the quiz nights. Irma had seen the IA website, and about the quizzes from there. We’d initially read that there was an email sign-up for the quiz, then Irma saw via Twitter that it was “just turn up”. So, last April, we did. And you’ve not been able to get rid of us since!


Have you been to any International Almere events?  Which was your favourite?
I think I’ve been to every quiz night since April, even being score-master once and quiz-master once! I’ve also been to a few Friday Night Drinks, and the Christmas Meal just gone.


What advice would you offer to others who are thinking of taking the plunge and moving to Almere?
Just do it and take the plunge!


What has been your biggest challenge since arriving in Almere?
That’d have to be finding work. I’ve not got any decent qualifications to speak of, and being nearly 38 most shops would rather some spotty college kid that only gets paid half of what it’d cost to hire me. I did work for 18 months in the Staples warehouse as an order picker, but the work dropped off, and there was no budget to keep any of the temp staff that started at the same time as me. After the required 6 month break, it hadn’t picked up enough to warrant taking me back on, either.


If you had to leave tomorrow and could take only one thing – anything – from Almere, what would it be?
Ooohh, toughie. Um, IA? Can I take IA with me?


What is your favourite Dutch tradition, and how do you celebrate?  Do you still celebrate holidays and traditions from your home country?
Hmm. I’d say birthdays. Yes, the (in)famous “Dutch Circle Party” (don’t use that when speaking to Dutch people though – they won’t have a clue what you’re talking about!). I had the same birthday as my maternal grandmother, and it was generally during or near a school holiday. So either my parents and I would be staying up there, or they’d come to our house. Dutch birthdays are pretty much the same (though less cake + candles), so I actually enjoy them!

What do you miss from your homeland?
Waterfalls. Sounds a little silly, but I kinda like them. And The Netherlands is somewhat lacking in the vertical landscape necessary for them. Mother’s cooking is another, but I guess I’d miss that even if I was back in the UK in a place of my own. What I have found though, is I think I’d miss more from here if I ever needed to move back to the UK (or elsewhere). Little things, like bittergarnituur. Go to a pub in the UK, and you can generally get snacks like crisps and nuts, or a full blown meal. But sometimes you’re out, and you want something to eat that’s somewhere between those two extremes, and bittergarnituur fits that bill! Bitterballen, vlaametjes, leverworst, all those small nibbles that you can get. The Netherlands scores big points in my book for those!


More in the Getting to Know Us series:

Getting to Know Us: Stephanie Ernst-Milner

Getting to Know Us: Nicole Peetsma-Epker

Getting to Know Us: Carly Bridgeman

Getting to Know Us: Becky Riddle


[box style=”rounded”]Would you like to take part in the Getting to Know Us series? We would love to hear from you!

Drop us a line by filling out the form below and we will be in touch with all the details:


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Getting to Know Us: Stephanie Ernst-Milner

As a ginger leftie*, Stephanie was lucky to make it through childhood, let alone across the globe to Almere – thank goodness you’re not a generation older hey Steph..?

Where were you born?
In a town called Gladstone, in Central Queensland, Australia. Please don’t hold it against me, I escaped.


Where have you lived?
Around Queensland mostly, growing up in Gladstone, followed by a long stint in Brisbane. I also lived on Moreton Island for a while for work.


Where can we find you online?, Facebook … and most of those fail websites. You know, the ones where people type things into their phones and autocorrect kicks in …


What brought you to Almere?
A plane. Boeing 737 owned by Cathay Pacific, followed by a trip on the wonderful NS rail network. I’m kidding! I followed my husband here. The restraining order still hasn’t been approved …


Almere is an interesting and unique city to live in, describe your favourite part of living here.
Amazingly enough, it isn’t the bitterbollen and stroopwafels! I love the architecture here – and I love going up to La Place and seeing the rooftop gardens. We are so lucky to live in a city that is so accessible and pretty!

How have you best been made to feel at home since you arrived?
It really wasn’t until we got our own home here that I’ve felt truly at home. It was hard adjusting to living in the middle of a city when I come from a small town and even when I lived in the big smoke, I was in a semi rural area. So my greeting to Holland was Koniginnedag, followed by Liberation Day, followed by Euro Cup … you can kind of see I didn’t sleep much for a few months. However, I have made some wonderful friends here who have helped me out so much, so I am grateful to International Almere for being here for someone like me. It’s a big step to quit your job, leave your family and come to a country where you don’t know the language, and be welcomed by a group of amazing people who are experiencing or have experienced the same things as you and offer their support and friendship.


Where is your favourite place to go out or eat out in the city?
People are going to judge me when I say Kwalitaria – but really, for quick, cheap meals they can’t be beaten. Especially on those nights where you really can’t be bothered to cook. Lido holds a very special place in my heart – it’s where we had our second marriage celebration, and the food is just spectacular. You also can’t beat the Sushi Grill places … seriously – challenge yourselves and see how many rounds/dishes you can do. Between 2 our personal best is 4 rounds, 29 dishes …
And let’s not forget Yamas! That little Greek waiter who speaks a crazy combination of Dutch/French/English/Greek is just too cute for words, and the food? AMAZING!


Would you define yourself as an expat, an international, or something entirely different?
I really define myself as me. I guess that sounds a wee bit trite and pretentious, but I don’t believe we all fit into boxes. I think anyone who has made the decision to move to another country really has a challenge on their hands. So we adapt and change small things about ourselves and our upbringing to accomodate the differences in our lives. Some people embrace change, some don’t. Wow … I think I went on a tangent there….


How long do you plan on living here for?
Indefinitely. The mortgage monster has bitten hard, so we’re here for a while. Does that frighten anyone? *insert evil laugh here*


Tell us how you found International Almere?
As a hardcore Googler, one day I was intrigued by the city described as “The Ipswich of Amsterdam” by my husband. We had confirmation his job was here, so I started a heavy session of Google. When I typed in “Expat Group Almere” a link came up for International Almere’s Facebook page. It was here that I learned that it wasn’t like Ipswich, Queensland at all. Noone wore flannel shirts and ripped jeans, noone drove hotted up Toranas and Falcons, and certainly noone had 2 heads. Instead I found a beautiful city full of people like myself!


Have you been to any International Almere events?  Which was your favourite?
Many! I loved the Aussie Style BBQ, the picnic, and just recently started going to the Quiz nights. Go Team Gingernuts!


What advice would you offer to others who are thinking of taking the plunge and moving to Almere?
Go for it. Embrace this city because it is a fantastic place to live (after all, we now have Primark!), it’s readily accessible to most places within NL and even across the borders, and with a support group like IA in the mix, you will seriously fall in love with this city.


What has been your biggest challenge since arriving in Almere?
Getting over my morbid fear of anything orange, stamppot, paardenworst, wooden shoes and open front curtains.. Seriously, I really couldn’t get over people walking past my house and looking into my kitchen for around 3 months. Then I started leaving the window open to torture then with the smells … and then I just started waving back and giving a cheerful “Goedenavond!”


If you had to leave tomorrow and could take only one thing – anything – from Almere, what would it be?
Hmm. Tough question. My bike probably. I’ve fallen in love with it.


What is your favourite Dutch tradition, and how do you celebrate?  Do you still celebrate holidays and traditions from your home country?
I had my first Sinterklaas here last year, and it was a load of fun. I still have my poem stuck on my fridge! I’m sure I will enjoy Koninginneday much more this year as I’m not right in the middle of it, or trying to sleep through it, although I may be traumatised by the orange overload …. I’m also looking forward to Sint Maarten’s as well – it must be cuteness overload! Other than that, pass me the bitterbollen and the beer, and Proost!


More in the Getting to Know Us series:

Getting to Know Us: Nicole Peetsma-Epker

Getting to Know Us: Carly Bridgeman

Getting to Know Us: Becky Riddle

[box style=”rounded”]Would you like to take part in the Getting to Know Us series? We would love to hear from you!

Drop us a line by filling out the form below and we will be in touch with all the details:


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*the ginger comment is meant entirely in fun, I apologise to anybody who does not see my intended humour – Stephanie jokes about this herself…

International School Almere, through the eyes of its students

A crucial element of the Middle Years Program curriculum at International School Almere is Community and Service.  Each student in the program undertakes a community oriented project which is aimed at providing a service to their community, to help the student to develop an understanding of their place in the world and how they can contribute to help make the world a better place.

We would like to introduce Aimee and Naomi, two MYP3 (or grade 8) students from ISAlmere who as part of their community and service project are writing a short series of informative articles for You, the International Almere community.

The first in the series is an article the two students have written together describing the school itself:

[box border=”full”]The International School Almere is a really friendly school. You will notice there are people from grade 7-12 who are friends with each other. In each grade everyone is really close to one another; it’s good to know there is always someone there for you.

At this school we have parties and we recently had a Christmas ball, one of the students was the DJ and a few other students were in charge of the lights. The student council and grade 10 decorated the halls and the drama room and helped set everything up.

There are school trips as well. The 7th graders go on an introduction camp to get to know each other more. Last year they went to Belgium and this year they went somewhere near Amsterdam. On the school trip last year, grade 7-9 went to Manchester, England and grade 10-DP 2 went to Rome.

Each year has a mentor. The mentors are there to help students and guide them through their education. Every week there is a mentor class where the students meet up with their mentor and talk about their issues.

Morning assembly is on Thursday. The students should be at school at 8:30 to attend morning assembly. During morning assembly we talk about issues involving the school, community and service, upcoming school activities and other things that the teachers have to notify us about.

At International School Almere, they require the students to do community and service and finish it by the end of the year. Community and service is about helping others in the community and not getting paid for your work. There are different amount of hours and requirements for each grade. [/box]


If you would like to know more about ISAlmere, please check out their website here.

Coming soon, Aimee and Naomi will tell us what it’s like to be an international teenager in Flevoland, which we can’t wait to share with you..

The Expat Company

Local Business, Global Focus: The Expat Company

Welcome to the first in a new series of posts focusing on businesses in our local community; Local Business, Global Focus.  Here we will feature local businesses that are in the Almere area that are geared towards servicing the international community and most importantly, you.

Meet Georgina, from The Expat Company.

Tell us about The Expat Company

International Recruitment

The Expat Company started its services in 1995 and has offices in Almere (back office), Leiden, Breda and Heerenveen. We thrive to source relevant candidates that match and meet your requirements within todays changing jobmarket climates. The personal profile of an applicant is their most important asset. Companies want good communication skills, entrepreneurship, creativity, confidence. Our candidates are pre-screened and interviewed before producing a shortlist that best meets your needs.
How can we find you?
Our team has specialized consultants with extensive recruitment experience and knowledge of the targeted branches or markets. We can asses on the availability and advice on the the suitability of specialist candidates for your positions.

You can visit our office by making an appointment by calling 036-5302000 or emailing

Our website is and you can join our linkedIn group Expat Company – international vacancies in The Netherlands and find us on Twitter here.

What made you decide to work with expats?

We are not only working with Expats, but also with the locals. Mostly of the time we are working with people who have an international background and/or speaks several languages. Our name has its origins from the word “expatriate” because The Expat Company works to a large extent for European or EMEA head offices of large international companies.

When somebody first arrives in Almere and the Netherlands, how can you help that person, or family, hit the ground running?

We offer several services like our recruitment and spouse career program (coaching program to guide the spouse to find a suitable job in the most efficient way). Our business partner (t&a Relocation) offers immigration and relocation services.

What makes you the company to go to in your field for expats living in Almere, in comparison to a Dutch equivalent?

We have the expertise regarding the Expats. We have gained many years of experience and built up knowledge through the years. We understand the Expats as our consultants have lived and worked abroad themselves as well.

What is the number one question your customers ask you?

“Do you have vacancies for non-Dutch speakers?”

Share a titbit about The Expat Company that we won’t find on your website or in social media.

All the consultants are from abroad or have worked and lived abroad themselves.

What’s coming up in your agenda that’s interesting for Almere expats?

We are offering a custom made program for our expats (partial on individual basis and partial on group basis). This program is called the LABOR MARKET SUPPORT PROGRAM in the Netherlands. If we have enough candidates to complete the group the program will take place at the end of January or in February 2013.


[box style=”rounded”]Would you like to take part in the Local Business, Global Focus series? We would love to hear from you!

Drop us a line by filling out the form below and we will be in touch with all the details:


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2012 International Almere Holiday Dinner Sponsor Roundup

We want to share a final round of thanks to all our wonderful sponsors who have helped to make the 2012 International Almere Holiday a reality.  We truthfully could not have put this event together without the generosity of so many companies and people.  By having dug deep and put your hands into your own pockets you have been able to help keep the cost of the event affordable for us all.

Click through the gallery of sponsors below and you can find all the related links at the bottom of this page.

Thank you so much!


The Expat Company


Suitcase Talen

PVM Notarissen

Rosa’s Fashion

Apollo Hotel Almere City Centre

Expat Mortgages

Erly Thornton Saxophonist

Soap Treatment Store

Basket Bee

Stack Exchange


All Seasons Kapsalon

 LWD Translations and Editing

Spaans Les Mestral


Lott’s Diamonds

Prolingua Discover Dutch

Carrie-Lynn Salikin Visual Artist

ABCDE Almere Baby Club 


See Yourself Photography

Young Almere


Getting to Know Us: Becky Riddle

Becky in Almere Buiten, July 2012

Welcome to our new Getting to Know Us series where we meet our members and learn a bit more about one another.

Kicking it off is International Almere’s first ever Life Member, Becky Riddle.

Becky first moved to Almere from England six years ago when an opportunity arose  with her husband’s work.  Since she arrived she has been involved with – and a huge influence on – the local expat community here in Almere.  So much so that when the opportunity arose to honour the extraordinary contribution of a member of our little community, Becky was the obvious choice.  Becky has been instrumental in shaping International Almere into what it has become today and has also taken the ABCDE Playgroup from strength to strength.

Becky has since taken a step back from her responsibilities to the international community here and is now busy focusing on new, more personal projects, of which we cannot wait to hear more about.


Now, more about Becky…


Where were you born?

Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. (year: undisclosed!)

Where have you lived?

Various places in the UK and Holland

Where can we find you online?

Sophie Snail Adventures (a blog of children’s stories – my new hobby so not much there at the moment!) Check it out here: Sophie Snail Adventures

What brought you to Almere?

I followed my husband

Almere is an interesting and unique city to live in, describe your favourite part of living here.

All of it! The people, the architecture, the ease of access to so many diverse things to do and see. It is a rich city in lots ways.

Becky and her husband Neil
How have you best been made to feel at home since you arrived?

Through the people I have met.

Where is your favourite place to go out or eat out in the city?

Oooh, lots…which shall I pick? With my family I love to go to the Kemphaan – get back in touch with nature, have a snack and you can enjoy a different experience every time you go. With my husband I like to go out to eat, socialise with friends and going to the cinema. I like ‘de Brasserij de Bergerrie’ for food.

Would you define yourself as an expat, an international, or something entirely different?

I would define myself as me, where-ever I may be.

How long do you plan on living here for?

The foreseeable future. We have no plans to move.

Tell us how you found International Almere?

I have been aware of International Almere since they were a little acorn.

What advice would you offer to others who are thinking of taking the plunge and moving to Almere?

Get in touch with International Almere and start meeting people! Other people are the key to settling in here…someone somewhere will have an answer to most of the questions and challenges you face and it’s always good to have people to share your experiences with. Makes the move much easier than it could otherwise be.

What has been your biggest challenge since arriving in Almere?

Mmmmm, being a parent and having to re-educate myself in the way the various systems/people here work compared to what I have been used to (and in turn educating the Dutch in my ways!).

If you had to leave tomorrow and could take only one thing – anything – from Almere, what would it be?

My family.

What is your favourite Dutch tradition, and how do you celebrate? Do you still celebrate holidays and traditions from your home country?

I love Sint Maarten. I love to help the children be creative making lanterns, watch them sing around the neighbourhood, then their excitement when they get a treat  (I also rather enjoy several traditional Dutch treats myself such as oliebollen and stroopwafel – lekker!) We still celebrate Easter and Christmas and if I can find the right cut of meat I’m fond of a traditional English Roast Dinner followed by Apple Crumble!

Becky’s daughters celebrating Sint Maarten

[box style=”rounded”]Would you like to take part in the Getting to Know Us series? We would love to hear from you!

Drop us a line by filling out the form below and we will be in touch with all the details:


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Great Snakes! – Tintin takes the top honour

Andrzej, decked out as Tintin took out best costume (men) prize at Saturday night’s International Almere Halloween Party.

Carina ran away with the ladies’ prize as a Ghostly Grand Dame, with Hanna singing for seconds as (a dead) Amy Winehouse.

Robin was threatening as Darth Maul and Marcella was the winner of the Horror film tag line quiz.


For all the photos that captured the moments, click on Darth Maul below to go to the gallery.


Robin does Darth Maul

A great time was had by all, thanks so much for coming out and the huge amount of effort that was put into everyone’s costumes.

Until next year….

Updated: Holiday Dinner

Updated 29 November 2012:


Due to the enormous response, the 2012 International Almere Holiday Dinner has sold out completely!


We are starting a waiting list in case of any cancellations, so if you would like to be added to the list email as soon as you can with your name and how many people you wish to add to the list.


If a space comes available for you, Connie or Sarah will be in contact personally.


Good luck!


Holiday Dinner time is drawing near and we hope that you are as excited as we are!

The Holiday Dinner has become the most loved annual event on the International Almere calendar, a great family favourite and this year is already shaping up to be just as much fun as always.

Make sure you keep an eye on this post as we will keep adding information as it comes, ok?  For now, here are the basics:

Date: Saturday 15th December 2012

Time: from 4pm (16.00)

Location: TMG Party Centrum Almere Buiten  (Map)

Price: €7.00 per adult and €5.00 per child (12 and under.  Babies under 2 are free)

RSVP and pay by: Friday 30th November

As we have done in previous years, we ask that each family brings a favourite dish from their home country (Carolyn’s famous Mac and cheese anyone?) and we will start asking soon what everybody would like to bring so we can track dishes and make sure we don’t have an overload of one type of food and a gaping hole where the yummy sweets should be, for example.

We will also have some great activities for the kids, including a visit from Santa and gifts for the small ones (under 10)!

We also have great big plans for a fabulous musical act and prizes throughout the night.  There will also be a cash (only) bar with very reasonable prices.  You don’t have to worry about paying Leidsplein rates for your beer!

Please don’t forget to RSVP to the Facebook event page, or you can email  For this event we do need to have payment in advance and are not able to accept payment at the door, so here’s how you can pay:  via bank transfer to Ver. International Almere (VIA) at 5570680 or IBAN- NL89 INGB 5706 80 and BIC- INGBNL2A


We also want to take a moment to thank our awesome team of volunteers in advance who will be working tirelessly over the next couple of months to ensure you have a wonderful time!

Upcoming Event: HALLOWEEN

In 2010 International Almere hosted its first ever Halloween event.  It was a huge success, so much so that in 2011 the party had to move to a bigger venue!  Now Halloween is almost upon us again it’s time to get creative and pull on our costumes, carve pumpkins and scare the daylights out of one another.

Saturday 3rd of November, International Almere is hosting the annual Halloween party at the Apollo Hotel in the Almere city centre from 8pm.

There will be prizes for best costumes and the competition will be tough as some people have been working on them for months already!

Send us your favourite Halloween tracks and we’ll dance the night away; keep­ing the ghosts and goblins at bay!

Tickets are €8 per person and RSVP by 28th of October.

Please pre-pay (we won’t be selling tickets at the door for this event) by transferring money to: Ver Inter­na­tional Almere Acc No: 5570680.

 For more details, check out the Facebook event page.




















Grocery Shopping – Dutch Style

It’s actually a blessing in this country that there is some sort of competition between supermarkets without domination by two major players. I have to say that groceries here are much cheaper comparatively to Australian prices, although fruit and vegetable variety is a little more limited, with a much heavier inclination toward the seasonal, rather than all year availability.

Anyway, I thought I would share my views on supermarket shopping here in my experience.  Please note these are my views, and do not reflect the views of many sane people out there who probably enjoy the whole grocery shopping experience.

When you walk into your local supermarket – whomever out of the many choices we have here, you are greeted by the standard and usual things you’d expect to see – the trolley stand (usually full, you must get that 50 cent investment back should you need use one!) and the always empty basket stand, the tobacco/post office/flower desk that also masquerades as “customer service”, and the usual promotional material advertising the latest “bonus” buys, special “korting” and of course, the freebie with each 10/15 euros spent – more to come on that one.

If you value your sanity, you avoid Wednesday afternoons (early school finish) and Saturday afternoons (OMG! It’s Saturday afternoon! We must SHOP!) as these seem to be the busiest times. The checkout queues are ridiculous, the shelves are empty and it seems that every unclaimed child in the city is lurking, waiting to jump out unexpectedly in front of your trolley and force you to make manoeuvres only seen in Formula 1 racing.

Product layouts are a little confusing but I am getting used to it. If it means you find your eggs in the coffee section, so be it. After 6 months of living here, I’m now able to find most things with ease, but some still defy logic.  Seriously, who puts sugar next to coffee?? It belongs with baking stuff! And don’t start me on the miles and miles of cheese.  As a registered cheese-o-phile, I have taken it upon myself to sample each and every variety available – much to the dismay of my arteries and my posterior.

So once you consult your list at least 6 times, ensure you’ve walked every aisle in desperate search of the basic items you need – locating these in unusual places, and filled your basket, you are now ready to take on the checkout, young Padawan.

At all supermarkets here, you bring your own bags. You unload onto the conveyor belt, careful to spread your groceries over as much of the belt as possible so the person behind can’t unload just yet. If you can successfully place the divider at the very end of the belt, you have done your job well. The scanner will greet you with something that resembles ‘Hallo!” then proceed to process your goods at high speed and send them flying down the chute at the end where you can play a bizarre form of catch and stuff into your bag. (Best done with 2 players – one to catch, one to pay). You then are asked if you want a receipt – hand over your cash, and then juggle the change whilst you’re trying to place the last few items (usually stuck at a really odd angle or just out of reach) before the next person’s stuff comes flying down at alarming speeds.

Of course, you could have the joys of the “PINKASSA” lane – where either you are told several times that this is PIN only in tones that are not exactly dulcet, or you get stuck behind the little old lady who has unloaded her entire trolley onto the conveyerbelt, had everything processed and then tries to pay in cash.

After your purchase, you are then usually asked if you are collecting “zegels” (Nee) and if you are collecting the – FREEBIE OF THE MONTH!!

Dierenkaartjes. The latest supermarket craze.

Why did this get capitalisation and exclamation marks, I hear you ask.  Never, in my life, have I seen anything quite like this sensation.  Most supermarkets, except those designated as budget ones, have some sort of regular promotion that if you spend a certain amount, you will receive a small freebie.  Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen animal cards, football stickers, mini groceries … and that’s just a few.  Seeing the animal cards “dierenkaartjes” are the current promotional product, I’ll focus on those as the sample, however, it’s much the same as all the rest.

To earn your dierenkaartjes, you must spend 10 euros.  For each 10 euros you spend you receive 4 cards.  Of course, there are special promotions that get you extra cards, and the obligatory album that you can purchase to hold your well earned prizes.

Here comes the scary part.  People are crazy for these cards.  I’m not just talking kids, I’m talking grown adults.  As I write, I’m looking at my desk and seeing specially designated piles of cards I’m holding onto for various people. But that’s not the only thing. Adults hold swap meets to collect the cards they haven’t gotten. Kids stand outside the supermarket asking people for their dierenkaartjes as they leave.  I’ve seen checkout operators cop mouthfuls of abuse for forgetting to ask if their customer is collecting dierenkaartjes. There is a national obsession over whichever collectable is in store, and most people will not rest until they are the proud owners of a complete collection.

There must be some level of prestige associated with a complete collection, judging by the snatchy-grabby behaviour of the locals when it comes to the freebie of the month.  I am yet to see someone decline cards at the checkout, because I’m sure that if that happens, a hush would fall over the entire store, perhaps some tomatoes hurled, maybe even a neon sign from the roof questioning the person’s intelligence, or maybe even those sirens we hear on the first Monday of the month fired up, warning us that someone just said no to dierenkaartjes, and now, the world really will end …


What are your thoughts on shopping in the Netherlands?  Are you a sucker for a good freebie?


Thanks to Stephanie for writing this piece especially for International Almere.  
You can (and should) visit Stephanie’s own musings on life in Almere at An Aussie in Almere.

Upcoming Event: National Mom’s Night Out

Back in July Nomad Parents staged their first ever National Mom’s Night out at about half a dozen locations around the country.  Here in Almere fourteen mums came together and had a fantastic evening out, so when Nomad Parents approached us about hosting another one, we jumped at the chance.

Here’s what the girls at Nomad Parents have to say:

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“Motherhood is an around the clock job with little opportunities for a break. When you are an expat mom, finding a way to get a little “me time” can be that much harder because you may not have a good social network to support you. Going out on your own seems overwhelming, going out with your partner seems impossible (where do I find a sitter I can trust?) and meeting up with friends requires that one of you organize an event. So what is a mom to do to get a break?

“On Thursday, October 25th we are offering up a solution: Come out and join us for the National Mom’s Night Out. We have organized the time, date and location so all you have to do is show up. If you have some friends, bring them along! If you don’t know anyone, come and meet someone new! There are events happening all over the Netherlands so that you can find one close to you. We’ll keep things fun with great conversation and giveaways.”


Come along and join us at the Apollo Hotel Almere from 8pm on Thursday 25th October. You can also RSVP to the event here.

Continue reading Upcoming Event: National Mom’s Night Out

2012 Annual General Meeting Agenda Friday 02 November

Below you will find the agenda for the International Almere Annual General Meeting (AGM).  Here are a few notes on the voting process with regards to the motions that will be passed (or not).  Everybody is welcome to join and participate in the AGM, however to vote it will be necessary to register and become an official International Almere member.

How does the membership work?  As we have created our statutes in 2012 we are as yet to have an official membership list.  It has been determined in the statutes that to become an officially listed member, we will request a membership fee.  However, the long term fee is to be agreed upon at the 2012 AGM and the by-laws will be amended to reflect the decision (as we have built the possibility for change into the by-laws).

As the by-laws are yet to be approved, we as a board have agreed to request a small membership fee of €2.00 from those who wish to vote and become listed members.  This fee would then be deducted from the agreed membership fee for 2013, effectively making it free to vote at the 2012 AGM.

We will have a hard copy of the statutes and the by-laws for you to read at the meeting, however they are also  linked to the Facebook event page and can be found here:  Statutes, By-laws.

Please note that the AGM will kick off at 19.00 sharp at Apollo Hotel (apologies, I listed the incorrect time in the October newsletter).  However, if you wish to vote, please make the effort to arrive early to complete the registration form.

If you have questions regarding the AGM or the voting process, please send an email to


1.  Welcome Location:  Apollo Hotel, AlmereDate and time:  Friday 2nd November 2012, 19.00 (7pm)Explanation of the voting procedure
2.  Chairwoman’s report An overview of the previous twelve months, including by-laws, achievements and lessons learned.
3.  Treasurer’s report An overview of the financial report (available to view in its entirety on request) including income and expenditure in the previous twelve months.
4.  Goals for the coming year Outlining fundraising goals, planned events and suggestions for new additions to the event calendar, expansion of the board (including nominations), membership package, potential charity aims, working towards a five-year plan, and finding a semi-permanent home for International Almere.
5.  Motions Election of new board members, agreeing a membership package, acceptance of by-laws and other motions raised during the previous discussion.
6  Any other business Any relevant issues as yet to be covered in the discussion.
7.  Close Invitation to join in the bar for a drink as it is the First Friday of the month.

Afrikadag Almere is back!

And this year International Almere is getting into the thick of it and running an Africa Quiz.

On the back of our hugely popular Friday Night Quiz (every second Friday of the month a the Apollo Hotel) we have been asked to run two quiz sessions throughout the day and we have been very busy coming up with fun, interesting and hard questions.

The quiz will cost €1 per person to enter and there will be a beautiful Oware game up for grabs for the winner of each session.  We will be asking the questions in both Dutch and English.  Quiz 1 will be held at 14.30 and quiz 2 at 16.30, both at the Podiumtent Centrale Tuin.  There is a 25 participant limit on this one for each session, so make sure you’re on time!

Afrikadag is a hugely popular event, founded in 1999.   The goal of Afrikadag-Almere is to bring people together with the art and culture of the African continent. To offer a more enriching image of Africa through theater, dance, music and literature.  

In 2012 the programme is no exception.  There will be fashion, Senegalese dance and percussion, jewellery making and henna painting workshops, African Batik workshops, and an interactive performance by master drummer Henri Goabi plus much, much more!

Check out the website (click the poster below) and be sure to come along to de Kemphaan on Sunday 16 September and enjoy an entertaining and educational day out.




Yoga, the Art of Breathing and Food

(image from Evado’s website)

Our wonderful Holiday Dinner sponsors Sandra and Eva from Evado Yoga Fit Wellness have added a slew of English speaking activities to their autumn calendar that we know you do not want to miss out on, from a combined yoga and food workshop, to meditation, to the art of breathing.

Check out the upcoming events here:

21 September – Balancing Soul Food

28 September – How to connect your breathing in your yoga practice

29 September – Interactive one-to-one breathing

29 September – How to bring mindfulness in action in our modern lives

30 September – Yoga Wonderfull

30 September – Teaching balanced vinyasa and hatha yoga suited to the individual

If you don’t know much about Evado yet, check out their Website, their Facebook page, or find them on Twitter.  Keep an eye out for more English language classes in the near future.




National Mom’s Night Out

The amazing moms who joined the first ever National Mom’s Night Out in Almere

Remember last week we mentioned the National Mom’s Night Out?  Well on Thursday 26 July, fifteen lovely ladies slapped on the heels and lipstick and kicked off the first ever nationwide event in style.

We gathered at International Almere’s favourite stomping ground – Apollo Hotel in Almere and sipped our mojitos, chardonnays, beer and espresso while pouring over the contents of our goodie bags and sharing kiddie war stories.

We all had a wonderful time and thanks to the wonderful Lynn Morrison of Nomad Parents for organising.  I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I cannot wait for then next one.

Keep an eye out for upcoming Nomad Parents events, hopefully the next one will be some time in October.

Don’t forget to head over to Facebook and Like Nomad Parents, or follow on Twitter here.

National Mom’s Night Out – Thursday 26 July


Motherhood is an around the clock job with little opportunities for a break. When you are an expat mom, finding a way to get a little “me time” can be that much harder because you may not have a good social network to support you. Going out on your own seems overwhelming, going out with your partner seems impossible (where do I find a babysitter I can trust?) and meeting up with friends requires that one of you organize an event. So what is a mum to do to get a break?

On Thursday, July 26th we are offering up a solution: International Almere, together with ABCDE Playgroup and Nomad Parents invites you to come out and join us for the National Mom’s Night Out at the Apollo Hotel in Almere. We have organized the time, date and location so all you have to do is show up. If you have some friends, bring them along! If you don’t know anyone, come and meet someone new!  This is a national initiative, with events happening all over the Netherlands at the same time.  We’ll keep things fun with great conversation, giveaways and goody bags.

You can find all of the details at: and of course join the Almere Facebook event.


See you from 8pm, Thursday 26 July at Apollo (Koetsierbaan 2, 1315 SE Almere)!

August Fundraising Update





We’re still hard at work with the  International Almere Holiday Dinner 2012 fund raising. We are already at about 50% and will continue to do our best to raise the complete amount needed, so stay tuned for more.

I cannot stress enough, that we need your help in this. If you have a personal relationship with a business or shop, please take the time to ask them for help when you are there next. Everybody has 20 EUR to spare, especially for good customers. You can also leave behind the flyer: Sponsorship Flyer Xmas

Our new sponsors since the last update are:

  • Apollo Hotel City Center –
  • Evado – Yoga, Fit, Wellness –

And let’s not forget our dear sponsors from the last update:

  • The Expat Company –
  • Carly’s Young Almere
    Need I say anything more? The club for young expats in Almere! Stay in touch on Facebook
  • Caroline’s LWD Translations & Editing
    For all your Dutch-English-Dutch translation needs
  • The Steiner-Meunier Family
    As our first private sponsors, thank you very much indeed!
  • Martha Mghendi
    With a very generous private donation, make sure to give her a big hug next time around.
  • Expat Mortgages – If you have read my post about buying a place in the Netherlands, you will already know that you can trust these guys to get you a fair mortgage deal – no matter where you are from.

You can find all these companies on our International Almere 2012 Holiday Dinner Sponsor Board.

We need lots more sponsors, so if you know a company that would be interested, please point them to the sponsorship information or let us know via

Together we can make this work,

The International Almere Team


Libelle Zomer Week May 2012



Libelle Zomer Week: China Town May 2012 by Carrie Lynn Salikin (aka Elfie Von Elf)

On May 13th, 2012 I had the priviledge of heading out to the Libelle Zomer week with a few friends – several of them being from our lovely International Almere group. This was my first Libelle Zomer week and I was really looking forward to it. I had heard from various sources that this was quite the event. In all honesty I wasn’t let down and had one heck of an amazing time.

Where to start? I was expecting wall to wall people with little to no ability to get to the stands, but to my surprise even with the large groups of people, everyone just sort of went with the flow and gave a great deal of respect to one another. Was it because we all had the same motivation? Was it because it was the last day of the event? Regardless of the reasons – checking out the vast selection of stands was not exhausting or impossible. Truly this was a pleasant experience.

Be warned – bring your wallets. Even if you have no intention of spending money – oh how you will. There is something there for everyone and truly some amazing deals were found. Several stands sold quality surprise bags. There were stores I knew quite well and a lot of new products and stores were brought to my attention.

Transportation to the event was also quite well organized; from trains to busses to more than adequate parking, at what we considered a reasonable fee of 6.50 euros per day.

The event itself was tidy; no overflowing garbage cans or trash on the ground. Bathroom facilities were more than plenty and also very clean for an outdoor event. My only minor complaint: the food selection was quite limited. I had come with an expectation of trying various asian cuisine due to the signs posted everywhere “China Town”. However this was not the case. In the beginning we passed one loempia stand and a soup stand and for the rest of the time we came upon several La Place restaurants serving plenty of sandwiches. But for the cost of a sandwich I can recommend: pack your own.

Thankfully later on in section 3 we found ourselves plenty of sample food stands (the only time in the event things got a little chaotic, perhaps we were all crazed with hunger by this point). But once we had our fill of various food samples from rice, to chicken to salads with dressings, potato chips, raspatat etc., we were more than happy to continue on our way.

Alcohol samples seemed to be a large part of the theme, but a lot of variety and amazing deals. My husband found himself rather taken with the chocolate wine and could not help but pick up a bottle.

Will I return again? I can say without a doubt: yes! Our group of friends easily found each other time and time again when we went our own ways.

For more information on the Libelle Zomer Week “China Town” please vist the following website:

Education in Almere

Starting a new school, in a new country, is a huge change for anyone.  However, you’ll always have the tingling excitement on your first day when you walk in and see all the faces of your classmates you’re going to spend seven hours with five days a week!

High schools following the international baccalaureate (IB) are very different from your usual public high schools. Comparing it to Scottish education, school is a more laid back place to be. I have joined theInternational School Almere in MYP4 (Grade 9), this is part of the middle years program. The middle year’s program is for students aged eleven to sixteen. The MYP encourages students to be open-minded, reflective thinkers.

MYP uses ‘continuous assessments.’ This is where you are graded in many different ways over the whole year. This could be through debates, investigations, experiments and reflections. Exams aren’t sat until you’re in the diploma years. The Diploma program (DP) is for students aged sixteen to nineteen. DP is taught over two years and prepares students for university.

During the IB, students are encouraged to develop community awareness by taking part in a community and service project. Community and service projects help to show you the importance of taking responsibilities and allow you to find new skills and talents while making a positive difference on others lives.

This year for my community and service I had to complete twenty hours. I helped at Zumba lessons with four to six year olds. Zumba is dance and aerobics. It includes hip hop, samba, salsa, martial arts, and some bollywood moves. It showed me how hard it is to look after young children and I have much more respect for teachers after being in their position! It was a really enjoyable activity and I plan to continue helping next year too. I also helped in the flevoland hospital and the school science lab. This showed me that even the smallest things like changing the magazines in the waiting rooms and cleaning a class room can make a huge difference. Writing this blog is also part of my community and service project which I hope attracts more expat teenagers and show adults how we see Almere.

Everyone at school has different backgrounds and cultures and you make friends from all over the world. Knowing that the majority of your school have all gone through the same experience as you is really comforting. Everyone is really accepting. I visited my school for an afternoon before I moved here almost a year ago and after the visit I couldn’t wait to start.

For me, moving country and school has improved my geography. It was never my strongest subject but I now know about countries such as Indonesia, which I had never heard of, and I can even say a few things in Russian and Japanese!

chloe xoxo

Lady on bike

Working Through Culture Shock

In only the last six months or so I’ve noticed a shift in my perception and attitude to life here in the Netherlands.  Confrontations or situations that earlier would have left a black cloud hanging over my head for an entire day (or a week, sometimes!) no longer seem to bother me for much longer than a couple of minutes.  Often these days I’ll have a near miss on my bike with an idiot in a car on the way to work and by the time I arrive at the office it has been forgotten.
I have been wondering to myself if perhaps, finally, I’m transitioning through the stages of culture shock.  It is generally understood that culture shock passes within a few months (certainly within a year), but I talk to people here in the Netherlands who are clearly still struggling, often after a few years.  I certainly have been!According to Wikipedia culture shock has four distinct phases; Honeymoon, Negotiation, Adjustment and Mastery.  In the honeymoon phase everything is lovely and new, bright and shiny, exciting and fascinating.  The negotiation phase tends to kick in once one realises that life isn’t actually all roses.  Differences between the home culture and new culture become glaringly apparent, and the differences are often difficult to deal with.  Language, social interaction and perhaps one of the big issues for people coming to the Netherlands is the attitude within primary health care and its magical wonder drug, paracetamol, can become overwhelming.Eventually the negotiation phase fades and the adjustment stage will begin. Wikipedia states that this usually happens between the six and twelve month mark, although if my own experience is anything to go by, it can take much, much longer.  In the adjustment phase one will develop more of a positive outlook and deal with issues as they arise instead of getting bogged down in the differences and difficulties that they would have during the negotiation phase.Finally, the mastery phase.  Basically full integration.  This does not mean losing one’s own cultural identity, but becoming comfortable enough in the new country that they finally feel at home and at ease.I had been struggling along in the negotiation phase for a very long time.  So long in fact, that I don’t even remember the honeymoon phase.  Perhaps my honeymoon phase was in the time when I was just a regular visitor, rather than a resident.  I do remember marvelling at the ING building in Amsterdam Zuid on my first trip and traversing the Oosterschelde and Afluitdijk respectively was an incredible experience for me.

ING building, Amsterdam.  Pic
But, I have so many memories of incidents and hurdles that really bogged me down.  Regular tantrums in the supermarket for not being able to find the “right” products.  Horror and anger that would last for days at a perceived slight from an encounter in public.  Throwing my homework across the room and refusing to continue at the tone of some to the integration coursework.  Uncontrollable tears when I break three wine glasses in one day because I’m just useless and can’t do anything right (that was a merry Christmas, let me tell you).  All things that should in all seriousness be water off a ducks back.  But they just weren’t.  Everything was so much harder.  I would take everything personally.  My husband has been unbelievably patient with me for a very long time and it’s really only now that I’m coming out the other end that I realise just how trying I must have been (who am I kidding, still am!).Why has the transition into adjustment finally come about after so long?  I really think that it has to do with all of the health dramas I’ve had in the past year.  As a consequence of being ill, I’ve had to put myself out there and speak Dutch.  I’ve had to be proactive in interacting with others.  I’ve had to take a good look at myself and my own attitude.Once I realised which stage I was at in culture shock I seemed to immediately recognise patterns and move through to the next phase.  It was like a light switched on in my head.  I’m happier more than I have been in almost four years of living here in the Netherlands.  I can finally have a meaningful conversation with my mother in law as I am much more confident with my level of Dutch.  When I encounter antisocial behaviour (daily) I’ll just think “sukkel” and forget about it almost immediately.  It’s almost to the point where I can just laugh almost everything off.By no means does my new outlook make me reflect and think that my old attitude was ridiculous and invalid.  I don’t doubt that others around me believe(d) that I was behaving like a crazed harpy, but that makes my own feelings no less important or relevant.  Life has been a real struggle for me in the last few years.  I could not count the amount of hours, days or probably even weeks that I’ve spent wishing that I could be in Australia, or even anywhere else if I’m honest.  I do truly believe that there are real social and behavioural issues that need dealing with here in the Netherlands which have been a huge factor in how I’ve felt.  The bubble mentality is so ingrained that it is very obvious that many, many people think only of themselves.  You can enter any supermarket or stand in any queue and experience it.  My husband’s grandfather, who is quite possibly the most lovely man you could meet turns into a shoving monster when he’s put into a queue for free food.  His appalling behaviour has to be seen to be believed!What happens now?  I keep moving up.  I seem to be slowly evolving into more of a glass half full type of person and I’m liking this new outlook.  I’m not walking around with a dark cloud hovering over my head any more.  I can finally see and appreciate my life and how damned good I have it.

I’m going to master this culture shock if it kills me.
Which stage are you at in the four phases of culture shock? How have you coped? How long has it taken you to see the light at the end of the tunnel?
(The original post can be found here)
Hema Almere Stad

A-Z of The Netherlands: A is for Almere

(about My A-Z challenge)

A is for Almere, of course. The city I chose to live in The Netherlands, I was still in Portugal.

Almere is the youngest city of The Netherlands. Situated in Flevoland, the most recent province of the country, its first house was finished in 1976. Named after the early medieval name of the Zuiderzee, this garden-city is now the 7th largest municipality in The Netherlands with 191,495 citizens (9 May 2011). Almere offers contemporary architecture, several parks, woods and lakes, an exciting cultural environment and a relaxing and balanced life. Annemarie Jorristma-Lebbink, a former minister, has been the mayor of the city since 16 August 2003. Her party (VVD) is the same one of the current prime-minister, Mark Rutte.

Almere is Contemporary Architecture

Almere Centrum (where we lived in the first two years)

From Almere (III)

Tussen de Vaarten (our current neighbourhood)

Two Face, by the Dutch NIO Architecten.

From A-Z

The New City Center

The Citadel (2006)

A shopping complex by the French architect Christian de Portzamparc.

A complex of 100 to 100 metres which is divided into four quadrants by two intersecting streets (for pedestrians). Above the car parks there are 50 shops. On top there are 46 colourful houses, and an apartment complex including 6 apartments and a parking lot for its residents. The terrace of La Place restaurant (on the top floor of warehouse V&D) provides a unique view of the Citadel.

From Almere (III)


From Almere (III)

The Lakeside Tower (2007)

A building in front of the Weerwater Lake, of the architect Bjarne Mastenbroek (SeARCH, Amsterdam).

From Almere (III)

The Smaragd (2007)

Apartments and a store (Hema) designed by Gigon and Guyer.

From Almere (III)

The Skyline of Almere

The Wave (2005) by the Dutch architect René van Zuuk.

A dramatic wave-like facade, covered with silver anodized aluminum plate.

From A-Z


From A-Z


From A-Z

Side by Side (2007)

Two residential towers by the Dutch architect Frits van Dongen.

The towers facades were made of light blue coloured industrial glass. In the base of the towers, there’s a winter garden, sauna and gym, especially for the residents. Moreover, there’s a private swimming pool (you can see it from the outside), overlooking the lake Weerwater.

From A-Z


An apartment tower designed by the Dutch Claus and Kaan Architects.

The top of this apartment tower surprisingly leans over lake Weerwater. However, the reason for this is simple: because most people like to live at the top or bottom of a tower, the top and foot of ‘Silverline’ is maximized, while the least interesting middle section is minimized.

From A-Z

Urban Entertainment Center designed by the British architect William Alsop.

A block of approximately 4,000 m2, which includes the hotel rooms, floats eight metres above street level. It has a beautiful facade of cedar. This section is supported by columns. The entrance to the hotel is a blob with a brass cladding.

From A-Z

Muzinq / Discotheque NOX

A pop centre with three halls, one accommodating 1200 persons.

From A-Z

Almere Buiten

The Eilandenbuurt houses.

They remind us the Dutch Antilles and the maritime history of The Netherlands.


From A-Z

Almere is Cultural Life

Almere’s library (2010)

A building by the Dutch architects Meijer en Van Schooten.

De Nieuwe Bibliotheek was considered the Best Library of The Netherlands in 2010.


From Almere (III)

Theater and Arts Center (2006)

A building by the Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA) that was officially opened by Queen Beatrix in 2007. Simplicity, transparency and light is what this building is about. From a single storey surface of 100 to 100 metres, three halls (1050, 350 and 150 seats respectively)  extend into the lake Weerwater. The building users are the theater and the arts center, De Kunstlinie, that offers courses, workshops of music, visual arts, theater, literature, dance and multimedia.

From A-Z

The Pasion Buena Vista Show, May, 2009 in Almere’s Theater.

From A-Z

Almere’s Selexyz Bookstore.

Bookstore of the year 2008-2009.

From A-Z

Almere is Fun

A lounge in the city center to enjoy the sun.

From Almere (III)

Enjoying Queen’s Day in the several terraces of the city center.

From Koninginnedag 2011

Selling old stuff in the streets on Queen’s Day. Everybody can do it and it is a fun and nice way to get rid of the stuff we don’t need anymore.

From Koninginnedag 2011

The restaurant Boat House in Noorderplassen.

I like to go there specially to watch the sunset.

From A-Z

Stoomboot Rondvaart

A very nice trip in a luxury steamboat.

From Stoomboot Rondvaart Almere Haven 2011

Almere Strand (beach)…

From A-Z

Skating in the Weerwater lake nearby the Theater.

From A-Z

An old passion…boats!! Muiderzand Marina in Almere 🙂

From A-Z

Almere happens

Midland Classic Show

A fantastic exhibition of old cars…

From A-Z

Smaak Parade

A delicious event. We can taste cheeses, wines, and many delicacies.

From A-Z
From A-Z

Almere Haven Festival

In the oldest part of the city, a brocante en antiek markt.

From A-Z
From A-Z

Historisch Festival Almere

Also in Almere Haven nearby the beach.

From Historisch Festival Almere 2011

Almere is gezellig

A city where it is a pleasure to live.

From A-Z


From A-Z


From A-Z

Swans in the sidewalks. 🙂

From A-Z

Almere is Nature

The fantastic nature reserve of Oostvaardersplassen.

And if you like to watch birds in particular, this is the ideal place to be.

From Almere (III)


From Oostvaardersplassen

A sunset in Almere Pampus.

From Almere (III)

There is much more to enjoy, like De Kemphaan, The Beatrix Park, and many other wonderful places.

In the video below, you will be able to watch more amazing buildings, woods and nice places in Almere to relax and enjoy with your family and friends.

Almere in motion

I hope you have enjoyed this trip to Almere, our adopted city.

Take your train in Schiphol Airport and in 30 minutes you are here. Enjoy your stay!

Have fun! Veel plezier!!

PS: Do you think that we chose well? 😉


Visit Sandra’s sensational blog Presépio com Vista para o Canal for more fabulous posts like this one.


Source of the information about Almere’s architecture:

Carly and Maria at Halloween 2011

Young Almere – Wild Youth

Carly and Maria at Halloween 2011
Carly and Maria at Halloween 2011

Then you really want to get in touch with Young Almere. Initiated by Australian Carly Bridgeman, Young Almere is an essential part of all International Almere events. Carly organizes many last-minute activities, like going out for dinner or to the movies. The Facebook page of Young Almere is also a good spot to find like minded expats for anything you might want to do – and if it’s just a coffee in town.

You can find Young Almere on Facebook or check out the event calendar for Young Almere Events (the pink color code)!