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01
February
2019

Living the Dutch life - February

Fun for expats in The Netherlands

Feel at Home in The Hague

Meet other expats at the biggest international community event in the Netherlands on Sunday 3 February. The Feel at Home in The Hague Fair takes place at the City Hall, where knowledge and top tips are shared about how to make the most of your time in The Hague. Exhibitors will be there to provide information, entertainment and a fantastic array of international food. Entry is free for pre-registered visitors, and on-the-day visitors will need to pay a small charge. It is sure to be a fun and informative day out for all expats!

Chinese New Year

Celebrate the start of the new year once more with the Chinese New Year celebrations! The Chinese New Year officially starts on 5 February, where we head into the year of the Pig. The traditional Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar and each year is related to an animal sign. During the celebrations there will be traditional dragon dances as well as lion dances, fireworks, performances and Asian markets. On 5 February you can take part in celebrations in Amsterdam and on 9 February The Hague puts on it's own special celebrations. Rotterdam extends its celebrations with special activities throughout the city from 4 -10 February.

Art Rotterdam

Enjoy the latest developments in visual arts during the international art fair 'Art Rotterdam' 7-10 February. Presenting a mixture of video, paintings, performances, sculptures and design, prepare to be taken on a journey through youthful and varied creations. At the heart of the fair, located in the iconic Van Nelle factory, the work of the most talented artists will be displayed across 75 international galleries. This spectacular location has been a World Heritage site since 2014 and boasts interesting features as a former coffee and Tobacco factory. Keep your eyes peeled as there are other interesting exhibitions dotted around the city.  

Homemakers’ Fair Amsterdam

Immerse yourself in innovation at the Homemakers’ Fair from 16-24 February. Find out about all the latest products on the market at this household and shopping fair! The event was founded in 1950 originally as an event for Dutch housewives. Now it has grown into a huge annual event incorporating beauty, fashion, health and interior design and regarded as a real day out. A ticket to the Homemakers’ Fair also gives access to the Nine Months Fair, taking place 20-24 February, offering a wide range of products relating to pregnancy and babies. Both fairs take place at the event location RAI Amsterdam.

Chocoa Chocolate Festival Amsterdam

Enter the sweet world of chocolate and learn all about the origin, production and taste of quality at the Chocoa Festival on 24 and 25 February. Taking place at the Beurs van Berlage, a beautiful location in Amsterdam and monument of trade, more than 75 stands with patisseries and chocolate manufacturers. Expect a full days' programme of tasting, expert talks and important documentaries and films about sustainability. The event is fully dedicated to making chocolate sustainable and organises an open debate on this subject on 23 February. For anyone interested in getting into the chocolate trade, here you can meet cocoa producers. For anyone interested in chocolate making, there is the Chocoa Trade Fair on 22 and 23 February.

Categories: Team Talk

10
January
2019

Living the Dutch life - January

A great start to the New Year!

Holiday Fair

Feel like you're on vacation without leaving the country at the Holiday Fair in Utrecht 9-13 January! It is a great place to get information about the most exciting and mind-refreshing tourist spots and make holiday plans for the new year. The fair provides information about a wide range of trips and destinations both locally and worldwide. Activities include  workshops, a virtual reality-street and a green picnic area!

InterClassics

Admire special classic cars at InterClassics in Maastricht 10-13 January, the largest vintage car show of the Benelux! At this stylish event you can check out rare cars and even place bids at the auction, buy parts and enjoy spectacular demonstrations! During this edition the Italian brand Lancia will be in the spotlight with its rich history of more than 100 years.

 

Whiskey Weekend

Let yourself be introduced to a world of whiskey during the Whiskey Weekend in Amsterdam 18-19 January. In the beautiful Posthoornkerk (church) all kinds of whiskey brands and related products will be available to buy, with workshops and tasting sessions also on offer. You do not have to be a whiskey expert to attend this event and you are also invited to walk through the stalls and enjoy the Scottish music!

Hotel Night

Experience Amsterdam through the eyes of a tourist during the Amsterdam Hotel Night on 19 January. Every year, registered residents of Amsterdam are offered an overnight stay in a local hotel (at a reduced room rate) in a bid to promote Amsterdam as a holiday city. There will be a varied programme of culinary, creative and cultural events available to those who purchase a Hotel Night ticket. Note that tickets can be purchased without being an Amsterdam citizen at the normal rate. Expect canal tours, movie screenings and hip hotel parties!

 

National Tulip Day

Bring spring into your home with the opening of the tulip season on National Tulip Day. A huge tulip picking garden at Amsterdam’s Dam Square, created by Dutch tulip growers, is the highlight of the event on 19 January. On this day every year, thousands of people come to admire Holland’s trademark flower and pick a free bouquet. The special theme for 2019 is ‘Flower Power’ and is also used for the coming season at Keukenhof to celebrate the strength of flowers.

International Film Festival

Discover movies by established filmmakers and new talent from around the world at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam 23 January - 3 February. It is one of the largest public film events in the world and stands out for its focus on innovative and independent filmmakers. The festival will present a diverse selection of films, visual art exhibitions, live performances and networking events. To encourage young talented directors, the best works will receive the VPRO Tiger Awards, the highlight of the event.

Categories: Team Talk

02
January
2019

Team Relocations, A SIRVA company

Integrated, global mobility

Team Relocations, a SIRVA company.

Following the acquisition of Team Relocations by SIRVA, we now offer greater access to a broader, global support system and seamless service delivery.

SIRVA's strength as a global leader in moving and relocation services offers unmatched global breadth and innovative technology, complimenting Team's longstanding reputation for high quality moving and relocation solutions to some of the world's leading multinational organisations.

While Team brings unparalleled strength in Europe, SIRVA boasts a strong position in the Americas and Asia, with both companies joining to offer 55 office locations worldwide, with over 2,900 employees operating in 170+ countries.

"Expanding our global footprint to be where our clients want us to be and delivering a consistent, quality experience around the world are key pieces of our growth strategy.” - Tom Oberdorf, CEO, SIRVA

 www.sirva.com

Categories: Team Talk

04
December
2018

Living the Dutch life - December

The most magical time of the year

Light Festival

Enjoy this beautiful Light Festival in Amsterdam until 20 January 2019, with exclusive creations made by top international artists. When the dusk falls at the end of the day, brightly coloured projections and dynamic light installations illuminate the city’s waterways and streets. The light art sculptures can be seen on foot, by bike and by boat across the entire city centre. Every year a selection is made of the best ideas submitted by many talented artists, architects and designers to create innovative and unique works of art. The festival also hosts several activities in museums, theatres and restaurants. 

Sinterklaas Celebration

On 5 December the long awaited present evening is celebrated in most Dutch homes. Children will sing songs to Sinterklaas until they hear a knock on their door and find a bag filled with gifts. Older children and adults celebrate 5 December by making poems and surprises for family or friends. The surprises are gifts made personal to the receiver, accompanied by funny poems and jokes. The gifts are traditionally hidden in a handcrafted package and some people get really creative and competitive making this, using all kinds of strange materials and clues to make it hard for the receiver to find the hidden gift.

Dutch Ice Sculpture Festival

Visit one of the top-5 winter events in the Netherlands - The Dutch Ice Sculpture Festival. In Zwolle until 3 March 2019 enjoy this fun and unique experience for the whole family. In a large icehall you will find enchanting worlds with beautiful ice sculptures, following the World Famous Stories theme, so expect Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and Aladdin. During the Christmas Break there will also be an ice slide and a special Winter Wonderland playground for children. On the catering terrace you can enjoy a hot chocolate or mulled wine to warm up, but make sure to dress warm as well!

National Fireworks Rotterdam

During New Year’s Eve, the biggest and most spectacular fireworks show of the Netherlands takes place in Rotterdam. The evening starts with a musical countdown on the quay playing the greatest hits of 2018 while free oliebollen are offered. At midnight, beautiful fireworks will burst from the Erasmus Bridge, the icon of Rotterdam. It is 800 metres long and has a 139 metre high pylon in the shape of a swan. For children there is a special children’s fireworks show at 7 pm. The countdown and fireworks are broadcast live on national TV, in case you can not be there.

New Year’s Dive

Celebrate the 1st of January the traditional Dutch way by plunging into the ice cold North Sea! The number of participants each year increases and there are more than 80 locations throughout the country organizing a New Year’s Dive! The largest dive, however, is held at the beach of Scheveningen. After a festive New Year’s Eve with oliebollen, apple flapjacks and champagne, it is definitely a way to start the new year fresh! To stay warm all participants are offered an original Unox cap and split pea soup...

Winter Activities

The month of December is the most magical time of the year as the cities come alive and people enjoy the wonderful variety of fun and cosy winter activities. In most big cities, their outdoor or indoor Christmas markets are definitely worth a visit! From unique settings in Dickens Style, choirs singing Christmas carols to underground markets in spellbinding caves, we recommend you get out and explore what there is to offer in your city. Please find below some of our recommendations:

Christmas City Valkenburg – from 16 November till 6 January

Magical Maastricht – 1 until 31 December *

Winter Fair Rotterdam – from 5 until 9 December

Christmas market Haarlem – from 8 until 9 December

Ice Amsterdam – from 14 until 26 December *

Dickens Festival Deventer – from 15 until 16 December

* includes ice-skating rink!

 

Categories: Team Talk

31
October
2018

Living the Dutch life - November

Get cosy, get creative and explore this November!

Affordable Art Fair

Take the chance to buy an original piece of art at The Affordable Art Fair, taking place in Amsterdam 31 Oct - 4 Nov. This unique concept makes art accessible to everyone, allowing you to buy works of art by upcoming and established artists at affordable prices. The event also offers free workshops to attend, making it a fair perfect for a family day out. A broad range of art will be presented, from figurative to abstract and from traditional to avant-garde.

Museum Night

See Amsterdam’s museums, literally, in a completely new light during Museum Night taking place 3 November. Over 50 museums will participate during this art and culture themed night, which includes well-known museums such as the Hermitage and Maritime Museum, but also some of the city’s smaller institutions. Once it gets dark you can enjoy many exceptional performances and workshops across the entire city. A single ticket allows access to all museums and one free visit to a museum after the Museum Night. 

National School Breakfast

During the National School Breakfast week, 5-9 November, parents are encouraged to send their child to school for breakfast so they can enjoy it with their classmates. More than 2,900 primary schools will participate in this yearly event in which schools serve healthy and nutritious breakfasts, whilst educating the children in a fun way how important and simple it this to have breakfast. During this week there will be all kinds of special events and this year’s theme is: A party for everyone!

I Am Expat Fair

Learn all about life in the Netherlands at the leading fair for expats on 10 November. The IamExpat Fair takes place twice a year at different locations and is designed to connect and support the expat community in the Netherlands. This edition takes place in one of The Hague’s oldest buildings - the iconic Grote Kerk! The fair offers information about a wide range of topics, such as housing, careers, education and leisure and there will be free workshops and presentations to attend. Entrance to the fair is free after online registration.

Glow

Visit Eindhoven, the city of light, during GLOW light art festival from 11-18 November. For one week, the city comes alive with eccentric light constructions, innovative works of art and numerous events which will all revolve around this year's theme: Shadows & Light! By nightfall, experience the unique displays via a walking route through the city’s streets, taking you past stunning designs boasting all colours and shapes.

Sint Maarten

Celebrate the Dutch version of Halloween on Sint Maarten’s day, 11 November, often called the feast of sharing. Children excitedly knock on neighbourhood doors with lanterns and sing songs to receive a candy or fruit in return. The songs often contain nonsense words or vague puzzling references to the origins of the feast day. Sint Maarten’s day is celebrated in parts of the North and South of the Netherlands, as well the provinces of Flevoland, Overijssel, Gelderland, South-Holland and Zeeland. If you are living in one of these areas it is advisable to buy treats and lantern sticks (in case your children want to participate) in advance as these sell out fast!

Arrival Saint Nicholas

The Sinterklaas feast is a beloved Dutch holiday and tradition. Although the actual celebration of the feast is on the evening of 5 December, all children are excitedly awaiting his arrival each year in mid-November. Saint Nicholas (Sinterklaas) will officially arrive by boat on 17 November in the city of Zaandijk together with his Pieten (helpers). He then makes his way through the country on his white horse Amerigo. In most other towns and cities, unofficial arrivals will be organised as well. 

The story depicts in the days leading up to 5 December, Sinterklaas rides across rooftops at night listening through chimneys for good children and leaves them little treats in their shoes, which are left by the fireplace or door. Traditional Sinterklaas sweets are chocolate letters, pepernoten (small spiced biscuits), gingerbread men and marzipan.

Categories: Team Talk

10
October
2018

Supporting Expats and their mental health

Advice for employers and their employees

Moving overseas for work provides an exciting career move and certainly provides an adventure in a new city. Despite this, expats can feel overwhelmed when having to quickly adjust to cultures, languages and new work responsibilities, heightened by the physical absence of family/ friends.

It is therefore important that both the employee and employer take responsibility for mental health. See tips below for employees and employers.

1. Making the right decision

Expatriate life isn’t for everyone so make sure to weigh up all options to ensure it is the right decision.

Employees:

  • • Speak to other expats
  • • Be honest about any anxieties you have and speak to HR for advice

Employers: 

  • • Screen employees for their suitability for an overseas assignment 
  • • Introduce employees to other expats within the company
  • • Make sure the employee has all his/her questions answered

2. Preparing for the move

A 2016 survey of 5,000 people (Aetna) revealed that only 6% of expats worried about mental health before relocating. This can seriously under prepare employees for any upcoming challenges.

Employees: 

  • • Understand your risks and how to detect feelings of loneliness, stress, anxiety and depression.
  • • As independent as you may be, the physical absence of family and support networks can be hard, so make sure you can still access support whilst on assignment
  • • Culture-shock can be an unexpected and overwhelming experience. Before you go research traditions, activities, history, etiquette, politics and certainly learn the language. Being open-minded and respectful of your new culture will help you settle in quicker.
  • • Keep an open mind and be flexible when it comes to business culture. Learn what’s appropriate, speak to other expats, colleagues, HR and even LinkedIn contacts for advice.
  • • There is no better way to fit in than speaking the language. Take a course before you leave and keep this up by practicing as much with the locals as possible. 

Employers: 

  • • Shift corporate attitudes on mental health - take responsibility and tackle the stigma. Allow employees to feel supported as the better mental well-being of staff has a profound link to productivity and lowered absences.
  • • Offer cultural courses to help the employee prepare and be respectful in their new environment. This will help them adjust to their new surroundings quicker.
  • • Offer languages classes – this will be welcomed support and means they can interact with their co-workers, make friends much more readily, and integrate into the local culture quicker.
  • • Inform staff about managing their mental health and provide skills, such as preventative and coping behavioural techniques. This will improves knowledge and attitudes towards mental health and provide the knowledge for them to strive in their new environment.

 

3. Adjusting to life as an expat & accessing support

Employees: 

  • • There is more to your assignment success than being great at your job - be aware that your interpersonal skills become even more important when you aren't fluent in the local language or are unaware of certain cultural nuances.
  • • Communication is a huge party of sociability and so speaking the language will help you feel less of an outsider and able to better connect with people around you.
  • • Immerse yourself in the culture and make the most out of the experience and opportunities. Remember not to overdo it.
  • • Don’t rely on social networks as a form of communication – this does not replace personal interactions. Make the effort to stay in touch with people who care about you.

Employers: 

  • • Provide an environment where employees feel supported
  • • Ensure the company is able to tackle problems as they arise and provide support
  • • Offer employee assistance programmes and/or in-country support
  • E.g. telephone support, someone who understands their culture and speaks their language
  • • Offer full confidentiality / anonymous support – knowing their employer won't find out will help the employee ask for help, without fear of stigma and judgment in the workplace

 

Categories: Team Talk

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