Farewell President Hope

July 2016
By Hope T.

After 5 years here in the Netherlands the time has come for me and my husband to return to the United States in August 2016.  Renée has graciously accepted the position of Interim president and I have every confidence that she will do an excellent job in her new role.

Thank you gift from Renée to Hope!
Hope receives Club’s thank you gift from Renée!

I really enjoyed being on the committee,first as the secretary and then as the president.  This experience has enriched my life by helping make the transition into a new country much easier through meeting so many wonderful women.   I hope that I was able to do the same and make a small difference in the experience for new members and provide some entertainment and friendship for the seasoned and new members alike.

I’ve met many extraordinary women, made some great friends, had lots of interesting adventures and even learned to speak a bit of Dutch all as a result of being part of the IWC.  Thank you and I will miss you.

Much love and success to each one of you.

The Ultimate Souvenir

An article by club member Seonad.

Sail away with your very own piece of Dutch heritage!Typical Dutch Art2

In the Netherlands, your typical souvenir might be a pair of clogs, some tulip bulbs, a print of a famous van Gogh painting or traditional blue and white Delft pottery. They’re not plastic fantastic tourist tat, but they’re pretty standard souvenirs. Wouldn’t you like something different? Something totally unique? Something that can’t be bought anywhere else?

If you wanted a reminder of your time China, wouldn’t a piece of the Great Wall be the ultimate souvenir? Or from France, a piece of the Eiffel Tower? Now of course, I’m not suggesting that you start pilfering chunks of a country’s greatest monuments – not only would that get you arrested, it’s also morally and ethically wrong and would certainly ruin such amazing tourist sites for future visitors.

But, what if you could genuinely buy a piece of a country’s heritage? Here in the Netherlands, you can!

Check out www.typicaldutchart.nl or better still, visit artist, Peet Quintus’ studio in Roosendaal.

While the name may suggest what you’re looking at is typically Dutch – it’s anything but!

Typical Dutch Art3 Some examples of Peet’s work 
Typical Dutch Art1

Peet Quintus, the talented artist behind Typical Dutch Art, does paint traditional Dutch cultural symbols: windmills, bicycles, tulips, Dutch houses, cows, etc.

But that’s where “typical” ends and “unique” begins. These are original artworks, each one painted on authentic sailcloth from a Dutch windmill – certified with the national monument number from which it originated!

Like any artist, Peet is passionate about her work but she is also happy to go the extra mile to produce something extra special for you:

  • Do you live near a specific windmill?
    If Peet doesn’t already use sailcloth from that mill, she’ll contact the miller to see if she can get some, just for you!
  • Is there something you’d like painted that’s unique to you?
    Great, just ask, she’s happy to do commissions.
  • Have a particular colour palette in mind?
    No problem, just ask!

So if you’re looking for something so typically Dutch yet totally unique at the same time, talk to Peet, she’s an inspiring artist and one of her paintings might be just what you’re looking for! Her smaller pieces make great farewell gifts (I should know, I’ve bought one or two)!

Peet would also like to offer IWC Breda members, a 5% discount off any painting. Please contact the club for more information.

If You Want Something Done, Ask an International Woman

Group 1

This piece was first given as a speech at the International Women’s Club of Breda’s 45 year anniversary dinner on 11 April 2015 by club member Erica. You can read more about life in the Netherlands on her blog English Mum Abroad.

We can get hung up on the labels we give people – what’s the difference between an expat, an immigrant, an émigré or an international after all? We are all people who left the land of our upbringing and travelled around for love, work, education, family or economics. Or even just for the adventure.

We have often left loved ones, friends and family, behind. We may have stopped several times along our journey before putting down roots or may still be wandering. But one thing I’ve found when talking to women who’ve made the bold, brave and often necessary decision to shift their life to another country: there is much common ground.

This common ground is a solid place, where pragmatism, necessity and circumstance meet to create a rock hard foundation from which creativity, versatility, improvisation and sheer bloody genius can emerge. By simply stepping away from a ‘former life’ and stepping into a new environment the international women I know have blossomed in ways they never knew they might.

It is not without cost – blood, sweat and many tears. We’re human and often have to learn the hard, frustrating, experiential way.  But the costs deliver an amazing result – phenomenal levels of self-reliance, capacity to cope with change and total, bloody-minded determination. For ourselves, our partners and our kids (and even our pets!) we consistently go the extra mile and prove ourselves extra-human.

The ability to cope with strange cultures, languages, landscapes and weather (the latter more important than many give credit) leads to a gradual, but fundamental, shift in outlook, approach and expectation. Once you’ve mastered the ability to negotiate bureaucracy in multiple languages, face a room full of people with a totally different set of cultural reference points and laugh with your neighbours about the local cuisine, you never un-learn those skills.

The planning, organisation, initiative and generosity of the international sisterhood shines through everything we do as a group of women. We have re-invented ourselves, supported our loved ones and each other, created a new community and shared some of our old community in the process.  This care, love and ability to nurture, even under difficult circumstances, is part of the amazing package of qualities you find when talking to an international woman.

These qualities manifest themselves in different ways in different people but there’s one thing you can be certain of. If you want to get something done, ask an international woman.