Information keeps coming from every direction and, although not all of it is eventful, it is always interesting. Here are a few recent tidbits.
- Our friends from church were asking about our experience with the international school (Watch for postings on this topic after the new year.) One particular issue they have with the Dutch public school system is that only sick days are allowed. No extending your visit to grandma’s a day here, or getting a better rate on air/train tickets there. Why not? If the school discovers you’ve taken out your child for any reason other than sickness, you incur a 70 euro a day fine. So if our four boys were in public school that would add up to $350 a day. Yikes! No wonder traffic is so horrible the last Friday before holiday.
- As a US publisher, I use Amazon’s company, Createspace, to put out paperbacks of our books and then distribute ebooks through both Amazon and other online retailers. While Amazon has sites in many countries including Australia, France, Spain, Mexico, and Japan (to name a few), there is no Amazon in the Netherlands. When you shop with them you are diverted to Amazon France or Amazon United Kingdom. Part of the reason the giant online retailer has not broken into the Netherlands market is because it is against the law in the Netherlands to sell print books for below their cover price. Negotiations are underway, though. I’ll be watching anxiously for news.
- An architect friend informed me that there are squatters’ right in the NL. This means any property left vacant for one year is available for folks to take occupancy of. It’s a very waste-not-want-not kind of thing. The good news is that the system requires registration, and a Dutch friend said the squatters pay a small bit of rent. Elsewhere I heard that building owners sometimes “pay” someone to occupy their property for a limited time in order to keep squatters out. Regardless, folks who live this way must move out with only 2 weeks notice. It sounds like a cheap way to live in Europe during a summer for some adventurous types.
- We hadn’t been here long when my husband reported that Holland is home to flocks of wild parrots which he was seeing as he went back and forth to work. Some how I missed catching sight of one of these immigrants until very recently when a bright green bird flew across our back yard (i.e. the garden) and into the neighbor’s. Wow–that’s just odd.
Kristin King is an American author recently relocated to the Netherlands. To peruse her novels and author information visit this link