Tag Archives: Event

Invitation Snack & Share Christmas Event

Download here as PDF

We are very excited to invite you to the

International Almere Snack & Share Christmas event.

Date: Saturday, 15 December 2018

Time: 16:00 to 20:00

Place: BierFabriek, Apollo Hotel, 1st Floor, Koetsierbaan 2, Almere City


The theme of the event is “Snack and Share”. International Almere is a community with many different cultures. During the Snack & Share event we want to give everyone the opportunity to have a taste of different cultures via food of different kitchens of the world.

How does it work?
Everyone who joins the event brings a platter of snacks (something you can eat with your hands). Your platter must be enough for let’s say 10 to 15 people (or more if you want). You can cook the snacks yourself or buy them in a shop. It would be nice if the snack is somehow related to your own background/tradition/culture.

For example, if you are from India, you may want to bring a platter of samosas. If you are from Mexico, you may want to bring a bowl of tortilla chips with guacamole. If you are from Hungary, you may want to bring Kürtőskalács. If you are from Italy, you may want to bring slices of pizza. Etcetera.

We kindly ask you to also bring a description of the food, in English, with some background information about it (country, when is the snack usually consumed in your country?, etcetera). Also, please mention the ingredients of the snack, so that people with allergies or vegetarians will know if they can taste or not.

You can choose to bring something out of three categories: sweet or savory or vegetarian. Hopefully there will be a good balance between what everyone will bring. But just to be sure, we would like to know upfront, what you will bring. If everyone, for example, will only bring something sweet, then we will contact a few of you with the request to bring something of another category. We will place all the platters on tables and that way we will have a multicultural buffet.

You don’t have to bring something to drink. Interational Amere will make sure there are drinks available, free of charge for you. We charge no entrance fee, so your only costs will be (the ingredients of) the snacks.

We are currently organizing a diverse programme of entertainment for the event. For the kids we will organize fun activities they can occupy themselves with. If you have ideas about entertainment, then please let us know, maybe we can fit it into the program.

How to register?
To register please send us an email to events@internationalalmere.com and let us know:

  1. how many people (alone/with someone else/with your family (if applicable: the age of your children);
  2. what snacks you will bring.

Kindly register latest by Monday 3rd of December.

We look forward to the event and hope to see you then.

The Snack & Share team

Air Li
Svetlana Gepolova
Amanda Liggins
Edwina Kannemeyer-Snelting
Michel Daenen

Download here as PDF



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


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.


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.”


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.”


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)


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.”


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


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


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)


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)


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)


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)


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

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!

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

Guest Post by Jens Lendering, producer of Popronde Almere!

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

November 11 is Sint Maarten!

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

Holiday Season Appeal – Can you help us?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

christmas appeal holiday webpage email

US Fatca Compliant Investments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!


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!

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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Body Worlds: Amsterdam

Body Worlds by Carrie Lynn Salikin (aka Elfie Von Elf)


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.



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/

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




Cocktail Glasses

Friday Night Drinks

Cocktail Glasses
© alphaducentaure (FlickR) - Important note: contrary to what one might think, these cocktails are non alcoholic

Our Friday Night Drinks are an informal meeting of expats in Almere and surrounding areas. We meet up to chat and laugh and now and then it lasts until the wee morning hours. It doesn’t matter if you want to come for the full show or just for half an hour to check us out. The important thing is that you DO come – we love to meet new people!

Every first Friday of the month, the first round of drinks is on our sponsor Apollo Hotel.

Check out the Event Calendar to find out more about the location!

Everyone welcome, regardless of what your drink of choice is!