Christmas, Culture, Dutch, Expat, Netherlands

7 Gift Ideas to Give Family a Flavour of Your Dutch Life

It’s that time of year when a gift buying frenzy descends on us all and minds go blank looking for something a little original but simple. But help is at hand if you are an expat in the Netherlands. I have a few gift ideas for you which are perfect to give your family and friends back home a flavour of your ‘Dutch’ life.

This is also a great list if you are buying for someone who will soon make this little Dutch land their home, or for someone who has recently moved here.

1. Dutched Up! Rocking the Clogs Expat Style

Did I mention recently that I am a contributing author in a wonderful expat anthology about life in the Netherlands? No? I didn’t think I did. Well, I am. It’s a compilation of stories written by a selection of expat women bloggers who call(ed) the Netherlands home, and spans the entire spectrum and circle of expat life from shopping, to having a baby, and then leaving the Netherlands again.

Don’t take my word for it; here’s an extract of just one of the great reviews this book already has under it’s cover:

 “….this book will also be a constant companion as I am sure I will read it over and over to remind myself that I am not alone. For anyone who is thinking about moving to The Netherlands or is planning a stay there, this is a must read.”

It’s a gift that will make your friends and family snort their coffee/tea/wine/beer/beverage of choice out of their nose or maybe shed a tear; what is for sure is that the recipient of your gift will have a great idea about what life in the Netherlands is like as an expat. Giving the gift of understanding for Christmas can’t be bad can it?

The book is currently available for download at Amazon and on iBooks so easy to gift virtually. Use the links below for more information.

For Amazon.com click on the picture:

For Amazon.co.uk click the book cover below:

And if you want to gift using iBooks head use https://itun.es/nl/E7fc4.l.

2. Stroopwafels

If you love your family and friends you’ll give them these little rounds of Dutch syrupy biscuit heaven for Christmas.  They are the most delicious biscuits you will ever taste. My home town of Zoetermeer has just welcomed the arrival of a brand new shop which sells nothing but stroopwafels. I daren’t go in.

Stroopwafels come in all sizes and varieties. You can get mini ones (although, why would you?), chocolate covered ones and stroopwafels in very decorative gift tins. In short, they are available everywhere and a perfect taste of ‘home’ to share with loved ones.

3. Stuff Dutch Like

If you want to give your relatives and friends a Dutch cultural baptism, give them a copy of the Stuff Dutch Like book. They will then understand why your wardrobe is tainted with orange, a birthday calendar hangs in the smallest room of your house and that that mashed up food you serve in the name of authenticity when they visit you really is 1) edible and 2) very Dutch.

3. Round of cheese

This works best if you are actually visiting home for the holidays as I cannot imagine a cheese will be met with welcome arms by the postal system (but feel free to correct me if I am wrong). If you are flying then it’s perfect as Schiphol (and presumably other Dutch airports) is littered with cheese. I’m not talking about a little slab of Gouda to take back, I’m talking a full, in your face, round. Make sure you have a suitcase on wheels to make transportation a little easier……

If you’re driving then your cheese carriage awaits. Load the boot (or trunk, for non-Brits as to avoid confusion) up with a selection of big Dutch cheeses and away you go. Christmas, as they say, is wrapped up.

4. Dutch Music

Sometimes your gift should let relatives and besties know just how hard life overseas can be. Not only is there no Bisto in the supermarket, but the local music has a tendency to hurt your ears. Let relatives sample how tough expat life can be by gifting the likes of a Frans Bauer or The Toppers album. 

You win sympathy, and once the drink flows on Christmas day you get to make special memories as calls to ‘put that Dutch crap on’ ends with granny dancing to “Heb je Even Voor Mij?”.

 

5. Frysk Hynder

Is there a whiskey lover in your life? Then share a taste of your new homeland with them by handing over a bottle of Dutch Frysk Hynder. As the name suggests, it’s made in Friesland. Authentically Dutch – and alcohol – the perfect Christmas gift combination.

6. Photo Book

You could make a photo book (or a calendar, photo mug, T-shirt etc) with all your photos of your Dutch adventures from this year. Your parents or siblings would love to see that photo of you posing by the windmills in Kinderdijk, or hanging in front of that Amsterdam sign, or your children at their Sinterklaas class party. The possibilities are literally endless – and personal. I’ve been happy with my experiences with Albelli to date, but there are a host of other companies who will turn your photos into gifts.

7. Dutch Language Book

If your relatives or friends often visit you in the Netherlands then you can speed up their Dutch language skills with a Dutch language book (with accompanying CD if you want to go the whole hog). Not only can family then communicate better with your (Dutch) children, but they can master that menu every time you eat out without asking for you for the 100th time, “What’s kip again?” Believe me, that question quickly gets old….

Before I moved to the Netherlands I got myself a copy of Hugo’s Dutch in Three Months. It really helped to master the basics before my feet even touched Dutch soil. (Click the image for more information).

So there are 7 ideas to get you started. Good luck!

What perfect Dutch gift would you add to the list?
*All book links are Amazon affiliate links. All other links are just because I think they are great and I have received no compensation for sharing the links. But now I come to think of it, maybe I should…….*
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