If you just moved to the Netherlands, there is so much to explore. Exciting times! Until… the typical Dutch weather hits. On one of these rainy days, books are the perfect opportunity to explore the Netherlands from the comfort of your sofa. Is there something better than curling up in your favourite chair and immersing yourself in an excellent book while the rain knocks on the window?
Exactly! And that’s why we created a selection of the top 10 best books for internationals and expats coming to and living in the Netherlands!
1 Lonely Planet Netherlands
The travel guide of all travel guides! The Australian publisher claims to be the world’s most significant independent travel and language guides publisher. Their guides are updated regularly and contain tips for travel preparation, destinations to explore, addresses, practical information, and more.
The Lonely Planet The Netherlands is the perfect guide to get ideas of what to explore next once the grey weather has passed.
Why the Dutch are Different is the story of an Englishman who (accidentally) went Dutch. The book is an entertaining travelogue and offers historical background on the Netherlands and a personal portrait of the Dutchies, trying to figure out why the Dutch are how they are.
Why the Dutch are Different is the perfect and easy-to-read preparation if you’re about to move to the Netherlands and it is a fun read if you’ve lived here for some time, as you’ll probably stumble on some peculiarities you might’ve already experienced.
The Culture Smart! guides are more than ‘normal’ travel guides. They offer short and humorous insights for travellers who want more than just the ins and outs of where to stay, what to see, and how to travel. The guides deal with the human dimension of travelling and tell you about the beliefs and attitudes of the people you will meet and about situations you may encounter.
The Culture Smart! guide Netherlands helps you understand the complex layers of identity in this small, densely populated country whilst informing you how to avoid cultural faux pas.
Amsterdam Tales is the perfect book for you to curl up with on a rainy day if you’re up for an entertaining read. The book contains a compelling collection of prose fiction, memoirs and anecdotes centring on Amsterdam from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century. Amsterdam Tales offers a rare insight into the history and culture of Amsterdam and is the perfect read for learning something whilst indulging in these enjoyable tales.
The historical novel The Black Tulip, written by Alexandre Dumas, won’t disappoint you if you’re more into fiction. Alexandre Dumas’s novels are notable for their suspense and excitement, foul deeds, hairsbreadth escapes, and glorious victories. The story of The Black Tulip is set during the Tulip Fever in the Dutch Golden Age and tells the fascinating tale of Cornelius Van Baerle suffering from several counterattacks, trying to grow a black tulip to earn money and fame.
The Culture Map: Decoding How People Think, Lead, and Get Things Done Across Cultures is an excellent book if you struggle with cross-cultural communication in the workplace; Or if you want to prepare for working in an international work environment while living in the Netherlands.
The book is a good source of support, as Erin Meyer provides multiple reference points for decoding cultural differences and how they impact international business relationships. If you’re into non-fiction, The Culture Map is the perfect read.
If you don’t want to delve into a story but would instead plan your next visit to the Netherlands capital Amsterdam, we have listed another travel guide. Rick Steves is an American travel writer and author known for his travel philosophy that encourages people to explore less-touristy areas of destinations and to become immersed in the local people’s way of life.
The guide includes everything worth seeing without weighing you down as it’s ‘only’ 500 pages long. So take that marker out and explore what you want to see next!
Anne Franks’s diary is one of the most widely read books in the world. It’s a must-read when moving to the Netherlands if you haven’t read it yet. Anne Frank was a Jewish girl from Germany who became known for the diary she wrote during World War II while in hiding in Amsterdam. She later died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Only very little is known about the life of the famous Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, who left a legacy of only 37 paintings. One of them is Girl With a Pearl Earring, whose model remains unknown until today. So much about the facts! The best-selling book Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier draws a fictional, historical portrait of artist Johannes Vermeer and his maiden servant in 17th-century Delft. The book is told from the perspective of the 16-year-old heroine who becomes intimate with her master.
The UnDutchables by Colin White (British) and Laurie Boucke (American) is probably the first book that pops up when you google books about the Netherlands, and we don’t want to leave it unmentioned in our top 10 list of books about the Netherlands. The book was first released in 1989 and has been updated several times. It takes an in-depth, humorous look at daily Dutch life and claims to be the survival guide for living in the Netherlands. At times, The UnDutchables can get a bit stereotypical.
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