Author: Natasha

July 24, 2009

The Last Post

Filed under: — Natasha @ 2:11 pm

You could blame Twitter and Facebook, but this blog will no longer be updated!

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Read my English-language news blog about The Netherlands: 24oranges.

Find out more about my DJing and French music events at Radio Oh la la. You can also join the Radio Oh la la Group on Facebook.

November 12, 2008

2-4-6-8 it’s time to integrate!

Filed under: — Natasha @ 5:28 pm


As the year draws to a close, the City of Amsterdam is apparently obliged to send every immigrant (including yours truly) a letter that says we have to integrate, get to know Dutch society and learn the language. According to an Amsterdam politician friend of mine, the city has to crank out all these letters soon or risk a fine. Basically, they are in a rush to apply a law that was passed in 2007. Better later than never.

Oh but no. First, of all, I already went through this properly about eight years back when I lived in Nijmegen. Oddly enough, I wasn’t obliged or allowed to take Dutch lessons back then because I was here on a temporary resident’s permit. I managed to stay and then the courses were no longer available to me anymore; it was up to me. I learnt Dutch the hard way: at parties and by reading. And now I’m finally learning to write it properly because it’s about time I did. Second, as a Canadian, I am exempt of language lessons as are about 20 other nationalities according to Dutch immigration law. Funny how nobody working with immigrants seems to know that.

Third, Dutch lessons? Help with getting a job? Hello? I’ve been here for almost 10 years and have been running my own business for about eight! The young woman on the phone was very nice and suggested I send her a copy of my diploma just to make sure. I asked her if she could read Latin. Why, she asked. My Canadian university diploma is in Latin and I can barely make it out myself. I told her I wasn’t sending anything to anyone and wasn’t going to take time off work for an “intake meeting” when I could be working. After all, there’s a crisis on and all.

I have this nagging feeling that this won’t just go away. By the way, Amsterdam has waiting lists of three months or so for Dutch lessons as well. It’s a disaster and everybody knows it.

The woman went on to point out three times that many people who have been living here for years don’t speak the language. But I do, so why are you on about this? It has nothing to do with me.

I have to renew my resident’s permit soon or apply for the Dutch nationality. Which is it going to be?

UPDATE Yes, I speak Dutch as a near near native speaker (not a typo) and I do so 95% of my day except with business partners and when I stub my toe on something.

MORE UPDATE Integration test angers old immigrants mentions me as well.

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September 15, 2008

Guest posting in Dutch regularly

Filed under: — Natasha @ 11:45 am


Yes, it’s time to up the ante and guest post in Dutch regularly. I was nicely asked to do so by well-known Dutch lifehacker and nice guy, Erno Hanink of

Check out my latest blurb entitled “Help! Mijn bedrijf kan niet communiceren in het Engels” (Help! My company can’t communicate in English).

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September 3, 2008

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire

Filed under: — Natasha @ 1:11 pm
Freezer flambé

Now here’s something that has never happened to me before: my freezer caught fire yesterday. It freaked me out completely, as it could have been a helluvalot worse.

I had turned it off for months, as it’s too big for one person and I rarely used it. Trying to save electricity and all, even though it’s included in the rent.

I bought some sorbet for dessert and decided to clean my freezer and turn it on again. The thing started smoking and making electrical noises you hear in the movies. I turned off all the power in the house and that thing kept going. I went outside, left the door open and called the fire brigade, the whole shebang.

They came in 5 mins, going up my one-way street (they can do that), and six huge masked individuals ran into my kitchen to crush the evil.

The cops came later and told me to go drink tea with the upstairs neighbour. I don’t like the cops much – go figure. And I still think the fire brigade are the best public servants around. They rock.

The fridge that leaks and is not mine and that I want replaced, leaked onto the electricity of the freezer. Or something dangerously stupid like that.

I had bought sorbet because a friend of mine came over for dinner. I hadn’t seen him in a while and pardon the pun, but this was an interesting ice breaker.

I just sent my landlord who lives downstairs and missed the show this picture. Maybe he’ll finally change the electricity in this flat. I also expect a new fridge and freezer set in the near future.

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