Gelukkig Nieuwjaar

19 Mar

Hello Everyone,

It is a start to a New Year so I have one thing to say” Gelukkig Nieuwjaar” or” Happy New Year”. The word of the month is “willen” or to want. It sounds like Will-in. This is how you can express yourself on a level of what you want to do or have or see. It is very simple to use. As we all learn early to make demands and ask for objects we want, they also learn it here in the Netherlands. It is rare to hear it when you listen to older people as they have learned other ways of asking for things. But with kids and people learning the language it is great to have in your vocabulary. It will be helpful to you no matter what you want to say you would like to have.

Example: Hij wil een kat. (He wants a cat)

As you can see it can be used even in the most mundane of subjects but also for the most important of subjects as well like train tickets or to want to marry someone. There is no limit to what this verb can be used to ask for things. That is why I wish to teach it to you.

Willen-to want

Ik wil…(I want…)

Jij wilt…(You want…)

Hij/Zij wil…(He/She wants…)

Wij willen…(We want…)

Jullie willen…(You  want…)

Zij willen…(They want…)

Me in the North Sea

This is a very funny story. So on New Year’s Day, January 1st, I went to one of the beaches on the North Sea. I rode my bike to the train station in North Haarlem. I bought a ticket and rode it 4 stations heading north. Once I reached the train stop, I tried to catch a bus to the beach but to my surprise, the bus that goes there only runs in the summer and not during the winter months. Then I tried to call the YFU representative to get a ride and as my phone was going through my minutes ran out. No phone. I didn’t want to return home in failure. So in order to get to the beach I walked. I ended up wandering around trying to get to where the beach was. I walked for a better part of the day. I eventually found my way to the beach. I was so tired. I looked for the big YFU flag that was being waved around. It appeared I had gotten there late and missed the running into the water. So the Area Representative from YFU convinced me to go into the water even if no one else would be going with me. So as I scooted out of my clothes with only towels being held up to protect my modesty, he pronounced to the whole beach my story about being an exchange student and my long walk to the beach to run into the water. I had the whole beaches attention as I ran into the water. It was cold. The water was so freezing cold it turned my legs red in a matter of seconds.  It was so much fun at the same time as it was just so cold. I eventually got out of the water,  was given a token for a free hot chocolate or soup, and went off to sit in a bowl shaped hot tub powered by a wood-burning stove. I ended up getting dressed the same way I had undressed. Then I got hot chocolate with my token.  The students that also did the run all stayed and talked. After that one of the Host Families offered me a ride home but instead I had them drive me to the train station so I could take my bike home.  Before they took me to the train station we stopped at a nice little inn/restaurant. We all ate crepes. All in all even after it rained hard on me the whole way home the rain didn’t ruin a good day.


To Hebben Sinterklaas Visit

9 Jan

Hello Everyone,

It is December so it is the holiday season so it has been hectic. But I still have time to send out this blog. The word of the month is hebben or to have. It is pronounced heh-behn. This is a very common verb that is very useful. It is used to ask for things. Most people learn this verb very young or in cases of learning it things it is very early in the lessons.

For Example: Zij hebben eien. (They have eegs)

This verb is one of the irregular verbs. Only because it breaks some kind of rule I still don’t know about but I think it has to do with its hij/zij form.

Hebben-to have

Ik heb (I have…)

Jij hebt (You have…)

Hij/Zij heeft (He/She has…)

Wij hebben (We have…)

Jullie hebben (You have…)

Zij hebben (They have…)



This month was the month of Sinterklaas. Sinterklaas is like the USA’s Santa Claus but he comes on a weekend in November and stays till December 5th. He comes on a boat with his helpers Zwarte Peits. Sinterklaas wears a red cape and bishop hat, white clothes, and has a sheperd’s staff. He has a long white beard and rides on a white horse.Zwarte Peit,s his helpers wear old Renaissance clothes. They have black skin with red lipstick. The story behind them is that they where oringinally slaves that Sinterklaas pushes down the chimneys before him. But now they are his servants not his slaves.

So Sinterklaas comes on a boat from Spain to the Netherlands in early November. Zwarte Peit drives the boat. Then Sinterklass rides in town on his white horse. Sinterklaas has a list of who has been good and who hasn’t. For the kids who have been good he gives gifts and toys to them. The kids who have been bad he gives a spanking to them. Zwarte Peit gives chocolate and other goodies to the good kids. At the end if you are a bad enough kid you will be taken back to Spain by Zwarte Peit to work as a servant in Sinterklaas’s castle.

Normally kids sing songs to the fireplace for Sinterklaas to come. They also leave their shoes out for Zwarte Peit to fill. Kids often leave carrots for the horse to eat. Then they get gifts on the night of the 5th of December and have goodies to eat in the morning of the 6th. Such as gingersnap cookies, sugarbased flavoring treats kind of like taffy but not chewy, chocolate, chocolate covered gingersnap cookies, and much more.   Or at least I think this is so as I have not actually done this since everyone in my house now knows that there is no such thing as Sinterklaas.

My Sinterklaas experience was a little different. My host family and I did something similar to Secret Santa. We all pulled a letter like B or C of someones first name out of a hat. Then we made list of what we wanted from Sinterklaas. After that we had to look at everyone else’s list to pick out gifts. These lists are set out on the table for all to take a look at but once you turn yours in you aren’t allowed to look at it again. These list hold the person’s wish list on it. Next we make sure not to pick something someone else had picked out for that person. Then we went shopping at the mall, cooking stores, book stores, town center shops, and so on. There really isn’t a place around here like Walmart and it makes shopping so hard as you also have to figure out what kind of stores the gifts you are looking for will be in. Usually you go shopping by yourself so others can’t tell what you are getting them or others so everyone is surprised on Sinterklaas day. But I got some help from my host family in finding what stores to go to buy my gifts. (. There were 3 minor gifts close to 5 euros. The major gift we each got for the person who’s first letter of their name that we picked out was for 20 euros. Also we had to write rhyming poems in Dutch. For the minor gifts, the rhyming poem had to be at least 5 lines and for the major gifts at least 10 lines. Also for the major gifts we had to make suprises (suh-prEE-sehs).

It was a great time. The shopping was hard. It was so hard trying to find the gifts or asking help in Dutch that it was a bit confusing. Also I could tell what gifts on the list were the 5 euro or the 20 euro gifts. Then came the wrapping of the gifts and making the suprises.You make a surprise by doing just about anything that makes it fun or intresting. I made mine with a shoe box, tape paper, marker, string and that is it. The present also has to go inside the surprise. Mine was a chef for Bert. The one I got was a stove from Bert. Inside was a backpack with a pair of wooden shoes. In total I got a stuffed rabbit, a scarf for biking, a backpack with wooden shoes, and 4 wooden shoes. I was so emberresed over my poems they made little sence and they sort of rymed. The poems were hard to make and they were hard to read out loud. Everyone read to poems on their own gifts out loud so all could hear. I sounded bad and they kept debating over what they said but it was a good time.

Zijn or not Zijn

8 Dec

Hello Everyone,

This month’s word is zijn or to be. It is one of the most important words to know how to use and to be able to use it properly. In this form it is pronounced zine. The “I” say its own name like “I” when talking about yourself.

I don’t have a fancy story like with the kaas or fietsen. No here it is a bit cut and dry. So on with the lesson. The word zijn is a verb. Like most of the verbs here it also can be conjugated.

Example: Wij zijn moe (We are tired).

You may be thinking this is easy when you look back at the verb fietsen. Do not be fooled by this verb. It is one of the Irregular verbs here in Nederland (Netherlands).

Zijn-to be

Ik ben (I am…)

Jij bent (You are…)

Hij/Zij is (He/She is…)

Wij zijn (We are…)

Julli zijn (You are…)

Zij zijn (They are…)

As you can see the different subjects all have different conjugation except the last three. Also to explain a difference between Zij (She) and Zij (They) the difference is big but the only hit, when people are using it, is how the verb after it is.


On with the interesting story for you all. This is Nishicon Nederlands. It is a one day event which is only 12 euro before hand and 15 Euros at the door. It was on the 13th of November this year. I saw it as the way to treat myself after I had a horrible and hard Nederlands Proefwerk (Dutch test) on the 12th. I woke up early and got there early. While trying to find the place it was being held, I ran into some cosplayer (or people dressed up). We went searching for it together. I was the one to notice the sign for the place. Then we waited for an extra 30 minutes before the doors even opened though they were supposed to open at 10 AM. I hung out with them. I was supposed to meet up with friends. It had a downstairs which had a cafe, a stage for main events, and a dealers room to buy stuff. (Reference picture two). The upstairs held the DDR (Dance Dance Revolution which is a dancing game played on mats with arrows pointing four direction to step on) set for 4 people, the game room which was really all just computers and game consoles where you had to sign up for a time slot to use, a room for their craft workshops, and more seating for observing main events. Over the course of the day I watched a noodle slurping contest, para para which is learning to dance, people showing off costumes, a DDR battle, amvs (anime music videos), and a dating game. In the lulls between these I checked out the dealers room, bought stuff. I found the people I was supposed to go with when they left, I hung out with the Hetalia group, turned down Russia’s offer to become one with mother Russia, played a game of soccer against Netherlands for Hetalia, did a kimono workshop called learn to put on a kimono on right, proved that if I keep my mouth shut and don’t say anything I fit right in to the point “I am Dutch”. It was a fun day from the beginning freezing my butt off to the end where I had to say goodbye to all the people and the anime convention of wonder.  I think the funniest part of the convention was when the Joker from Batman totally in character was doing a blind dating game and there on the other side was Batman from Batman, L and Light from Death Note during the chained seen with cat ears, a constant person of happiness an oc(own character), and one more I didn’t recognize where his potential dates. He asked question after question like what you think of purple and I still remember Batman’s response that it was fine except with green. At the end Joker choose Batman and they had a pretend fight on stage then walked off like a couple. Over all the day was so amazing.

Dutch Kaas

27 Sep

Hello Everyone,

The word of the day is Kaas and Kazen. The first one means
cheese. The second means cheeses. Kaas is pronounced as kahs and kassen is
pronounced as Kahzen.

The reason behind teaching you this is cheese is important
in the Dutch culture. Before it became so easy to achieve and have cheese year
round, new cheese is found only in the summer and old/mature cheese was only
found in the spring. There was no cheese in the winter. So there were markets
to buy and sell cheese which is continued to this day more as a tourist
attraction than anything else.  Most
people I have notice take cheese sandwiches to school for lunch. It is seen as
greedy here if you have more than one topping on your bread.  The fact it is such an important but often
forgotten fact of cultural importance along with the color orange, Anne Frank,
and windmills (molen), I thought I would mention it so that you would know.

For example: Ik koop de kaas. (I buy the cheese)

This is a cheese market. It is the most famous cheese market
that is in Alkmaar. The men in the straw hats carry the cheese from where they
are tested over to be weighed. They are weighed over in the left part of the
building. In picture 2 you see the cheese being weighed by the man in the
yellow hat. They write it down. Then the men with the colored hats take it off
to who bought it. The straw hats of the men that carry the cheese match their
veer color. The men in the red capes are new members to the cheese guild. The
men in the white gowns are official tester of the cheese. They test the cheese
by looking at it, smelling it, crumbling it, and finally tasting it. The men in
the blue shirts load the cheese onto the veer (a sled like carrier).  It is a big show more or less outside a 14th
century weighing place, which has been turned into a museum about the cheese
market. The cheese market brings in tourist from all over regardless of
weather. The show is announced in several languages including but not only in
Dutch, English, and French. It is a wonder to see and a joy to attend.

Hope you enjoyed this lesson.


Ik fiets (I bike)

27 Sep

Hello Everyone,

The word of this month is fiets and fietsen. Fiets means
bike in Dutch and fietsen is to ride a bike.
Fiets is pronounced feets and fietsen is pronounced feetsen.

Fiets is a very important word in Dutch as you will ride a
bike almost everywhere. There are accessories for your bike to make it useful
for when you are doing things. There are saddle bags people put groceries in,
books for school, or even just your purses. Then there are bungees to hold
thing to the built in racks on the back of all bikes even those for kids. Some
people have front racks where they put milk cart boxes to carry things like the
saddle bags. Some have flower decorations or just little things to make them
look nice. There are little baskets that animals ride in, children seats that
can be added to the back or front. Here no one wears helmets nor do they often
ride on the side walk not even kids. There are special bike paths that you ride
on or just in the street. Biking is so important that kids before they can ride
their bikes to school in the Netherlands must pass a test to prove they won’t
be a danger on the road. So as you can see bikes are so important here. Thus it
would be wrong to teach you the word fiets if I didn’t also teach you the verb

For example: Ik heb een fiets. (I have a bike)

There are also the facts here in the Netherlands rules of conjugating
verbs. Which I myself have worked it all out but have memorized some of the

Fietsen-to ride a bike

Ik fiets – (I ride)

Jij fietst – (You ride)

Hij/Zij fietst – (he/she ride)

Jullie fietsen – (you ride) this is plural or formal

Wji fietsen – (we ride)

Zij fietsen – (they ride) pay attention to this as she is
the same only difference is the conjugation of the verb

This verb is only used to talk about riding a bike so you
don’t have to also state the bike when talking about going on it.

For example: Ik fiets naar school. (I ride to school.)

This is my fiets. The one with the green bungee cords and is
a bluish green. The black, silver, and orange fiets is my host brother’s bike.
I ride this to school every Monday through Friday.  You use the bungee cords to hold thing to the
built in rack. There is a light in the front and back which is turned on when I
ride it at night. It only has three gears and I always ride in gear 3 the
hardest one. If you think the Netherlands is flat you are wrong. Thanks to
dikes being everywhere the place has a lot of mini hills nothing like the big
ones in the USA. These wonderful things are used so much that there isn’t much
need for cars unless you are going a great distance or are in a hurry.


Hope you enjoyed this lesson.


Welcome to the Netherlands

29 Aug

Hello Everyone,

My  name is Caitlin. I am currently on a high school student exchange in Holland.  Some of you might be wondering what my blog is about. Well, in short it is a take on all my Dutch adventures. It will be a Dutch word a month. I hope to write at
least once a month though I would love to write once a week. As I am on a grand adventure living in Haarlem Netherlands, I make no promises.

I will give you your first two words: ja pronounced as ya it mean yes and nee pronounced nay which means no.

So you might be wondering why  I am giving you these words as your first words. The reason is 1) they are easy to remember and 2) they were my first words. It is funny I am here 2 days with no idea of how to speak the language and at the dinner table I learn my first words ja and nee. I was so happy to know a word any word that I was just so happy. They are simple and anyone can understand them.

For example: Ja, mijn naam is Caitlin. (Yes my name is Caitlin.)

Nee, mijn naam is niet Katharine. (No my name isn’t Katharine)

This is an old windmill (molen) it sits in Haarlem. At one time this mill was used to pump water from one canal and into another. At one time this ancient windmill burn to the ground but the base was still there so the people of Haarlem had it rebuilt. Even though now days it is no longer used to pump water it is a historical landmark simply for being a windmill of this sorts which is originally from the Netherlands. They are beautiful and a few like this one you can go into.

If you wish to contact me please do at: