Tag: Amsterdam

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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April 4, 2008

Amsterdam Weekly is for sale

Filed under: — Natasha @ 8:25 am

After a private performance by tap dancer Marije Nie to inspire the troops, Steve Korver, Editor-in-Chief of the Amsterdam Weekly, Amsterdam’s award-winning English-language free weekly, reminded us that print media doesn’t come cheap. After backers of the paper decided to retire themselves and their money, the paper had to come up with a plan to ‘keep it all together’. Here it is:

“In the publishing world, it turns out that it’s hard to be free. Tja… So, while we hatch more secret plans to stay alive, we’re coming to you – the reader – for help. The plan is to sell you our editorial space for the next three issues. Each page is divided into 204 blocks and each block costs €5. So, hey… buy a few. It’s clean, safe, simple and cheap. Then we can go back to being free.”

In the hopes of attracting more interest and branching out in true Web 2.0 style, the Amsterdam Weekly has just started a blog to give you even more of the AW experience. It’s just a few days old and yours truly has gladly become one of their bloggers. Soon enough, you will be able to read the AW blog on Twitter! But, first, let’s get through the weekend.

(Link: 24oranges.nl)

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February 15, 2008

Another Dutch presentation… about French music

Filed under: — Natasha @ 5:36 pm

I will be giving two small presentations in Dutch about French sixties singer Jacqueline Taïeb and the French music scene in the Netherlands, which is taking off thanks to the efforts of some seriously groovy people. It’s also in my ‘hood, which is very cool. I was even asked what kind of food they should serve.

Jacqueline Taïeb, Voices of the World, psychedelic rock garage at the Podium Mozaiek in Amsterdam.

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January 22, 2008

French party with Parisian DJs

Filed under: — Natasha @ 9:09 pm

Boutique Chic does Amsterdam at the De Nieuwe Anita, featuring DJ Guuzbourg, DJ Natashka (me) and special guest DJs from Paris Thomas Deligny as well as Minimatic.

Champagne, nice people and fun guaranteed!
T-shirts, LPs and CDs for sale!

Boutique Chic does Amsterdam
16 February, doors open 8 pm, admission € 6

De Nieuwe Anita
Frederik Hendrikstraat 111
1052 HN Amsterdam

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