course of my working life I have participated in many – and different – office/company
Christmas parties: with tea and cookies in the office, with pizza and games in
the canteen, at the sausage stand at the Christmas market, in a specially
rented small theatre (including performance) and at the big ball in an “exclusive
location”. The number of guests has varied between 5 and several hundred,
and as far as dress was concerned, anything from jeans to evening gowns.
thing all Christmas parties had in common was of course the speech by the
management. Often this address has weighed on the shoulders of the selected (or
coerced) managers since the previous October. And it also entails different
strategies, depending on whether the previous fiscal year was successful or
repeatedly reported on the Dutch people’s preference for deep-fried delights on
harlekin.blog, I would now like to address the issue of how the citizens of my
adopted country manage to keep fit despite these temptations.
observations, I can say that this must partly due to the fact that cycling is
still extremely popular in the Netherlands, even in sub-optimal climatic
conditions. All manner of more or less roadworthy versions of child seats,
child trailers, etc. are to be seen often with mothers or fathers and three
small children distributed around the bike.
decision aid for hungry foreigners in the Netherlands
French fry fans don’t always have an easy time in the Netherlands, because the established “extras” to French fries are different from what we know from the average chip shop elsewhere. Since we take the life-support function of our Harlequin blog very seriously, we would like to support you in your decision-making here as well.
talk broadly about international company takeovers, joint ventures and
corporate co-operations, there is an interpersonal aspect behind these economic
headlines: teams that previously were often active only in their own language
and cultural area need to initiate international cooperation. I have already
experienced this situation in two companies (one formerly German and one
formerly Dutch) and am aware of the uncertainties that the initial phase of an
international team structure brings with it. The time is not always there to prevent
all potential gaffes with hazard warnings. I can assure you that under the
pressure of day-to-day business, people very often blunder, even with the very
companies, the Conference Call is the easiest way to hold meetings with
participants from different countries. Depending on the company’s policy, this
is done as a video call (with web cams) or audio only. Both have pros and cons.
The advantage of the
video call is that it becomes easier to follow what is happening, because you
can see the participants talking and can recognize and interpret any emerging
anger, impatience or lack
of understanding earlier.
The advantage of “audio only” calls, on the other hand, is that you can take part in meetings that take place in the middle of the night or in the early morning due to the time difference, even in your pyjamas, without anyone noticing it. In addition, you can wander around the house during the meeting – equipped with a headset. However, it makes sense to know the range of your headset, otherwise you might miss crucial dramatic moments.
New frontier experiences on my gastronomic journey through the Netherlands
When a baby is born, this happy event is of course duly celebrated, and in Germany there are numerous possibilities for this. In my homeland, the Ruhr area, where things tend traditionally to be rather robust, fathers often buy a round in the pub and let “the baby pee”. I’ve also heard of the grandmothers’ huge cake creations, but I don’t know of any nationwide tradition of celebrating the arrival of a baby across state borders.
In the Netherlands it’s different: in the whole country when the baby is born, there is almost the same culinary variant to which people are invited -beschuitjes with muisjes. “What’s that?” – you will ask yourself.
On unsettling Dutch
experiences of the culinary kind in Germany
obliges me in the second part of my series on the differences between Dutch and
German food, to give the Dutch their chance to marvel at the peculiarities of
the German cuisine. In my experience
this mostly occurs with regional specialities.
husband first set eyes on potato dumplings he asked why anyone would want to
grate something as perfect and tasty as a potato into a sort of dough only then
to shape it back into something that looked like a potato! He thought that was
completely inefficient – and I have to admit he is not absolutely wrong.
appearance of my article “Food – a Test of Courage” I was asked by German
travellers to the Netherlands to go into more detail on the peculiarities of the
Dutch cuisine. Some of the host country’s culinary offerings are very confusing
for German guests.
the other way around too, of course. My Dutch husband, who, like all honest
people who don’t like cooking, rarely gripes about the food prepared by others,
once said quite horrified: “Well, I just don’t understand the German
health department ever allowing this!” The subject of this comment at the
time was potato dumplings – but more on this in the second part.