English translations of local news of Almere


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 (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl. These articles were publishe is edition 12th and 19th of September 2018. 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. New PostNL sorting center good for 400 jobs
  2. Guest writer Redmond O’Hanlon presents book
  3. Former mayor Jorritsma appointed Floriade Commissioner-General
  4. Windsurfing girls wanted for Almere Centraal competition team
  5. Organizations join forces against human trafficking and exploitation
  6. Pieter Baan Centrum definitely coming to Almere
  7. 2018 house rentals increase outstrips 2017

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New PostNL sorting center good for 400 jobs (edition 19thof September, page 3)

STICHTSEKANT – PostNL is constructing a parcel sorting center at Stichtsekant business park in Almere, alongside Waterlandseweg. It is expected that this facility will create approximately 400 new jobs. Alderman Maaike Veeningen of Economic and Spatial Development drove the first pile for the new building, on Wednesday.

Sustainability

PostNL says it takes sustainability seriously. The parcel sorting center will, for example, incorporate the highest possible level of sustainability (i.e. BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ certification). And, in coming years, the fleet will increasingly switch to electric trucks and vans. The roof of the new distribution center will have solar panels and the building will have LED lighting and be completely gas-free.


Driving the first pile together. (Photo: Feenstra Photography)

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Guest writer Redmond O’Hanlon presents book, ‘De Groene Stad’ (edition 19thof September, page 5)

 ‘I first detested Almere, then I embraced it’

By Petra Onderwater

ALMERE – On first acquaintance with Almere he detested its grey concrete, but during his three-year stay here, writer Redmond O’Hanlon came to increasingly appreciate the city. “I missed Almere even before I left it, when my job as guest writer was done”, says O’Hanlon. On Thursday evening he presented his book ‘De Groene Stad’ – the result of his discovery of Almere, at Schouwburg Almere.


Redmond O’Hanlon was interviewed during the book presentation by Emile Brugman of Uitgeverij Atlas Contact. (Photo: Studio Fred Rotgans/Beau de Bruijn)

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Former mayor Jorritsma appointed Floriade Commissioner-General (edition 12thof September, page 7)

 ALMERE – Minister Schouten of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) has decided to appoint Annemarie Jorritsma-Lebbink, former mayor of Almere, as Commissioner General of Floriade Almere 2022.


Annemarie Jorritsma. (Archive photo: Fred Rotgans)

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Windsurfing girls wanted for Almere Centraal competition team (edition 12thof September, page 9)

ALMERE – Windsurfvereniging Almere Centraal is looking for female windsurfers, to form a new competition team. The windsurfing association aims to give enthusiastic windsurfers extensive experience in slalom and course racing competitions in the Netherlands, under professional supervision.

Girls between 11 and 16 years old are welcome to contact Windsurfvereniging Almere Centraal.

For more information visit http://www.almerecentraal.nl/wedstrijdsurfen/wedstrijdteam.
World champion Lilian de Geus sets the perfect example for new windsurfing talent. (Photo: Teunis van der Poel)

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Organizations join forces against human trafficking and exploitation (edition 12thof September, page 21)

ALMERE – Involved organizations are joining forces to combat human trafficking and exploitation in Almere and Flevoland. Veiligheidshuis Almere, Veilig Thuis, Terwille verslavingszorg, JGZ Almere, Scharlaken, GGD Flevoland, RIEC, Salvation Army, Blijf Groep, Zorggroep Almere and the municipality of Almere signed a declaration of intent to this end, last week.

Exhibition

In addition to signing the declaration of intent, a photographic  exhibition, ‘Open je ogen’ (Open your Eyes’), was held at the Grote Markt, to increase awareness that human trafficking occurs much more often than is apparent. CoMensha, the national coordination center against human trafficking, together with the Open Mind foundation and photographer Ernst Coppejans, have found thirty people willing to tell the stories that haunt their eyes. Stories about severe forms of violence and threat, about rapes resulting in pregnancy and about not wanting to carry on. In order to guarantee security and privacy, the photographs are presented in such a way that they cannot be traced back to the individual subjects.  The portraits will be displayed at the Grote Markt until Thursday, 27 September.


Photographic exhibition ‘Open je ogen’, at the Grote Markt. (Photo: Almere DEZE WEEK)

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Pieter Baan Centrum definitely coming to Almere (edition 12thof September, page 25)

STRIPHELDENBUURT – The Pieter Baan Centrum is definitely coming to Almere. The psychiatric observation clinic will be located next to De Oostvaarders forensic psychiatric center in the Stripheldenbuurt.

The Pieter Baan Centrum is regularly in news covering major incidents involving an offender. The center then observes the person concerned, in order to analyze his behavior. Talk that the center would move to the clinic in the Stripheldenbuurt has been going on for some time, but the move was repeatedly postponed. The center has been located in Utrecht, for almost 70 years. Over the years, the building it was in became very outdated. It was decided to move to partly newly-constructed premises in Almere, rather than carry out major maintenance on the old building. The move to Almere is scheduled for 10 September. The new, freestanding PBC building is located at Carl Barksweg 3, immediately next door to FPC de Oostvaarders. The new building will be officially opened on 8 October by Minister Dekker of Rechtsbescherming (Legal Protection).

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2018 house rentals increase outstrips 2017 (edition 12thof September, page 39)

ALMERE – House rental payments were on average 2.3 percent up in July 2018, compared to a year ago. In July 2017 the year-on-year rental increase was 1.6 percent. The rental increase for social housing provided by housing corporations was relatively low at 1.7 percent.

Other social housing providers raised their rentals by 3.3 percent. Rentals for houses in the private sector rose by 3.0 percent. This was reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the basis of new statistics.

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Note: All of the above-mentioned articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition 12thand 19thof September 2018. The summaries were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.nl

A 2 minute video about Courtesie you can watch here:

 

English translations of local news of Almere

Translations of “Almere Deze Week” edition 5th of September 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 (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl. 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. New traffic situation on A6 at ‘t Oor
2. Orientation week at MBO college Almere is mainly hard work
3. Benefit concert for earthquake victims
4. Soapbox race from Forum to Esplanade
5. Almere Centrum presents specialty shops booklet
6. Almere triathlon participants ready to start
7. Housing prices up 6.5 percent on average in 2018

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New traffic situation on A6 at ‘t Oor (page 3)

ALMERE – New A6 traffic lanes, on-ramps and exits are ready for use. A temporary overpass has also been opened for cyclists, cars and buses. This temporary overpass replaces the Noorderdreef underpass. Road-users will clearly need to adapt to the new situation.
Measures taken
Rijkswaterstaat is monitoring whether there are bottlenecks and, if so, where they are and how to best deal with the affected traffic flow. Traffic controllers and sign trailers were deployed at various locations, extra yellow signboards have been placed and the public have been alerted to the new situation repeatedly via social media. Road surface markings have also been changed.
‘t Oor
The situation at ‘t Oor is temporary and will continue until the end of the first quarter of 2019. The ‘t Oor overpass at McDonald’s will then be put into operation and the temporary overpass will be demolished. Again, road-users will have to adapt to this situation as it unfolds.


Temporary traffic situation at ‘t Oor will last until end of first quarter, 2019. (Photo: Rijkswaterstaat)

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Orientation week at MBO college Almere is mainly hard work (page 5)

ALMERE – Students of MBO College Almere have started the first week of the new academic year with introductory activities and sports days. The MBO College has registered about 20 percent more first-year students than in the previous year. Media and Design students were immediately hard at work, in a week focused on an exhibition and book presentation.

Exhibition
“The standard of first-year students has never been this high”, says Frank Maas, Media and Design and ICT education manager. Students were tasked with creating a work of art on the first day of the orientation week. Using printing techniques, photoshop and a generous dose of creativity, students were surprised both their teachers and senior students. “You can see that the students already have a lot of experience and have already developed themselves considerably”, reacted Daniël, a third-year student. The work was exhibited at MBO College Almere at the end of last week.

Book presentation
Teacher Ruben de Haas wanted to leave his students with something special when he left to take another step in his career. He ended his teaching time with a project in which 48 students were each asked to design one page. Said Jari, a third year student, “My design tries to reflect the commotion going on in my head. This is represented by many different shapes and lines, but forms a whole”. The individual pages are collected in a book, ‘Made you look’. Said De Haas, “I wanted to give free rein to the students’ creativity. This resulted in a book with a different creation on every page. Each page is unique and different, just like the participating students”.


Media and Design students pose proudly with The Book (l to r): Rohit, Jari, Daniël, Wies. (Photo: Thalita Blöte)

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Benefit concert for earthquake victims (page 7)

Almere residents campaign for Lombok

By Robert Mienstra

ALMERE – Almere residents Tress Mataram and Richard Sitanala are taking action for the victims of the earthquake disaster on Lombok. On 13 October they will present a gala benefit performance. The proceeds will go to the victims on Lombok.
Entertainment donated
The gala will take place on Saturday, 13 October 2018, in Dorpshuis Hanswijk, Hanswijk 1, 1934 CP, in Egmond a/d Hoef, from 16.00 to 23.00. Tickets are 10 euros. Children under 12 years will be admitted free of charge. And there is plenty of free parking. Indonesian dishes will be catered by the Rasa Lombok restaurant. Dancers Tabita Lestari and Eddy Sugianto will donate their performance, as will dance group Nuansa Seni Indonesia, singers Diana Monoarfa, Theresia, Dewi Mass, Melanie Foeh, Grace Natalia, Dewi ten Cate, Vivi Subono, Asti Dewi and special guest from Ambon, Roy Tuhumury. The gala event is presented by Betty and Richard Sitanala.


Singer Theresia draws attention to Lombok at the Pasar Malam in Almere. (Photo: Fred Rotgans)

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Soapbox race from Forum to Esplanade (page 9)

Two age groups: 7 – 9 years and 10 – 12 years.

STAD – Following enormous success in 2017, the soapbox cart event will again take place at Almere City Esplanade on 6 October. A ‘professional’ circuit will be constructed from the Forum to the Esplanade with a start ramp, challenging obstacles, safety hay bales, grid girls and a steep, downhill route to the finish.

Up to the challenge? Registration is available for two age groups, 7 to 9 years and 10 to 12 years, but for a limited number of entries. Registration of race entries closes on September 22nd. A single soapbox cart may participate once in both categories. So, for instance, an 8 year-old and his/her 10 year old friend will only have to build one soapbox for both to participate. Registration fee is 7.50 euros per child.
To register email joost@oerz.nl

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Almere Centrum presents specialty shops booklet (page 15)

STAD CENTRUM – Almere Centrum is now home to more than 400 shops. In addition to the major retail chains there are also many specialty shops, which adds to the fun of visiting the center. The stories behind these unique, small businesses are now bundled in the booklet ‘036 winkeltjes’ (036 shops).
For more information go to www.almerecentrum.nl
The booklet ‘036 winkeltjes’ is a collection of the stories behind the center’s specialty shops. (Photo: Erik Frings)

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Almere triathlon participants ready to start (page 29)

ALMERE – Triathlon fever will grip Almere this weekend. Challenge Almere-Amsterdam is on the agenda. At least 3,500 athletes will be at the start, including an extremely strong professional contingent.


Almere participants are ready for the triathlon. (Photo: Fred Rotgans)

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Housing prices up 6.5 percent on average in 2018 (page 35)

ALMERE – The average municipal valuation of homes rose in 2018 for the third, consecutive year. On 1 January 2018 the average valuation was 230,000 euros per home, 6.5 percent more than in the previous year. This is according to the latest figures from CBS (Statistics Netherlands). Valuations in Almere rose by five to eight percent.

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Note: All of the above-mentioned articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition 5th of September. The summaries were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.nl

A 2 minute video about Courtesie you can watch here:

 

 

Translations of “Almere Deze Week” editions 22nd and 29th 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 (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl. The page numbers behind the titles refer to the pages of the newspaper where the articles can be found.

Below you find summaries of 12 articles with the following titles:

  1. Construction of Waterhout campsite on Schateiland started
  2. Almere student second in world solar boat race championship
  3. Urgent call to witnesses to come forward!
  4. Almere developing into an international attraction
  5. Almere Haven Festival will be spectacular
  6. Rabobank: housing prices increase by 8.7 percent in 2018
  7. More than sixty Burendag activities in Almere
  8. Oldest scale model of Haven is located in Lelystad
  9. 10,000 senior citizens at Forever Young Festival
  10. Brass event on the town hall square in Almere City
  11. Heritage Day on 8 and 9 September
  12. Poortdreef below A6 closed from 10 September

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Construction of Waterhout campsite on Schateiland started (edition 22ndof august, page 3)

By Robert Mienstra

NOORDERPLASSEN – The construction of the Waterhout campsite on Schateiland in the Noorderplassen started last week. Jeanine and Sander Fokkens marked the start by cutting a ribbon. More than forty regular guests of Waterhout were offered a tour around the island on the Almere Veertje (ferry).


Jeanine and Sander Fokkens: “Construction of the Waterhout campsite on Schateiland is hereby  started.” (Photo: Almere DEZE WEEK)

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Almere student second in world solar boat race championship (edition 22ndof august, page 3)

ALMERE – Rebecca Belmer from Almere participated as a full-time Hull & Body Engineer in this year’s TU Delft Solar Boat Team. She looks back with great pride on a year in which she achieved a great deal with the team and took on many challenges. “It was great to round off this year successfully with the team. I can look back on an experience that will benefit me throughout my life”, said Belmer.

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Urgent call to witnesses to come forward! (edition 22ndof August, page 7)

Mayor Weerwind returns from holiday to deal with violent incidents

By Robert Mienstra

ALMERE – Mayor Weerwind is deeply concerned about the citywide increase in the number of violent incidents involving firearms and stabbings. “I’m watching the situation carefully, which is why I came back from holiday to work with the police and the public prosecutor’s office, so that the perpetrators can be caught quickly”, said the mayor last week.


Mayor Weerwind: “If you know or suspect something… report it!” (Photo: supplied)

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Almere developing into an international attraction (edition 22ndof august, page 9)

From ‘ugliest place’ to best city center

By Dominique Voss

ALMERE – The hotels and campsites are full, the cycle paths are busy and people are enjoying a drink on the many terraces. Tourism in Almere is doing better than ever. And that’s just as well says Almere City Marketing Director, Nik Smit.


Two VVV Almere staff on Segways help tourists on their way through the center.


Almere City Marketing Director Nik Smit in front of a table full of recent publications on Almere. (Photos: Dominique Voss)

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Almere Haven Festival will be spectacular (edition 22ndof august, page 15)

HAVEN – Almere Haven is the setting for the eighteenth Almere Haven Festival. From Friday, August 31 through Sunday, September 2 the festival will delight lovers of botters (classic Dutch boats), classical music, culture and art.

Attractions include special performances by famous orchestras and choirs. On Saturday, during the Havenkom Concert, the Dutch Philharmonic Orchestra and the Toonkunstkoor Amsterdam will perform various excerpts from famous operas. This free concert takes place in the charming harbor area of Almere Haven, which can accommodate at least 5,000 spectators. Various orchestras and performances can also be enjoyed on Friday and Saturday.

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Rabobank: housing prices increase by 8.7 percent in 2018 (edition 22ndof august, page 27)

ALMERE – Houses in the Netherlands were on average 8.9 percent more expensive in the first half of 2018 than a year ago. This is higher than expected, partly because house buyers are now far more likely to offer above the asking price.

House prices are expected to rise by an average of 8.7% over the whole of 2018, as reported by Rabobank economists in their Kwartaalbericht Woningmarkt (housing market quarterly report). Earlier this year they had assumed a price increase of 8.0 percent. Houses are, on the other hand, selling more slowly.

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More than sixty Burendag activities in Almere (edition 22nd of august, page 27)

ALMERE – Sixty-three activities have already been notified for Burendag (neighbors’ day) – to take place on 22 September in Almere. Neighbor day activities are organized in 97% of Dutch municipalities. Only 11 municipalities have not yet notified any activities. Douwe Egberts and the Oranjefonds organize Burendag annually on the fourth Saturday of September – which falls on 22 September this year.


Happy times in the Eilandenbuurt at an earlier neighbors’ day. (Photo: supplied)

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Oldest scale model of Haven is located in Lelystad (edition 29thof august, page 5)

By Robert Mienstra

HAVEN – The oldest known model of Almere Haven is in a storage facility in Lelystad. The study model dates from 1975 and is made of thin strips of cork. The model clearly shows the current contours of the Port.


This oldest, known model of Almere Haven is in storage in Leystad. (Photo: Almere DEZE WEEK)

How Almere Haven looks today. The contours and coastline of the oldest harbour model are still clearly visible. (Photo: Google maps)

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10,000 senior citizens at Forever Young Festival (edition 29thof august, page 7)

STAD – The Esplanade in Stad was packed last week, with 10,000 seniors visiting the Forever Young Festival. The festival was open to people over 65 free of charge. Seniors could be accompanied by a companion or carer.

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Brass event on the town hall square in Almere City (edition 29thof august, page 24)

STAD – Another Caribbean Brass Event will be held in the city center of Almere on Sunday, 2 September. Three Caribbean brass bands will compete for the title of best brass band

Tribute

The Originals Brassband from Almere won the Battle of Drum in Rotterdam, during their recent, annual carnival. The Stichting Multiculturele Organisatie (multicultural organization foundation) will pay tribute to the band for their exceptional performance. Alderman Jerzy Soetekouw will officiate.

For more information, please visit info@smoa.nl

(Photo: supplied)

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Heritage Day on 8 and 9 September (edition 29thof august, page 33)

ALMERE – Alderman Hilde van Garderen will open Heritage Day 2018 (Open Monumentendag) on Friday, 7 September at 17:00 at the Almere Erfgoedhuis. Jan Frans de Hartog, one of Almere’s founding fathers, will give a lecture on what Almere has learned from the New Towns in France and England, and what appealed to representatives of these towns when they visited Almere.

Volunteers at each location will inform visitors on its history. For more information and the full program, please visit www.almere.nl/openmonumentendag.


A self-built house crowned with battlements and surrounded by a moat (Photo: Martin Kuijper)

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Poortdreef below A6 closed from 10 September (edition 29thof august, page 33)

POORT – Poortdreef will be closed in both directions between the Almere Poort exit (coming from Amsterdam) and the Elementendreef junction from Monday, 10 September to Thursday, 1 November.


(Photo: Rijkswaterstaat)

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Note: All of the above-mentioned articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, editions 22ndand 29thof August 2018. The summaries were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.nl

A 2 minute video about Courtesie you can watch here:

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 (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl. 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

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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.

Signals

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)

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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.

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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.”

Tips
“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)

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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)

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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.”

Donations
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 https://www.ilrifugio.nl


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

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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
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)

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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 www.courtesie.nl

A 2 minute video about Courtesie you can watch here:

Translations of “Almere Deze Week” editions 25th of July and 1st 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 (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl. The page numbers behind the titles refer to the pages of the newspaper where the articles can be found.

Below you find summaries of 10 articles with the following titles:

  1. Will there be enough teachers for all school classes after the summer holidays?
  2. Hogweed successfully combated – by sheep and volunteers
  3. Almere residents choose Captain Fantastic for outdoor screening
  4. WitchWorld not shocked by Park Eden Holland plans
  5. City board proposes SPFA as local broadcaster
  6. Agreements for Oostvaardersplassen management
  7. Sail-Today summer camp in demand
  8. De Kemphaan resembles a castle
  9. Chess talent conquers Scotland
  10. Housing market especially overheated in Randstad

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Will there be enough teachers for all school classes after the summer holidays?
(page 1, edition 30)

By Robert Mienstra

ALMERE – There were 68 vacancies in the Almere education sector at the end of last week. The summer holidays have started and on 27 August the schools will open again. It seems impossible that the school boards of Almere will be able to find enough teachers for all classes.


It remains to be seen whether all classes will have teachers after the summer holidays. (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Nationwide problem

The shortage of teachers in Almere illustrates a national problem. “Primary education is in danger of entering the new school year with a shortage of some 1,300 teachers”, writes the PO (primary education) council, “and tens of thousands of pupils across the country are going to be affected. Whereas in previous years teacher vacancies were filled, albeit at the end of the summer holiday period, school boards will not be able to fill their vacancies this year. At present, more than half of the boards still have permanent and temporary vacancies. Nearly a quarter don’t expect to be able to fill their vacancies at this stage and therefore have no teachers for some groups.

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Hogweed successfully combated – by sheep and volunteers (page 17, edition 30)

ALMERE – With the help of volunteers and sheep from Stad en Natuur (City & Nature), the giant hogweed has been prevented from dispersing its seed. So this year the giant hogweed in this part of the countryside is under control, and the volunteer group had a good reason to enjoy a celebratory cake last week.

The giant hogweed in the Vroege Vogelbos was combated using sheep. The Stad & Natuur flock loves hogweed! And proliferation is contained if sheep eat the leaves and stems before the weed blossoms. Help is needed from volunteers, however, in places inaccessible to sheep.


Volunteers prevent further spread of hogweed. (Photo: supplied)

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Almere residents choose Captain Fantastic for outdoor screening (page 18, edition 30)

HAVEN – Almere residents voted last month to select the film to be screened outdoors on Friday, 24 August at the Markt square, in Haven. The Sundance Film Festival hit, Captain Fantastic, came out as the public’s favorite.

he preliminary program starts at 18.30 hrs. The film will start at 21.30.

The number of available seats is limited, so visitors are advised to bring their own seat in order to be assured of a place. Don’t forget to pack a warm sweater. The film will definitely be screened. In the event of bad weather it will move to the theatre hall in the Corrosia Theatre, Expo & Film. Admission is free.

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WitchWorld not shocked by Park Eden Holland plans (page 1, edition 31)

By Marcel Beijer

ALMERE – Director Ton Theunis of WitchWorld is not shocked that space will be reserved for another tourist initiative, the botanical Park Eden Holland, next to the grounds of the castle where his fantasy park is to be built. “We welcome all tourism initiatives for Almere. We can support and strengthen each other”, says Theunis. Whether Eden Holland will be implemented will become clear in the middle of next year.

Eden Holland aims to create an educational botanical park with a spectacular greenhouse, on the grounds to the west of Kasteel Almere. Plans already exist for the WitchWorld fantasy park on the grounds of the castle.

Next steps

The plans for Park Eden Holland will be worked out in more detail in the coming period and will include synergy and cooperation between Floriade and Eden Holland, at this location near the Floriade.


An artist’s impression of Park Eden Holland, showing the spectacular greenhouse. (Photo: supplied)

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City board proposes SPFA as local broadcaster (page 5, edition 31)

By Robert Mienstra

ALMERE – The Municipal Board recommends that the Council nominates Stichting Productie Fabriek Almere (SPFA ) to the Dutch Media Authority as the new, local broadcaster for Almere.

The Municipal Council will consider the advice of the Board after the recess.

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Agreements for Oostvaardersplassen management (page 7, edition 31)

ALMERE – Flevoland provincial deputy Harold Hofstra and Sylvo Thijsen, managing director of Staatsbosbeheer, signed an agreement last week to strengthen cooperation in the management of the Oostvaardersplassen.

Staatsbosbeheer will draw up a new management plan for the longer term. Development of Nationaal Park Nieuw Land will be accompanied by a drive for quality and improvement of access, recreation and facilities in the Oostvaardersplassen area. There will be a long-term maximum limit of 1,500 large herbivores.


Konik horses in the Oostvaardersplassen. (Archive photo: supplied)

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Sail-Today summer camp in demand (page 9, edition 31)

POORT – The annual Sail-Today summer camp weeks are once again in demand this year. Children from 7 to 14 years can enjoy sailing, surfing and stand-up paddling at the beach on the IJmeerdijk, near Muiderzand, until 31 August.

Still a number of places available (www.sail-today.nl).

Note: International Almere recently made a 1,5 minute film about Sail-Today, that includes some footage of the summer camp:

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De Kemphaan resembles a castle (page 15, edition 31)

By Robert Mienstra

ALMERE – The main building of De Kemphaan resembles a modern variant of a partially open water castle. This turned out to be the case when Kemphaan employees did research on De Kemphaan urban estate. This is also reported in the Almere architecture guide. De Kemphaan has now published the story – with a nod to the past.

The story of De Kemphaan water castle can be read at: www.waterkasteeldekemphaan.nl


The main building of Stadslandgoed De Kemphaan. (Photo: Florian Reumer)

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Chess talent conquers Scotland (page 19, edition 31)

ALMERE – Top Almere chess players, Daniel Kutchoukov (13) and Roger Labruyère (11), won the Robinson Cup and the Stokes Cup at the Glorney Gilbert Tournament in Scotland. The girls of the Dutch Youth Chess Team won the Gilbert Cup.


Roger Labruyère with the cup. (Photo: Ernst Labruyère)

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Housing market especially overheated in Randstad (page 23, edition 23)

ALMERE – The housing market is becoming increasingly overheated, with a shortage of houses for sale, particularly in the Randstad. Chairman of the NVM (Dutch real estate agents’ association), Ger Jaarsma, reported this to Real Estate Market magazine.


In Filmwijk, terraced houses are being converted into apartments in several streets, such as here on the Pasolinistraat. (Archive photo: Fred Rotgans)

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Note: All of the above-mentioned articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition 30 and 31 (July 25 and August 1, 2018. The summaries  were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.nl

A 2 minute video about Courtesie you can watch here:

 

 

Translations of “Almere Deze Week” edition 18th of July 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 (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl. 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. Water weeds make sailing almost impossible
  2. Many MBO College graduates already have a job
  3. Rabobank Almere extends sponsorship of Almere Haven Festival
  4. Treasure hunts in Almere
  5. ANWB AutoMaatje launched in Almere
  6. Almere Heritage Day needs volunteers
  7. Fun for kids at Lumierepark in Almere

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Water weeds make sailing almost impossible (page 1)

By Kirsten Thuis-Woudenberg

HAVEN – Almere resident Jan van der Klooster fears that sailing will soon become impossible if pondweed continues to grow in Almere’s waters at the current rate. “You can hardly sail through the rampant pondweed which, even when it grows at a depth of 3 meters, will reach the water’s surface. A wing keel, in particular, drags masses of pondweed along with the boat”, says Jan van der Klooster. “You also can’t use the engine, because the weed winds itself around the propeller shaft like lianas.”


Almere Haven. (Photo: Fred Rotgans)

Complaint

Sailors complained to the municipality. As a result, the berths were mowed this week. “It’s good that the moorings are now being mowed, but the municipality has waited far too long. Rijkswaterstaat planted the pondweed years ago in order to clarify the water and thus combat blue-green algae. But the cure is now worse than the disease. The municipality will have to find a way to eradicate this problem completely. Despite the fact that the harbor is now being properly dealt with, Gooimeer, Markermeer and IJmeer are still filling up with pondweed. Next to nothing is being done about this and it is still not clear how the weed will be removed.

Cancellations

According to Van der Klooster, the fact that only the navigation channels are mowed means that yachtsmen can no longer sail on the lakes. “To be able to sail, you have to be able to tack – to sail a zig-zag course to windward. The mowed channels are not wide enough for this. I’ve spoken to sailors who have cancelled their berths in Gooimeer, Markermeer and IJmeer, because you can’t sail in these areas anymore. They’ve moved their boats to Friesland. But won’t it be a disaster if we can no longer sail in the vicinity of Almere?”

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Many MBO College graduates already have a job (page 5)

Students at the MBO College Almere have graduated cum laude and received scholarships.

ALMERE – More than 900 students from the MBO College Almere and MBO College Poort received their MBO (secondary vocational education) diplomas last week. A few students received diplomas cum laude, having shown excellent command of theory, obtained good passes in the practical exams and received excellent work experience employer feedback. A large proportion of the students will continue their studies at the Flevoland ROC or move on to a university of applied sciences program. Many students will look for a job or already have one.


Five out of the eight cum laude students. (Photo: supplied)

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Rabobank Almere extends sponsorship of Almere Haven Festival (page 17)

ALMERE – This year, for the fifth consecutive year, Rabobank Almere will be the main sponsor of the Rabobank Almere Haven Festival. The bank will also again sponsor the Rabobank Havenkom Proeverij.

Nik Smit, director of Almere City Marketing and organizer of the event, presented the Almere Harbor Festival announcement poster to Ferry Huurman, board chair of Rabobank Almere, in the harbor on board the Almere botter, AM1.

(Photo: Roxanne Overdijk)

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Treasure hunts in Almere (page 17)

ALMERE – Stad & Natuur has arranged no less than four treasure hunts at attractive locations in Almere this summer.

Entrance to the treasure hunts can be purchased via the website www.stadennatuur.nl (click on ‘winkel’) or at the locations themselves.

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ANWB AutoMaatje launched in Almere (page 17)

ALMERE – ANWB AutoMaatje (‘auto-mate’) has now also been launched in Almere, thanks to the collaboration of the ANWB with VMCA, De Schoor and Welzijn (social welfare) in Almere. ANWB AutoMaatje is a national network of service points which enable volunteers from local organizations to use their own cars to transport less mobile fellow citizens, at their request.

Interested parties can register as volunteers at the VMCA. Participants pay a travel expense contribution of € 0.30 per kilometer calculated from the home address of the driver directly to the volunteer, plus any parking costs. The contribution must be paid in cash.

More information: www.vmca.nl/vrijwilligers

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Almere Heritage Day needs volunteers (page 19)

ALMERE – More than four thousand magnificent monuments in the Netherlands are open free of charge to the public on the weekends of 8 and 9 September. Almere will also be taking part in this year’s Heritage Day. The organization is looking for volunteers.

The Heritage Day organization is looking for volunteers who are interested in architecture and in the history of Almere, and who will enjoy welcoming and informing visitors on Heritage Day. For more information and volunteer registration please visit  www.almere.nl/openmonumentendag.

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Fun for kids at Lumierepark in Almere (page 19)

FILMWIJK – Stichting Multiculturele Organisatie Almere is organizing a children’s village in Lumierepark on 5 August, with a free market for children.

There will be several bouncy castles and a variety of performances. Whether singing, making music, dancing or doing acrobatics, young artists in the making will be able to make their first stage appearance on the day. Children can sell toys they’re tired of and clothes they’ve outgrown at the free market. And, of course, the money made can be spent on the spot – on new toys or sweets!

The stage performances will be a mix of shows put on by new talent and entertainment by established names. The children’s village will also observe Millennium Development Goals and children will have the opportunity to get to know each other. This year’s theme is, “We are Family”. The children’s village event will also focus on cultural diversity and will reflect the Almere community in its performances, workshops and market.

The children’s village will have an information stand staffed by volunteers, to provide information on children’s activities in Almere. There will also be an information table with leaflets on education and nutrition and samples of various products.

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Note: All of the above-mentioned articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition July 18, 2018. The summaries  were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.nl

Translations of “Almere Deze Week” editions 4th and 11th of July 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 (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl. 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. Municipal ecologist investigates plant disease in Almere (edition 11thof July, page 1)
  2. Slavery remembered during the Keti-Koti memorial (edition 4thof July, page 7)
  3. Almere’s Aeres University of Applied Sciences scores high (edition 4thof July, page 9)
  4. Municipality imposes fines for illegal bike parking (edition 4thof July, page 15)
  5. Almere hairdresser fights IS hatred – and finds love (edition 4thof July, page 9)
  6. Asylum seekers’ tent and caravan camp will remain in Oosterwold for the time being (edition 11thof July, page 1)
  7. More than 20,000 Almere children interact with nature (edition 11thof July, page 23)

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Municipal ecologist investigates plant disease in Almere

How we can give nature a helping hand

By Dominique Voss

ALMERE – At the moment Almere has to deal with a number of persistent plant diseases and pests such as ash dieback, boxwood moth and oak processionary moth. Is something wrong with Almere’s natural environment? Municipal ecologist Ton Eggenhuizen sheds some light on the issue.

“If we want to enjoy nature for a long time to come, we have to let nature go its own way”, says Eggenhuizen. Before our interview begins he empties a bread bag full of leaves onto the table. “This is what I found this morning, on my way to work”, says the municipal ecologist. “Look, there is still a larva on this leaf. This is not a problem, at all. You can just ignore them.” According to Eggenhuizen we often resort to pesticides too easily when come across what we think is an irregularity, but this is not a good thing.

“In a normal situation, the organisms that cause the diseases and the plants or trees in which these organisms settle should simply be able to live side by side”, explains Eggenhuizen. “If you prune the trees or use poison, you only make things worse.”

Different approach

The current situation calls for a different approach. Eggenhuizen says that the municipality has learned a lot in this area and hopes that others will also benefit from the knowledge. “If we want to enjoy nature for a long time to come, we must also continue to take good care of it. It is not our needs but those of nature that must be central.”


Ton Eggenhuizen: “Pruning and the use of poisons only make things worse.”
(Photo: Almere DEZE WEEK/Dominique Voss)

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Slavery remembered during the Keti-Koti memorial.

STAD CENTRUM – Sunday, July 1, marked the 155th anniversary of the official end of slavery in the Antilles. Almere celebrated this last Saturday, 30 June – because the national commemoration at the monument in the Oosterpark in Amsterdam took place on the Sunday.

The commemoration was held in the city hall’s civic hall. The opening ceremony was followed by a speech by Mayor Franc Weerwind. This, in turn, was followed by a parade through the city, in which the participants wore traditional clothing.


(Photo: Studio Rotgans/Beau de Bruijn)

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Almere’s Aeres University of Applied Sciences scores high

STAD CENTRUM  – Almere’s Aeres University of Applied Sciences scored well in the national student survey (Nationale Studenten Enquête, NSE), presented last week. The NSE surveys students’ opinions on their studies at Dutch universities and applied science universities.

The satisfaction levels among students at Aeres University of Applied Sciences in Almere have increased since last year. The three main dimensions – students’ opinions of their courses, their assessment of the atmosphere and whether they would recommend the course – all scored well above average. Students are very satisfied with the courses’ alignment with current developments and with their stimulating content. The university also scored high – above the national average – on the two new items added last year, namely challenging education and internationalization.

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Municipality imposes fines for illegal bike parking

ALMERE – Bicycles not parked in designated racks and parking facilities are at risk of removal as from Monday, 16 July. From that date on the municipality will strictly enforce its bicycle parking policy in the center of Almere Stad and Buiten and in the vicinity of all stations from Poort to Oostvaarders.

Incorrectly parked bicycles and scooters, abandoned and wrecked bicycles will be removed by the municipality to the bicycle depot on the Esplanade. The bicycles will be stored there for thirteen weeks. Owners can reclaim an impounded bike for 25 euros on presentation of an identity document and the bike key.

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Almere hairdresser fights IS hatred – and finds love

“Enough is enough! I’m going to Kurdistan!”

ALMERE – Shilan Hamid was 25 when she felt she could no longer stay at home and decided to go to the front to fight IS. She told her very special story to the editorial staff of Avanti, the social work organization.

Shilan Hamid resigned from her job as a hairdresser in Almere, said goodbye to her family and left for Kurdistan. This was a few years ago. In the meantime her story has taken a special twist. Once there, in circumstances of misery and sadness, she found love.

Read more about how she risked death to find the love of her life at https://avanti-almere.nl/liefde-in-tijden-van-oorlog/


Almere hairdresser Shilan went to the front, to fight IS. (Photo: supplied)

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Asylum seekers’ tent and caravan camp will remain in Oosterwold for the time being

By Robert Mienstra

ALMERE – Formally undocumented asylum seekers currently staying in tents and caravans on the grounds of Inspiration INC in Oosterwold can remain there for the time being. This was evidenced last Thursday at the Political Market from the answers given by Alderman Jerzy Soetekouw (PvdA) to written questions from the CDA and PVV .


The tent and caravan camp in Oosterwold (Photo: Almere DEZE WEEK)

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More than 20,000 Almere children interact with nature

ALMERE – Stad en Natuur is working hard to reverse the growing trend of children not playing outside. With success! In the 2017-2018 school year no fewer than 20,586 Almere children participated in a Stad & Natuur green activities.

The activities ranged from a visit to the petting farm to a ‘cloud excursion’ and a practical course on empoldering at the Markermeer.

City & Nature is satisfied with the great interest shown in the lessons, excursions and courses. “We, too, realize that fewer and fewer children come into contact with nature and that the computer and phone are increasingly replacing traditional and instructive outdoor playtime”, says Willemijn Huizenga, programming staff member at Stad & Natuur. “By offering a lot of fun, educational and challenging lessons, excursions and courses, especially for children, we are raising their interest in playing outside. It’s great to see how children are completely absorbed in the activities and lessons. All the phones are switched off and off they go – very happy to be outside together!”


Dukdalf pupils take part in the autumn class at Kemphaan. (Photo: Jorn van Eck)

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Note: All of the above-mentioned articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, editions 4thand 11thof July, 2018. The summaries  were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.nl

Yoga lessons in English

Ganesha Almere is offering from September 2018 Yoga lessons in English to International Almere members for very attractive prices.

You have two possibilities:

a ticket strip of 5 lessons (€ 50,–) to be used in 8 lesson weeks, so that you can be absent a few times without costs.

a discount of 15% in the usual monthly cost (€ 34,– per month instead of € 40,–)

The yoga lessons last 1,5 hour.

Ganesha Almere is also offering a free try lesson to International Almere members:

Thursday, August 30 th at 18.30 hours. This try out will last until ± 20.45 hrs.

Frans Zwagemakers (1957) is an experienced yoga teacher, who started his teachings 16 years ago. Since then he has taught more than 5.000 yoga lessons and has visited India, the native country of yoga, 6 times.

 

You can reach Ganesha Almere at info@ganesha-almere.nl or call +31 (0)6 53744367

Adress: Rodinweg 59a 1328 PX Almere. www.ganesha-yoga.nl

Enjoy the experience and later share with us how it was and if you liked it!

More info: Sandra da Silva, secretary of International Almere. secretary@internationalalmere.com 

 

Translations of “Almere Deze Week” edition 27th of June 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 (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl. 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. Hotel and cinema in Buiten center
  2. Weerwind: prison closing ‘a serious loss’
  3. The battle against street litter
  4. Volunteers wanted for children’s camp
  5. Ageing unemployment benefits group
  6. Big flea market at Almere animal shelter
  7. New Lumièrepark path open from 5 October

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Hotel and cinema in Buiten center (page 1)

BUITEN CENTRUM – In Almere Buiten the way has been paved for the construction of a hotel and a cinema. The hotel will be on the vacant lot directly opposite the station; the cinema will be on the parking lot opposite the shopping complex housing, among others, the Action store.

The vacant lot opposite the station will be developed as a complex in which the hotel, with its 5,000 square meter floor area, will stand out. The complex will also accommodate approximately 900 m2 of shops and restaurants. This will extend the Noordeinde’s role as a shopping street. Next to the station a square will house restaurants and sun terraces. Sixteen, small, social housing units will probably also be built. The aim is to open the hotel by the end of 2019 or, at the latest, early in 2020.

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Weerwind: prison closing ‘a serious loss’ (page 1)

ALMERE – Mayor Franc Weerwind regrets the Cabinet’s decision to close the penitentiary institution (PI) in Almere. The PI is a prison in full operation, with 360 prisoners and 250 employees. “Closure is a serious loss, for Almere and for the province”, said the mayor. “In terms of both regional employment and the service level offered.”

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The battle against street litter (page 7)

By Dominique Voss
BUITEN – It is seven o’clock in the morning. Paulien and her dog walk their daily route through the neighborhood. In Paulien’s left hand there is a litter grabber, in her right hand a plastic bag. “Two birds with one stone”, she says.

City without waste

Almere aims 0to be a city without waste by 2020, but has not yet found the right formula to achieve this. “In Almere, there are currently about 8,000 ‘clean supporters’. They are committed to keeping Almere clean,” says Rob Ravensbergen of Stadsreiniging (city cleaning). “It is, of course, a great pity that she has to do this, but we are very happy with the help of people like Paulien.”

Behavior

Paulien thinks that people’s behavior sets a bad example. She is therefore making an appeal: “Lead by example, don’t be too easy on yourself – hang on to your litter. Let’s keep the world clean, together.” Residents who, like Paulien, want to keep their own neighborhood free of litter can order free litter grabbers and refuse bags from the municipality.


Paulien cleans up the litter in her neighborhood. (Photo: Almere DEZE WEEK/Dominique Voss)

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Volunteers wanted for children’s camp (page 23)

DE WIERDEN – The De Wierden/De Laren residents’ committee will hold a children’s camp from Thursday 26 to Saturday 28 July, for children who cannot go on holiday. The organization is still looking for volunteers to help with the activities.

There is room for twenty children aged 7 to 12 years. Tents will be erected on the field next to the Meerveldplein. The children’s camp will offer a varied program with sports, games and time to relax. Participation is free of charge. The Kinderkamp is an initiative of Bewonerscommissie De Wierden/De Laren. Volunteers who wish to help with the activities can register at weijde@tip.nl.

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Ageing unemployment benefits group (page 27)

ALMERE – In May the proportion of people over 50 on unemployment benefits in Flevoland increased, reflecting the increasing average age of job-seekers. It is important both for employers and for jobseekers over 50 to look at motivation, interest and competencies.

At the same time, the total number on unemployment benefits has fallen slightly. 217 fewer WW benefits were paid in Flevoland in May, as compared to the end of April. The biggest decreases were visible in the sectors of Construction (-5.7%), Transport and Storage (-4.6%) and Education (-4.6%). In May, the number of WW benefits paid in Flevoland fell slightly, by 217 (-2.5%). This decrease is less pronounced than the national decrease of -4.2% in the month of May. At the end of May 2018, 8,425 unemployment benefits payments were made in Flevoland. The national decline of -22% in unemployment benefits over the past year exceeds the decrease of -18.9% in Flevoland. The Flevoland unemployment benefits percentage (which is the number of benefits recipients as a percentage of  the working population) in May 2018 was 3.8%, slightly higher than the national unemployment percentage of 3.3%. A year ago, the percentage for Flevoland was significantly higher, at 4.8%.

Ageing group

Since the start of 2016 the number of unemployment benefits paid to jobseekers aged 50 and over has steadily decreased in Flevoland, as a result of economic growth and a shrinking labor market. At the end of May this year, a total of 3,860 payments were made to people aged 50+ in Flevoland. As the total number of unemployment benefits decreases, the proportion of people aged 50+ who are receiving benefits is increasing, as is the proportion of older job-seekers in the labor market. The decline in the number of people aged over 50 is less pronounced than the decline in the total number of people entitled to unemployment benefits.  This is due to the fact that people over 50 are less likely to return to work.

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Big flea market at Almere animal shelter (page 27)

BEDRIJVENTERREIN DE VAART – Dierenasiel Almere, the animal shelter at Groene Kadeweg 24, is once again organizing a big flea market.

On Saturday 30 June you’ll find a wide variety of treasures at the market: books, records, household items, toys, tools and clothing. Everything has been donated to the Dierenasiel and is often still new, in its original packaging. There will also be live music and a snack terrace. The proceeds will be used for the accommodation and care of animals at the shelter.

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New Lumièrepark path open from 5 October (page 37)

FILMWIJK – This week the municipality started construction of the new path in the Lumièrepark, as part of the Rondje Weerwater route. From 5 October onwards, the section within the Lumière Park will be ready for public use.

The sand used for pre-loading will be removed and reused at the end of the Lumières beach, for construction of the next part of the path. This will be the future bridge over the Weerwater. In the park a start will be made on the installation of the concrete edging, the blue asphalt of the track and the furniture. New paving will then be laid on the Hospitaalbrug. The track will be used for the triathlon, in September, after which the final work will be carried out.

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Note: All of the above-mentioned articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition June 27, 2018. The summaries  were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.nl

Translations of “Almere Deze Week” edition 20th of June 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 thank Courtesie (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl. The page numbers behind the titles refer to the pages of the newspaper where the articles can be found.

Below you find summaries of 5 articles with the following titles:

  1. 10,000 diseased ash trees cut down
  2. Almere Knakwortel on supermarket shelves soon
  3. Almere is super-safe
  4. Water mayor rows Almere boat
  5. Summer exhibition opens in new Almere Haven photo gallery
  6. Cantatekoor Almere choir hunts singers
  7. New container makes separating glass waste even easier

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10,000 diseased ash trees cut down (page 9)

ALMERE – Some 10,000 ash trees will be removed – and mostly replaced – in Almere, by the end of 2019. The trees will be replaced by various other kinds of trees. The ashes are suffering from ash dieback, in which diseased branches of the ash break off and the tree eventually falls over.

Residents are being informed of the project in various ways. In many cases residents can provide input on the new trees for their street.


Photo: Almere Deze Week

Almere Knakwortel on supermarket shelves soon (Page 7)

ALMERE – Knakwortel (‘carrotwurst’) is a carrot that not only looks like a knackwurst but also tastes like one. This new product from Almere won the Albert Heijn Product Pitch last week. This means that the Knakwortel will be launched in the supermarket chain in the coming weeks.

The idea for the Knakwortel arose when Koen Kaljee and his girlfriend, Valerie Bos, went to a friend’s barbecue. They were asked to bring something. “I had been experimenting with vegetables for some time, because Valerie doesn’t like vegetables and had also decided to become vegetarian”, says Koen Kaljee. “She loved the marinated carrot, cooked sous-vide (in a vacuum) and then briefly fried in a pan or put on the barbecue. Then it goes on a bread roll, with some ketchup or mayonnaise, as if it were a hot dog. At the barbecue everyone seemed to like it”.

Bos and Kaljee, both entrepreneurs, realized that they had to do something with the idea. “When we saw how much people liked it I refined the recipe and the preparation method. In December we set up a separate company for this purpose and in February we found an external producer.”

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Almere is super-safe (page 9)

Recorded crime falls sharply

By Robert Mienstra

ALMERE – Recorded crimes decreased dramatically in Almere in 2017. The number of offences fell by 12 percent from 11,218 to 9,853. The relative number of offences in Almere is low compared to other large cities. This is evident from the municipality’s progress report on security.


Photo: Shutterstock

Prevention

The municipality has initiated a number of projects to tackle domestic burglaries, mugging and heists.

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Water mayor rows Almere boat  (page 15)

ALMERE – The recently-appointed water mayor, Kevin van Drumpt, experienced a baptism of fire on the IJmeer last week. He rowed to the fortified island, Pampus, with the Almere sloop rowers – in a 12-kilometer training session.

The boat-rowing foundation, Sloeproeien Almere, experienced steady growth last year and now also has a women’s team. Their sloop, Labora Stulti, sets out from the Marinahaven on the Gooi and IJmeer five times a week. This year the rowers will enter more, national sloop races than ever before. The crowning entry was the recently-completed HT-Roeirace (the 34 km. Harlingen-Terschelling crossing).


Water mayor Kevin van Drumpt rowed to Pampus with the Almere sloop rowers. (Photo: supplied)

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Summer exhibition opens in new Almere Haven photo gallery (page 23)

HAVEN CENTRUM – A number of photographers are exhibiting new work in the Anita Neve Galerie at Marktstraat 22. This includes work by new talent like Paulien Huizinga, Willem Houtsmuller, Maartje Roos and Nathalie Dekker.

Anita Neve Galerie specializes in accessible fine art photography and offers graduates of the Dutch art and photography academies and other selected talent a place to show their work and gain experience in the gallery world.

The summer exhibition opened on 14 June. The gallery is open from Thursday to Saturday and by appointment. All are welcome. Read more at www.anitanevegalerie.nl


From the photo series, ‘Muurbloem’ (‘wallflower’). (Photo: Nathalie Dekker)

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Cantatekoor Almere choir hunts singers  (page 28)

ALMERE – The Cantatekoor Almere (choir) will perform The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins on 3 February next year, in collaboration with the Almeers Jeugd Symfonie Orkest (Almere youth symphony orchestra). In order to make this concert a great success, Cantatekoor Almere is looking for around 40 new members of all voice types to join the project.

If you want to be part of a large choir performing an extremely special musical work in collaboration with a first class orchestra you can register at info@cantatekooralmere.nl or by phoning 036-5366467. Read more at www.cantatekooralmere.nl.


Choir Cantatekoor Almere. (Photo: supplied)

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New container makes separating glass waste even easier (37)

POORT – The first glass waste container for two different types of glass has been put into use. The container, with two openings, for white transparent glass and other colors, is located at the underground collection depot at the Albert Heijn supermarket at Olivier van Noortstraat 32. The new container makes it even easier for residents to separate their glass waste.

The unveiling of the new bottle bank on Wednesday, 23 May marked the start of the promotional campaign, ‘Glass in ‘t bakkie’ (‘Glass? Sorted!’).

5.5 kg glass waste per person

Almere is well on its way when it comes to separating glass, with 76 percent of its glass collection separated from other waste. This amounts to 17.7 kilos of separated glass per person, per year. However, about five and a half kilos of glass per person per year still disappears into unseparated residual waste bins in Almere. This waste is incinerated, which costs money and is bad for the environment. This is the motivation for separated glass collection, in a glass container that also sorts transparent white and colored glass.

The campaign ‘Glas in ‘t bakkie’ started on Wednesday 23 May at Albert Heijn in Almere Poort. Glass is currently only sorted into white transparent and colored glass. (Photo: supplied)

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Note: All of the above-mentioned articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition June 20, 2018. The summaries  were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.nl

Translations of “Almere Deze Week” edition 13th of June 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 (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl. The page numbers behind the titles refer to the pages of the newspaper where the articles can be found.

Below you find summaries of 5 articles with the following titles:

  1. Communal iftar meal in Turkish mosque
  2. Delays due to work at the Almere interchange
  3. Green oasis in shopping center
  4. Floriade Fietstocht: a bicycle tour of green initiatives
  5. New school building for Poort school

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Communal iftar meal in Turkish mosque (page 51)

MUZIEKWIJK – An iftar was held at the Turkish mosque at Lierstraat 9 on Sunday, 10 June.

The iftar brought Muslims and non-Muslims together to enjoy this evening meal. During Ramadan Muslims fast during the day, not eating or drinking anything between sunrise and sunset, for a month. Life is dominated by self-reflection and reflection at a spiritual level.

At sunset, family and acquaintances visit each other and eat iftar together. However, on a number of occasions during Ramadan, this custom is extended to a larger gathering where everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim, is welcome to join in the meal.

The aim is to promote informal social contact. Conversation during the dinner can be both instructive and enjoyable. All this to promote mutual contact – and tolerance, respect and understanding of each other’s cultures.

The end of Ramadan is celebrated with the Sugar Festival, this year from Thursday 14 June to Friday 15 June.

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Delays due to work at the Almere interchange (page 51)

ALMERE – Parkway6 will work on the Almere interchange during several weekends in June. The interchange will be connected to new lanes on the A6 between Almere Havendreef and  Almere Buiten-Oost. As a result, the junction will be partially closed during these weekends. Traffic should take into account diversions and delays.

New traffic situation

From Monday 2 July at 05:00 a new traffic situation will apply on the north side of the Almere interchange. Traffic from Lelystad to the A27 will have to keep to the left instead of the right. Traffic from Lelystad in the direction of Almere and Amsterdam will have to exit to the right and will bypass the junction. This traffic will be using the future, parallel lane. This is a temporary situation.


New situation at the Almere interchange. (Photo: Rijkswaterstaat)

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Green oasis in shopping center (page 55)

STAD CENTRUM – Those looking for a tranquil spot while shopping can take a seat on one of the benches in the ‘garden’ of gardener Rob Verlinden. The Rob Verlinden Plein (square), a partitioned-off area planted with green shrubs and containing two park benches, can be found on the Diagonaal. It’s a literal example of bringing green into the city.

The garden was created to mark the fact that Verlinden, known from the SBS6 program ‘Robs Grote Tuinverbouwing’, has been in the business for more than thirty years. At the end of last month he received a medal of honor from Mayor Franc Weerwind for his work, during the recording of the anniversary broadcast of Robs Grote Tuinverbouwing,

Rob Verlinden is a textbook example of someone with many years of commitment as an ambassador for Almere. He has used the impact and reach of his television programs to put Almere on the map in a positive light – as a special, green city. Rob Verlinden has lived in Almere since 1995.

Floriade festival

The Rob Verlinden Plein will remain until after the Floriade Festival, which is held in the center of the city on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 June. The theme of this festival is ‘Food’, which is also one of the themes for the Floriade Almere 2022. There will be special things to see, discover and, of course, taste at various locations on the Floriade grounds. The event is a perfect day out for young and old.


Taking a break from shopping – at Rob Verlinden Plein. (Photo: Almere DEZE WEEK)

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Floriade Fietstocht: a bicycle tour of green initiatives (page 55)

ALMERE – On Saturday 16 June FRTC Almere will hold a new cycling event, the Floriade Fietstocht (cycling tour), together with the municipal Floriade organization.

The Floriade Fietstocht consists of three routes. Recreational cyclists on city bikes or e-bikes can choose between a 7 kilometer route (‘Rondje Weerwater’) or a 25 kilometer route (with stops at various green initiatives in the city). For the sporting cyclist there is an attractive 100 kilometer route, with surprising stops in Amsterdam Zuidoost and in the Gooi and Vecht region. At these stops there will be more information about the future of food and about surprising, local green areas. The tour, for racing bikes, starts between 09:00 and 10:00 from the Floriade pavilion on the Sturmeyweg. The Floriade pavilion also marks the end of the route.

Sign up via the Fiets, Race & Toer Club Almere Facebook page. Participation is free!

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New school building for Poort school, part of Het Baken school foundation (page 5)

POORT – The first pile has been driven for the new school building for Poort, a school for junior (‘mavo’) and senior (‘havo’) general secondary education and part of Het Baken schools group.  This festive event took place in the presence of the councilor for Education, the architect, the construction company as well as the director, various employees, a parent and a pupil of Het Baken.

The event was festively presented and the formalities were performed by a parent, a pupil and school staff member. This symbolized the collaboration between parents, pupils and employees of the school and is also reflected in the triangular shape of the new school building.

The new building is located immediately next to the Topsportcentrum in the Olympiakwartier in Almere Poort and can accommodate around eight hundred students. Poort is a school for junior and senior general secondary education. Pupils are taught at senior level as most of them will go to universities for applied sciences. This school for junior and senior general secondary education is characterized by its small scale. Together with Stad College, Park Lyceum, Trinitas Gymnasium and Almere International School, it forms part of school group foundation, Het Baken Almere. At the moment the Poort school is located at Slowakijehof in Almere Poort.

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Note: All of the above-mentioned articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition June 13, 2018. The summaries  were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.nl

Translations of “Almere Deze Week” edition 6th of June 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 (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl. The page numbers behind the titles refer to the pages of the newspaper where the articles can be found.

Below you find summaries of 5 articles with the following titles:

  1. Big terrace for restaurant Loetje
  2. Almere low on culture index list
  3. An Almere museum with international allure?
  4. Almere DIT WEEKEND, in your post box this September
  5. Collecting to save insects

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Big terrace for restaurant Loetje at Martineztoren – opening this year (page 7)

By Marcel Beijer

The news that restaurant Loetje is opening in Almere is the best-read article on the websites of Almere DEZE WEEK and Almere Zaken in the year to date. The famous establishment will be located on the ground floor of the Martineztoren, which is currently being renovated. The doors will open at the end of October/beginning of November.

Restaurant Loetje will occupy 840 square meters in the seven-meter-high former office lobby, which will be fitted with a mezzanine floor as part of the re-development. Outside will be a partly-covered terrace of 250 square meters. The entrance to the Martineztoren itself will be on the WTC side, as will be the lobby of the Plaza Best Western. This four-star hotel will have 220 rooms. “The first fifty rooms will be completed by the end of October”, says managing director Hugo van Woerden, asset manager and developer of the DutchRE project. “The rest of the hotel rooms and the restaurant will be completed in November. Delivery of the 142 short-stay rooms is scheduled for January 2019. These will be hotel rooms with a kitchenette, for people staying in Almere for a few weeks to a few months.”

The Martineztoren (originally developed as an office complex) will house a hotel and restaurant Loetje. (Photo: Almere DEZE WEEK)

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Almere low on culture index list (page 5)
By Hestia Ruben and Robert Mienstra

ALMERE – After Nissewaard, Almere scores worst of the fifty largest municipalities in the Netherlands in terms of culture. Last Wednesday, the 2018 Atlas for municipalities was published, with culture as its theme. Almere is not doing very well in this area, ranking 49th among fifty large cities.

Nissewaard, a municipality in Zuid-Holland with less than half the population of Almere (which is over 85,000), is at the bottom of the list in 50th place. Almere, at 49, is below Lelystad (48). Amsterdam tops the cultural index, followed by Maastricht (2), Leeuwarden (3), Utrecht (4) and Delft (5).

Art organizations: ‘Almere is definitely on the cultural map’.

On 21 April of this year Corrosia, BonteHond, Suburbia, Vis à Vis and KAF met with the coalition parties to discuss what needs to be done from a political point of view in order to promote culture in Almere. The organizations want more money and also asked for a multi-year municipal plan for culture. And they want a Head of Culture at the town hall.

Nevertheless, Almere’s cultural organizations felt that Almere’s culture was not in too bad a state. According to a statement made at the meeting: “Almere is a national pioneer in cultural education. Culturally it is the most progressive city in the Netherlands. We set an example at national level – and Almere is also on the international cultural map. This is recognized outside Almere, but not from within.”

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Old masters and other art treasures (page 1) 

An Almere museum with international allure?

By Marcel Beijer

An idea presented last year to establish a ‘museum of museums’ in Almere will be resubmitted after consultation with officials of the municipality of Almere. The museum should become the focus of a now multifunctional project to be erected on the so-called Majestic site, behind Almere Centrum Station, adjacent to the WTC and the Martineztoren.

Tower

Following the official consultation, in which it was stated that the municipality would like to focus on creating employment in developing the station area, the plan for the site now includes a tower with commercial space on the ground and first floors and residential units from the 2nd floor up. The tower will be pierced, at a height of approximately 25 meters, by a rectangular ‘shoe box’ in which the museum will be housed. “We are thinking of a museum containing the work of well-known artists, now stored in the archives of eight large museums”, says Hugo van Woerden of DutchRE. “Museums such as the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk and Van Gogh have numerous works archived. These cannot be seen by the public, simply because there is no room to display them. The intention is to get these works out of the cellars and give them a place in Almere. So you get a ‘museum of museums’.”

‘Best of’ museum

The ‘shoebox’ in the residential tower has an area of 3,500 square meters. Van Woerden: “This will be a extremely interesting museum, because the collection will actually be a ‘best of’. From old masters to modern art – and the Film Museum. Anything but boring. It’s also a formula that fits a young city like Almere well. In addition, the architectural concept of the building is internationally unique. We expect a lot of visitors for this reason alone.”

An artist’s impression of the tower, with the ‘shoebox’ museum. (Photo: supplied)

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Almere DIT WEEKEND, in your post box this September  (page 1)

ALMERE – As of September the city will have a second newspaper: Almere DIT WEEKEND. The first three letters, ADW, are not coincidental. Almere DEZE WEEK will publish this second paper, every Friday.

The Tuesday newspaper, Almere DEZE WEEK, remains unchanged as the paper for news, with background stories, interviews, homes, sports and politics.

Almere DIT WEEKEND will offer lighter reading and focus mainly on the weekend.

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Collecting to save insects (page 5)

ALMERE – Thousands of volunteers from Natuurmonumenten (the natural heritage organization) will be collecting donations as of Monday, 11 June. This year the theme of the collection drive is insects.

The number of insects is decreasing dramatically. This is serious, as insects are crucial in almost every ecosystem. Natuurmonumenten is calling on everyone in the Netherlands to join the fight for insects. Natuurmonumenten is also taking further measures to improve the insects’ environment. Examples of this are a greater diversity of flowers in natural areas, more variety in the landscape and insect-friendly mowing management.

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Note: All of the above-mentioned articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition June 6, 2018. The summaries  were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.nl

Translations of “Almere Deze Week” edition 30 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 (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl. The page numbers behind the titles refer to the pages of the newspaper where the articles can be found.

Below you find summaries of 4 articles with the following titles:

  1. Formulating new coalition a major task
  2. ‘Lelystad Airport Businesspark a boost for Almere’
  3. Used clothing market for East Romania
  4. Kevin van Drumpt is the water mayor of Almere

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Formulating new coalition a major task (page 1)

By Robert Mienstra

Coalition has been achieved in the municipal council. The councilors are from the VVD, PvdA, D66, GroenLinks and Christian Union political parties. The agreement is almost complete. It took a long time, “But it was also a big job”, says Hilde van Garderen, the VVD negotiator.


A satisfied Hilde van Garderen re-reads the coalition agreement. (Photo: Almere Deze Week)

She looks back on the preceding period and, above all, at the coming period. “We were easily able to agree on the principles of collegiality in the council and on more involvement of the city itself in the management process.

“Maintenance is in arrears, which is why we are now investing ten million in maintenance on an incidental basis, followed by 1.6 million a year on a structural basis. Because we live in a green city, the city is also expensive to maintain. However, once we have the city in order, it will also become more attractive for residents and entrepreneurs. Fortunately, because things are now improving financially, we are able to invest in this. And we’re going to ask residents and businesses what they regard as important in their neighborhood.”

Culture is expressly mentioned in the coalition agreement. “Culture must, above all, connect residents”, says Van Garderen. “We need to be at the forefront, both regionally and nationally. Suburbia, Vis-a-Vis and the Bonte Hond must be supported in this. We will draw up a multi-year cultural plan which connects with Almere City Marketing, residents and the economy. Culture must be given a more prominent place in our city.”


The new municipal board is committed to a collegial approach.  L. to r. Jan Hoek (GroenLinks), Jerzy Soetekouw (PvdA), Jaap Lodders (VVD), Maaike Veeningen (D66), Aldrik Dijkstra (Christian Union), Hilde van Garderen (VVD) and Tjeerd Herrema (PvdA). (Photo: Almere Deze Week)

The agreement does not deal with education as much as before. “Education is primarily the responsibility of the school boards; the municipality is party to the discussion. The education system is sounding the alarm regarding the shortage of teachers. Together with the schools, we want to draw up an action plan to facilitate accommodation, develop schemes for lateral entrants and for local teachers’ study bursaries. Much investment in education has been on impulse in the recent period. And that’s not money we’ll be getting back.”

Sustainability

There is a long paragraph on this subject in the coalition agreement. “Sustainability is part of all councilor portfolios”, explains Van Garderen. “We need to be energy-neutral and gas-free; the city needs to be climate-proof and waste-free. There will be a sustainability agenda for this. And a new office will be set up where residents can obtain information about how they can address and finance sustainable measures. A climate fund will be set up, so that new investments can be made in the city using the proceeds of sustainability, and a Climate Knowledge Centre will be set up.”

Ambitious

The coalition agreement looks ambitious. It will bring the council closer to the city, as stated in the agreement, and the city closer to city hall. “We are going to experiment with co-decision-making, neighborhood conferences, youth councils and residents’ platforms”, says Van Garderen. “We want a different management and organizational structure, one that is more collegial and collaborative.

“I hope to be able to walk through Almere in four years’ time and actually see the results of our policy. I want to have the feeling of, ‘Wow, that’s what we managed to do, together, in Almere.”

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Amsterdam – Almere – Lelystad: a prime location area for logistics companies

‘Lelystad Airport Businesspark a boost for Almere’ (page 7)

by Robert Mienstra

The dramatic development of Lelystad Airport Businesspark (LAB) is having a major impact on Almere. “And certainly also for the entire region of Amsterdam – Almere – Lelystad – Zeewolde”, says Rob Verhoeff, Director of the airport development company, Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij Airport Lelystad Almere (OMALA). “The establishment of the massive distribution center for fashion giant Inditex at Lelystad Airport Businesspark, will boost employment in the region and certainly also in Almere.”


Rob Verhoeff (photo: Almere Deze Week)

Employment

Many Almere residents will also soon be able to find work at Inditex. “The company will open in spring 2019 and there will then be a demand for more than 400 employees. Furthermore, the international development of Lelystad Airport Businesspark will have a major impact on the region. The location of Inditex in this business park is already being mentioned by Almere in its marketing to recruit new businesses to the city. I expect that more logistics companies will soon locate on our sites as well as in the rest of the polder, and certainly in Almere. Elsewhere in the Netherlands there’s no space any more, nor any staff. Here in Flevoland we have all that on offer.
Lelystad Airport from above (photo Almere Deze Week)

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 Used clothing market for East Romania (page 25)

INDISCHE BUURT – A large clothing fair will be held on Saturday 2 June from 12:00 to 16:00 in the De Wegwijzer building at Makassarweg 80. Hundreds of unused and hardly used garments will be sold for bargain prices.

In addition to clothing there will also be accessories, such as belts, shoes and handbags. The proceeds are for charity work among children in East Romania. Payment can be made by bank debit card. Everyone is welcome and admission is free. For more information contact Paul Wolters, tel. 06-21967610, or visit www.missiegura.nl.

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Kevin van Drumpt is the water mayor of Almere (page 40)

ALMERE – Almere’s very first water mayor was elected last week. Kevin van Drumpt, 31, will be this year’s ambassador for Almere’s waters.

Van Drumpt runs three businesses on or near the water. He was chosen by the jury because of his plans as water mayor – and because he managed to win almost a third of the public vote.


Kevin van Drumpt (Photo: Sven Kraaijenbrink)

“Sailing in Almere is both dream and a secret. Almere is still a long way from being discovered. And I would like to take on this task, as water mayor”, says Van Drumpt.

In cooperation with initiators of the Almere Economic Development Board, he plans to organize events and meetings to involve citizens, entrepreneurs and the municipality more closely with each other – on the subject of water.

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Note: All of the above-mentioned articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition May 30, 2018. The summaries  were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.nl

Translations of “Almere Deze Week” edition 23 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 (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl. 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. Almere business substantially more positive about the business climate (page 3)
  2. Businesses offer help in response to Almeerse Uitdaging(page 7)
  3. Expats discover Almere (page 19)
  4. Iftar for all – in Almere (page 27)
  5. Regional water authorityZuiderzeeland seeks best solution for water-logged gardens (page 32)
  6. Voluntary work at VLA (page 37)
  7. Discover Almere by bicycle! (page 43)

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Almere business substantially more positive about the business climate (page 3)

In recent years Almere’s entrepreneurs have become considerably more positive about the business climate in the city. The average rating in 2018 was 7, while in 2016 it was 5.9. This from the municipality’s second Business Survey.

Service Provision

The score for services provided by the municipality also improved. The majority of respondents (60%) rated the municipality between 7 and 9. Of these services, entrepreneurs especially valuedOndernemersplein(help for entrepreneurs) and the accessibility and empathy of account managers as positive, with a score of 6.9 (in 2016 this was 6.6).

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Businesses offer help in response to Almeerse Uitdaging (page 7)

The Almeerse Uitdaging (Almere challenge) has been in operation for a number of months and is achieving its first successes. The Almere Challenge is a business network that challenges businesses to be socially involved.


It was a top-evening at Vis à Vis (photo: Anna van Kooij)

More than a hundred of the four hundred entry tickets offered by Vis à Vis to their performance, with dinner (produced by Voiceworks), have already been used. They were distributed via the VoedselLoket Almere (VLA), the Salvation Army and Kwintes. More than a hundred people who would not otherwise have been able to do so, have now been able to enjoy a great evening.

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Expats discover Almere (page 19)

 ALMERE – Expats, who mostly work in and around Amsterdam, are increasingly discovering Almere. They consider the city pleasant and safe. Which is why they increasingly feel the need to settle in Almere.

Expat Mortgages, a mortgage consultancy firm with 35 employees that works especially for expats and originated in Amsterdam, has designated Almere as a promising growth area.


Henk Jansen in conversation with potential new residents of Almere. (Photo: supplied)

In addition to those for The Hague, Haarlem/Hoofddorp, Utrecht and Eindhoven, the company appointed an advisor specifically for the Almere area in 2018. Expat Mortgages is characterized by the fact that all its communication is in English. Mortgage quotations are translated, reports and calculations are made in English and all clients are accompanied when visiting a notary (in Almere often PVM or Heldoorn Eggels).

Busier

Well-educated international employees, often with a good positions in large companies, spend a large part of their money and leisure time in the local environment. As a result shops sell more, cafes and restaurants are fuller and sports and cultural facilities are more visited and used. The original, local residents also get the opportunity to become acquainted with interesting cultures, like those of Asia, Latin America and Australia.

Expat Mortgages always seeks cooperation with local parties. Real estate agents, notaries, interpreters, valuers, builders and home decorators who are prepared to communicate with clients in English can count on a profitable collaboration with Expat Mortgages. Expat Mortgages has also concluded a sponsorship agreement with International Almere (www.internationalalmere.com).

Challenge

“Because Expats often have little or no command of the Dutch language, we do everything in English”, says Henk Jansen from Expat Mortgages. “It’s not that expats can’t speak Dutch, many of our clients are taking Dutch language and culture courses, but for important documents such as contracts and quotations it is convenient to use English.

This is perhaps the challenge for the local entrepreneur in Almere. If one is prepared to adapt to these new customers, one will probably benefit from the many opportunities they bring. For more information please go to www.expatmortgages.nl

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Iftar for all – in Almere (page 27)

INDISCHE BUURT – This year Zahide Gürbüz Uçurum will again organize Iftar for Almere residents. On Friday 25 May from 20.00 to 23.00 hours the fast will be broken in mixed company as invitees enjoy a buffet.


Iftar will be in the form of a buffet. (Photo: supplied)

During the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan the fast is broken at Iftar every day, after sunset. This is a shared meal, with which Muslims all over the world break their fast, together with family and friends. The Almere Iftar will take place at TMG Partycentrum at Sumatraweg 22 in Almere Buiten.

Uçurum’s aim is to bring together everyone, regardless of background, origin, religion or culture.

For more information visit Facebook.com/SamenFijn

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Regional water authorityZuiderzeeland seeks best solution for water-logged gardens (page 32)

ALMERE – Waterschap (water authority) Zuiderzeeland is hunting the best plan to prevent flooding in domestic gardens after extreme rainfall. It has organized a competition for this purpose. The person with the best solution will win an Intratuin gift voucher worth 500 euros in order to implement the winning plan.

Ideas for combating excessive water in private gardens can be submitted before 31 May via the entry form available at www.zuiderzeeland.nl/formulierprijsvraag

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Voluntary work at VLA (page 37)

VLA (Voedsel Loket Almere – ‘the food counter’) is grateful for its volunteers. Otherwise there would be no VLA! People volunteer to work for VLA for many reasons. Often to contribute to the community and support the fight against poverty.

It has recently also been increasingly possible to find a suitable place in the organization for (former) clients. This helps them to return to normal life, while helping the VLA to help new customers who are still in the pipeline.

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Discover Almere by bicycle! (page 43)

May is the best month for cycling. Get on your bike and discover the nicest parts of Almere!

The ultimate cycling guide! The new ultimate cycling guide (Ultieme Fietsgids Almere) is all the inspiration you’ll need. More information: www.vvvalmere.nl/fietsen

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Note: All of the above-mentioned articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition May 23, 2018. The summaries  were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.nl

Translations of “Almere Deze Week” edition 16 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 (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl. 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. Almere City FC makes play-off final (page 1 and 34)
  2. Four-year project delivers key to reducing loneliness (page 5)
  3. Join the Almere City Run for the Kanjer Wens foundation (page 9)
  4. City center shops open on Whit Monday (page 23)
  5. Spectacular events at the fifth national safety day (page 17)
  6. Whitsunday Outdoor Event at SEC Survivals (page 29)
  7. Construction started on second part of Buitenhoutviaduct (page 45)

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Almere City FC makes play-off final

This week Almere City FC will compete in the play-off final for a place in the Dutch premier division. Their opponent is De Graafschap.

Almere City will compete next week (Thursday 17 May and Sunday 20 May) with De Graafschap for a position in the premier division.

(note from International Almere: the result of Thursday 17 May was 1-1.)

(Photo: Ron Baltus)

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Four-year project delivers key to reducing loneliness.

ALMERE – A four year project, Eensaamheid Samenwerking (working together on loneliness), has come to an end. It has shown that there is an increase in the number of lonely people in Flevoland. And that one of the solutions is more collaboration.

“In the beginning little was known about loneliness”, says Flevoland deputy, Harold Hofstra. “But we’ve learned a lot from each other in the last four years. There is more insight, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Collaboration turns out to be the key to reducing loneliness. And loneliness is now on the agenda of municipalities and central government. It is time to get down to work – together. To investigate, together with partners and professionals, how we can make our society more robust.”

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Join the Almere City Run for the Kanjer Wens foundation

STAD CENTRUM – De Almere City Run will take place on Sunday, 10 June. It’s a unique run, through the center of Almere. And with five different distances, there’s a course and distance to suit all runners. The Kids run is 1.8 km and there are also distances of 5 km, 10 km, 15 km and 21 km.

By participating in the Almere City Run runners can set up their own sponsorships to raise money for Stichting Kanjer Wens. This young, non-profit organization is involved in fulfilling the wishes of (seriously) ill children. The Kanjer Wish Days help the children escape their illness for a day, which they can enjoy with their families.

For more information visit kanjerwens.nl/over-almere-city-run/

(photo: Almere Deze Week)

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City center shops open on Whit Monday

STAD CENTRUM – The shops in the center of Almere Stad are open on Whit Monday. Shoppers are welcome on Monday 21 May, between 12.00 and 17.00. Children can be photographed with Cartoon Network stars Tweety and Bugs Bunny at the Forum.

“Following the successful opening on Easter Monday, all shops in the center are now also open on Whit Monday”, says Martin Ort, director of the Almere Centrum Business Association. “We noticed that more and more people came to visit the center on Whit Monday and that more businesses were opening on that day. Which is why the entire shopping area will be open this year, for the first time. It’s a service that’s in line with the ‘Best Inner City’, a title we can use for the coming two years.”

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Spectacular events at the fifth national safety day  

STAD CENTRUM – The national safety day (Landelijke Veiligheidsdag) will be held in Almere for the fifth time. On Saturday, May 26, various emergency services will be demonstrating what their work is all about. Visitors will not only find out what the emergency services do, but will also receive tips on what they themselves should do in emergencies, and how to prevent them happening.

The national safety day will take place between 10.00 and 17.00 hours. At 13.00 hours the official opening will take place, with a sensational display by the joint emergency services on the Weerwater. This will be a thrilling, re-enacted scenario in which a drug boat explodes and two criminals try to escape, the public will get a good impression of the challenging work of emergency services.

For information on the activities at the Forum, Grote Markt, Schipperplein, Stationsplein and Brouwerstraat, please visit www.veiligheidsdag.nl.

Last year, emergency services gave a joint demonstration at the Stadhuisplein, showing how they react in the event of an accident.  (Archive photo: Fred Rotgans)

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Whitsunday Outdoor Event at SEC Survivals

ALMERE – There will be a Whitsun (Pinkster) Outdoor Event On Whitsunday (Sunday 20 May) at Outdoorpark SEC Survivals, Verlaatweg 2, near the Waterlandsebos. This is a celebration full of outdoor activities for young and old, with delicious food and drink and with entertainment and tastings adding to the fun.

The wide range of activities includes archery, canoeing, water trampoline, a laser game, crossbow and air gun shooting (over 18 years), farmers’ miniature golf, twister, rafting, walking on water in a transparent ball, a bungee run, an obstacle run, shooting with a giant catapult and much more. Children can also learn how to make a fire and how to make their own bow.

Lots to eat

All terraces will be open and the extensive lawns can also be used to relax. The kitchen will be open all day, but you can also bring your own picnic basket. From around 17.00 hours the barbecue fires will be burning. These are free to use for preparing your own food. Or you can select from the food prepared by one of the chefs.

Free activities

Entrance is 7,50 euros per person, after which visitors can participate in as many activities as they wish. The activities are available all day long, at no cost. Entry for children up to 3 years old is free of charge.

The event is open from 12.30 to 19.30 hours. For more information and to make a reservation, please visit www.sec-survivals.nl/pinksteren.

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Construction started on second part of Buitenhoutviaduct

Following demolition of the Buitenhoutviaduct (a viaduct over the Tussenring) at the end of April the contractor, Parkway6, started construction of the second new section last week. The construction requires pile-driving and vibratory sheet piling. This may cause inconvenience.

Work will be carried out at night, between 20.00 and 05.00 hours, with the exception of weekends and public holidays. Since work is being carried out close to the A6 motorway, it will be necessary to close a lane to ensure the safety of employees and road users. In order to limit traffic disruption as much as possible, the lane will only be closed at night. The aim is to work as safely as possible, with minimum traffic disruption and noise. Unfortunately, this is not always possible.

(photo: Almere Deze Week)

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Note: All of the above-mentioned articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition May 16, 2018. The summaries  were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.nl

International Almere welcomes Expat Mortgages

PRESS RELEASE

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.

www.expatmortgages.nl
www.internationalalmere.com

 

Translations of “Almere Deze Week” edition 9 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 an interview with one of our International Almere members, Luciana Fonseca, and summaries of 3 articles of this week’s edition translated into English for the community of International Almere. They have been translated with the permission of the editors of “Almere Deze Week”. The board of international Almere wishes to hank Courtesie (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl.

This week we present you the following titles:

  1. Luciana Fonseca – a professional expat in Almere
  2. Productive work behind bars
  3. A free meal for the less fortunate, with Buitengewoon Almere
  4. Almere’s Rebecca Belmer unveils new Solar Boat 2018

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Luciana Fonseca – a professional expat in Almere

By Robert Mienstra

ALMERE – Luciana and her family have lived in Almere for six months. She is getting used to her new life in the Netherlands. She already reads Dutch well. And is also learning to speak the language. After a lengthy period of international wandering, Luciana Fonseca exchanged Brazil for Almere. “Here we do not, at all, have the feeling of insecurity which we had in São Paulo.” Luciana Fonseca continues, “My experience as an expat was very useful in Almere”.


Luciana Fonseca: “My experience as an expat was very useful in Almere.”
(Photo: Almere DEZE WEEK)

Professional expats

Fonseca calls her family ‘professional expats’. “We have lived and worked in Brazil, America, Australia, Spain and England, where I met my husband. And now we’re in the Netherlands, in Almere. My husband works for an international group in Amsterdam. The most important thing is to learn the language immediately, in order to be able to integrate properly. I am now taking language lessons at the ROC in Muziekwijk. And our daughter of thirteen is at the International School in Poort. The school was the reason that we came to Almere. The schools in Amsterdam were expensive, and full. So for us, Utrecht and Almere remained as places to live. The choice fell on Almere, because houses here are simply cheaper and because our daughter could seamlessly continue her studies at the International School.

Safety

For Fonseca, the big difference between São Paulo and Almere is, above all, the feeling of security. “In Brazil, everyone is just busy surviving, and that includes surviving robberies and crime. We lived in constant fear that our daughter would be kidnapped. It is so different in Almere. She can go to school by bike, or to the center, or go out with friends – without us having to worry.” Fonseca likes Almere very much. “The space, the nice houses, the architecture, the friendly people, the short distance to Amsterdam – it all makes this a pleasant place to live.” And a couple of other things really strike Fonseca as different, “The district heating – it’s good for the environment. And… the water! It tastes so good here. We haven’t experienced this anywhere else.”

Library

Fonseca’s experience as an expat came in handy. “When I decided to learn the language, I went straight to the library. Wherever I have lived, that’s always the place to get good information. And that goes for Almere too. Via the library I ended up at the ROC.” She also benefits greatly from her membership of the International Almere association. “I go to the Friday Night Drinks in Café op 2, where we talk English to each other. And in the Dutch Language Café at International Almere we only speak Dutch to each other. If I want information it’s easy to get via the International Almere website and Facebook page. My daughter wanted to join a choir… we found one via International Almere.”

Humor

Fonseca still wants to say more about the people of Almere. “They are very nice and very open people, but not as easy to understand as I thought. I often don’t understand the humor here – it’s usually black humor. When someone falls here, they laugh first, and only then do they help. In Australia, it’s exactly the other way around. But don’t misunderstand me, I know that this has to do with culture and also with language. I still have to learn to understand it.”

Fonseca was originally a photographic designer. “And in Australia I taught English. Now I am setting up my own, online business. So if we move to another country again, I can take my online company with me. But that is not yet the case. It suits us well here. First of all, my daughter must get her diploma. The International School was the reason to come and live here. She likes it very much, and so do we.”

Luciana can be followed online on YouTube, Facebook and blog. Search term: Lugoesdutch. Association for Expats in Almere: www.internationalalmere.com

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Productive work behind bars

By Marcel Beijer

DE VAART – There’s work going on at the Almere penitentiary. During their stay, the 300 or so detainees can choose to work in one of nine work rooms. Everything is aimed at ensuring that detainees’ return to society is optimized, via a reintegration process. This is based on the five areas in which many problems are experienced – identity, housing, income, healthcare and debt. If these are identified, targeted help can be offered and the chance that the problems will repeat is much smaller.

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A free meal for the less fortunate, with Buitengewoon Almere

By Hestia Ruben

ALMERE – Food surpluses are being processed into healthy meals and distributed to the less privileged – people on a low income. Buitengewoon Almere, which started with an alliance of five partners, served its first meal at the Salvation Army in Almere Buiten in September, 2017. In the meantime, 35 coalition partners have joined the project and it is also active in Stad and Haven.


Millicent Schepman at work in the kitchen of “Hand in Hand 4all” in “de Bloemenbuurt”. (Photo: Fred Rotgans)

Almere has around 12,000, registered, minimum-income households. These are people with such a low income that they find it difficult to put a healthy meal on the table every day.

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Almere’s Rebecca Belmer unveils new Solar Boat 2018

ALMERE – On Thursday, 5 April, the TU Delft Solar Boat Team unveiled its latest solar-powered hydrofoil, at its partner, Bayards. Almere student Rebecca Belmer unveiled the boat.

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Note: All of the above-mentioned articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition May 9, 2018. They were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.nl

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 (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl. 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

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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)

Livestream

The commemoration can be followed via livestream at the Grote Markt and also in your living room. A link can be found at www.4en5meialmere.nl

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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 www.wijkmonitoralmere.nl. Nearly 26,000 Almere residents aged 15 and over were invited to fill in the questionnaire and 8,029 responded.

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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 www.staatsbosbeheer.nl/hondenalmere

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

 (Photo: Almere Deze Week)

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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 www.almerecentrum.nl  for a complete overview of performances and activities on 4th and 5th May.

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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)

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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 www.courtesie.nl

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 (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl. 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)

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‘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.”

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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 www.shrivishnumandir.nl or call 036-5217600.

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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 Vastgoedmarkt.nl 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.

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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.

Noorderplassenstrand

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.

Almeerderstrand

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.

Stedenwijkstrand

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

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

Fantasiestrand

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 www.vvvalmere.nl

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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 almere.nl/koningsdag.

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.

Music

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 platform.nl/kringloopwinkels-flevoland. Empty packaging and other waste can be placed in the containers at the free markets.

More information: almere.nl /koningsdag.

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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 www.modderrun.nl .

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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.

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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

http://www.internationalalmere.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Logo-Courtesie.png

 

Special Dutch Days – King’s Day, Dodenherdenking and Bevrijdingsdag

At the end of April and the beginning of May three typical Dutch events take place every year. I noticed that these events often raise questions to internationals living in the Netherlands. If properly explained, internationals can more easily relate to the Dutch behavior during these days. Understanding the customs and rituals also helps to emotionally connect with the Dutch during these days and take part in the celebrations. I therefore will try to bring some clarity on the meaning of these events to the Dutch and  explain some of the customs, habits and rituals that can be seen during these events.

Continue reading Special Dutch Days – King’s Day, Dodenherdenking and Bevrijdingsdag

Translations of “Almere Deze Week” edition 18 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 (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl . The page numbers behind the titles refer to the pages of the newspaper where the articles can be found.

Below you find 10 articles with the following titles:

  1. Beautiful Regenboogbuurt cherry blossoms attract tourists (page 3)
  2. Plan to ‘roof’ A6 with solar panels (page 5)
  3. Another place for LGBT youth in Almere (page 7)
  4. Oostvaardersplassen sets political market agenda (page 7)
  5. ‘The sum of minorities is a majority: that is democracy.’ (page 9)
  6. Electric city buses fit green and healthy city (page 12)
  7. Help fight giant hogweed (page 23)
  8. Almere Kaylee (15) in The Voice Kids final (page 27)
  9. Bright ideas hub’ will generate interest in science and technology. (page 29)
  10. Aeres University of Applied Sciences signs collaboration with Chinese university (page 33)

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Beautiful Regenboogbuurt cherry blossoms attract tourists (page 3)

REGENBOOGBUURT – The blossoming Japanese cherry trees along the Spectrumdreef are proving to be particularly photogenic at the moment. Last week countless (amateur) photographers seized the opportunity to shoot pictures along the seven hundred meter long footpath under the trees.

There were posing photo models, children in tiny bridal dresses and even many horse riders, posing with their horses under the blossoms. According to local residents, the blossom path was used as a location by countless horse photographers last week. A photographer from Delft said that news of the blossom path communicates through the equestrian world like wildfire. Photographers even come to Almere from across the national borders. The cherry blossom path also gains popularity from being so easily visible. Japanese cherry trees are also located elsewhere Almere, such as along the Strawinskypad in Muziekwijk. Those wanting to be immortalized among the cherry trees on film must be quick however, as the blossoms are already starting to fall.

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Plan to ‘roof’ A6 with solar panels (page 5)

Double-layer open-grade asphalt coming

By Robert Mienstra

ALMERE – “A plan has been submitted to partially cover the A6 with solar panels”, said Remko Schnieders, Municipal Floriade Program Director, during last Thursday’s Political Market. “There is a limitation – it must not become a tunnel.”

The political parties were considering a proposal from the council to install the double-layer asphalt (ZOAB) on part of the A6 near the Floriade and Filmwijk districts. The ZOAB must be ordered before May 1st, otherwise it will only be laid in 2025.

The ZOAB must be installed, otherwise there will be too much noise from the A6 in the Floriade district and Filmwijk. There are also plans to raise the land along the A6 before the noise barrier is erected. “The market party that will build the district is already in sight’, said Schnieders.

Research

The idea of a soundproofing system using solar panels was well received by the council. Schnieders briefly showed a picture of the project,  “But that’s not how it will be, because a tunnel is not an option”. Meanwhile, this newspaper has been able to trace other photos of the project. “There are too many regulations and safety aspects attached to a tunnel”, says Schnieders. D66, the VVD and GroenLinks were charmed by the solar panel plan. “It certainly deserves further investigation.”

Diffractors

It seems that the council will agree to make EUR 3.4 million available from the double-layer ZOAB budget. Consideration is also being given to installing diffractors along the A6 motorway. “They will reflect the sound. This will benefit the Floriade, Filmwijk and Haven districts”, says Schnieders. It is not yet known what the cost of the noise protection measure will be. Here too, market players will have to get financially involved. The council will further discuss noise protection measures for the A6 motorway at the coming Political Market.

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Another place for LGBT youth in Almere (page 7)

By Hestia Ruben

ALMERE –  The Diversity group for Lesbian, gay, bi and transgender (LGBT) and ‘open minded’ young people has been open for a month. This weekly, walk-in evening organized by the youth support organization of the De Schoor foundation is for young people aged 12 to 27 who want to talk about their sexual orientation and ‘getting out of the closet’, in a relaxed environment.

In the lead-up to setting up these evenings, youth workers Suleika El Mhassani and Linda de Vries had discussions with many organizations and schools. Is there a need for it? Is there already something similar in Almere for young LGBT people? Suleika: “There wasn’t. We now have a WhatsApp group of about eighteen young people coming to the Diversity Walk-in. We want young people in Almere to develop and thrive, and if we can facilitate that we will do so.”

A safe place

“From our work among the youth , we noticed that young people need a ‘diversity walk-in’ like this. A place where they can be themselves, meet others and exchange experiences. A safe place”, says Suleika. But it’s also a place to do fun things together. Says Linda, “What they want to do on these evenings is something they decide for themselves. Where necessary, we facilitate. In any case, there is always one of us present and we participate in whatever the young people choose to do. We’ve already had a karaoke evening and a dance evening, but also a meeting where we’ve exchanged stories in a circle. Whether the young people want to say something about their feelings or orientation is up to them, it is very open.”

If young people have specific questions about transition Linda and Suleika refer them to a partner organization. “Many organizations in Almere recognize the importance of this and want to work together. They may then visit us, to tell us more about a particular subject. We may also link young people together. Someone who has just started going into transition can benefit a lot from the experiences of someone who has already made more progress in this area. Young people actually work best among each other. If they need other questions or support, we are there for them.”

The walk-in evening for open minded and LGBT youth is every Wednesday from 19:00 to 21:00. The location is only known to youngsters who register in advance with Suleika El Mhassani (elmhassani@deschoor.nl/06-43106797) or Linda de Vries (devries@deschoor.nl/06-34213097).

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Oostvaardersplassen sets political market agenda (page 7)

By Marcel Beijer

ALMERE – The first real Political Market of the new municipal council was to a large extent dominated by the issue of the Oostvaardersplassen. Plans to transform this nature reserve into the Nieuw Land National Park were discussed, though the issue of malnutrition among the large herbivores was also raised.

Most attention went, indeed, to the agenda item placed by the PVV (freedom) political party. The party wants the municipal council to urge the province and Bosbeheer (national parks) to prevent further animal suffering in the Oostvaardersplassen. Six contributors, also from outside Almere, seized the opportunity to express their dissatisfaction with the situation in the Oostvaardersplassen. Alderman Frits Huis said he was concerned about the suffering of the animals, but could not satisfy the concerns of the PVV or the speakers from the floor.  “The responsibility for the Oostvaardersplassen lies with the province and Staatsbosbeheer. Almere has no say in this matter. You might just as well have spoken to the municipalities of Aalsmeer, or Maarssen.

The Partij voor de Dieren (animals), ChristenUnie and PvdA (labor) accused the PVV of wanting to score political points on the issue of Oostvaardersplassen  “A few years ago we had the opportunity to connect the area with other nature reserves in the country”, said Leonie Vestering (PvdD) and Leida Höhle (PvdA), but then the PVV voted against that. Is the PVV prepared to remove the fences around the Oostvaardersplassen?

“Those fences can stay”, PVV council member Chris Jansen responded. You can also stabilize the number of large herbivores at 1000 animals, for example. We simply want Almere to give its opinion on this matter. The PVV will put the motion to the vote next week. It does not look like the motion will get a majority. Most parties would like to await the report of the Van Geel Commission. On 25 April this commission will issue an opinion on the future management of the Oostvaardersplassen.

National Park

Earlier in the evening there was talk of the transformation of the Oostvaardersplassen into Nieuw Land National Park. The area must be made more attractive so as to attract between 250 000 and 500 000 tourists each year. In Almere an attractive entrance to the area near the Grote Vaartweg, which now has the working name ‘Almeerse Poort’, must then be created. However, this name will probably fall away. Councilor Mark de Kuster (VVD) indicated that it could lead to confusion with the Almere Poort district among tourists. Alderman Frits Huis agreed. “Maybe we should organize a competition for a better name”, he suggested. Most of the parties seemed to agree with the development of the area. Leonie Vestering (Partij voor de Dieren) did, however, express her dissatisfaction with the fact that the nature reserve is being commercialized. “Why is it necessary to make money from vulnerable nature. We should rather focus on the welfare of the animals before we start commercializing the park.”

The municipality will invest  9 million euros in the new access area, with 4.1 million euros coming from Staatsbosbeheer.  The municipal council will shortly be discussing this in further detail.

Quiet protest

The roughly 200 activists who once again demonstrated on Sunday afternoon against the management of the Oostvaardersplassen remained peaceful. Initially, there was a threat to remove a number of animals from the area with trailers, but that did not happen.

A cross was placed at the provincial council’s offices in Lelystad, in memory of the animals who had died in the area. A number of demonstrators managed to place white crosses and a coffin in the area. These were immediately removed by Staatsbosbeheer (national parks). There was no need for the police to take action. However, motorcycle police did provide assistance when a funeral procession of cars drove slowly along the A6 motorway. Roadblocks had been placed around the area to prevent the demonstrators from actually driving trailers into the area.

Six speakers, some from outside Almere, seized the opportunity to address a meeting on Thursday to express their dissatisfaction with the situation in the Oostvaardersplassen.

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Jan Dirk Pruim, Almere Municipal Clerk

‘The sum of minorities is a majority: that is democracy.’ (page 9)

By Robert Mienstra

ALMERE – During council meetings Jan Dirk Pruim always sits next to the chair, mayor Franc Weerwind. This makes him visible. Furthermore, he often acts behind the scenes in the town hall. “I make sure that the ballroom is in order, that the music and the dance cards are arranged, so that the dancing can take place,” says Pruim, explaining the nature of his role. In other words, thanks to his work as the clerk, the board and the municipal council can do a good job.

“Perhaps that’s stating it a bit strongly”, the modest clerk shakes his head. “But it is true that I try to streamline everything for the town council as much as possible.” The members of the Council regard Pruim almost as a confidant. “They do often come to me when they need advice, or someone to talk to. They elaborate on things, want to know if they have written a motion properly. I can see whether everything is according to the rules, but I can also provide them with information they have not yet thought of. I often bring them into contact with civil society organizations, from which they can learn a lot.”

Since taking up his duties in 2002, the Almere town clerk has been able to give his own interpretation of his profession. In other cities, the clerk merely produces meeting minutes. In Almere, the clerk is much more than a secretary to a meeting. He is also mentor and mainstay.

Tanker

Now that the new municipal council has been installed, a busy time faces the clerk. “New councilors must learn how to write and submit a motion. Which is where I can help them. They need to get to know the road in town hall and then do a good job.” A pitfall for the new councilors is that they sometimes think ‘now we are going to do everything completely differently’. That’s fine”, Plum says, “but it’s indeed a pitfall. Council members do politics alongside their work and family life. There are limits to this. The municipality (politics) is actually a supertanker that you can only turn gradually. You can’t suddenly do a u-turn with a tanker. I point this out to the councilors. And I also remind myself that I work for people who do this part time”.

Listening

The clerk believes strongly in democracy. “But democracy is never perfect. It is an organic process. A perfect democracy would be a dictatorship of democracy.” Pruim emphasizes the importance of listening carefully to each other. “The essence is that a majority is always the sum of minorities. This means that we have to govern the city together. You should never be steered by a minority. I cannot emphasize this enough. There must be cooperation between the parties.”

Writer

The Dutch word ‘griffier’ (clerk) is derived from the Greek word ‘graphein’ which means ‘writing’. Pruim is also literally a writer. He has published a book titled ‘Hoe en wat voor de raadslid’ (a how-to for councilors). “I wrote this in practice for interested citizens, for starting members of councils, but also for experienced ones. It’s a book to be used in political work, but also a book to be used in discussions about the future of (local) democracy,” says Pruim. In 2010 the first edition appeared, and in 2018 the second, revised, edition.

Pruim is also known in politics in the Netherlands for his blog www.pruimpraat.nl. “I do indeed like to write” says Pruim. “I publish observations and thoughts about the current state of local politics in my blog.”.

Jan Dirk Pruim is also known as the conscience of local democracy. “Well,” he reacts shaking his head, “that’s saying a lot”. After a little thought he adds, “Well, maybe it’s a little bit like that”.

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Electric city buses fit green and healthy city (page 12)

ALMERE – The City of Almere has recently taken a trip in allGo’s 100 percent electric city bus. Alderman Tjeerd Herrema: “We are pleased that electric city buses are now also being used here, because it fits in with our ambition to be a green and healthy city. And this special Growing Green Cities bus is a fun element in the run-up to the Floriade in 2022.”

The Growing Green Cities bus is used on line M7. This bus carries a mobile message for Almere and its visitors: the Floriade is coming – and we are going to live increasingly sustainable lives. “This mobile advertising is extremely suitable for reaching people in Almere and helps them think about and work on the development of Almere as a green and healthy city. The bus focuses attention on greener thinking and on the important themes surrounding the coming Floriade”, says allGo.

Unusual design

One of the seven electric buses in Almere looks different. The municipality gave permission for a bus with a different design. The city of Almere took care of the design, while Keolis Nederland implemented it. The idea for a bus with a sustainable theme stems from an offer made by Keolis Nederland (which provides bus transport in Almere under the allGo brand) during the public tender.

Help fight giant hogweed

VROEGE VOGELBOS – Sheep are being used to combat giant hogweed In the Vroege Vogelbos. But where sheep cannot go, help is needed. So volunteers will join the battle on Thursday  April 19th, from 6pm to 9pm.

The City & Nature sheep herd loves giant hogweed. If the sheep eat the leaves and stems before the plant has blossomed, this limits the weed’s proliferation.

The objective is to cut down each giant hogweed two to three times throughout the Vroege Vogelbos, to prevent it from blossoming. Here and there the plant is removed with its roots. This requires many helping hands, so your neighbors and family are also welcome!

Volunteers are asked to register via the website of Stad & Natuur, to ensure enough equipment is available. The giant hogweed battle is fought on Thursday evenings, on 19 April, 17 May, 21 June and 19 July, between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.  The evenings will be supervised by ‘Landschapsbeheer Flevoland’, commissioned by Stad & Natuur. Guidance, equipment, gloves, coffee and tea will be provided.

To register and for more information: www.stadennatuur.nl.

Almere Kaylee (15) in The Voice Kids final (page 27)

ALMERE – Next Friday Almere’s Kaylee Landegent (15) will be featured in the final of The Voice Kids, the talent contest for children aged 8 to 15 that is held every Friday evening at 8.30 pm on RTL 4.

Kaylee attends the Arte College (class 4, vmbo) and is very interested in news. She regularly helps out this newspaper. But the young Almere girl also has a golden voice – without a doubt! It’s been a process for Kaylee on her way to the final. The show consists of several phases: a production audition and the all-important ‘blind auditions’, where four jury members (Marco Borsato, Ilse deLange, Douwe Bob and Ali B) form teams on the basis of the voices they hear. Kaylee sang Faith Hill’s song ‘There you’ll be’ and won over all the jury members. She chose Douwe Bob’s team.

Battles

During the ‘battles’, each coach links three talents who have to battle against each other by singing a song chosen by their coach. Only one talented singer can survive each battle. The coach decides who that will be. In the battle broadcast on 30 March Kaylee won the sing-off, singing Sam Smith’s song, ‘Too good at Goodbyes’.

Sing-off

During the sing off on 13 April, all candidates had to sing a song from the audition. Only one act is chosen, per team, to go to the finals. Kaylee competed against the other three battle winners in Team Douwe Bob and the young Almere girl was again the best. Douwe Bob chose Kaylee to represent his team at The Voice Kids Live Finale next Friday.

In the final the talents sing songs chosen in consultation with their coach. The winner of The Voice Kids 2018 will be elected by the home TV audience, using televoting.

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Bright ideas hub’ will generate interest in science and technology. (page 29)

ALMERE – Shell and Stad&Natuur Almere are joining forces to introduce primary school pupils from the region to science and technology in a fun way. The official opening of the ‘bright ideas hub’ took place last Wednesday

From 2020 onwards, science and technology will become compulsory subjects in Dutch primary school education. To support schools in this, Shell and its partners have worked with teachers and students to develop the Bright Ideas Challenge. This will challenge students to find solutions to global challenges in the fields of energy, water and food.

By participating in the challenge, which consists of an online teaching package and a class visit to the hub, young people will come into contact with science and technology in an interactive and investigative way. This will help them discover that they can come up with all kinds of smart ideas themselves – ideas that could make a positive contribution to their own – and everyone’s – future.

Schools from all over the Netherlands can participate until the end of April. Then a jury of experts will select the three best ideas nationally and will award the prize at the Generation Discover Festival in The Hague, in October.

Visitors welcome

Up to 20 April nearly 700 primary school pupils from the region will visit the hub and Het Klokhuis. Curious about this futuristic dome? During school hours the hub is reserved for school classes, but outside these times all visitors are welcome.

Register via brightideas.generationdiscover.nl.

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Aeres University of Applied Sciences signs collaboration with Chinese university   (page 33)

CITY CENTER- Aeres University of Applied Sciences will collaborate with the Chinese Zhongkai University in the field of research and education. Both universities have committed to this in a letter of intent, signed in Guangzhou last week. This happened during a trade mission organized by the Dutch government.

Zhongkai University and Aeres University of Applied Sciences are both knowledge institutions with a strong specialization in green education. Both universities also have a wide range of collaborative topics in mind, which they will now explore and further develop. The schools will exchange students and staff and implement joint educational programs.

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Note: All of the above articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition April 18, 2018. They were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.nl

Translations of “Almere Deze Week” edition 11 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 (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl . The page numbers behind the titles refer to the pages of the newspaper where the articles can be found.

Below you find 8 articles with the following titles:

  1. Flights to Lelystad Airport not over Almere (page 3)
  2. Poort Residents erect Poort Platform (page 7)
  3. Open days at new Hindu temple (page 19)
  4. Three venues for a musical King’s Day (and King’s Day eve) (page 23)
  5. Flevoland sees strong growth in tourism (page 29)
  6. ‘Premier league’ sailing (Eredivisie Zeilen) (page 35)
  7. Living Water lab (page 35)
  8. Blue parking zones around center extended (page 41)

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Flights to Lelystad Airport not over Almere (page 3)

by Robert Mienstra

ALMERE – “None of the departure or landing routes from Lelystad Airport lie above Almere”, says Jurgen van Avermaete of Air Traffic Control Netherlands (LVNL) at Schiphol Airport. This negates statements made by ‘aviation journalist’ John Assman in this newspaper last week. The published map is also definitely not correct, according to Van Avermaete. “The routes shown just aren’t right”.

Van Avermaete indicates maps showing the correct routes. “The local flight routes, the so-called B+ route, and the final route design from the connecting routes to higher-altitude airspace can be seen. Almere just doesn’t appear here.

“Landing traffic flies to one of the starting points of the local approach routes. These starting points are located near Steenwijk or Lemelerveld. The aircraft then follows the local flight route, the continuous, blue line on the map”, Avermaete explains. “When landing in a north-easterly direction, the aircraft descends in a south-westerly direction until it passes Zeewolde and then turns towards the airport. The planes therefore turn before they reach the A27. The motorway forms the border of Almere. So the planes do fly over the Zeewolde part of Oosterwold, but not over Almere.”

Number of flights

“Lelystad Airport will grow by up to 10,000 aircraft movements per year until 2023, which is an average of 28 movements per day”, says Avermaete, “14 aircraft taking off and 14 aircraft landings. The latter approach Almere, but turn before the A27. The departing aircraft depart in a north-easterly direction from Lelystad. So they are far from Almere. Departing planes make more noise than those descending. So aircraft taking off will not cause any disturbance at all in Almere.”

Altitudes

Flights above Knardijk take place at an altitude of 900 meters. The descent to the A27 is to 500 meters. Then the planes turn towards Lelystad. “Incidentally, the landing route from Almere is used approximately 40 percent of the time, depending on the direction of the wind”, says Van Avermaete.

The aircraft fly beneath the air traffic to and from Schiphol Airport.

(Netherlands Air Traffic Control schematic depiction of landing and take-off routes at Lelystad Airport. Photo: LVNL – Netherlands Air Traffic Control)

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Poort Residents erect Poort Platform (page 7)

By Dominique Voss

POORT – Residents of Poort want to contribute ideas about the future of their neighborhood. Which is why some twenty Poort residents went from door to door in November to collect signatures for the establishment of a citizens’ platform. The kick-off was last Tuesday, at a walk-in meeting in Sterrenschool De Ruimte. “Together we’ll make Poort a better neighborhood”, said one of the initiators, Ernest van der Linden.

The Platform will meet a few times per year to discuss a number of general themes, such as safety, green and facilities. “You can come up with your own proposals and ideas, but you don’t have to. You are also not obliged to show up every time”, says Van der Linden. During the walk-in meeting residents were able to indicate per theme which topics they considered important. At the end of the evening the board was filled with post-it notes and stickers. Residents could also register to become members of the platform. This was done by more than sixty Poort residents. “Really great”, said Van der Linden, “The more people, the better”.

This is not the first time that residents of Poort have taken action. For example, a number of them founded Friends of CascadePark in 2012. Some, therefore, had doubts about the platform. “We’ve talked to the municipality so many times and every time it turned out to be a disappointment for us. I don’t really believe in it anymore”, one resident explained. He is glad that residents of Poort continue to be involved though. “I want to see progress first, then perhaps I’ll join”.

Municipal elections

Voter turnout at the municipal elections was at its lowest in Poort and this confirms the view that many Poort residents do not feel that their voices are being heard. “It is precisely for this reason that the PoortPlatform is desperately needed”, Van der Linden emphasized. “By working well together, we can find solutions.”

Alderman Tjeerd Herrema said on Tuesday evening that the municipality has a great interest in the establishment of the PoortPlatform. “We would be crazy not to do anything with this. Poort is still developing robustly, but there are also already quite a lot of people living there. A good idea on paper is not necessarily a good idea for the neighborhood. That calls for a different approach.”

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Three venues for a musical King’s Day (and King’s Day eve) (page 23)

CITY CENTRE – The musical program on King’s Day eve (and King’s Day) has been greatly expanded this year. There will be three stages in the Almere city center: at the Grote Markt, the Stadhuisplein and the Belfort restaurant square.

Now a King’s Day eve tradition, the annual ‘Tweak Kingsnight Dance’ is a big dance party, with DJs presenting the best dance hits at the Grote Markt from 19.00 to 24.00. DJs Kai and Antonio Loren will once again have the whole square up and dancing.

New this year on King’s Day eve is the ‘Orange Podium’ at Stadhuisplein. Under the direction of DJ Jeroen Hamer several singers will perform the greatest Dutch hits. There will be performances by Mart Hoogkamer, Danny Lit, Mario Broerse and Vince Collet. The program runs from 18.00 to 24.00.

The Belfort restaurant square will have live music on the terrace from 13.00 to 20.00 with the band Winnetoe doing covers of Nederpop hits (including Doe Maar numbers), Lisa Imhoff & Sander Hoek and guitar/singer duo G’wine On Stage.

The Orange Stage at Stadhuisplein will host continuous entertainment from 12.00 to 18.00 from live bands such as the Karaoke Live Band (yes, you can sing!), Mr. Mudd (jazz/blues/funk) and a number of great cover bands.

The Grote Markt hosts the main stage, with many famous artists. From 13.00 to 16.00 there will be the traditional ‘Grote Markt Loves A’dam’ program, featuring a performance by Peter Beense, the Netherlands’ most frequently booked Amsterdam singer. DJ Franky B. (Cooldown Café) will be running the musical program and presenting a fine selection of Amsterdam/Almere talents. At 16.00 ‘The Big Orange Hitfest’ will start here, with the biggest hits of the past decades being performed by DJs and, mainly, artists – non-stop until 22.00. There will be performances by Def Rhymz (‘Doekoe’, ‘De Bom’), K-Liber (‘Viben’), DJ Galaga (‘What do we say to the DJ?’) and the OJKB DJ team. The 6-person mash-up band, Popgunnn, will also be presenting a stunning hit show.

For more information see the Koningsdag Almere Facebook page and www.koningsdaginalmere.nl.

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Open days at new Hindu temple (page 19)

INDISCHE BUURT – The Hindu temple, Shri Vishnu Mandir – at Tempo Doeloestraat 250 in Almere Buiten, will host open days on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 April, from 11.00 to 18.00. Everyone is welcome to visit the temple.

As part of the opening ceremony, a fourteen-day Shri Vishnu ‘puran katha’ will be held from 30 April, which is an Indian way of telling a religious story. It starts at 18.00 and there will be a pooja every day, a ritual in which Hindus venerate a deity, Parvachan and Aarti and high priests. There will be an opportunity for everyone to offer persaad and daan.

For more information visit www.shrivishnumandir.nl or call 036-5217600.

Friday 20 April is the official inauguration of the temple. This will not be open to the public.

Almere is at last witnessing the opening of the Golden Temple of Shri Vishnu. The temple was previously planned to open in November 2015.

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Flevoland sees strong growth in tourism (page 29)

FLEVOLAND – The number of guests staying in Dutch overnight accommodation grew considerably last year, according to the latest figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS). This growth is also reflected in the figures for Flevoland. Flevoland is increasingly becoming a destination for both Dutch and international overnight visitors.

Overnighting, international tourists are the biggest growth category in Flevoland. The total increase in the number of guests was 24% in 2017 as compared to 2016.  Guests from neighboring Belgium and Germany are in the majority, followed by Asia. Germany is the leader with, in 2017, a 22% growth in the number of guests as compared to 2016. German visitors typically prefer bungalow parks and hotels and locations near water.

Tulip campaign

In addition to local promotion, Tourism Flevoland also focuses to a large extent on German visitors. For example, a promotional campaign is currently being run in cooperation with NBTC Holland Marketing for the coming Flevoland tulip period. In addition to campaigns, Tourism Flevoland focuses on press & PR. Next spring, various journalists and bloggers will tour Flevoland. “In this way, and in collaboration with the tourism industry, we can let them personally experience the most beautiful places and stories of Flevoland”, says Rinkje Tromp, marketing manager at Tourism Flevoland.

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‘Premier league’ sailing (Eredivisie Zeilen) (page 35)

Eredivisie Sailing (a top-level regatta) will be held on the Weerwater in Almere Centrum from Friday 13 to Sunday 15 April. Eredivisie Sailing is competitive sailing at the highest level. The Esplanade, in the heart of Almere Centrum, will offer the best view of the eighteen teams of Dutch sailing associations that will compete for the coveted title. These will be short races, close to shore, between the best Dutch sailors and boats. There will also be interesting explanations, digital animations and fun activities for children. In short, sailing at the highest level! The Eredivisie Sailing event in Almere Centrum is free of charge.

For more information visit www.eredivisiezeilen.nl

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Living Water Lab (page 35)

Do you love technology and do you want to explore physics, chemistry and biology in a fun way? The Living Water Lab will be set up on the Esplanade during Eredivisie Sailing (the top sailing event in Almere Centrum). The lab is a mobile laboratory, where you can do all kinds of fun, scientific experiments using everyday materials. Put on a real laboratory coat and get to know about water awareness, spatial adaptation, climate change, litter and much more – in a fun way. The environment is also addressed. In this way you’ll learn how important water is, and that clean tap water is not something you can take for granted. What happens, for example, when the weather is very dry, or when it rains a lot, and for a very long time? There are brief worksheets for all experiments, including step-by-step descriptions. Admission is free. Be early to ensure your place!

Friday 13 April, from 15.00 to 17.30.

Saturday 14 April, from 10.15 to 17.30

Sunday 15 April, from 10.15 to 16.00

For more information go to www.almerecentrum.nl

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Blue parking zones around center extended (page 41)

STAD CENTRUM – The ‘blue parking zones’ in the city center (Stad) were extended from the start of this month. This took place after research by the parking authority (Parkeerbedrijf) showed that a number of streets in Stedenwijk and Filmwijk were subject to significant parking problems.

Parkeerbedrijf received complaints from residents in various residential areas around the city center concerning parking problems and therefore carried out research. A survey was conducted in the relevant street. Residents could indicate whether they were experiencing parking over-demand in their street. In addition, residents’ evenings were organized and parking demand was measured at different times of the day. The study revealed that a number of streets in Stedenwijk and Filmwijk are subject to significant parking problems and these affect residents.

In the Filmwijk the blue zone has been extended on Cinemareef, Hollywoodlaan and Marty Feldmanstraat. In Stedenwijk the blue zone has been extended on Dokkumlaan, Harlingensingel, Makkumstraat, Staverenstraat, Workumstraat, Lemmerstraat and Drachtenstraat.

The blue zones in Stedenwijk and Filmwijk will be further extended.

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Note: All of the above articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition April 11, 2018. They were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.nl

Translations of “Almere Deze Week” edition 4 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 (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl . The page numbers behind the titles refer to the pages of the newspaper where the articles can be found.

Below you find 8 articles with the following titles:
1. ‘Almere won’t escape aircraft noise’
2. Expats feel at home in Almere
3. A flock of sheep as a lawnmower
4. Experience the basics of golf, at the Open Golf Day
5. Registration for the WTC Trappenloop (Stair Run)
6. Almeersepoort to become gateway to Oostvaardersplassen
7. Twenty-somethings head for Almere
8. Living in a Tiny House

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‘Almere won’t escape aircraft noise’ (page 1)

by Hestia Ruben

ALMERE – When Lelystad Airport becomes operational Almere will not escape aircraft noise, particularly from landing aircraft. Almere aviation journalist, John Assmann, says, “In order to align themselves for landing, aircraft will fly at relatively low altitudes over parts of Almere – and most residents will hear them.”

There are still many uncertainties surrounding the official opening of the Flevoland airport, but it is certain that residents will have to deal with noise from aircraft destined for Lelystad airport. Assmann: “This is because of the location from which  Boeing and Airbus planes will be directed to start their landing approach. They will use runway 05, named after the compass bearing of the runway, i.e. 50°, or northeast.”

There is a point near Almere Buiten, on the southeast side of the A6 (the red dot on the map). This is 6 miles (11.12 km) from the beginning of the runway and the aircraft must be at 2,000 feet (608 meters) at this point, to start the last part of the landing phase. This approach cannot be altered and must be followed by any aircraft wishing to land on Runway 05.

Straight line

“Air traffic control will direct the aircraft to fly as directly as possible to the descent point at Almere Buiten and this will give Almere Haven, Almere Hout, Kathedralenbos and Cirkelbos full exposure to aircraft noise.

Almere Poort will also not be spared, with planes flying over the Hollandse Brug. Aircraft from the north, west and east will first fly parallel to the runway (green line on the map) in the direction of Almere Haven and then turn in to the point of the final landing phase.

When all this will happen is still unclear because there is still a lot to be done, including the division of the airspace above and near Flevoland airport. But Almere will certainly suffer when future holidaymakers fly from Lelystad Airport on their way to the sun.

Airspace review

Within the current airspace structure, the number of aircraft movements at Lelystad Airport should not exceed 10,000 until the revision of airspace in 2023. This is stated in the Environmental Impact Report (EIA). Lelystad Airport ultimately wants to expand to 45,000 aircraft movements. The revision will redesign Dutch airspace in order to reduce consequences such as noise in surrounding areas. The connection routes for Lelystad Airport will then be at higher altitudes.

The aircraft must be at an altitude of 608 meters at the red dot in order to commence the final part of the landing phase. Aircraft from the north, west and east will first fly parallel to the runway (green line) in the direction of Almere Haven.

I.L.S.

An I.L.S. approach (Instrument Landings System) can be made on runway 05 at Lelystad Airport. This enables the pilot to fly the approach and land exactly on the runway, without any view of the ground. Only when the underside of the cloud cover is at an altitude of below 60 meters and the horizontal view of the runway is less than 550 meters must the pilot abort the landing and divert to another airport.

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Expats feel at home in Almere (Page 9)

by Robert Mienstra

ALMERE – Almere is home to no less than 4,000 expats. “Our association calls them internationals,” says Michel Daenen, chair of the International Almere association. “Expats are temporary residents in the Netherlands, who have been sent from abroad by international companies to work here. This group lives mainly in Amsterdam South and on the canals of central Amsterdam. But there are also many internationals who come to the Netherlands for other reasons.

Often they are highly educated knowledge workers, who come to the Netherlands with their partner or whole family, to work and live here. You can see this group growing in Amsterdam, but also in Almere. “The Facebook group, International Almere, already has more than 1,200 active members and continues to grow”, says Daenen. Almere is attractive for this group. “Important reasons for this are the green character of the city, its location close to Amsterdam, Almere’s great public transport system, the space, affordable housing and also, certainly, the city center. Many internationals describe the center as something very special.

Practical questions

Life for an international in Almere is not without its challenges. “An international who settles in Almere immediately faces the question, ‘how do I build a life here’? All kinds of practical questions arise. ‘Where can I find information?’ ‘What about a family doctor – and a dentist?’ ‘How do I find friends?’ ‘How do I learn the language?’”, says Daenen. “And, very importantly, ‘what about education in Almere?’”

International School

For expats in particular, the presence of an international school, such as the International School in Almere Poort, is of great importance. Daenen is convinced of this. “A school like this is a very important argument for foreign companies to establish themselves in Almere. Expats who live here temporarily want their children to go to an English-language school.”

Activities

The International Almere association serves its target group in Almere via numerous activities. “We have the Dutch language café. Where we practice speaking Dutch. The Dutch are quickly inclined to speak to foreigners in English. That doesn’t help if you want to learn the language. At the café only Dutch is spoken. That’s the quickest way to learn the language”, explains Daenen. “Furthermore we have First Friday Night Drinks, in Café on 2. Here internationals can meet and make friends. And, again, learn the language. Then there is Quiz Night, a pub quiz on many subjects, with English as the main language.”

Almere DEZE WEEK in English

The association is now increasingly focusing on supporting its members. “For example, if you have a letter from the municipality and you can’t yet read Dutch very well, we’ll explain it”, says Daenen.

“Another new feature is that articles from Almere DEZE WEEK are translated into English by the Almere translation agency, Courtesie, and published on the website www.internationalalmere.com. Internationals really want to know what’s going on in Almere. Through this service they get the news and information about all kinds of activities in the city. Which makes internationals feel more at home in Almere.”

Satisfied

The internationals are very satisfied with Almere. “As previously said, they appreciate the nature, the city center and Almere’s location close to Amsterdam. And they really feel safe, here in the city. The latter is often mentioned in the satisfaction survey that we carried out.”

The internationals praise Almere as a family city. “There are many activities here for them, especially for the children. I often hear them say that Almere has a comforting atmosphere and that it’s really a peaceful place. And yes, the location is close to Amsterdam. For many internationals, this is a small distance. These are people accustomed to much longer distances. Compare traveling right across London, from the east to the west side, for instance!”

For more information, please visit www.internationalalmere.com and info@internationalalmere.com. This site also carries articles from Almere DEZE WEEK, in English.

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A flock of sheep as a lawnmower (page 11)

DE MEENTEN – The lawnmowers can go! Almere’s sheep herd will once more be trimming the grass in various locations in Almere over the coming period. Councilor Frits Huis welcomed the sheep herd last Wednesday.

In a number of places in Almere, the grass is no longer mowed by a lawnmower, but by Schoonebeeker sheep. This special herd of sheep, with its shepherd and sheepdog, graze their way from Almere Haven, via the Hoge Vaart to the Noorderplassen, and back again. The sheep herd will commence their grazing at De Grienden, in Almere Haven.

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Experience the basics of golf, at the Open Golf Day (page 17)

HOUT – From 12 noon on Saturday 21 April, everyone can get to know the vibrant Almeerderhout Golf Club association and its golf course – and learn the basics of golf in a relaxed atmosphere.

The hostesses and hosts are ready to teach visitors the golf swing, how to putt and how to get out of a bunker. For the youngest of the potential golfers a fun and exciting golf course has been set up. The experienced golfer can play 9 holes, free of charge, on one of the challenging courses. The fully-fledged PAR 3 course can also be played at no charge.

Visitors can also relax in Grand Café ‘t Hout, where a special ‘Open Day menu’ is available.

Interested? Information will also be provided on the various forms of membership, which will be offered at special rates at the open day. For registration and information visit www.almeerderhout.nl or call 036-5219130. The Almeerderhout Golf Club is located at Watersnipweg 19-21.

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Registration for the WTC Trappenloop (Stair Run) (page 35)

CITY CENTER – Yes, it’s 32 floors, straight up. That’s over 600 punishing steps. So if you want to participate in the WTC Stair Run on Wednesday 25 April – limber up those calf muscles!

In just under two months it will again be time for perhaps the most unique running event in Almere: the WTC Stair Run. And it’s of course planned for precisely 25 April – ‘No Elevators Day’. The WTC will then once again open its doors in the City Center (‘Stad’), to welcome the hundreds of runners who compete in this extraordinary and exhausting battle of the stairs. Participants will ascend 32 floors via more than 600 steps. At the top, once they have overcome the lactic acid buildup, the runners will be able to enjoy spectacular views over the whole of Almere and the surrounding area.

This year there will again, of course, be a competition for individual runners, but there will also be a Business Run and the Firefighters series. And there’s something for the children, who can participate in the regular Kids Run or the Football Kids Run. Full information on this special run on Wednesday 25 April can be found on our website.

Register soon!

Because the WTC Stair Run is such a unique event, registrations are always numerous and start early. It is advisable not to wait too long before registering. It’s also particularly advantageous to register before 1 April, to take advantage of the lower, early-registration rates.

18.15 Start, Kids (Football) Run (200 steps)

18:25 Start, Business Run

18.40 Start, Firefighters series

18.45 Prize giving, Kids Run

19.15 Start, Individual series

20.30 Prize giving – Individual runners, Firefighters Series & Business Run

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Almeersepoort to become gateway to Oostvaardersplassen (page 39)

ALMERE – The municipality has plans to develop Almeersepoort as the entrance zone to the Oostvaarderplassen, which will become part of the Nieuw Land National Park.

Almeersepoort is being developed in order to make the National Park easier to find and access, and also to distribute visitor traffic. The gateway will offer both access to and an experience of the Oostvaardersplassen. The Almeersepoort will get new landscape features that will offer a real Oostvaardersplassen experience.

Visitors

National Park Nieuw Land is a tourist and recreational development by the province of Flevoland and is aimed at generating an increase in visitor numbers. The core areas of the National Park are Oostvaardersplassen, Marker Wadden, Lepelaarplassen and Markermeer.

The area is easily accessible, due to its convenient location on the borders of Almere. The Almeersepoort will offer a beautiful view over the extensive plains and lakes, where various wild animals can be seen. The area will invite one to discover nature with family and friends. The vastness and diversity of the area mean that everybody can experience it in his or her own way. There are excursions and various activities all year round.

Floriade 2022

One of Almeersepoort’s ambitions is to double the number of visitors in the next ten years. Natuurbelevingcentrum De Oostvaarders (Oostvaarders nature experience center) plays an important role in this and will therefore also be the location for Staatsbosbeheer’s (national parks) hosting, programming, management, workshops and storage facilities, on the Almere side of the Oostvaardersplassen. The challenge is to further develop the building to become a location that complements the ambitions of the next ten years. The completion of the Almeersepoort project will take place in the year preceding the start of the Floriade, and in this way will make a contribution to the Growing Green Cities movement, in which Almere aims to play a significant role.

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Twenty-somethings head for Almere (page 45)

ALMERE – Almere is part of one of the fastest growing regions in the Netherlands and occupies a very special position in this respect. The housing market, even in a growth region, is not immune to the economic climate. However, now that the crisis is over, the flow of new residents is picking up again. And twenty-somethings, in particular, are rediscovering Almere.

Affordable family homes (both for sale and rental) form an important attraction in this respect. The area generates strong interest in the Amsterdam, Lelystad and the Gooi and Vecht regions, while the effect on Utrecht is less marked.

For the time being, spatial planning will continue to dominate the housing market. Almere is one of the few municipalities in the Amsterdam Metropole Region where it is possible to build without too many spatial restrictions, and this includes low density developments. Family homes with a purchase price of between € 150,000 and € 200,000 are very much in demand among (potential) young families.

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Living in a Tiny House (page 47)

‘I feel privileged to be able to live here’

by Kirsten Thuis-Woudenberg

HOMERUSKWARTIER – Hennie Tibben is the first occupier of a Tiny House. For the past six months, this brand new Almere resident has been living in a so-called ‘Wikkelhouse’, made of corrugated cardboard. The mini-house has 50 square meters of gross floor area and stands on the showgrounds of Bouwexpo Tiny Housing on the Nimpfenplein. The Tiny House creates a very special ‘home feeling’ for Tibben. “It’s not an everyday house and it was difficult to get to live here”, says Tibben. “I therefore feel privileged to be allowed to live here. The house feels very nice and secure. The inside is made of wood and that creates a warm atmosphere.”

Tibben did not find the transition from large to small a problem. “Before this I lived in a three-floor family home of about 100m2. I wanted a simpler life in which one is less involved with possessions. In the run-up to the move to this house I was already busy getting rid of things, as my old house was already sold. I have a separate storage location, for the things I don’t need. And my new home is really uncluttered, and that feels good. I find the feeling of simplicity very soothing.”

According to Tibben, the house doesn’t feel small. “The ceiling is high, which makes it feel spacious. I didn’t want to do without furniture. I wanted a spacious kitchen – but not with a folding table. So I have a large table for entertaining dinner guests. I also work at this table and it’s a nice place to be.”

According to Tibben, living in this location sometimes feels like living in a showroom. “The Manifestatie Tiny Housing (the tiny house expo) drew 5,000 people to the grounds. A quarter of them came into my house. It’s sometimes difficult dealing with the rudeness of some people. They just look into all your drawers. It sometimes feels as if you’re a kind of attraction. But I really live here! And I work here too.”

Almere was unknown to Tibben before she moved into her Tiny House. “I am getting to know Almere better and better by participating in all kinds of activities. I took part in the cycle tour, ‘Dwars door Poort’ (through the Poort district), and Gluren bij de Buren’ (how the neighbors live). I then even had a band performing in my living room! I have lunch once a week in the neighborhood center to get to know people. I’ve noticed that there is a lot of opportunity for initiative in this city. For me, that started with this house. I’ve also attracted clients from the city, for my marketing business, because they see that I’m sticking out my neck.”

Clean-up operation

Tibben started a clean-up operation because she was disturbed by the litter in the neighborhood. “Collecting litter is the ultimate way of getting rid of clutter in your life. Working with ‘Almere Poort Schoon’ (clean up Almere) I organize litter collection operations together with other residents. On Sunday 8 April we are going to do another clean-up, from 10.00 to 12.00. Anyone can participate. The group meets in Espressobar Take a Brake. More information can be found on the Almere Poort Schoon Facebook

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Note: All of the above articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition April 4, 2018. They were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.nl

Translations of “Almere Deze Week” edition 28 March 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 (www.courtesie.nl) 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: www.almeredezeweek.nl . The page numbers behind the titles refer to the pages of the newspaper where the articles can be found.

Below you find 10 articles with the following titles:
1. The undermining of society… also in Almere. Mayor Weerwind: ‘We’re on top of it’.
2.  Almere 7th biggest city in the Netherlands
3.  Council handles major election task easily
4.  FARE foundation’s jumble sale on Easter Monday
5.  A quiet walk towards the light of Easter morning
6.  Outdoor activities for the whole family
7.  Almere Centrum: shops open on Easter Monday
8.  Environmentally-friendly shores for Noorderplassen and Weerwater
9.  Almere volunteers in action for refugees
10. Making an Easter Nest – at the library

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1. The undermining of society… also in Almere. (page 3)
Mayor Weerwind: ‘We’re on top of it’.
By Robert Mienstra

ALMERE – The intertwining of the underworld with the normal world is also underway in Almere. “A serious matter”, says Mayor Franc Weerwind. “The inhabitants often do not see it, but undermining also takes place in Almere … As a municipality we are on top of it.

“Organized crime in Almere is close to normal life and close to the ordinary inhabitants”, explains Weerwind. “There are many ways in which subversion can take place. Drug money laundering, unauthorized use of subsidies, license fraud, ghost companies, hemp plantations, ‘fencing’ stolen goods, underground banking. Everything happens in Almere. Society is undermined when criminal financial flows are channeled into mainstream society.”

Marijuana plantations
“We close about 170 per year…One in four medium-sized house fires in the Netherlands are caused by marijuana cultivation…”, says Weerwind.

Hospitality industry
This is a vulnerable branch of business where permits are strictly controlled by the municipality. Occasionally on the Grote Markt one can see members of motorbike gangs sitting on the terraces. Weerwind continues, “…We make every effort to ensure that outlaw biker gangs do not get a foothold in Almere”.

Collaboration
There is a considerable national deficit in the fight against subversion. There is little or no cooperation between public authorities. “Here in Almere, we do work well together”, explains Weerwind. Consulting with Police, the public prosecutor’s office, tax authorities and housing cooperatives works, he learnt in Ijmuiden.

Weerwind took these experiences with him to Almere, so the cooperation is good. “Where we need chain partners and bureaucrats, let’s connect with them. That works. The Regional Information and Expertise Centre (RIEC) means a lot to us.

Effective”
Weerwind states that the closer one looks the more subversion one sees. So Almere watches everything – hospitality, industrial areas, licenses. Personnel has been made available to do this and the topic is firmly on the agenda at the council.

Politics
There is national interest in the undermining of politics and the municipality. There are political parties, particularly in Brabant and Limburg, that had people with a criminal background on their list of candidates. “It is up to the political parties to monitor this properly,” says Weerwind. “We have firm agreements in Almere when it comes to the integrity of the council…”

Report crime anonymously

“I call on the residents of our city to be alert,” says Mayor Franc Weerwind. “If you suspect any subversion or organized crime, the way to report it is via Meld Misdaad Anoniem (report crime anonymously): www.meldmisdaadanoniem.nl/

“If a car buyer pays 70,000 euros in cash, the car dealer should be aware of possible issues. If a pupil walks around at school with a lot of cash, then the school has to get to work on that and perhaps inform us.

“The residents are the eyes and ears of the city. Safety is a matter for all of us.”

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2. Almere 7th biggest city in the Netherlands (page 7)

ALMERE – Almere has surpassed Groningen in terms of population and is now the seventh largest city in the Netherlands. The next city to be passed is Tilburg (214,000).

On 1 January 2018, Almere had 204,031 inhabitants. Groningen has 202,747. At fifth place is Eindhoven with more than 227,000. The four largest cities are Utrecht, The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

According to a spokesman for the Municipality of Groningen, it is quite possible that it will once again overtake Almere this year.

The table shows the growth of the city, as well as the forecast of growth for the coming years. (Infographic: Research & Statistics/Municipality of Almere)

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3. Council handles major election task easily (page 17)

Theresa Versteegt-Vermaak, together with her colleagues Inge and Jacqueline, was at the town hall early. They ensured that the municipal elections went well, for 24 hours. The first four polling stations opened at 6 a.m. and the rest at 8.30 p.m. There were 98 full-time polling stations in Almere.

No fewer than 1,200 people, volunteers and civil servants were involved in the organization of the elections last week. In addition, another 400 reserve members were on standby. Per polling station there were four civilian members in the first part of the day. The second part was staffed by two citizens, two officials and four additional counters. In addition, around 125 people worked at the town hall on logistics and around ten more on communication and ICT. The election team of Theresa, Inge and Jacqueline spent six months’ full time, preparing and following up the elections.

Jaap Meindersma from the municipality followed the whole day closely, and Bart Buijs from www.dagalmere.nl recorded the election evening in text and photographs. Almere DEZE WEEK and Omroep Flevoland provided a live blog.

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4. FARE foundation’s jumble sale on Easter Monday (page 21)

FARE, an Almere foundation that works for people living near the poverty line in Almere, is organizing a jumble sale on Easter Monday. It’s from 12.00 to 16.00 hours, at FARE, at Hofmark 271, in the former school – De Dubbeldekker. For the children there are activities such as coloring in, shuffleboard and being made up.

The foundation will use the proceeds of the sale to help their clients and members.

In Almere, there is more poverty than you might think. Through their closed Facebook group, which has more than 750 members, FARE helps hundreds of people in Almere.

If you would like to help the foundation with food sponsorship, a financial contribution and/or in other ways, please contact the FARE Almere Foundation by telephone on 06-58822163 or email info@fare-almere.nl.

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5. A quiet walk towards the light of Easter morning (page 21)

CASCADEPARK – In the Cascade Park in Almere Poort, a meditation garden has been created in the shape of a labyrinth, inspired by the Labyrinth of Chartres. It was laid out by De Schone Poort church.

The church calls the labyrinth ‘a symbol of our path of life. Walking silently through a labyrinth, one can meditate on one’s way of life’.

Walking meditation

From Monday 26 to Saturday 31 March there is a ‘walking meditation’ at the labyrinth, every evening at 20.00 hrs. On Easter morning, Sunday 1 April, the start is at 06:30, in the dark, at the parking lot of the cemetery in Kruidenwijk. Interested parties will walk in silence to ‘the Light’. This is followed by an Easter breakfast in the De Ruimte neighborhood center at Nimfenplein 1.

More information: www.deschonepoort.nl. Register for participation via info@deschonepoort.nl

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6. Outdoor activities for the whole family (page 21)

HOUT – On Monday, April 2 Staatsbosbeheer will organize, for the 23rd time, a ‘Doe- & Kijkdag’ (open day) at the outdoor center Almeerderhout, on Stadslandgoed de Kemphaan. From 10.30 to 16.00 there will be various (outdoor) activities for the whole family.

A small fee is charged for some of the activities. Parking costs 5 euros. Admission is free.

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7. Almere Centrum: shops open on Easter Monday (page 23)

Be photographed with the Easter Bunny!

STAD – On Easter Sunday the shops in Almere Center will be open from 12:00 – 17:00. After shopping eat out somewhere, to complete your Easter long weekend.

Be photographed with the Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny will be around all day to hand out eggs. Find him – and be photographed with him.

Easter Market

On Good Friday and Easter Monday the Easter market will be at the Stadhuisplein.

Travel at a discount

On Easter Monday you can travel all day throughout Almere with Allgo buses – for just 1 euro per person.

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8. Environmentally-friendly shores for Noorderplassen and Weerwater (page 77)

ALMERE – The municipality of Almere, the province of Flevoland and the Zuiderzeeland Water Board will work together to improve water quality in the Noorderplassen and Weerwater. This will be done by, among other things, constructing environmentally-friendly shorelines.

Noorderplassen and Weerwater do not currently meet the water quality objectives of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). In order for the lakes to function properly from an ecological point of view, it is necessary to construct environmentally-friendly shores. Alderman Frits Huis: “For example, the enviromentally-friendly shores of Lumière Park can be combined with the municipality’s intention to create an attractive natural playground in the context of the Rondje Weerwater project.

The shorelines will be built in the period 2018-2020.

Water Framework Directive

Under the European Water Framework Directive (WFD), designated waters such as Weerwater and Noorderplassen will have to meet the chemical and ecological quality requirements by 2027. Thanks to measures such as the construction of sustainable and nature-friendly banks, Flevoland can comply with the WFD.

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9. Almere volunteers in action for refugees (page 73)

ALMERE – In the week of 26 – 31 March, Almere volunteers will collect for the ZOA foundation. Using the theme ‘Think about refugees worldwide’, the aid organization will be drawing attention to the more than 65 million people who are currently fleeing from wars and natural disasters.

In addition to the traditional collection box, a new digital collection box will also be used in Almere.

Helprich ten Heuw is involved in the collection – as the ZOA area coordinator. “A disaster happens to one – like a conflict, for instance… The ZOA employees receive the refugees on the spot or in a neighboring country and help them there with the most needed supplies…”

Digital collection box

Throughout the country, 15,000 people will take to the streets. Some of them will set off with the digital collection box. With this ZOA wants to give everyone the chance to donate, even those people who do not have small change at home. The ZOA collectors can be recognized by their IDs.

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10. Making an Easter Nest – at the library (page 73)

CITY CENTER – Atelier Zoo Creative will, on Monday 2 April, Easter Monday, work with children from 4 years of age to create their own Easter nest. At 15.00 hours there will be a theatre performance for children of 3 years and older. Both events are in the library at the Stadhuisplein.

Participation costs 2.50 euros and the event will take place from 13.30 to 14.30 hours.

At 15.00 there will be a youth theatre performance, ‘Nest’ (3+), in the new hall. The birds Ooi and Vaar have been working for years, providing an animal care service. Until one day an animal ends up with them that they have never seen before. They build a warm nest for their new acquisition. But then the real parents come forward. Where is their child?

Tickets cost 6 euros for members, 8 euros for non-members.

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Note: All of the above articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition March 28, 2018. They were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.nl

Translations of “Almere Deze Week” edition 21 March 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 (www.courtesie.nl) 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.

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Councilor Herrema: ‘Stopping Floriade is irresponsible’
By Robert Meinstra

Almere – Last week the PVV (a Dutch political party) published the research done by agency Rebel, from which the party concluded that stopping Floriade would be less costly than proceeding with the world horticultural exhibition. Councilor Tjeerd Herrema (PvdA) called this conclusion irresponsible.
 He said that stopping would cost 24 to 74 million euros, so stopping was not an option for his party. In fact, stopping would be irresponsible.
He also said that Rebel had based the hotel bookings on the current number of beds available, while various hotel initiatives are being considered which would double the number of beds in Almere. And that there were other benefits.
He said Rebel had concluded that there was a risk that stopping would create higher costs and produce no income. The central question in the report was whether a proper risk analysis had taken place and the answer to that was yes and that it was precisely in line with his party’s conclusion to continue with Floriade.

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Half of 45+ residents employed, thanks to Almere reintegration method
By Robert Mienstra

Almere – “Two years ago the municipality, together with the Dutch Employee Insurance Agency (UWV), started an employment program for citizens over 45 with social or unemployment benefits. Of the 295 participants 154 (52%) found paid employment. In 2015, however, only 15% of this group had been successful in this regard. Though it’s a big mistake to think that this improvement came from economic growth”, says councilor Froukje de Jonge (from the Dutch political party, CDA).
 She explained that despite the feeling that there were many work opportunities, the 45+ group were discriminated against and the number of them on benefits was growing, nationally. Almere’s approach solved this problem.
The council and UWV devoted time to discovering and correcting the social, self-worth and financial issues of the 45+ age group, enabling them to re-train and to find jobs again – a significant number of which were technical.

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No coffee shop for Meridiaanpark
By Marcel Beijer

Buiten Centrum – The decision that there will definitely be no coffee shop in the Meridiaanpark in (Almere) Buiten was made by a majority of the municipal council on Thursday. An alternative location is not currently to be found.
The executive board of the council saw this as the only location for a coffee shop in Buiten and had earlier decided that legal marijuana outlets should be situated in every district of Almere. This resolution was discontinued due to energetic local protest, subsequently supported by parties ChristenUnie and PVV who tried unsuccessfully to block any further consideration of a fourth coffee shop.
It was decided to suspend the decision until a suitable location in Buiten presented itself.

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Oostvaardersplassen protestors charged

Oostvaardersplassen – Protestors looked on as park wardens shot a weakened red deer in the Oostvaardersplassen on Saturday, 17 March. This resulted in a riot, following which police arrested three people.  
Wardens had issued warnings to onlookers after which some left. It took three shots to kill the animal according to protestors. According to the wardens the animal was dead after a single shot.
Issues had previously arisen about supplementary winter feeding for the animals with little feed being available, illegal feeding taking place from unknown sources and Flevoland province calling in the help of vets to advise on and supervise feeding.
The Van Geel Commission is currently working on a new policy framework (report due end March 2018) for the area, on behalf of the province, with Bosbeheer pointing to the need for careful integration of objectives regarding nature, public access and the welfare of the large grazing animals.

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Almere keeps getting greener

Almere is a green city. Statistics published on groenmonitor.nl provided by Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra) indicate that we are actually the greenest city in the Netherlands. Almere’s typical green-blue combination of forest, lakes, parks and wetlands is seen as one of the city’s key characteristics, making it distinctive in the region and offering an attractive, healthy environment for living and business.       
We aim to improve this, making the city greener and even more attractive for residents, visitors and fauna by investing in the green-blue context of Almere, together with national and provincial government, Staatsbosbeheer, Stichting Flevo-landschap, local organizations and residents. To further our green aims, an annual program of activities and projects, Groenblauw, is drawn up and submitted to the city council.
This shows, via 2017 results and 2018 plans, that tangible results are being achieved.

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What happens to your vote

The voting locations will close on 21 March at 21.00 hours, after which election night continues at the city hall. Many politicians and involved residents will meet to hear the first results – and it’s an especially exciting night for the candidates. Did your party make it to the municipal council – and will you make it, personally? How many party members will there be to share the future workload? Who will be elected from among the opposing parties? And yet the elections are just the beginning . . .

Counting
There are 115 voting locations in Almere, which count and deliver their results to a central voting office at the city hall.

Division of seats
There are 45 council seats in Almere. These are divided among the various parties. You are welcome to attend election night at the city hall to see the parties’ representation on the council unfold.

Who sits on the council?
Once the allocation of seats to parties is known, the selection of individual representatives can start. These are not necessarily the people at the top of the election lists, but those who will gain the most preferential votes.

Appointment
Council members are appointed once all voting and preferential voting is complete and after confirmation of their credentials by the outgoing council.

Swearing in
The outgoing council retires, in full, on Tuesday 27 March. All new councilors who have approved credentials are sworn in on Thursday 29 March.

Forming the council’s executive board
The new executive board is formed from the newly elected council and the formation process is mostly led by the winning party in the election.

Executive board appointment
Once party negotiations to form an executive board agreement are finalized the members of the executive are named.

To work!
Now the real council work begins – to which the councilors are committed for four years.                       

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Welcome to the Greenhouse – on Saturday 7 April

Buitenvaart – Kom in de Kas (Welcome to the Greenhouse) will give Almere’s residents an opportunity to get to know the surprising world concealed under greenhouse glass. Ten Almere-Buiten businesses will take part, opening their doors from 10.00 to 16.00 to let people experience the beauty of greenhouse horticulture.    
A wide variety of food and decorative products are grown under glass in Almere-Buitenvaart. This is the Netherlands’ largest, urban, horticultural area and increasingly focuses on the connection between city and horticulture. Not to be missed is Onze Volkstuin, in which residents have joined their efforts and formed a unique kind of family business that feeds their passions for both gardening and organic vegetables.
A clown, gardening and horticultural info, sweets and an interactive detective game guarantee fun for children. Download the Kom in de Kas app to start the treasure hunt now.
Read more at www.buitenvaart.nl

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20 Almere organizations join to combat overweight and obesity

City Centre – The organizations together with councilor Rene Peeters signed the Almere Healthy Weight Pact on Friday, 16 March and will act jointly to combat (potential) childhood overweight and obesity.
This was the second signing of the pact and added 12 parties to the original 8. These public, private and voluntary organizations give priority to fighting childhood obesity as well as establishing a closed chain of detection, support and long-term care.

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Visit Lambs’ Day at the Vroege Vogelbos

Vroege Vogelbos – After the cold winter months everyone’s looking forward to the Spring – and to celebrate it Stad & Natuur has invited everyone to Lambs’ Day on Sunday, 25 March.
From 12.00 to 16.00 visitors can enjoy a variety of workshops, demonstrations, theatre and, of course, lambs! The various activities are also supported by the Almeerse Wolunie (wool union) and ‘Kunstbus’.

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Staatsbosbeheer is organizing the 23rd Open Day at the Buitencentrum in Almeerderhout on 2 April.
There will be fun activities and demonstrations for the whole family.
Read more at:
www.kemphaan.nl

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Almere’s waste to become green concrete 

Almere – Almere council and the recycling company, De Vijfhoek, have agreed the implementation of the winning plan from the Upcycle City competition held last year. This means that De Vijfhoek will start to implement the ‘Almere circular economic area development’ plan.
De Vijfhoek will invest in application research, in processing gas digestate waste and in technology to make ‘green concrete’. An important aspect of the plan is the collaboration between De Vijfhoek, Theo Pouw BV, Millvision, and Groen Gas Almere in order to utilize Almere’s waste streams, each other’s waste (gas digestate), mutually exchange heat and make green CO2 available to local gardeners.

Sustainable concrete plant    
De Vijfhoek’s investment in the plant is key to the project. The plant will make construction concrete consisting of 30 to 50% (and rising in coming years to 80%) recycled material. Non-construction concrete will ultimately consist of 100% recycled material.

Agreement
This involves co-financing of 2,410,830 euros for three years by the Fonds Verstedelijking Almere, with the condition that three times that amount is invested by the consortium. The investment covers all aspects of the development and construction of the large-scale, green concrete plant.

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Swap a paving tile for a plant

Almere – Between 24 March and 24 June residents of Almere will get a free plant in exchange for one of their own garden paving tiles. The city council hopes that residents will plant more green in their gardens, as a result. 
 Greener (front) gardens benefit bees and insects, reduce urban heat retention and help rainwater to enter the ground. Tiles can be exchanged for a flower voucher (valid at local garden centers) at the two recycling stations in Almere Buiten and Almere Poort or at the Upcyclecentrum in Almere Haven.
More information: www.growinggreencities.nl

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Note: Alle of the above articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition March 21, 2018. They were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.nl

Workshop about housing in the Amsterdam Area

IN Amsterdam (formerly Expat Center Amsterdam) wants to improve the availability of  English information on housing and daily life in the Amsterdam Area through various channels. They also want to broaden the focus of internationals from the city center of Amsterdam to the Amsterdam Area as a whole. Almere is part of that broader Amsterdam Area, the so called Amsterdam Metropolitan Area.

In that context International Almere was invited to participate in an informal workshop to give feedback on behalf of the internationals in Almere. The meeting took place on Monday 19th of March at the Central Station in Amsterdam and was organised by IN Amsterdam in cooperation with Amsterdam Marketing.

International Almere was represented by 3 members of the board of our community: Michel Daenen (Director), Sandra da Silva (Secretary),  Alexandra Crisan (Social Media & Marketing). We were feeling proud as always for representing International Almere and we had the opportunity to highlight the qualities of our young and beautiful city Almere.

It was nice to meet representatives of other international communities in the region, such as Expatfriendlylocals.com, represented by Sally Baldrick, and Bridging the Gap Foundation, represented by Ritika Mehra. The opportunity for face to face networking with internationals and internationally-minded people is as important as all the insights shared during this event.

The individual and group exercises revealed interesting results regarding Almere. For the sake of an exercise, the Amsterdam area was divided into regions, where our city was labeled as “New Amsterdam”. Among the other communities present at the workshop Almere turned out to be known for “affordable housing”, “space”,  “a good international school” and “good public transport”.

Obviously on top of that we mentioned the cultural diversity that makes Almere so special and the active international community of International Almere. A nice bonus to the evening is that we gained a new member for International Almere! Mona promised that she will join us at our events, maybe at Quiz Night or at Dutch Language Café.

Alexandra Crisan
marketing@internationalalmere.com

P.S.: If you’re still struggling to find a house in Almere or if you want to rent our or sell your house, we have the solution for you – our Facebook group Housing in Almere. This group is designed to help people find housing that suits their needs in the Almere area. You can also find useful information about Almere on our main group – International Almere Group. The language of our groups is English. We would also like to hear about your housing experience!

2018 Municipal Council Election

Tomorrow,  Wednesday, 21 March 2018, the municipal elections take place in the Netherlands. 

Hong Reijnders explains below what it’s all about. 

What is a municipal council election?
The Netherlands is a democracy. Local residents choose who will represent them on the municipal council. These elections take place once every 4 years in the Netherlands. The largest municipal councils (of municipalities with more than 200,000 residents) have 45 members, the smallest councils (of municipalities with fewer than 3,000 residents) have 9 members.

Who may vote?
〇 Dutch citizens of 18 years and older
〇 EU citizens
〇 Non EU citizens who have legally resided in the Netherlands for at least 5 years

Where and when can you vote?
The municipal elections take place on Wednesday, 21 March 2018. There are 98 voting locations in Almere. Residents of Almere may vote in any of them. On this day nearly all the voting locations are open from 07.00 to 21.00 hours.

What must you take with you?
Your poll card, of course, as well as the required proof of identity (passport, driver’s license, ID card). The proof of identity may not have expired for more than five years.

About the Almere municipal elections
There are 16 parties contesting the 2018 election in Almere. They are the PVV, D66, PvdA, VVD, Leefbaar Almere, SP, GroenLinks, CDA, ChristenUnie, AP/OPA, Wij staan voor (WSTAV), Respect Almere, Almere Anders ’18 , GLP, Wonen Ondernemen Werken (WOW), Partij voor de Dieren(PvdD).
WATAV , WOW, GLP and PvdD are standing for the first time in Almere.
Almere’s population is 204,599 (as at 1 March 2018). The municipal council of Almere will therefore be extended from 39 to 45 councilors after the election.
Each party has its own ideas about the future of Almere. The most important issues are reflected in the overview below.

The most important issues
Political party > Most important issues for the coming four years (2018-2022):
Reference used: http://gemeenteraad.almere.nl/

PVV > Stop Floriade!, De-Islamizing Almere, lower rates and taxes.
D66 > Floriade supporter. Good work, good education and a good city atmosphere.
PvdA  >  Affordable living, right to work, right to good (health) care. Floriade supporter.
VVD > Security. At home, on the streets, and in public transport. Financially healthy, stimulating local business.
Leefbaar Almere > Careful use of funds, housing construction for vulnerable groups, improving green areas.
SP > Improved social housing, poverty reduction, community-controlled (health) care.
GroenLinks > A social, green, open Almere.
CDA > At home in Almere, combating neighbourhood disturbances, improving local (health) care.
ChristenUnie > Sustainability, future expectations for the youth, improving Almere’s livability.
AP/OPA > Equal treatment of senior citizens and youth, poverty reduction.
WSTAV, Wij Staan Voor Rijkdom in KLEUR > Equal treatment and opportunity for all, investing in youth and training.
Respect Almere > Tax reduction, Floriade stops, dog tax is discontinued.
Almere Anders ’18 > Wants to stop Floriade , additional housing construction.
GLP > Floriade , Health(care) & Welfare, Security. Satisfied if Floriade is stopped.
Wonen Ondernemen Werken > Accelerate council reorganization, housing construction, stimulate local job opportunities.
Partij voor de Dieren > Focus on people, fauna and flora. Stop deforestation. Make Almere really green.

The council chamber of Almere
(Photo: Gemeente Almere)

Local politics have a major effect on our daily lives. Do you like Almere? Are you always complaining about Almere? Do you want to play a role in decisions on Almere’s future?

Then vote!

Hong Reijnders
Citizen of Almere and member of International Almere
www.internationalalmere.com

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Note: this article was originally written in Dutch by Hong Reijnders. It was translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs – www.courtesie.nl

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!

Is Almere serving its expat community well?

Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time. We were this time. The Municipality (Gemeente) of Almere is more and more aware of its international community here in town. They have decisions coming up (like about the international school campus) for which they would like to have more information on the international community. So, we offered them to do a survey among the internationals of Almere that we are connected with, to find out their opinion about Almere. What are they happy with, what not, and what are their suggestions? We published an online questionnaire on the Facebook page and website of International Almere.

The questions

In April 2017 we sent out the following five questions to more than 1000 internationals/expats living in Almere:

  1. Why did you choose to live in Almere?
  2. What can the Almere municipality do better to help you to find your way in Almere? 
  3. What do you like about living in Almere?
  4. What don’t you like about living in Almere?
  5. How could Almere attract more internationals?

The answers

The overwhelming response we received gave valuable insights for the municipality about the motives, complaints and suggestions of the international community living in Almere. Some highlights of this survey: many expats are very happily living in Almere. Important reasons to live in Almere are the affordable prices of the houses (especially compared to Amsterdam), the proximity to Utrecht and Amsterdam and many expats view Almere as a child friendly city. Specially appreciated are the nature in and around the city, the public transport and the safety and quietness of Almere. Main topics of dissatisfaction are the roadblocks on the A6 and A1, the negative image of Almere and the somewhat boring atmosphere of the city center, especially at night. Almere seems to be appreciated especially by families with children, that want to escape the busy cities of Utrecht or Amsterdam. So, this is more or less the same group as the non-internationals who like to live in Almere. What should the “Gemeente” improve the most?  By far: availability of online information for living in Almere in English and a sort of helpdesk for internationals at the town hall to help newcomers to get started. If Almere wants to grow the expat/international community, international school availability is very important. People want to live in the near vicinity of the school their children go to.

General conclusion

Next to the availability of schools the main issue for current residents and future newcomers is communication: give information in English and also actively promote the city. The possibilities and opportunities that Almere has to offer are little known amongst new arrivals.

Now what?

A report along with a list of recommendations for the municipality was presented and discussed with a delegation of four representatives of the municipality of Almere on Monday 15th of May.  At the end, we officially handed over the report to Monique Vredenburg, senior project manager Economic Affairs of the Municipality. Again, we’d like to thank all the internationals that took the time to fill in the questionnaire, called us with their remarks or sent us emails with answers. Your input is highly appreciated. We hope the municipality will use all suggestions you gave to further improve their service to the internationals in Almere.

Stephanie Ernst and Michel Daenen present Monique Vredenburg with the results of the survey.

Stephanie Ernst, International Almere, www.internationalalmere.com

Karin Gabor and Michel Daenen, Crossing Cultures, www.crossingcultures.nl

 

For further information, you can contact: Stephanie Ernst, marketing@internationalalmere.com 

or Michel Daenen, michel.daenen@crossingcultures.nl   

Kings Day by our Members …

April 27th is here and when you’re an international living in the Netherlands, it can seem like the whole country is going orange crazy … so International Almere is here to help you survive Kings Day in Almere, and some tips for if you decide to head out to the bigger celebrations in Amsterdam.

We asked our members for the best tips on where to go in Almere, personal experiences and stories, and survival tips so we could make a Guide to Kings Day in Almere and beyond!

Memories of Kings Day

Our members shared their experiences of Kings Day – the good, the funny, the cultural mishaps and the bad.  From childhood memories of selling toys, to broken down cars, relocation disasters and even those who were disappointed in the party, they told their stories.

When I was young me and my brother went to sit and sell stuff with my dad. We got up early (well, like 5-6 am) and drive to the city centre, which was not nearly as big as it is now. We would find a nice spot and sit there all day ’till about 5 on our blanket. We did this for years. But slowly the people started to realize that the early bird gets the best buy, and sellers started to realize they would have to come earlier to have the early birds scouting their stuff.. and to claim a good space. Because, Almere was getting bigger every year. Well, that resulted in today people starting to sell from the day before. And although it’s not allowed to sell before 6 pm on the 26th people usually start earlier than that. Petra (Netherlands)

Queens Day and I didn’t start off the right foot. Back in ’89 I was young, naive and came from the country of street- and community party’s. Any party held in public, whether it was the a public holiday, a 700th anniversary of the city, the annual fair of the fire brigade/men’s choir/local gymnastic society/ local church etc., came always with a) music b) beer (ok, in case of the church tea and coffee) and c) food. A LOT of food. Dozens of cakes and pies, “Schwenkbraten” (BBQ), Bratwurst ohne ende…You get the picture. Anyway, at my first Queens Day I left the house, excited to discover the Dutch way to party and try their specialties and found thousands of happy Dutch people drinking beer (Yay!!) and selling their old belongings (huh????). I went home, hungry and disappointed. These days we have Kings Day though, and I have to admit, it has it charms. Once I realized beer is a good companion with almost anything at Kings Day AND I found a charming Dutchman who introduced me to the real thing (Amsterdam), I started to enjoy it. Kings day has everything. From spontaneous street parties, to markets, to gigantic festivals. In Almere I love going to the Belfort Plein, enjoying the sunshine (if we get so lucky) and some music, In Amsterdam I love the market which is kids only at the Vondelpark. Utrecht is also great with lots of terraces, music and a relaxed day out. The fun is starting the evening before though, with Kings Night. In the city centre people start to sell their second hand goods and the first parties are getting started. My advice if this is your first Kings day? Go with the flow and enjoy. Just like the Dutch do! Doreen (Germany)

When i was young it was heaps of fun.. sitting there at 3am .. people was kind and had lots of laughs. My parents car even broke down on our way with all our stuff in ! People started helping pushing the car down to the mall. We’d take food and coffee with us.. my aunts and uncles was always standing next to us..so a whole line of family next to each other.. damn good times.. memories.. Katrina (Australia/Netherlands)

 I used to love Queens day in Hilversum, there was always a Kermis and loads of free activities for the children, bouncy castles, pony rides, face painting, lots of live music, it was always a fantastic day out. We loved looking what was for sale and getting a bargain. I have to say I was really disappointed when we moved to Almere as there really wasn’t that much on in comparison. Rachael (Australia)

Surviving Amsterdam

It’s said that you’ve never experienced Kings Day until you’ve been to one in Amsterdam.  And yes, we know that Almere is the place to be, our members have also given us their stories and tips for Kings Day in Amsterdam.

Jordaan is very nice on Kings Day! That’s near the Westertoren and Anne Frank museum area! Go early because it’s very busy there ! There’s very creative and funny people who do karaoke from out their window or more funny selling ideas and in the Elandstraat and the Eesterstraat, Noordermarkt & Laurierstraat are really easy to recommend!

 It is such an experience, Kingsday in Amsterdam! I really recommend it for that international feeling of togetherness, joy, and delightfulness, it always gives such a rewarding feeling that day  Internationalism and people from all over the world are like brothers it’s a genuine experience and gives hope (that’s my personal experience) for a better world it is possible Marita (Netherlands)

Survival tips for Amsterdam

  1. Go early
  2. Park legally – if you go to Amstel station and then bike or take public transport.
  3. Watch out for glass on the ground and wear closed shoes.
  4. Take small change for toilets and bargains!
  5. Take a litre of water
  6. If you’re going with friends, pick a meeting point for the end of the day in case you get separated
  7. Keep your personal items (phones, wallets) safe at all times.
  8. Wear orange!

An update from our sponsors at Beacon Financial Education.

This is a sponsored post and may contain affiliate links.

Blacktower Financial Management Group and Beacon Global Group announce strategic agreement in The Netherlands

 January 25th, 2017

Blacktower Financial Management International and Beacon Global Group today announced a strategic agreement to support the more than 45,000 Americans living in The Netherlands with financial planning and investment advice.

Financial planning and investing for Americans has become harder in recent years with the IRS & FATCA causing Americans to be unwelcome at many financial institutions. It’s caused difficulty opening bank accounts, closed U.S. brokerage accounts, complex and changing tax codes, confused & fearful financial advisors; and few quality investment options.

Continue reading An update from our sponsors at Beacon Financial Education.

Understanding “Sinterklaas” in the Netherlands.

Guest post by Michel Daenen of Crossing Cultures.  Please do not copy or use parts of this article without correct attribution.

Sinterklaas (or Sint Nicolaas) is the children’s friend from Spain who brings presents for the Dutch children every year.
sinterklaas
Sinterklaas (1)

This Saturday, he will arrive by boat to the Netherlands. It’s meant to be a cheerful children’s celebration, but lately it has also been the source of heated discussions. Sinterklaas is a sensitive topic in Dutch society. For the newcomer in this country it would help to become a bit more aware of those sensitivities around Sinterklaas and their background. That’s why I wrote this article.

When I was 3 to 6 years old, Sinterklaas was one of the yearly highlights of my life. Sinterklaas, the friendly tall man with the red robe, white long beard and hair, his rod and high miter, came every year to Holland by steamboat from Spain. We would welcome him at the dock of the town on a cold day in November, waving at him and his funny, athletic and silly servants called “zwarte pieten”. On Saturday evenings we would place our shoes in front of the heater in the living room, containing a hand written letter and some drawings for Sinterklaas complete with wish list for presents and carrots for his white horse.

Shoes by the fire
Shoes by the fire (2)

Together with my two older sisters I would sing typical Sinterklaas songs such as “Sinterklaas Kapoentje”, “Zie ginds komt de stoomboot” and “De zak van Sinterklaas”. Most of the time I had no idea what I was singing about, but I tried my best to sing as well as I could. Because every child of my age knew: if you are a good boy or girl, you’ll get presents from Sinterklaas, if you’re naughty, Zwarte Piet will beat you with his stick (called ‘de roe’), put you in his bag and take you to Spain. On Sunday mornings I would come in the living room and get exited seeing the carrots, letter and drawings having been replaced by chocolates and presents. Supposedly it was black Piet who climbed through the chimney at night in order to perform this wonderful magic trick. On the 5th of December beginning of the evening my parents wanted us to be upstairs and only come down when the bell rang. Entering the living room the table was covered with presents, sweets and chocolate. Heaven!

When I was 7 years old I found out I was collectively fooled about it all. Sinterklaas didn’t exist they told me. My parents ‘were’ Sinterklaas and “de Goedheiligman” I saw on tv was an actor. It was a shock to hear that even my two older sisters had been part of the conspiracy for years. Nevertheless, I hold sweet memories of Sinterklaas.

Now, about 40 years later, I have young children myself and the whole thing comes back to me: the songs, the presents, the suspense and also Zwarte Piet’s bag.

But times have changed during past decades. The “roe” is no longer there, the horse that was just a “Schimmel” to us is called Amerigo since the 90’s, Zwarte Piet is not always dumb anymore, there are some very clever Zwarte Pieten right now and Sinterklaas is not always the wise old man, sometimes he forgets things.  Along with Sinterklaas the last couple of years every autumn a nationwide discussion starts in the weeks before 5th of December. And it gets more intense every year.

sinterklaas-intocht
The Stoomboot arrives (3)

It has become clear that not everybody in the Dutch society is happy with this event full of Dutch traditions. Some of the Dutch citizens, mainly but not exclusively and not all Dutch with a background from the former Dutch colonies Suriname, Indonesia and the Dutch Antilles, feel Sinterklaas to be a racist and discriminating event. At first the reply from other people in society was ‘nonsense, Sinterklaas has nothing to do with racism or discrimination, it’s only  tradition and we should not change a thing about it’, but more and more it was inevitable that things needed to be adjusted in this Dutch folklore. Especially since the UN Committee Against Race Discrimination called for change, concluding in August 2015 that ‘deeply rooted cultural tradition does not justify discriminatory practices and stereotypes’. It resulted for a while in emotional discussions on Dutch TV shows, newspapers and on the street. It was obvious that a sensitive snare of Dutch culture was touched, an episode of our history that is controversial, to say the least. Dutch people usually proudly tell foreigners about our Golden Age, some centuries ago, where we travelled the world, traded with all kinds of people in the East and the West and brought prosperity to our country. But part of this global trading was also slavery in which the Netherlands took massively part. Although the tradition of Sinterklaas is much older than this period in Dutch history, during and after the period of slavery it evolved to the stereotyping of black Piet being a dumb servant of the big white man, wearing big earrings and having fat lips. This is for some Dutch people a confronting memory of our past. Here lies probably the explanation for the emotions around the Sinterklaas-discussion. We’re not proud of that part of our history, yet it has brought us where we currently are: a multicultural welfare state with values like equality, freedom of speech and tolerance. On top of that, in a rapidly changing world with much uncertainty and (perceived) threats that create fear, people tend to cling on to their own identity, usually connected to one’s country. Then it is not about rational argumentation anymore, but about the “gut feeling”. So when you deeply feel the need of national identity it’s hard to let go of the artefacts of your culture that are part of that. You’ll strongly defend the status quo. Sinterklaas seems such an artefact. But in a society that by law prohibits discrimination and where we feel everybody who is a member of our society should get the possibility to feel included something needed to be changed. The question if you are included or feel included, are discriminated or feel discriminated is another one  I will not get into now. As said, something needed to be changed, but how?

In the tradition of Dutch decision making habits (the notorious ‘poldermodel’) different points of view and ideas were discussed at length. Then the phase of actively looking for the ultimate compromise started. Extreme positions seem not to get so much support: we probably won’t see the complete disappearance of black Piets, nor will we see no change at all. The middle of the road seems to be this year a Piet that has some black stripes on his face (‘roetvegen’), grime that is supposed to come from the chimney he climbs through. We’ll probably also see other coloured Piets: orange, blue, rainbow coloured. Is everybody happy with the outcome? Probably not… but as you know from your own changes you have gone through when moving from one place to another, it needs time to adjust to change. Change is inevitable.

sinterklaas-en-kind
Meeting Sinterklaas (4)

And what about  the children? What do they think about it all? Dutch Child Ombudsman Margite Klaverboer published September this year a report based on conversations with Dutch children. She also concluded things need to be changed as children with coloured skin told the researchers they do experience negative effects because of Sinterklaas, such as discrimination and exclusion. Interestingly enough she also heard many children suggest adults stop fighting about it and simply adjust the appearance of Piet. Although Mrs Klaverboer received a lot of hate-emails and criticism after she published the report, ‘major changes’ around Sinterklaas have started to happen since then. “Het Sinterklaasjournaal”, the daily news show about Sinterklaas on National television announced this year to continue to show black Piet but will add ‘white’ Piets without any make up. Another TV channel will only have Piet with the earlier mentioned black stripes.

It can be concluded by now that the Sinterklaas tradition further evolves and also that children seem to accept any modification of it with ease. In their drawings for Sint they change the look of Piet according to the outcome of the compromise. Like always the flexibility of children is something many adults can learn from. Personally I hope the Dutch ‘poldermodel’ brought us a sustainable and satisfying solution for all so that we soon can focus again on the wonderful experience Sinterklaas can be and should be for all children in the Netherlands.

Michel Daenen

www.crossingcultures.nl

November 2016.

Guest post by Michel Daenen of Crossing Cultures.  Please do not copy or use parts of this article without correct attribution.

Photo Credits:

  1. Photo credit: Dogfael via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA
  2. Photo credit: Jacob Johan via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA
  3. Photo credit: han santing via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC
  4. Photo credit: Walther Siksma via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

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!

Reap what you sow – a message from our sponsors.

This is a sponsored post from Beacon Global Advisers and contains affiliate links.

Autumn has arrived, the harvest season has begun. Only a few weeks away until the holiday season officially starts. Thanksgiving sets off the holiday season for Americans across the globe. 

shutterstock_361361252Let’s take a moment to consider what it is you would like to reap when you have reached the “autumn stage” of your own life. What would you like to cultivate? 

Start planning now, and plan to harvest! Think like a farmer: determine what it is you Autumn has arrived, the harvest season has begun. Only a few weeks away until the holiday season officially starts. Thanksgiving sets off the holiday season for Americans across the globeeventually need and when. Weigh out your options, consider potential (financial) crisis and other unforeseen events, do not leave things to chance, and evaluate regularly.

Make sure, you sow now,… in order to live a comfortable life, and enjoy your retirement, later on.

 [Contributed by Beacon Global Advisers]  Continue reading Reap what you sow – a message from our sponsors.

Halloween Party 2016- Read all about it!

WHAT A FANTASTIC HALLOWEEN WEEKEND!

The ghouls, the goblins ,the fairies and the firemen were all out in force at this weekend’s Halloween Party!

This year the party was run by Norma, who did a great job for her first time ever! She was assisted by Margaret, Oishi, Jenneth, and Gerard who all were fantastic helpers.

Thanks to everyone who came along and joined us – you all went to a lot of effort and it was fantastic to see all the kids (and some parents!) in costume!! See you at the Kids Christmas Party (more to come on that soon – get an early reminder by signing up to our newsletter!)

halloween-web

Free Financial Education Seminar

This is a sponsored post and contains affiliate links.

Expats have other financial needs and a different need for financial information than regular employees. Does your financial adviser know the financial implications of you moving from one country to another for your job? Will you be able to retire comfortably once you stop working?

Join Beacon Global Advisers at the WTC in Almere October 20th.

Register here

Free Financial Education Seminar

This is a sponsored post and contains affiliate links.

Do you know the Financial Implications of You Being an Expat?

Beacon Global Advisers’ free Financial Education Seminar covers topics such as Life Insurance Strategies for Expats, Cross Border Retirement Planning, (US FATCA Compliant) Investments and International Wealth Management.

Make sure you, your financial adviser(s) and/or accountant know what being an expat implies for your financial situation.

Register here

Free Financial Education Seminar

This is a sponsored advertisement and contains affiliate links.

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Do your Dutch financial advisers and those in your home country work as a team to help you achieve your financial goals?
Understand the implications of you, living and working abroad and educate yourself! Beacon Global Advisers organizes a free of charge financial education seminar at the WTC Almere on October 20th. Join us and register now!

Important Venue Change Announcement!

As you may know by now, our traditional home of First Friday Night Drinks, the Apollo Hotel is closed for renovations until December (and we can’t WAIT to see what their new look is going to be!)

We’re so lucky in Almere to have other great venues willing to come on board and take us – so we’re happy to announce our temporary home is none other than the fantastic CafeOp2 on the Stadhuisplein! (Members will still get their first drinks on us).

So why not pop on down to the Stadhuisplein on October 7th at 8pm, check out our temporary digs and enjoy a drink with some amazing people!

new-ffnd-poster

2016 Summer Picnic – Date Change!

There’s a date change for the summer picnic!

**EVENT RESCHEDULED**

10 September 2016

With the forecast calling for rain and a few members saying they’d love to come but cannot get tomorrow free, we’ve decided to postpone the picnic until Saturday, September 10th.

Hope to see you all there!

2016 web

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

Featured Instagrammer for July!

Are you following our Instagram feed? 

A new month, a new featured photographer for Instagram!  Meet Melissa Longstreet-Homma, another talented member of our group. She’ll be sharing her pictures with us for the rest of July and some of August! Thanks for your wonderful pictures, Melissa, and we’ll see you on Instagram!

(Are you interested in being a featured photographer for us?  Email us at marketing@www.internationalalmere.com because we’re always looking for people to feature!)

featured melissa

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!

Another shock win at Quiz Night!

In another exciting night of Quiz Night, the Upside Downers were again knocked off their perch by another new team – De Slim Club!  With first place taken with 69 points, a clear 11 point margin over second place, is it time to call the days of domination by the Upside Downers ended? Are we seeing a new trend?  Only one way to find out? Come along next month and see who will take the title!

quiz200516-7

Introducing our new sponsors – Beacon Global Advisers!

This is a sponsored post for Beacon Global Advisers and  contains affiliate links.

Who are Beacon Global Advisers?

Founded in 2012 by Randy Landsman and Robert Rigby-Hall, Beacon Global Group  was formed from a need for stable and smart financial assistance for expats, in particular after the introduction of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) for US citizens abroad.  Over the years, they have taken their vast experience and created a company that can give clients access to financial planners, insurance professionals and tax & accounting professionals.

Beacon Global Advisers can provide their clients with a worldwide network of financial professionals, who understand international and local financial regulations, no matter where they reside in the world.

How are Beacon Global Advisers helping International Almere?

Beacon Global Advisers have generously stepped on board to be our major financial sponsor for 2016-2017.  You’ll see their advertising in our newsletters and on our website.

It’s  not only a financial support though.  Throughout the year they’ll host some seminars here in Almere.  The first seminar is on May 25th (US FATCA Compliant Investments – Apollo Hotel Almere  ).  We hope this is the first of many events like this that will come to Almere, as so far, no one else is filling this niche.

Like International Almere, Beacon Global Advisers’ focus is on helping people  who are away from home.  Whilst our end results may differ, our focus is the same – making sure that people have a solid foundation to start and continue their expat journey.

From all of us here at International Almere, we’d like to welcome Beacon Global Advisers into our large family of many nationalities.  Looking forward to seeing you on the 25th of May and thank you for your support!

beacon

This is a sponsored post for Beacon Global Advisers and contains affiliate links. 

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

A fresh new look …

This is it!  The moment we’ve all been waiting for – that something fresh that was promised!

Welcome to our new look website.  You’ll see things have changed a little around the place, and over the coming months, things will continue to change slightly – you’ll see content more relevant to the group, like articles written by our members and guest writers about their experiences, hints on where to find those hard to source goodies from home, and more information about this wonderful city we all call home – regardless if we’re here for a long time or a short time.

Continue reading A fresh new look …

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 info@www.internationalalmere.com ) 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 events@www.internationalalmere.com . .

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 info@www.internationalalmere.com

Looking forward to meeting you soon!

The Board, and Members of International Almere.

 

Getting to Know — Brenda van Kessel-Pérez Bernabé


Where were you born?

I was born in Lima, Peru.

Where have you lived?

When I came to live in The Netherlands it was the first time ever I travelled abroad (the longest flight hours of my life). Here I have lived in Marum (near Groningen), Almere, Ermelo (near Amersfoort) and now in Hilversum.

Where can we find you online (Website/blog/Twitter coordinates)?

I used to have a nail blog, but I stopped due to lack of time (maybe one day?) but on Facebook I am always reachable.

What brought you to Almere?

I came to this country as an Au Pair, but not to take care of children but animals (5 cats, 2 dogs and 2 birds) Yes, I know, not the regular nanny job :D, my host family moved from the north to Almere; which for me was a blessing, specially coming from a city of 8 million people and moving alone to another continent and ending up living in a tiny farming village. At that time I stayed because of love, after that long relationship ended, I decided to stay in Holland and build a life here on my own. Later on I met Stijn and the rest is history.

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

When I lived in Almere (and the main reason I keep coming to visit) is the people. Yes, you all! The international environment, modern architecture and central location make it a great city to live in.

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

I feel at home now. I have gone through many stages while adapting to my new life here. At the beginning I found everything new and different, when the tourist stage faded away I started missing home and my family badly. I had a really hard time adapting to a complete different culture and language. It takes time, patience and since I have no family around, a good support system (there is where the Expat Community comes in the picture). Now after almost 7 years I find myself having the life I wanted. So yeah! I feel at home now.

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

I am a sushi addict, so Kimono it’s a great place to eat, Yamas is a great option for Greek food and Wild West Steakhouse for the meat lovers (yummy spare ribs :P). For a night out so IA’s FND at Apollo is my first choice.

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

I am an expat, I have adapted to the Dutch life and society (I think/ guess/ hope) but I am and will always be a Peruvian girl. I am proud and love deeply my culture and customs and I will pass them on to my children no matter where I live.

How long do you plan on living here for?

I am planning to stay here for good…but you never know what life has in store for you…

Tell us how you found International Almere?

I saw the site once but I just didn’t dare to come by myself. I am a shy person at first (afterwards you wish I stayed shy). I came to a Friday night drinks in May about 4 years ago and since then I try to come to as many activities I can.

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

Many! I come to Friday Night Drinks (as often as possible), summer picnic, Ladies Movie Night, International Almere birthdays, Summer BBQ at the Kemphaan, Elf Fantasy Fair, Aussie BBQ, Halloween parties and all Christmas events. Halloween and Christmas are my all-time favorites the atmosphere is just awesome!

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

Just do it! We are looking into moving back to Almere next year, hopefully sooner…

What has been your biggest challenge since arriving in Almere?

The language, after so long I still struggle with communicating, but most people speak good English (and are very eager to practice it!) so there’s
always a way to get things done. And of course the “lovely weather” (I am a tropical creature, so don’t get me started on that one!)

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

The reflection of Almere at night over the Weerwater, seen from the A6…it’s just gorgeous. Reminds me a lot of my city at night

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

My favourite it has always been Queen’s day (now King’s Day), all the crazy orange dressed people, free concerts, great flea markets. From Peru I do celebrate Independence Day on July 28th I cook some of my grandma’s recipes, make our national cocktail: Pisco Sour and sing national music (and of course, after cocktails always comes the dance :P).

Getting to know — Phillip Shuttleworth

Where were you born?

I was born in a back of an ambulance which was parked in the car park from a Bingo Hall in Northampton.  I was put in the local newspaper the next day as being the first healthy born in a back of an ambulance.

Where have you lived?
The first place which I have lived is in Daventry (Central Midlands – England). I lived there for about 18 years be for I moved to a place called Lyme Regis (Summerset – England).  Lyme Regis is a nice place to visit in the summer but it does get busy. About 1 year after I moved to Lyme I met my wife which most of the main members knows about. After going back and forth for about a year I moved to The Netherlands With her and I stayed here since.

Where can we find you online?

You can find in Facebook (Http://www.facebook.com/phil.shuttleworth.5).
If you go to any of the IA’s events, I will also be there.
Almere is an inter­est­ing and unique city to live in, describe your favorite part of liv­ing here.

Yes Almere is a unique city, living here is ok and you do have everything close by. If you like nature you will love Almere. I can always find a place to sit back and relax and its only a small bike ride away.

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

My favorite place to eat out in the city would have to be the Greek restaurant  “Rodos”  which is located by the central station in Almere.

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

I would define myself as an international but at the same time I will always stay English.

How long do you plan on liv­ing here for?

I tend to stay here until I decide to move on, I don’t set plans so I won’t know myself.

Tell us how you found Inter­na­tional Almere?

I found International Almere through my work college:  Gerard Danks.

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

The events which I have been to are:
-Friday night drinks.
-I found this to be a great way to get to know met people also you can be yourself.
-Quiz night.
-This event I do like. I don’t think that much about anything but this is a good challenge and it helps you think.

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

No comment. You will have to see if for yourself.

What has been your biggest chal­lenge since arriv­ing in Almere?

When I moved here it was no problem to adjust.

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

If I had to leave I would take my memories. Memories are the most important thing which you could take with you.

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

My favourite Dutch tradition has to be Kings Day. The way I celebrate it is: where Orange and look around to see what people are selling.  I still celebrate the traditions from the UK because they are the same as here.

Getting to know – Connie Koorevaar

Where were you born?
Stoughton, Wisconsin, USA

 

Where have you lived?
USA and the Netherlands (Hazerwoude-Dorp, Leiden and Almere)

 

Where can we find you online?
I’m very active on facebook and pinterest

 

 

Almere is an inter­est­ing and unique city to live in, describe your favourite part of liv­ing here.
I’m the poster-child for Almere…I love this city.  Here I’ve lived in a small village, a university city and now Almere….it’s the perfect city.  Nature everywhere, village feel to the neighborhoods but in a short time by bus you’re in a center of your city be that Buiten, Haven or Stad.   The transportation system is amazing.  Most everything is just a bus or car trip away.  It’s not big yet, but it’s got plans.  It takes time for cities to grow up and I’m older than this city….I have faith it’ll eventually have something for everyone.   And if I feel I’m missing the “older” bits, in about 20 minutes I’m downtown Amsterdam.  I love that this city is always thinking about what it can do, it’s not so old that it thinks it’s done.  I’d be even happier if some of those plans actually got built, but I’ve still got hope.

Where is your favourite place to go out or eat out in the city?
Nothing beats dinner and a movie or to the theater.  We’ve got good choices for dinner and I’m happy with many different ones, such as Yamas, Buddha, Cubanita, Bobby Bear.

Would you define your­self as an expat, an inter­na­tional, or some­thing entirely different?
I’m not a classic expat since I didn’t come here for work and I’d not call me international either since I’ve only lived in two countries.  In 2010 I became a dual Dutch citizen and even before that if people asked me where I was from I’d not hesitate to say Almere…..luckily I’m usually around others that remind me my answer should be America.  I’m a globalist at heart so where I live is my home and where I’ve lived are the experiences that have shaped me into me.

How long do you plan on liv­ing here for?
Until we retire and then I’d love to seek out a warm less rainy patch of land to live on.

Tell us how you found Inter­na­tional Almere?
Petra, the wee Scottish woman.  We decided we would meet up with IA, before it became a formal organization it was just a group of women that would meet up the first Friday of the month in the 70’s/80’s bar in Buiten a long time ago.

Have you been to any Inter­na­tional Almere events? Which was your favourite?
Yes, I’ve been to numerous events.  Helped plan many.  I loved our first years picnic and the second year I loved the Halloween Party and Christmas party.  I love the family events.  Getting to see everyone again and having a great time as a group going out and having fun.

What advice would you offer to oth­ers who are think­ing of tak­ing the plunge and mov­ing to Almere?
Do it!!!  Almere is wonderful!!!  Join a group, preferably International Almere!!

What has been your biggest chal­lenge since arriv­ing in Almere?
I was hit very hard by culture shock.  I had a very hard time learning the language and I couldn’t understand why the Dutch did many of the things they did.  I missed my customer service.  I don’t think I’m lying when I say it took about 4 years for me to settle into the country.  It took 4 years to be happy with my Dutch and not feel guilty that it isn’t perfect.  It took 4 years to understand that the Dutch do what the Dutch do cause that’s how the Dutch do it and they’re not likely to ever get customer service….hahaha.  But that’s culture shock and it’s by far I think the one thing we underestimate how it’s going to affect us and becomes our biggest enemy while trying to adapt to living in a foreign country.

If you had to leave tomor­row and could take only one thing – any­thing – from Almere, what would it be?
What couldn’t I do without….my friends!

What is your favourite Dutch tra­di­tion, and how do you cel­e­brate? Do you still cel­e­brate hol­i­days and tra­di­tions from your home country?
I most definitely celebrate my American traditions, no matter what happens, I’ll always be American and though I’m a bit more Dutch, I don’t think I’d feel good if I gave up celebrating Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.    My favorite Dutch tradition is probably St. Maartin because it’s so much like Halloween and I just get a giddy childish glee when the doorbell rings on the 11th of November.

paid members of 2013

Dear paid members of 2013.

As at least some of you are aware, we may have made a slight error in the past few months. In accordance with our statutes, membership only ends “…a. with the death of the member; b. with the member’s resignation; c. by termination via the society; or d. by complete removal.” As we ourselves have been at fault in not sending out invoices to those of you who were members last year and have not as yet paid for this year, the following will be action’d to remedy the situation:

1: Emails will be sent out to all paid members from calendar year 2013. This email will contain an invoice for continued membership in 2014.

2: As a gesture of goodwill, any paid member of 2013 will be offered the discounted membership price of €5 for the year (2014), instead of  the usual €10.

3: Any paid member of 2013 who has already paid for 2014 membership will be given a refund to the value of €5, bringing their contribution in line with those who contribute now, or should they wish, a discount of €5 on entry to an International Almere event of their choosing.

4: Any paid member of 2013 not wishing to continue with membership for 2014 will be offered ‘amnesty’ from the 4-week notice of resignation, and be allowed by return of email to cancel membership forthwith.

For the sake of completeness, please note that this is applicable only to paid members of 2013 – not to any new memberships starting in 2014.

I cannot say for certain where the fault lies within the board, but as Director I feel it is my duty to shoulder the burden of blame. US President Harry S. Truman famously had a plaque on his desk with the saying “The buck stops here” – I think this is appropriate at this time.

On behalf of the board, I extend to you our deepest apologies for any inconvenience that this may have caused.

Yours Sincerely,

Gerard Danks

Director, 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
there.
Greg’s book – “How to be Orange” is available through http://shop.puuree.com/content/book-how-be-orange 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 http://gregshapiro.nl/content/de-nieuwe-bibliotheek

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!

bake_off_main
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!
THE PRIZES!
1st PRIZE – €40 gift voucher towards the workshop of your choice at the “Leukste Taartenshop” in Almere Haven (http://www.deleukstetaartenshop.nl/) 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 stephanie@www.internationalalmere.com  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 ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do expat women get judged more?

TEM logo
This is a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot, but only now have I found (hopefully) the right way to put it into words. The question I’ve been asking myself is whether expat women experience more judgment than women who don’t live abroad. I think there is no definite answer to that question, but I’ll try to look at this from different perspectives.

First of all, women (and oh yes, men) everywhere get judged and shamed every day. I don’t know anybody who didn’t experience being judged at some point. Especially when you’re a mom, suddenly the whole world is watching you, to see whether you are raising your child “the right way”- whatever that means.

In case of expat women, on top of the regular parenting judgment, there is judgment based on cultural differences. Different cultures have different ideas of how a child should be raised, and expat women often raise their children differently from societies they live in- which again results in judgment. Schools, languages, friends, the topic of integration are also all common to expat women, and may also be a source of judgment.

Then, I think that expat women may experience judgment on more than one level. For example, they may be judged by people from their countries of origin, their new home country (and by their husband’s country) and by the expat community, all at the same time. Many women, who are already struggling with their new life abroad, may find this really hard. On the other hand, expat communities are often very open-minded, tolerant and less judgmental.

Then, it may depend on your country of origin. So, you may feel more or less judged, based on where you come from and where you moved. If you felt judged in your home country, you may be relieved and empowered by not feeling the social pressure anymore. It may be more difficult for you if it’s the other way round.

Another aspect is the subjective feeling of being judged. So often we feel judged even though the other person doesn’t mean it that way. Especially if we’re already struggling with some aspect of raising children, an innocent comment can make us feel judged and unsure of our decisions. Expats (and women here are no exception) often feel like outsiders wherever they go. Hence, judgment may not affect them as much- because they have learned to cope with it.

So, are expat women judged more? I don’t know. While writing this, I have realized that the problem is not in being an expat or being a woman. The problem is in judgment. So, maybe, I should ask other questions: Why are women being judged? Why is anybody being judged? How can we deal with judgment? And what can we do to stop it?

Do you have any ideas? Have you felt judged as an expat? How did it make you feel, and what did you do about it? Please share your experiences in the comments!

[box size=”large” border=”full”]Meet Olga Mecking, our regular contributor at International Almere, who is an expert in multilingual life in the Netherlands.

Olga is a Polish woman, living in the Netherlands with her German husband and 3 trilingual children. In the past, Olga has lived in several countries (including Germany, Canada and the Netherlands), and learned to speak 5, that’s right, 5 languages.

She studied German philology at the University of Warsaw, then followed by a MA in Media Cultures at the University of Bremen. Olga blogs at The European Mama and we recommend you check her out on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.[/box]

 

The Dutch Circle Party Guide

Invader StuIt would be impossible to be an Expat living in the Netherlands without knowing about Invading Holland. It’s much like The Undutchables; a must-read for us all. Invading Holland is a light-hearted look into life in the Netherlands with hilarious anecdotes about having your bike stolen, an addiction to Speculoos and signs to look out for that you might be becoming Dutch…

Earlier this month, Stu, the voice behind Invading Holland won a Bloggie, which is the bloggers’ equivalent of The Oscars. It’s not a big deal, it is THE big deal.

Now, to the article.

Anyone who has lived in Holland for any length of time has most likely encountered a Dutch circle party and those who have not will eventually, it is inevitable. A Dutch circle party (the name is not a euphemism) can be best described as a ‘party’ that involves sitting in a circle all afternoon and chatting while drinking tea and eating cake. Anyone who only considers a party to be a party if someone is passed out in the corner, people are making out in the kitchen and the cops have been called at least three times is going to be sorely disappointed.

When attending a Dutch circle party it is important to know that when other attendees shake your hand and announce ‘Gefeliciteerd’ they are not introducing themselves. It might start to seem like you are being introduced to a very big family or that Gefeliciteerd is a more common name than Smith but they are in fact wishing you, “congratulations”.

“Gefeliciteerd.”

“Stuart. Nice to meet you Mr and Mrs Gefeliciteerd.”

This is because it is custom for the Dutch to congratulate everyone at the party and (as I discovered) is not because they are unsure about who the birthday boy or girl is (don’t try to be helpful by pointing).

Once you have successfully found a place to sit with in the circle (not necessarily with the people you arrived with and most likely with people you don’t know at all) you will be offered a drink and some cake. If you desire a drink with a little extra kick it is advisable to secretly conceal a hip flask of alcohol about your person since the strongest thing to be served at most Dutch circle parties is chamomile tea.

Circle PartyIt is also custom for there to be a minimum of 3 or 4 generations of family present at a Dutch circle party (the maximum limit is only set by the average human life span). This makes it entirely possible to go from a conversation about life as a member of the Dutch resistance during World War 2 to which Sesame Street character is best and why (It’s best to avoid getting these two conversations mixed up, Dora the Explore was never part of the Dutch resistance).

However, since a lot of these conversations will be in Dutch and thus impossible for a non-Dutch speaker to follow it is best to find something of interest to do to pass the time such as; staring at a wall, listening to the clock tick, trying to guess how much Dutch ‘worst & kaas’ you can eat or simply going to your happy place.

However, you must also stay alert! As a non Dutch speaker it is possible to go from being unintentionally ignored to suddenly having the entire room focus upon you within a split second as everyone waits silently for your answer to a question that you might not have heard because you were too busy watching a bug crawl across the window. This can happen because a Dutch attendee simply wanted to practice their English, ask you what brought you to Holland or simply know the current prices of the UK housing market. Whatever the reason, everyone in the room suddenly wants to hear the English speaker talk and they never seem to realize what a shock to the system this sudden intimidating attention can be or that testing us on our Dutch under the watchful eye of a room full of native speakers is not necessarily the most comfortable of situations.

But do not worry. Most Dutch circle parties have a set end time at a very respectable hour which the host or hostess will politely remind you of by starting to clean up around you.

PARRTTTYYYY!!!!!

This post orig­i­nally appeared on Invading Holland and has been repub­lished with full permission.

Comment below with your funniest Circle Party experience to win one of Stu’s Circle Party Survivor t-shirts.  The post with the most number of likes will be announced the winner.  This competition is open to residents of the Netherlands only and only comments on this article below will be eligible for the prize.  Good luck!

UPDATE: We have a winner! Stephanie Ernst-Milner, Stu’s Circle Party tshirt is all yours! We will be in touch to give you your shirt as soon as possible, so check your email!

Thanks very much to everybody who entered and submitted stories. We haven’t laughed so hard in ages.

And thanks again to Stu for such a wonderful post and a wonderful prize.

Children

Multilingual parenting ideas that got thrown out of the window — Part Two

If you haven’t already, check out part one in this series here.
This happens to every parent. You wanted to breastfeed only to find that your milk didn’t come in. You wanted to co-sleep only to find that your child hates it. Or you hate it. You wanted to only give your child organic home-made food only to find that your child actually eats sweets. And so the list goes. It is just so normal and very human.
Here is part two of Olga’s confession.  She didn’t achieve everything that she had planned before having children as far as their multilingualism was concerned.  What has fallen by the wayside for you as a parent (multilingual or otherwise)?

 

Having everybody on board

I hoped that if I just were dedicated and educated- and persuasive enough, I could persuade everybody that what I’m doing is beneficial to my children. Little did I know that I would be dealing with some extremely unhelpful and judgemental people. Knowledge and dedication to the cause is not something I’m lacking but I’m too tired to waste my time with people who can’t help or support me even though I know that what I’m doing is right. Sometimes the best way to deal with these sort of people is to ignore their comments and advice, and not to try argue with them.

 

My high expectations

I set out on this multilingual journey with the utter conviction that my children will be poster children. After all, I am bilingual myself, and I for everybody to read and be inspired, and hence my children should act accordingly, right? Wrong. Again, I had to adjust my expectations to Klara’s slow speech and language development. But you know, it doesn’t feel like a failure. Instead, I am proud that my children speak all three languages. I am proud that they’re catching up and progressing. In fact, I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. I just need to make sure my children are fine.

 

Having a language plan

I can’t think of one instance where a plan proved useful. On the contrary, they fool my brain into thinking that I have done something when the only thing I did was actually writing things down. And while I can understand the usefulness of a language plan for some families, it wouldn’t work for us. We’re just trying to work out things for ourselves, and react accordingly to circumstances. It doesn’t mean however, that we don’t think about the future. Our choice of school proves it. The fact that I’m keeping to speaking to them in Polish proves it. Another thing plans do is that they make you feel like we have control over everything, and we don’t.

 

The idea that if I do things right, I would get the right results

I strongly believed that, just like in all things parenting, if you do things the right way, you will get the right results. And I believed that the same goes for raising multilingual children. Except, parenting isn’t mathematics. Sometimes you do all the right things and still get no results. You could do mistakes and your children could still turn out great. So, no, doing right things right doesn’t guarantee results. We are so desperate to believe that we can control how our children will end up, that we forget we really can’t. So, I can do my best, and hope for the best, but this is all I can do.

 

The idea that it would be easy and natural

I have long ago heard that being a parent- and especially being a mom comes naturally. I have read about the mother’s instincts that will tell me all I need to know about raising children. And you know what happened when I had children? My mother’s instinct proved to be very shy and didn’t tell me anything. I had to learn everything from the beginning. Of course, I spoke Polish to my children, but talking to them still felt weird. They didn’t reply, they didn’t answer, and talking like that just wasn’t my thing. It wasn’t natural at all to force myself to say, for the zillion-th time, “yes, this is a table”. Of course, it’s a stupid table! It wasn’t at all natural to me to change my way of talking so that my children can understand me. Argh! Sometimes I wanted to bang my head on the table. Luckily, now it’s getting better. Now I can finally talk to Klara more naturally. So I know it’s getting better, but I was in for a shock at the beginning.
 
 

[box size=”large” border=”full”]Welcome to Olga Mecking, a new regular contributor at International Almere, who is an expert in multilingual life in the Netherlands.

Olga is a Polish woman, living in the Netherlands with her German husband and 3 trilingual children. In the past, Olga has lived in several countries (including Germany, Canada and the Netherlands), and learned to speak 5, that’s right, 5 languages.

She studied German philology at the University of Warsaw, then followed by a MA in Media Cultures at the University of Bremen. Olga blogs at The European Mama and we recommend you check her out on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.[/box]

 

This post originally appeared on The European Mama and has been republished with full permission.

New Life

Multilingual parenting ideas that got thrown out of the window – Part One

This happens to every parent. You wanted to breastfeed only to find that your milk didn’t come in. You wanted to co-sleep only to find that your child hates it. Or you hate it. You wanted to only give your child organic homemade food only to find that your child actually eats sweets. And so the list goes. It is just so normal and very human.

The same happens to multilingual parents. It has certainly happened to me. So here’s my confession. I didn’t achieve everything I had planned to before I had children as far as their multilingualism is concerned. Here’s a list of things I either wasn’t able to do or they didn’t happen until much later.

Reading from birth

As a certified book addict, I wanted to convey my love of books to my children. I was dead serious on reading to them from the day they were born, to turn them into as enthusiastic readers as I am. And then Klara was born. And you know what? I was busy doing other things. Like recovering from birth. Like dealing with a crying newborn and trying to figure out what she wanted. Like resting. Reading aloud to her just didn’t happen. I tried again later. Again, nothing. As it turns out, I resented it (I’ve always hated reading aloud), and Klara just wasn’t interested. Books are for playing, and not for reading, don’t you know? And mom, please shut up, I’m trying to explore my surroundings here. But we had tons of books waiting for her to be ready, and she played with baby books a lot. She also often saw me on the couch with a book in my hands. Now, she loves it when I read to her, and I enjoy it because we can both chose books that are fun for us and talk about the stories. On the other hand, Julia loved when I read for her, so I did that. She loved being held and cuddled, and reading went greatly with that. So, not all is lost!

High-quality time in Polish every day

I was so set on making every day a day full of high quality Polish language input. And then I found that having a child is actually beyond exhausting. There was crying, sleep deprivation, and my deep need for me-time. But whenever I had time or strength, I jumped on the opportunity. I talked to her. I took her with me wherever I went and explained, explained and explained. And I talked, and talked and talked some more. At the end of the day I was even more exhausted and took the next day to relax. Luckily, my husband helped a lot with the quality language input. Also I think that while multilingualism is important, there are other things that are important as well: like letting the children play by themselves. Like being silent for a while and resting. Like just holding your child. Multilingualism is not all. And I think that quality time doesn’t always mean talking. I already see that wherever I spend a lot of time with my children (talking or not), they are more likely to speak Polish.

Consistency

I was going to be so consistent! I would only speak Polish, sing Polish songs, read Polish books and never talk another language with my children. I would also make sure that everybody else behaves the same. And what happened? I still only speak Polish with my children. But some of their favourite songs are in German/English or Dutch. Some of their favourite books are in German- even though I translate them. I also sometimes have to translate something into German so that the girls can ask their father something. The girls hear me speaking English, Dutch, German and Polish on a daily basis. But I keep thinking that maybe they will see that multilingualism is cool that way.

Polish as their primary language

I really thought that Polish will become the girls’ primary language. After all, they spent a lot of time with me at home, and if only I spoke enough Polish, they’d pick it up. And after all, I am their mom, so that would automatically make my language their language? Wrong. It didn’t happen. Instead, German is becoming Klara’s favourite. Maybe it was due to my not being able to provide enough good quality Polish in input. Or maybe because Klara’s daddy’s girl. Or maybe because children just make language choices that are different from ours. Who knows? The important thing to me is that they speak it.

Saturday school in Polish and Polish playgroups

I was desperate to find another source of Polish for my children, besides myself. I even became part of a Polish-speaking mom’s group. We met once a month at one of the mom’s places, and it was good. But the children were much younger than Klara, and it was important to me that she had somebody to talk to. And, as it happened, most of the moms went back to Poland, and the group was no more. I then found a Saturday school, and for a while I was convinced that this was the way to go. But well, a Saturday school, as fun as it may seem, is just that: a school that you attend on Saturday. Also, while it is every second Saturday, the children get kicked out if they miss class more than twice. We were pretty sure that with our travelling schedule Klara would surely miss more than two classes, so we decided not to go through with this. If we wanted to, we can still do it later, but since children in the Netherlands start school early- at the age of 4- we thought that maybe we should give her a break. After all, speaking Polish should be fun, not a chore!

 

What about you?  Did you have any multilingual (or even everyday) parenting ideas that went out the window?

 

Stay tuned next week for part two!

 

[box size=”large” border=”full”]Welcome to Olga Mecking, a new regular contributor at International Almere, who is an expert in multilingual life in the Netherlands.

Olga is a Polish woman, living in the Netherlands with her German husband and 3 trilingual children. In the past, Olga has lived in several countries (including Germany, Canada and the Netherlands), and learned to speak 5, that’s right, 5 languages.

She studied German philology at the University of Warsaw, then followed by a MA in Media Cultures at the University of Bremen. Olga blogs at The European Mama and we recommend you check her out on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.[/box]

 

This post originally appeared on The European Mama and has been republished with full permission.

utrecht

Utrecht: Come Visit

Utrecht is gearing up for the big celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht this week. Banners are strung in the streets and the Domtoren is getting the finishing touches for the big light show that will launch on 11 April. The list of events that will be taking place this year is impressive.

 

Utrecht, come visit
Utrecht, come visit

 

There’s plenty going on in Utrecht, even when we’re not celebrating the end of a war, but I still get people writing to me as if I live in Amsterdam. While Utrecht is only 20-minute train ride from Amsterdam, it’s still its very own city and a unique one, too. To remind you, here are a few of my past posts where I talk about how great Utrecht is and why websites and magazines and more should pay attention to Utrecht (and other cities in the country) not just Amsterdam. Nothing against Amsterdam, but in such a small country, why not check out a few other cities while you’re at it!

Reasons to Visit

Ranting, You’re Doing It Wrong

An Open Letter (of sorts) to Travel Publications

Coming up this weekend, hopefully, will be some more gargoyles and maybe a mention of the Domplein trees that have pulled up roots and moved. However, this weekend is also the spring beer festival over at Leidig Erf, so who knows what will actually get done. Anyone else going to the festival on Saturday?

This post originally appeared on A Flamingo in Utrecht and has been republished with full permission.

[box size=”large” border=”full”]Meet Alison, a woman from the southern US, who now finds herself in the Netherlands, thanks to an Italian boyfriend. Alison a native Floridian who has spent time in North Carolina, New Orleans and New York, before continuing herlove affair with the letter N and moving to the Netherlands. She is an art historian by degree, an editor by profession, and a photographer in her mind.

Alison writes at A Flamingo in Utrecht, and you can find her on Facebook, Flickr and Twitter.  We recommend that you do.[/box]

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.

Www.facebook.com/SeeYourselfPhotography

Www.syzkphoto.nl

 

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

 

[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: 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?

197092_10150173492294136_628454135_8476731_2710774_n

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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Upcoming Workshop – Access Cancerlink

Access Cancerlink

From ACCESS:

Kyrin Hall, in co-operation with ACCESS Cancerlink, presents a workshop on nutrition and cancer.

Open to anyone who wants to learn more about healthy eating and anti-cancer diets, this workshop is especially for cancer survivors, cancer patients or anyone who has experienced cancer in a loved one or close friend.

Presenter: Kyrin Hall
Date: Thursday, 04 April 2013
Time: 19:00 to 21:00
Venue: ABC Treehouse
Voetboogstraat 11, 1012XK Amsterdam
Cost: 10 euro
Contact: Aine Campbell
e-mail cancerlink@icconnections.org or call (and leave a message) 06 2259 0772

Kyrin Hall has worked as consultant and educator in the health and wellness industry for 12 years. She produces and presents a weekly health programme for Sky TV- the ACTIVE channel, contributes to Breakfast radio 99.4 FM and writes for many health magazines.

A Canadian-trained naturopathic doctor, Kyrin has also studied food science and orthomolecular medicine and is a senior yoga teacher with vast experience.
For more information see www.kyrinhall.com.

No Impact Week 2013

NLBE-1-240x240The No Impact Week is a one-week carbon cleanse that allows participants to experience the difference lowering their impact can have on their quality of life, their community, and their planet. The No Impact experience is about discovering how living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle can increase personal fulfilment  health, happiness, and time with family and friends. Beginning Sunday March 10 participants will work through a series of eight daily challenges, from decreasing trash production and home energy use, to eating locally and sustainably. The week will wrap up with a day of Giving Back on Saturday March 16 & an Eco-Sunday of rest on Sunday March 17.

If you are an English-speaking resident of the Netherlands or Flanders that wants to take up the challenge of No Impact Week together with the other participants of No Impact Week 2013 from March 10-17, please do so! Register via this link and then send us an e-mail with a request for the English manual. We will then send you the manual used for No Impact Week in the United States. The content (especially the links) will differ, but the experience will be the same.

As most of the other participants understand English, please also participate in the discussions on Facebook! And, please send us your blogs, questions, ideas, etc.

PS Check out the news-item on No Impact Week 2010 by The Hague ExpatTV on Youtube

The No Impact Project is an international, environmental, non-profit project, founded  in the spring of 2009. It was inspired by the No Impact Man book, film, and blog. The No Impact Project was conceived by Colin Beavan, aka No Impact Man, following the success of his blog, book, and film, which chronicle his family’s year-long experiment living a zero-waste lifestyle in New York City. Central to his thesis is the notion that deep-seated individual behaviour change leads to both cultural change and political engagement. Living low-impact provides a clear entry point into the environmental movement. This thesis is the bedrock of the No Impact Project.

Follow No Impact Week: @NoImpactWeekNL

Tweet using hashtag #NoImpactWeek
Like No Impact Week NL and BE on Facebook

The original article can be found here and has been republished with the full permission of the No Impact NL and BE team.

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?
http://svernst78.livejournal.com/, 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..

Getting to Know Us: Nicole Peetsma-Epker

Meet Nicole, International Almere’s secretary.  Our interview with Nicole is the latest in our Getting to Know Us series here at International Almere.

Nicole stepped into the hugely challenging IA secretary role at the end of last year and most visibly is responsible for our newsletter (have you signed up for it?  If not, run, don’t walk HERE) along with ensuring that everything in the background of the ever-expanding group runs smoothly.

Over to you Nicole!

Where were you born?
I was born in Simcoe, Ontario, Canada.

 

Where have you lived?
I have lived in Simcoe ON, Fenwick ON and here in Almere. 

 

What brought you to Almere?
I came to Almere because it is where my husband lives.

 

Almere is an interesting and unique city to live in, describe your favourite part of living here.
What I love about Almere is that it is one of the biggest cities in The Netherlands. Yet, it doesn’t feel cramped at all.  Plus, living in Almere Haven, it is quite pretty and peaceful.

 

How have you best been made to feel at home since you arrived?
The best feeling of feeling like home is when my friends surprised me at the airport when I came back from Canada the first time.

 

Where is your favourite place to go out or eat out in the city?
I really don’t have a favourite place here in Almere.  I like most places.  Le Baron does hold a special place though.  It was the first place I went out to eat at when I was first here.

 

Would you define yourself as an expat, an international, or something entirely different?
I consider myself an International.

 

How long do you plan on living here for?
For the near future the plans are to stay here.  But hubby and I would like to live back in Canada one day.

 

Tell us how you found International Almere?
I found IA by surfing the net.  I had met Christina at V&D one day and my son saw that her son had a maple leaf on his coat.  So we started talking – she is also from Canada and told me about the international group.  But when I got home I had forgotten it.  So I felt like a stalker trying to find this group! LOL

 

Have you been to any International Almere events?  Which was your favourite?
I go to most Friday night drinks and Quiz nights.  I love the Quiz nights the best!

What advice would you offer to others who are thinking of taking the plunge and moving to Almere?
I say go for it!  It’s a great city.  We may not have the old architecture, but you are close enough to other cities to see it when you want.  Best part, for being such a new city, we have a ruin! LOL (Almere Castle).

 

What has been your biggest challenge since arriving in Almere?
My biggest challenge was getting over the fact of having neighbors.  I’m a country girl.  Plus, having to get over the fear of taking public transit on my own.

If you had to leave tomorrow and could take only one thing – anything – from Almere, what would it be?
Um… Tough question…Bus, bike and car lane system.  I really think it’s great how it’s all separated.  (for the most part). 

 

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

My favorite Dutch traditions are Queens Day, Sinterklaas and New years.   As for celebrating traditions from Canada, we don’t really do much of that here.  I will start though J So that my kids know those traditions too.

 

More in the Getting to Know Us series:

 
Getting to Know Us: Carly Bridgeman

Getting to Know Us: Becky Riddle

 

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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 tec@expatcompany.nl

Our website is expatcompany.nl 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.

 

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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

Wereldvlaggen

Suitcase Talen

PVM Notarissen

Rosa’s Fashion

Apollo Hotel Almere City Centre

Expat Mortgages

Erly Thornton Saxophonist

Soap Treatment Store

Basket Bee

Stack Exchange

Amma

All Seasons Kapsalon

 LWD Translations and Editing

Spaans Les Mestral

Ijspressi

Lott’s Diamonds

Prolingua Discover Dutch

Carrie-Lynn Salikin Visual Artist

ABCDE Almere Baby Club 

Evado

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

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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….

Special Offer: The Guest Card

The Guest Card is the largest expat community in the Netherlands and was started as a joint initiative with the City of The Hague to help internationals with starting their lives in the Netherlands.  In 2012, The Guest Card is celebrating their 5th birthday, and their expansion to other areas of the Netherlands, including the Amsterdam area.

As part of their birthday celebrations, The Guest Card is giving away free membership to everybody at International Almere.  The card offers loads of discounts and exclusive deals especially for international people living in the Netherlands.

Here are some of what is on offer:

–          Get discounts at restaurants, theatres, museums, shops and more

–          Be introduced to the best service providers for internationals

–          Get invited to exclusive parties & events

–          Shop at Sligro with your personal Sligro card and experience wholesale shopping

–          And much more…

 Normally the membership costs €12,- for the main subscriber and €6,- for an additional partner card.

You can use this coupon code for your free registration: IA

 Get your free membership here

Go ahead and take advantage of this great offer.  It will be worth it, especially the Sligro membership.  Plus, the more International Almere members, the greater the opportunity for the team at The Guest Card to work with more local Almere businesses and service providers to get a better deal for us.

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 connie@www.internationalalmere.com 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 info@www.internationalalmere.com.  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.”

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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 nerissa@www.internationalalmere.com

 Agenda

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: http://www.nomadparents.com and of course join the Almere Facebook event.

 

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

A Day at the Zoo

 

On Saturday we went to the zoo….That’s my husband and his parents and you’re right, there’s a dog too, that’s Buffy, she’s our kid.  We went to Ouwehands Dierenpark in Rhenen.  The Netherlands has many zoos or Dierenparks as they’re called here.  Each one is just a little bit different.

Oudehands is one of the few that allow dogs in, for 2.50 your dog can spend a fun day out with you and you get 2 poop sacks to clean up any unexpected accidents, a good deal cause in the 5 hours we were there, Buffy only went once…so we even left with something for our money.

 

 

 

Buffy wasn’t too interested in most of the animals, but when she was, she could get a good look, most of the walls are low enough for a dog to look over or those glass petitions or open fencing for them to look through.  There are numerous water dishes throughout the park, we brought our own though which I think is always a good idea, so they have thought about  four footed needs as much as providing many choices for refreshment for the people which was average priced.

We were allowed in most of the buildings which is also nice…when she wasn’t we just took turns with waiting outside with her.  So we all could enjoy the whole park.

It’s  missing a few prominant animals, like rhino’s and hippos, but other than that, the zoo is beautiful, not too big that you had to run through it, we did it in 5 hours and did some back tracking to make sure we did see everything.  The enclosures are amazing and they’re currently building a HUGE primate building which will hold the big 5 in primates so we’ll definetely go back once that’s finished.

We hadn’t been to this zoo for several years which makes it worth taking a trip back.  Zoos are magical, or at least I find them to be, we get a glimpse into the average day in the life of animals, many of which are becoming endangered at an alarming rate.   As a “clicker” I love taking pictures and to be so close to reach out and touch some of the animals, petted a dier and a turtle, makes taking pictures of them a snap!

I can’t recommend enough going to the zoo, with or without your dog, below I’ve listed most of the zoos in the Netherlands and the star next to them means you can bring your dog.  So this summer vacation, if you’re not leaving the country, why not visit some zoos, there’s many to chose from:

*Ouwehands Dierenpark Rhenen

http://www.ouwehand.nl/Basis.aspx?Tid=168&Lid=222&Lit=TEKST&Stijl=02&Sid=808

Artis in Amsterdam

http://www.artis.nl/en/artis-royal-zoo/

*Dierenpark Amersfoort

http://www.dierenparkamersfoort.nl/english-information

Dierenpark Emmen

http://www.dierenparkemmen.nl/dierenpark-emmen

Blijdorp in Rotterdam

http://www.diergaardeblijdorp.nl/?lang=EN

Safaripark Beekse Bergen near Tilburg

http://www.safaripark.nl/

Dolfinarium is near Haarderwijk

http://www.dolfinarium.nl/en/dolphin/park_play/interactive_map.html

Taman Indonesia, near Giethoorn

http://www.taman-indonesia.nl/index.php?pagina=Home

Europa Dierentuin is now Dierenrijk in Eindhoven

http://www.dierenrijk.nl/

Gaia Zoo in Limburg

http://www.gaiazoo.nl/welcome

Overloon Zoo

http://www.overloonzoo.nl/

Owl dierenpark, not just owls, you can pet kangaroos here too, near Gorinchem

http://www.depaay.nl/nieuw/index.php

Wissel Zoo near Epe

http://www.wisselzoo.nl/

Burgers  Zoo in Arnhem

http://www.burgerszoo.eu/?ce=1

 

 

Body Worlds: Amsterdam

Body Worlds by Carrie Lynn Salikin (aka Elfie Von Elf)

http://www.bodyworlds.com/nl/amsterdam/english.html

See it now in Amsterdam until June 17th.

For more information on other displays by Gunther von Hagens (born Gunther Liebchen, 10 January 1945)

see http://www.bodyworlds.com/en/exhibitions/current_exhibitions.html

June 1st, I went toAmsterdam to visit the Body Worlds exhibition. I have a keen interest in medicine and the human anatomy, so I found this quite interesting.

I’ll start by pointing out the negative. There were Dutch and English signs, however, a majority of the English descriptions were tucked away behind the displays and nearly impossible to read. Some of the displays (the ballerina sticks out in my mind) didn’t even have an English description. What happened to the translation?

In addition to the admission price you can pay 3.50 euro for an audio tour that further explains the majority of the displays. I did not find this worth my money. The entire exhibition contains very basic information about the displays and the additional recordings don’t offer much more than repeating what the signs already say.

Photos are not allowed to be taken indoors, however a few people chose to ignore this rule.

Be warned, there is an adult section. However, they give you no information on what that section is about. There is just a sign of no photos allowed and a sticker warning for adults only. If you are of a sensitive nature, do not enter this section. To the left of the doorway you will find information on reproducing and how this all works; quite explicit. To the right is a large section about coming into this world and the various stages. As the exhibit involves real specimens, this may not be something everyone can handle viewing.

On to the positive, this is simply amazing art and medical information and everyone young and old should check this out. To see the human form in its entirety is pure beauty and magic. You can clearly see the tension in the muscles making this very raw and very real.

Seeing the  differences between healthy organs and unhealthy organs really makes you feel more health conscious. It is a real eye opener to see the differences between an overweight and a healthy body and the effects obesity has on your organs and bones.

There is a section about how much families in various parts of the world are spending on food every week and what they are eating. I spent nearly 45 minutes on this alone. This was really interesting.

The displays are based upon a process called Plastination.  It is a technique or process used in anatomy to preserve bodies or body parts, first developed by Gunther von Hagens in 1977. The water and fat are replaced by certain plastics, yielding specimens that can be touched, do not smell or decay, and even retain most properties of the original sample.

I think there is room for improvement in the displays. I would have liked to have seen more variation in the illnesses or bone deformities compared to healthy organs and bones. However, since this is ground breaking research and somewhat controversial, one has to take baby steps to allow for more extensive displays.

At the end of the tour there is a place where you can buy various souvenirs. In addition there is a specific area where taking pictures is allowed and the staff is more than willing to take photos of you and your friends with your camera.

The location of the display is within walking distance from the Amsterdam Zuid train station and there are several restaurants nearby if you are hungry afterwards.

So if you have the time to spare, I truly recommend checking out the exhibition as for me it was something I will never forget.

 

 

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 – http://bit.ly/pc2nnP
  • Evado – Yoga, Fit, Wellness – http://www.evado.nl/

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

  • The Expat Company – http://www.expatcompany.nl/
  • 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 http://www.lwd-vertalingen.com
  • 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. http://www.expat-mortgages.nl/

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 info@www.internationalalmere.com

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: http://www.libellezomerweek.nl/

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

Christmas Spirit – a tad early

Today, I spent a few hours talking to entrepreneurs in Almere who would like to help us by sponsoring the International Almere Holiday Dinner 2012World Handprints.

Why is that necessary?

The World Trade Center has moved away from Almere and with it, we lost the sponsorship for 2012. This means we rely on the help of private sponsors to support International Almere.

I am very happy to announce that we have the first four companies have agreed to sponsor International Almere:

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 info@www.internationalalmere.com

Hohoho,

Sonja

 

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

Silverline

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: http://www.almerenjoy.nl/architectuur_stadshartEN.htm)

Do you know the answer to….!

Well, they do….Last night was our first ever Mr. Bright’s Quiz Night Event!!!   What a great time!  34 people came out to pit their teams wits against anothers.  We had 8 teams and below you can see their winning order.  The questions were not easy and though we found a few “foutjes” it was all great fun!  A special thanks to our MC’s Carly & Mike!  And of course a HUGE THANK YOU to Apollo Hotel City Center for their sponsorship of the night and offering up the winning team a round of drinks and the  Apollo bears for our least successful team!

Last Nights Ranking:

1 – Norfolk & Chance

2 – The Twisted Monkeys

3 – The Fellowship

4 – Team Apollo

5 – The Dolphins

6 – FCA

7 – Noet

8 – Oostvaarders