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Entertainment, Media and Television for Expats in the Netherlands

Submitted: July 2014


Amsterdam is without a doubt the nightlife centre of the Netherlands, though in all the cities and major towns there is plenty on offer.  If you are looking for an interesting night out in Amsterdam, Leidseplein or Rembrandtplein are probably both good starting points; there are countless bars, cafes and nightclubs to choose from. For some reason there are a lot of Irish pubs in Amsterdam, they can be quite lively, but are also excellent places to meet up at lunchtime for a Guinness and a Sunday roast. Generally the early part of the evening is quite quiet, and this may be a good time to try one of the many restaurants in Amsterdam. The Netherlands is noted for its large number of Indonesian restaurants which are a relic of the period when Indonesia was part of the Dutch Empire. The food in these is generally both excellent and relatively cheap. Dutch cuisine is interesting; the soups are hearty and filling, and the seafood is excellent, though the national dish of Haring (brined herring with onions) is an acquired taste.


Sightseeing and Tours

The Netherlands has a long and rich history, during the 1600s the country was probably the richest and most advanced country in Europe. There is plenty of evidence dating from this Golden Age all around the country. Architecturally important houses, buildings and churches are not hard to find.  There are also twenty National Parks scattered across the country in areas of outstanding natural beauty, from the large Oosterschelde park in the south of the country to the remote Schiermonnikoog Island park in the north. Assuming you own a bicycle, which for anyone spending an extensive amount of time in the Netherlands is a reasonable assumption, it is relatively simple to travel by train, with the bike, to various parts of the country, spend the day sightseeing and then return home in the evening. For long distance travel there are day passes available here for both you and your bicycle.

Sightseeing tours of Dutch cities are easy to arrange; tickets can be arranged with agencies around the cities. These are a very good way of getting to know the place where you are going to live and picking up some early tips.


Media and Television

Public television in the Netherlands can take a little getting used to. As a result of an historic policy called pillarisation focussed interest group institutions such as the Catholics, Protestants, Social Democrats, Islamists, Bhuddists and even the elderly have allocated slots of broadcast time on the public television network. Most of the funding for these comes from the State . This results in some slightly odd programming. However the space in between these programs is often padded out with English language programs bought in from overseas. Fortunately cable and satellite television is also readily available, and offers a wider choice.

The Dutch radio broadcasting services, both public and commercial, cater for all musical tastes, but you are unlikely to hear much English spoken.

Unless you are fluent in Dutch, finding a newspaper to read in the Netherlands may involve a trip to the nearest train station. Foreign language newspapers are also generally available in most city centres. De Telegraaf is the most popular Dutch newspaper.



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