Bitterballen: A Dutch Masterpiece

Okay, okay! Food doesn’t necessarily conform to the genre of a Dutch Master, but this tasty treat is definitely a work of art all on its own. Bitterballen is a type of meatball or kroket with a piping hot gooey center, and one of the best appetizers to be found in The Netherlands. Here is a link including a short history lesson of this well-known Dutch treat along with the recipe to try it out and form your own opinion. Bitterballen is served on canal cruises, in restaurants and bars throughout The Netherlands along with these other 10 Dutch Foods You Should Try Once. I can’t vouch for them all, but they are pretty popular. Gouda Cheese is especially prevalent in The Netherlands, there you will find many shops which offer cheese tasting opportunities to find what suits you best before you buy. All in all, Bitterballen was the winner for me. I hope you enjoy it too!

Holland: Expat Life in The Hague

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Grand Hotel Amrath Kurhaus

Travelers Guide. 

For those travelers considering a short trip to The Hague, you won’t be disappointed in what you find there.  Beginning with Scheveningen Beach, an impressive strand on the North Sea, is the equally impressive Grand Hotel Amrath Kurhaus above.

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The next sight you may take in is the ocean liner shaped, covered pier.  If you are like me and don’t do extreme water sports, it is great for watching wind surfers and kite boarders take on nature’s turbulence while you relax in a protected indoor salon, offering refreshments and light entertainment.

The esplanade offers a vast venue of night life, recreation, clubs, and eateries.  You are bound to find something which appeals to your taste in music or entertainment, but for help getting started you might enjoy Crazy Pianos, a happening mad world of dueling Baby Grands. Many restaurants such as Simonis and Grieks Restaurant Eleni in Wassenaar, feature North Atlantic Seafood caught fresh daily.

Speaking of Wassenaar, it is an affluent inland village in The Hague, and home of quaint sidewalk cafes, bistros and pubs, fine shopping, and friendly approachable people.  You may be wondering about currency in The Hague; as part of the European Union, Holland currency is still the Euro.

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If you are from the U.S. and missing food back home try Broeder’s Bistro for a taste of American dining while out shopping for those little wooden shoes.

 

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Holland is a land of canals, windmills, and flowers, but also a nice area to raise children, with access to some of the finest education Europe has to offer. The Windmill de Windlust in the photo above, located in Wannesaar, is still in operation today.

Expats Guide.

 

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Madurodam Mini Dutch City

My mini vacation in The Hague was only a brief visit; however, a new friend and fellow expatriate, Ron Brown, in the photo on the left, offers insight into long-term living in this part of Holland.  When asked about everyday life in the Den Haag as it is known to local residents, he said, “Children in Den Haag begin English Language Classes in 4th grade, so language barriers are not a real problem for non-Dutch speakers because almost everyone there speaks English.” In regard to activities of daily life he stated, “The grocery stores have hours similar to here (Berlin),” in that they are closed on Sundays, and the shoppers must provide their own bags unless they choose to buy one each time they shop.  Ron mentions a place called “Kelly Expect, that commonly sells name brand foods from the U.S.A.” which he found very useful as an expat.  He described his firsthand experience with vision care as “better than anything in the USA!” He received fast treatment and no out of pocket cost because of his great health care insurance.  Other information I was able to gather from Ron is that immigrants and expatriates must register for residency in The Hague to receive a 5 year residency card.   You can read about that here.

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Ron also enjoyed the beach and activities at Scheveningen, but he highlighted his experience with the Central Railway Station in the following statement,  “Central Station in Den Haag is one of the largest in Europe and one can travel to about any place from there.  It was only 12€ to Amsterdam!  Nice trains, and fast.  From Central Station you can also travel anywhere in Den Haag, kind of like here (Berlin), but more up-to-date.”  Thanks to Ron, for sharing this information.  Holland in general is some of the most awe inspiring scenery in Europe, and a good location to add to anyone’s bucket list.