Moving is not easy on anyone — adults or kids. John is a 14-year-old boy who recently moved from the US to the Netherlands. According to his parents, he is moody and angry, and he is having a hard time making friends and engaging in schoolwork at his new school. His parents are not sure if he is depressed or just being a teenager.
Research shows that young people who have moved house may experience unresolved grief from the loss of their home, school and friends, and this may manifest itself as denial, anger, depression, withdrawal or rebellion. Like John, kids who have recently moved may exhibit difficulties with their identity formation because previously stable factors at home and school are missing during an important time in their life.
Parents and caregivers have an essential role in supporting kids during a move. They can help children and teens create a sense of identity, belonging and rootedness. The following are some strategies to help improve self-confidence and minimize cultural homelessness:
Realize that every child is unique when it comes to change
One of my kids had a much harder time with a recent move than the other. He missed his friends, his old school and his routine, and he grieved this loss. Know your child and take time to explore how they may be addressing change. Remember that moving during the teen years is significantly harder because this is a formative period. Having said that, many young people are extremely resilient and handle change well.
Create belonging in the local community
Kids that feel connected to the local community will feel more self-confident. Ensure yours have a good understanding of the culture by encouraging them to be involved with community service, be part of a local sports team, or engage in other activities. For my son, who was struggling with our recent move, activities like walking the neighbor’s dog every day, joining a local soccer club, and speaking with his grandparents regularly were very helpful. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and support, whether it is from a family member, counselor, coach or teacher.
Use social communities to build language
Multilingualism can be hard to maintain, especially if there are more than two or three languages at play. As Mariam Ottimofiore, who is the author of This Messy Mobile Life and who has lived in nine countries with her husband and two children, suggests, “Get support from others to encourage using the local language, to make it fun and exciting for kids. Think about joining clubs or camps where the additional language will be used or enrolling in a study-abroad experience for immersion. At the same time, realize that it is OK if your child is unable to maintain all the languages they have been exposed to. You and your teen will need to prioritize which languages are important and how to continue learning them.
For some kids, having connections with their old community and friends is a meaningful way to handle loss. As we have learned from Covid-19, using virtual tools such as Skype or Zoom are good ways for kids to stay in touch with family or community far away.
Demonstrate healthy ways to grieve, and get help if needed
Encourage healthy ways to address loss, such as journaling, connecting via a phone or video call, exercising, meditating, and listening to music (even crying can be cathartic). If needed, look for a counselor or mentor to help your teen identify and deal with loss directly.
Be aware that adults can struggle, too
Adults who have moved may not have a clear sense of identity in their new location or may struggle to belong, which can add to their child’s or teen's challenges. On the other hand, cross-cultural adults may also impart skills and values honed from their own experiences. As an adult expatriate, I realized that each time I moved, it took me two to three years to settle into my new environment. I now know that finding a community and creating a sense of identity and belonging have been crucial to my happiness and sense of well-being in each country that we have lived in. Having friends who have gone through similar experiences, visiting online forums, and being involved with cross-cultural organizations such as Families in Global Transition (FIGT) have also helped me immensely. Being aware of these issues may be important for families as they navigate change and uncertainty — both now and in the future.
Dr. Anisha Abraham is a pediatrician and a teen health expert who is on the faculty of the University of Amsterdam and Georgetown University Hospital. Anisha works with cross-cultural teens on issues such as stress, substance use, body image, and self-esteem. This piece was adapted from her recently released book, Raising Global Teens. For more information or to order the book, see dranishaabraham.com.
Have any questions or comments, or want to share more ideas? In the American Women’s Club member-only Facebook group, you can join the lively conversation! Not yet a member? We’d love to have you!
For a tiny country, there is surprisingly no shortage of things to do in the Netherlands. From cinemas to live theaters and concerts to comedy, there are plenty of entertainment options in Amsterdam and beyond. American Women’s Club of Amsterdam members have access to a full calendar of great in-person and virtual events. But beyond the club, how do you find out what’s going on? We aim to provide you links to find out what’s happening, plus a bit of Dutch vocabulary to help you when Google Translate isn’t available or doesn’t work well.
For a general overview of what's happening in Amsterdam, go to www.iamsterdam.com. You can search for upcoming art, music and theater events up to one month in advance. For Haarlem, check the www.visithaarlem.com page (although not everything is in English; you can search for upcoming events by date) or the Haarlem Guide. The events overview for ‘t Gooi can be seen (with some translation) on their Dutch website: Select Uitagenda (events agenda) and, in the filter area, choose between ‘vandaag, morgen, dit weekend, kies datum’ (today, tomorrow, this weekend, choose date) to see what’s happening when. You can also filter on Regio (region). Google Translate works well with this website, so it’s worth checking out, especially if you live outside of ‘t Gooi and want to explore a little. For our Utrecht members, we have some AWCA member-recommended, evergreen ideas for Utrecht on our very own travel blog.
Most cinemas show a mixture of films in Dutch and English. The listings below are for independent theaters in Amsterdam that show arthouse films in the original language with English subtitles. Most of these cinemas are part of the Cineville group where you can use a monthly unlimited pass for €17.50 (up to age 29) or €21 (age 30+) per month.
Cinema Amstelveen, De Filmhallen, De Uitkijk, FC Hyena, The Movies, Studio/K may also show English language films but do not have special information about them in English. They are listed in the normal agenda online and in the film description it should say [Gesproken] Taal: Engels ([Spoken] Language: English) or will list where the film was produced. Verenigd Koninkrijk and Verenigde Staten are the United Kingdom and the United States, respectively.
Other movie theaters outside of Amsterdam with some films in English include:
Pathé theaters show the latest Hollywood films. Pathé has theaters all over the Netherlands, including Amsterdam, Haarlem and Utrecht. The majority of films are in their original language, English. Children's films are often shown in Dutch and in English. Children’s films that are dubbed in Dutch will be listed with NL or Nederlandse versie (Dutch version) after the title. For films from the US, they will be in English if Originele versie (original version) is listed. The Pathé agenda is available in English.
*Note: When you look at the Dutch agenda for many of the venues listed below, you may see Verplaatst or Afgelast for some performances due to Covid-19 regulations. That means those performances have been moved or canceled.
To keep informed about upcoming concerts and theater performances, it’s a good idea to sign up for newsletters from the venues listed below. Ticketmaster.nl will also notify you when upcoming event tickets are going on sale if you register for their newsletter. Most larger venues sell their event tickets through Ticketmaster.
Eventim is another big-name ticket distributor for theater, musical, and concert tickets and even sports (horse riding, ice skating) and family events. Most theater performances will be in Dutch, but sometimes there are English subtitles, and occasionally they are with an English-speaking cast. Some performances are at the Amsterdam RAI. Cats played in the RAI Theater in 2019 and some form of Holidays on Ice is an annual event at the RAI, so there is a large variety of events available. Other theaters include the Stadsschouwburg Haarlem (English website), the Beatrix Theater in Utrecht, and Spant! in Bussum.
Patronaat has live concerts and club nights on the weekends.
Lichtfabriek sometimes has dance events.
Cafe de Kaars is a bar/restaurant with live music on Saturday evenings.
De Vorstin has two halls for concerts.
Tivoli Vredenburg has several concert halls. The website has limited information in English and the agenda is in Dutch only.
Speeldoos Baarn has live theater performances ranging from musicals and concerts, dance and opera to cabaret and comedy. The Peking Tuin in Baarn also has an open air theater that is used for outdoor movie screenings and live music (all currently canceled due to coronavirus). The Beatrix Theater in Utrecht shows musicals, concerts and other stage performances. At the Stadsschouwburg Utrecht (City Municipal theater), you can search for performances that are labeled “language no problem.” English Theater Utrecht offers amateur theater productions in English. STET is one English-language theater company in The Hague, and another is the Anglo-American Theatre Group. Stadsschouwburg & Philharmonie Haarlem has “language no problem” performances of music, dance and theater. Spant! in Bussum (agenda only in Dutch) presents a variety of performances in its large and small theaters.
You can find a list of Amsterdam bars and clubs here (this also includes The Hague, Rotterdam and other larger cities) and here. The Haarlem Guide has a list of different types of bars (beer bars, regular bars, music bars) and nightlife.
For comedy, there are some well-known venues in Amsterdam, such as Boom Chicago, as well as Toomler and other clubs. LiveComedy.nl promotes international comedy performances at venues all around the Netherlands. You can also find nationwide comedy events listed on Ticketmaster.
Museumkaart: Valid for one year, the The Netherlands Museum Pass (museumkaart in Dutch) gives you entry to over 400 Dutch museums. It can be purchased online (only in Dutch) or you can purchase one in many museums. You can also find information about current exhibitions and activities in museums around the country on the museum pass website. See the Haarlem Guide for a list of museums, historical monuments and statues around Haarlem.
This is a long but not exhaustive list of entertainment options around the Netherlands. If you have any suggestions to add, please let us know!
Looking for more? Members of the American Women’s Club of Amsterdam have access to a wealth of additional information, including web resources and a members-only Facebook group with a long archive to search and plenty of willing help.
For more information about the American Women’s Club of Amsterdam, check out our website or drop us a note. We are an active, diverse club that welcomes new members with open arms, whether you’ve been in the Netherlands for 20 minutes or 20 years.
This article was originally written in 2018 by past president Rhonda Jimenez and was focused on Amsterdam shopping. It has been updated for 2020 by Marcie Asplin.
*Most of the stores mentioned have branches across the Netherlands and you can order articles from several of the others. For shopping tips beyond Amsterdam, please watch for a more extensive article which includes information for Haarlem, Utrecht and ‘t Gooi.
So, you’ve just arrived in Amsterdam and you have no idea where to shop for what you need. If only there was a Target! Here are some basics to help you survive without that Target or Walmart down the road, and a few go-to’s and tips to help you find what you need — fast.
Groceries: You have probably already found Albert Heijn (AH), but did you know that they deliver? It’s so much easier than balancing your bike with a full load of groceries and then carrying it up two flights of stairs. Other grocery stores are Jumbo, Aldi and Lidl. For organic groceries, try Marqt (similar to Whole Foods, although not everything is organic but rather local, ethically-sourced or sustainable) or Ekoplaza. TIP: Many items you can’t find are usually shelved in strange locations and or have unique packaging. American peanut butter can sometimes be found in the wereldkeuken (world cuisine) aisle with Indonesian foods, not with the Dutch nut butters. Sweetened condensed milk is in the Asian food section. Evaporated milk is called koffiemelk and is found near the coffee, as is sugar (rather than the baking aisle). Bleach is called bleek (or dikbleek) and looks like toilet cleaner. Ask for help if you need it. You will slowly find everything you need.
American Stuff: If you still can’t find what you need in the grocery chains, try Tjin’s Toko in De Pijp or Eichholtz on Leidsestraat. Both international stores charge a big premium but offer things like canned pumpkin puree, Betty Crocker cake mixes and frostings, Pop Tarts, Lucky Charms, and many other American treasures. Newer to the expat food store scene are Kelly’s Expat Shopping (also with locations in The Hague and Wassenaar) and The Junior’s, both located on Ferdinand Bolstraat in De Pijp. Make a trip to one; it’s worthwhile! There are also small international grocery stores called tokos dotted around the city. They are great for pan-Asian ingredients and may also have some American ingredients (looking at you, Arm & Hammer baking soda). If your local searches don’t unearth what you are looking for, you can try ordering online from My American Market.
Health and Beauty: Etos, Kruidvat and Da (drugstore is drogisterij in Dutch) are like CVS or Walgreens, except you can’t get prescriptions filled. TIP: Solid deodorants are hard to find, hydrogen peroxide (waterstofperoxide) is only sold in tiny bottles and Visine isn’t sold here, so if you use any of these regularly, you should probably stock up in the US before arriving or pick them up on a trip home. To fill prescriptions, you need to go to an apotheek (pharmacy), which you can usually spot by the neon green cross hanging outside. You will also need to register at a pharmacy so your doctor can (digitally) send your prescriptions there to be filled. You can’t just have a prescription filled at a pharmacy that happens to be closest to your location at that particular time. Holland & Barrett is classified as a drogisterij but focuses on vitamins and natural soaps/shampoos, and it has an extensive range of teas and alternative (baking) ingredients (including superfoods, vegan and gluten-free items). If you’re looking for a store like Sephora, Douglas and ICI Paris XL sell higher-end makeup, beauty supplies and perfumes/colognes.
Home goods: Blokker has most items that you would find in a Target: supplies for cleaning, kitchen and bathroom items, small appliances (personal care and household), and some home decor. HEMA also has home and office items as well as food and clothing basics. Action, Wibra and Zeeman are similar to Kmart, selling inexpensive clothing and some home/kitchen goods. Big Bazar is like the Dollar Store, as is Xenos, which also has a Pier1 feel to it.
Appliances: MediaMarkt, BCC and Expert sell all things electronic — from irons to video games to TVs and refrigerators — much like Best Buy back home. They have physical stores in many locations. Coolblue (which also has 10 stores across the Netherlands), bol.com and Amazon.de are good online sources for electric appliances as well. Recently, Amazon.nl came online but their offering is still limited in comparison to Amazon.de.
DIY stores / Garden centers: Praxis, Gamma and Karwei are the Home Depot equivalents; most sell garden supplies, and larger ones will have plants and flowers, too. You can search for a bouwmarkt + (the name of your city) to find the DIY store closest to you. There are also places to rent tools and equipment for building projects; Boels and Bo-Rent are two of them. There are also large garden centers around the country if you are really into plants and gardening. Search for tuincentrum + (city) for the garden center nearest you. Intratuin has several locations in Noord Holland and Tuincentrum Osdorp is one of the larger garden centers near Amsterdam. DIY stores and garden centers also sell holiday decorations as well as live and fake trees if you celebrate Christmas.
Fashion: The trendy Nine Streets and busy Kalverstraat are always fun shopping destinations. But when it’s wet or cold, try the Stadshart mall in Amstelveen. There is a large De Bijenkorf department store in the mall. Closer to Amsterdam you’ll find the Gelderlandplein shopping center in Buitenveldert. They have free underground parking for the first 1.5 hours.
Furniture: Ikea is a mainstay, but stop by Loods 5 and the outlet behind it — together, they take up a full block — for a huge selection of furniture. There is also a woonmall (home furnishings mall) called Villa ArenA located near the Amsterdam ArenA — you’ll experience long waits, but also good quality custom furniture. In the Bovenkerk area of Amstelveen, there are several furniture stores to be found, including De Troubadour, Leen Baker, Kwantum, and more. Online, try Woonexpress and Wehkamp.
Outlet Shopping: Not an outlet per se, but the T.K. Maxx discount store has arrived in the Netherlands. There are a few locations, including Osdorpplein in Amsterdam. There is also a huge outlet mall about 1.5 hours away in Lelystad, called Batavia Stad. The outlets will remind you of home, with many of the same outlets you know and love — from Nike to Michael Kors. There are other similar outlet malls in Roermond and Roosendaal, as well as Maasmechelen Village in Belgium.
School Supplies: HEMA and Gebroeders Winter have stores all over the Netherlands. Big stores like Office Depot do exist (OfficeCentre is one) but you need to have your own business to become a customer.
Sporting Goods: If you’ve got kids, or are a sporty person yourself, chances are you’ll need sporting goods of some kind. You can find shoes, clothing and equipment for various sports at places like Decathlon, Intersport, Sport2000 and Bristol. Hockey District in Amsterdam and Special Sports in Amstelveen specialize in field hockey equipment and also carry clothing for some clubs. Voetbalshop.nl is a great place to find football basics online, and your (child’s) club may get their uniforms from there as well. If you are a runner, Runnersworld has stores in Amstelveen, Bussum and Utrecht (among others), and Run2day has stores in Amsterdam, Haarlem, Hilversum and Utrecht. Bever, with stores across the Netherlands, is the place to look for your hiking and camping needs. You can also shop for those things online at Trekkinn or A.S. Adventure.
Second-hand Shopping: If reducing, reusing and recycling is more your style, there are lots of places to find second-hand goods. A thrift store is a kringloopwinkel in Dutch. A second-hand (children’s) clothing store is a tweedehands (kinder)kledingwinkel, some of which are consignment shops. There is a list of stores in central Amsterdam and, to find a second-hand store near you, check Alle Kringloopwinkels. There are also consignment shops in Amsterdam Zuid that offer designer clothing, like Mooi and Freddy’s. For children’s clothes and toys, you can try Lino & Moos, JunJun and Kids & Queens (which also has some women’s clothes). Boomerang in Amstelveen has clothing and accessories at one location, and another location a few blocks away sells furniture and home goods. Rataplan is a large thrift shop which has household goods, appliances, clothing and furniture. They have three locations around Amsterdam. If you are moving and have things to donate, they will come and pick it up by appointment (there is often a wait for pick-ups, so book your appointment in advance!). Online, Marktplaats is a cross between Craigslist and eBay; you can find almost anything you need or want there (also from businesses)! While plenty of items are offered by genuine, individual sellers, there are also some dishonest people selling items there, so it is better to (agree to) buy something you can collect in person so you can check that it’s legitimate (certainly for big-ticket items like secondhand phones). There is also Facebook marketplace, where you can set your location and then search based on a certain distance to find items you want in your area.
Good luck on your next shopping adventure: you will survive! Remember, look carefully — and you can probably find it!
By Meredith Mani
These days, everyone is trying to stretch the supplies they have on hand. People are baking their own bread, looking online for recipes that use canned goods, and finding hacks to get around missing ingredients like yeast. The Greatest Generation — the one of our mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers — pioneered these skills during the Depression and in periods of shortages during WWI and WWII.
What can we learn from these wise women and apply to our life now? When resources are scarce and time is plentiful, there is actually a wide variety of things you can do. Here is a short list. What can you add to help out our members?
We all need to be creative throughout the home and in our kitchen to help family members adjust to being quarantined. Thankfully, as expats, we have had to learn to adjust before and are all the stronger for it. There are no tricks or hacks for the mental fortitude it takes to get through an event like we are currently living though. Reach out to friends and family through FaceTime or Zoom to stay connected. Ask for help when you need it and know you are not in this alone. AWCA women have always taken inspiration from the women who went before us. They have handled wars and crises and upheaval we can’t even imagine. But they stayed strong and relied on each other to get through while they were far from home. You got this.
As part of the AWCA's efforts to encourage physical distancing, flattening the curve, and staying safe and healthy, we are sharing our favorite local food and grocery ordering resources. We have a Google form where you can submit your best ideas, and an always up-to-date list of those responses.
Don't forget our Benefit Partners and your fellow members! There are lots of great food and drink products on these pages, and supporting them supports us:
by Dr. Anisha Abraham
How are you adjusting to social distancing, school closures, home offices, lockdowns and toilet paper shortages? If the onslaught of memes and cartoons are any indication, the last few weeks have been difficult for many families holed up at home! Here are a few tips to help kids to cope with the unfolding uncertainties and challenges of COVID-19.
What is happening around us with COVID-19 can be scary and difficult for kids and adults. Hopefully, with creating routines, encouraging social distancing, having developmentally-based discussions and building on their natural strengths, we can support our kids at home. In addition, don’t forget the importance of embracing uncertainty, modeling kindness and positive self-care skills as parents while looking out for signs of depression and anxiety. Stay safe and calm!
Parenting during coronavirus: What to know about play dates, education and more
Talking to Teens and Tweens About Coronavirus
7 Ways to Help Kids Cope with Coronavirus (COVID-19) Anxiety
A List of Indoor Activities That Will Keep Kids Entertained at Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Dr. Anisha Abraham is a pediatrician and teen health specialist based in Amsterdam, NL, and on faculty at both the University of Amsterdam and Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC. She works with teens, parents, and educators globally, using her 25 years of experience as a practicing clinician, researcher, and health educator. Her book Raising Global Teens: Parenting in the 21st Century will be released this autumn in local bookstores and on Amazon. For more information, see https://dranishaabraham.com/.
by Kate Spaulding
Friends, neighbors, countrypeople, this is an unprecedented time in our world. We know some of what we have to do: wash our hands, physically distance ourselves from each other, wash our hands, limit grocery runs, be kind to ourselves and our community, wash our hands, and work together. But we're also learning to navigate working from home (sometimes for the first time), cooking more, battling cabin fever, and managing kids who aren't in school. It's times like these that demonstrate the strength of our communities and adaptability of the human race. You're not in this alone.
To that end, we're rounding up resources to help you reach the light at the end of the tunnel. Do you have more great ideas? Please, add them to the conversation in the AWCA Facebook Group!
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