Important Days for your Diary

We have already had two UEN events in the past two months, one were the drinks at the Axe bar and the other a painting workshop (you can read more under events reviewed)
For the months of March we have quite a number of events planned:
12 March – Visit of Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague
16 March – German Cooking at the Creative Kitchen – fully booked
17 March – Coffee Morning in The Hague with topic: Localization
So for the coming months we have also made plans but still need to fix the dates, so please look out for the invitations:


Coffee Morning
Painting Workshop
Cycling tours
Greek Cooking at the Creative Kitchen
Family Day at Plaswijckpark
Beach Event
If you would like to host a coffee morning or organize a visit to the movies, theatre or just a walk, we would love to hear from you. Just get in touch with Monika.voster@unilever.com or any of the committee members, see below:
The  UEN COMMITTEE team consists of:
Sonja Kaal (German) – treasurer kaaltjes3@gmail.com
Susan Zijderveld (New Zealander) susan.zijderveld@mac.com
Anamaria Suciu (Romanian) analiesuciu@yahoo.com
Pallavi Lall (Indian) pallavilall@yahoo.co.in
Mara Dinopoulou (Greek) marakor_2000@yahoo.com
Cristina Popescu (Romanian) Cristina.Popescu@unilever.com

Kings’s Day – Koningsdag


April 27 is a national holiday in Holland. The Dutch celebrate King Willem Alexander’s birthday. This year the royal family will be in Zwolle to celebrate.  Flags fly throughout the country and people are dressed in orange garb. If you haven’t got an orange outfit with you, do not worry. You are bound to find an inflatable orange crown at one of the markets. Every year some orange item of merchandise becomes a great sales hit which everybody wants to wear.
Markings day marketkets are held throughout the country. A number of spots are reserved especially for children. The Dutch like to go bargain hunting on Koningsdag. One half of the population sells the belongings they are tired off to the other half population, or so it seems. Early birds are likely to find real bargains. Many vendors have secured a spot the night before. Real aficionados roam around the city early to try and find rare items which complement their collections. It goes without saying that the best items and greatest finds are sold first! Regular shops are also open on Koningsdag.
Party time
koningsdag amsterdamIn Amsterdam you’ll see people dancing and making music on the street everywhere. The canals are a great setting for merrymakers. The canals are a chock-a-block with people on boats celebrating their King’s birthday on the water. Many people just can’t wait until April 27 and start partying the night before. Many clubs and discotheques organize parties featuring popular artists.  The night before is also often accompanied by fireworks.

Remembrance Day and Liberation Day

The Netherlands has its own way of commemorating the Second World War and celebrating the country’s liberation from five years of occupation. Unlike most countries, the Netherlands sets aside two days to mark these events. The first is a day of solemn commemoration; the second a day of public rejoicing with the young at the centre of attention. After a day of looking back at the past, the nation turns its hopes to the future. On 4 and 5 May the Netherlands affirms its pledge to provide a haven for all its citizens.
The Second World War left an indelible mark on the Dutch, who had remained neutral in the 1914-1918 war. Though memories of the First World War are gradually fading, the Second World War still represents a watershed in our history. It continues to occupy our thoughts and conversations, and remains a constant reminder of the fragility of civilisation and democracy.

Herdenkingsdag – Remembrance Day, May 4

Since the end of the Second World War, the Dutch have observed 4 May as a day of reflection, a day to honour the victims of war. At eight o’clock in the evening the country unites in commemorating the civilians and members of the armed forces who lost their lives in the Second World War. Unlike most countries, the Netherlands does not mark the occasion with large military parades. People all over the country gather at war memorials in their own communities, and at the stroke of eight the entire country observes a two-minute silence. All these events are broadcast live on television and radio.
A national ceremony is held in Amsterdam, with a memorial service in the historic Nieuwe Kerk in Dam Square, followed by the laying of wreaths at the foot of the national war memorial. The ceremony is attended by His Majesty the King and Queen, members of parliament and people from more than 100 organisations representing the different groups in society who were affected by the war. After the two-minute silence wreaths are laid at the foot of the national monument in Dam Square. The ceremony is broadcast live on television so that millions of people all over the country can take part in the solemnities.
Remembrance Day is a tribute to all Dutch victims of war. Special honour is paid to civilians and to members of the armed forces who fell in the Second World War, and to all Dutch nationals who have lost their lives since, in other wars or in peacekeeping operations. Three special wreaths are placed for civilians who died in Europe in 1940-1945: one for members of the Resistance, one for victims of persecution, and one for civilian casualties. A separate wreath is laid for those who fell in Asia, and another for the servicemen and merchant marine crews who gave their lives in the line of duty.

 Bevrijdingsdag – Liberation Day, May 5

The close of the Remembrance Day ceremony signals the start of Liberation Day festivities commemorating Germany’s capitulation on 5 May 1945. War veterans gather in Wageningen, where the historic documents were signed, and parade through the city in celebration of the anniversary of liberty regained. 5 May is a national holiday. The solemnity of Remembrance Day gives way to joyful celebration. The only other national holiday in the Netherlands is the king’s official birthday, celebrated on 27 April.
Special Liberation Day events are organised all over the country. Two highlights of the day are the official launch of the celebrations – held in a different part of the country each year – and the open-air concert to mark their conclusion. Traditionally held on the Amstel River in Amsterdam and broadcast live on television, the concert takes place in the presence of King Willem Alexander and members of the government.
Many local authorities organise special events for their own communities, and thirteen liberation festivals are held in different regions of the country. These liberation festivals feature both Dutch and international artists, and are especially popular with the young. The Liberation Day events centre on a different theme each year. Civil rights was an important theme at the beginning of the 1990s. In the second half of the decade, emphasis was placed on the precept that freedom cannot be taken for granted: it must be cherished and guarded with vigilance. All those involved in the festivals – organisers and performers alike – highlight these themes, while Amnesty International, War Child and similar organisations carry out special projects for the public.
Do you have the day off?
A royal decree on 24 September 1990 ruled that 5 May is a national holiday, but that does not mean you do not have to go work.
The government decided that employers and employees must come to their own agreement.
Employees do not have to work if their workplace agreement (CAO) stipulates that 5 May is a public holiday. If no agreement has been made, or the business does not have a CAO, the employer decides whether employees do not have to work.
Many CAOs state that 5 May is only a public holiday every five years (2000, 2005, 2010, 2015 etc.) and it is advisable to check with your employer.
Review of UEN events

Christmas Coffee Morning in Rotterdam Kralingen on 10 December

Manuela Cosar was so kind to open her home for our annual Christmas Coffee Morning. We were a big group of 14 international ladies and gathered around a long table of various Christmas delicacies from the different countries (please see some of the recipes below) It was a very delicious and enjoyable morning.
Thank you Manuela, for your hospitality!

Drinks at the Axe Bar on Tuesday 16 February

This was the first official UEN event of the year 2016 and we had a super great turnout. About 60 members came (many of which came from the Vlaardingen or Nassaukade office) to the Axe Bar at the Weena Office on that Tuesday late afternoon and enjoyed a good chat over a glass of wine. Unfortunately I forgot to take some pictures as I was trying hard to talk to everyone present J
As group of 7 members went out to dinner afterwards and I was told it was a lots of fun!
To get an idea of the event please check out the photos of former get-togethers in the Axe Bar on our gallery 

Painting Workshop on Tuesday 1 March

A first for the UEN. We have never organized a painting workshop before and so are very happy with the outcome. All 7 ladies who took part enjoyed the evening very much and went home with their own painting.
The workshop took place in Bergschenhoek at the home of painter and sculptor Jeannette Ruigrok-Greeve. When we send out the invitation there was also interest to have a workshop at the weekend and as it turned out such a success we are aiming to organize another one soon.

Brazilian Cheese Balls (Pão-de-Queijo) by Marcia Rodrigues

  • 500g manioc / tapioca starch*
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil (approximately 80 ml)
  • 1 cup milk (approximately 250 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 500g grated cheese**
  1. Place manioc / tapioca starch in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. In a sauce pan, heat vegetable oil, milk and salt over moderate heat until it starts boiling.
  3. Remove from heat and add to the bowl, mixing with a wooden spatula until everything is well incorporated. You can use a standing mixer if you prefer.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time still mixing with wooden spatula/mixer.
  5. Add cheese and knead dough for a few minutes, until smooth.
  6. Shape dough into small balls, approximately the size of golf balls.
  7. Place cheese balls on a non-greased cookie sheet, leaving some space in between them.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C.
  9. Bake until golden on top, about 25 minutes (the time can vary depending on the oven – it usually takes 20 to 40 minutes).
*Manioc / Tapioca starch:
  • You will find manioc/tapioca starch in a Brazilian shop named “Finalmente Brasil” (http://www.finalmentebrasil.nl/loja/home.html)
  • There are 2 types of manioc/tapioca starch – the sweet and the sour. You can use either of them, or mix half of each (I usually mix them). If you use only the sweet, you will get softer cheese breads.
**Grated Cheese:
  • You can experiment this recipe with many different cheeses – I usually mix ⅔ of a mild cheese with ⅓ of an old cheese or Parmesan cheese.
**You can freeze them! After shaping the balls, place them on the baking sheet and bring to the freezer. Once they are frozen, transfer to a zip lock bag and keep them in the freezer up to 3 months. Once you’re ready to use them, preheat the oven to 190°C – 200°C and bake the frozen balls for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden.

BANANA BREAD by Manuela Cosar

  • 5 bananas, very ripebanana bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 60 gr sunflower oil
  • 50 gr coconut flakes
  • 60 gr wholemeal flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-3 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 100-150 gr of your preferred nuts mixture
  • 50 gr raisins
  • 50 gr oat flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chia (this is not compulsory, you can also add linseeds for example)
  • bit of salt
I like it sweet so I added chocolate chips and honey!
  • pumpkin or sunflower seeds to put on top of the dough
Mix all ingredients and fill the dough into a baking mold, bake in preheated oven at 200 degrees for around 40 minutes.
Let it cool down before you take it out of the mold.
You can vary this recipe according to your taste!


Easter at Plaswijckpark in Rotterdam

Every year the Easter bunny visits Plaswijckpark in Rotterdam to hide lots of yummy chocolate eggs. The race is on on Sunday 27th March and Monday 28th at 12.00 h.
Plaswijckpark is a small family park with a big outdoor and indoor playground, a pond with swan-shaped pedal boats, a traffic park with go-carts, a small zoo and lots of green space to run or walk about. As the Easter eggs are hidden all over the park, finding them is quite a challenge!! There will be different areas for the various age groups (1-3 y and 4-6 y and older than 7 years). Every child will get 3 chocolate eggs for the plastic eggs they have found. Success is guaranteed!
And to make it even more exciting 3 golden eggs will be hidden in each of the areas. The finder of a golden egg will take a prize home!
Only drawback is that it might get a bit busy with all the easter-egg-crazy children…
If you prefer a quieter day out, then visit the park on a “normal” day. Especially early in the morning you’ve got most of the attractions to yourself!
Familiepark Plaswijckpark             Entrance fees:
Address:          Ringdijk 20                  0 – 1 year:                    free of charge
3053 KS Rotterdam                 2 – 64 years:                € 11,70
Tel.:     010 – 418 18 36                         65+:                                  € 7,75
Even your dog is allowed to come along, on the leash though, entrance fee is € 7,75
Internet: www.plaswijckpark.nl
Buy your tickets here http://www.plaswijckpark.nl/tickets/entreeprijzen/

Skate Fever (Roller Disco)/Glow Golf and Escape Mission

In Capelle a/d Ijssel you can find it all. I happened to be invited to go on an Escape Mission and to my surprise I found all three of these activities in one building.
An indoor roller-skate location with live DJ and a fantastic disco atmosphere. This looked like lots of fun for kids of all ages, they also organize disco parties for adults on Saturday nights. Prices are very reasonable between 4.50 and 6,50 Euro for unlimited skating and 3,50 Euro to rent the skates.
Find more information here http://skatefever.nl/
One floor higher you can find Glow Golf, a glow in the dark midget golf course.
This is fun for the whole family with children from the age of 4 years to 12 years old.
Prices are 8 Euro for adults and children 6,75 Euro.
And then again one floor higher is where the Escape Mission took place:
The name says it all: you are locked in a room and get 60 minutes to escape, find clues, work together and try to escape, either from Area 51 or Sherlock Holmes Escape room.
We were locked with three teenagers of 13 and 14 years into the Sherlock Holmes room and it was a fun experience to find the clues and solve the puzzles to get one step further to the final code that opens the door. We did not manage within the time given ;-( but were very close hahaha.
All clues were given in Dutch and English. I enjoyed it a lot but found the prices quite high, starting from 35 Euro per person if you do the escape mission with only 2 persons, maximum 6 people can take part and then it is 18 Euro p/p
Please find more information here: http://www.escapemission.nl/index.html
It is also possible to have children parties at all three of these activities and combinations are possible two. Just check out the websites.
Address is: Rhijnspoor 277, 2901 LB Capelle a/d Ijssel
In this column we like to share information! Any kind of information…. so please feel free to contribute any kind of tips you can think of!


As we have quite a number of Indian UEN members and the Holi festival, most vibrant of Indian festivals, is about to take place (In 2016, Holi is on March 24, with Holika Dahan on March 23), I wanted to add a bit more information about this and found an article that our member Alka Gupta has written for the UEN in 2010.

Holi, festival of colours by Alka Gupta

Holi, also called the Festival of Colours, is a popular Hindu spring festival observed in India, Nepal,HOLI Srilanka, and countries with large Hindu diaspora populations, such as Suriname, Guyana, South Africa, Trinidad, UK, USA, Mauritius, and Fiji. In West Bengal of India and Bangladesh it is known as Dolyatra (Doul Jatra) or Basanta-Utsav (“spring festival”). The most celebrated Holi is that of the Braj region in the province of Uttar Pradesh, in locations connected to the god Krishna: Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandagaon, and Barsana. These places have become tourist destinations during the festive season of Holi, which lasts here to up to sixteen days.
It is celebrated over several days in the Hindu month of Phalunga, which falls in February/ March of the Gregorian calendar. It is also a celebration of new life and the seasons. Some families hold religious ceremonies, but for many Holi is more a time for fun than religious observance.
ThHOLI 2e legend of Prahlad and Holika is also connected with Holi. Prahlad was the son of King Hiranyakashyapu. The king wanted everyone in his kingdom to worship him. However his son, Prahlad refused to and worshipped Lord Vishnu instead. The king’s sister Holika, who was supposed to be immune to fire, tricked her nephew Prahlad into sitting on her lap in a bonfire in order to destroy him. However, because she was using her powers for evil, the plan failed and Prahlad emerged from the fire unharmed, while his aunt was devoured by the flames.
Therefore, the main emphasis of the festival is on the burning of the holy fire or Holika. The origin of the traditional lighting of Holi is attributed by some to the burning of demonesses like Holika, Holaka and Putana who represent evil. This event is seen to symbolise good overcoming evil and is why traditionally bonfires are lit at Holi.
Some believe the origin of the festival lies with Krishna who was very mischievous as a young boy and threw coloured water over the gopis (milkmaids) with whom he is believed to have grown up. This developed into the practical jokes and games of Holi.
Holi is the most vibrant Indian festival, when distinctions of caste, class, age or gender are set to one side. People have fun by smearing each other with paint and throwing coloured water at each other, all done in a spirit of celebration. White clothes are worn, which makes the paint more obvious.
The snaps were taken by my husband Shailendra.

Bildschirmfoto-Faces of the UEN

Name: Manuela HennionManuela
Age:  46 years old
Current job:  I take care of my family and I am a student. I learn Dutch in a school at The Hague.
How long have you been in Holland/ a member of the UEN?
I have been living in Holland since the 1st September 2013 with my husband and our three kids. I have been being a happy UEN member since that time.
What do you like best about working and living in the Netherlands?
So many things…we live in The Hague which is located next to the sea….it’s the first time we have the opportunity to see the seaside every day…I know now that it’s not only a summer place to be… In winter surfing with a swimming suit is a lot of fun!
It’s also a very nice place to live with your family… Children can go to school by bike and everything is well organized for them (lots of sports, music, theatres…).
There are lots of nice spots to spend time during the week-end (nice Islands, Hoge Veluwe, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Leiden, Maastricht, Rotterdam…).
To live in Netherlands gives the opportunity to improve your English ability or to learn Dutch (which is a real challenge! ).
We meet lots of different people from all over the world and it’s very nice to share time together.
All year round some traditional activities are so much fun in The Hague: the 31st December in Scheveningen (a real blast!) and the first swim of the year (thanks Unox ;), Koningsdag, the “nieuwe haring”, the “vredesloop” (Peace run) the Prinsjesdag, St Niklaas,….all those special days allowed us to share the nice Dutch tradition all together.
Is there anything you absolutely do not like?
Definitely, “DE BOETEN” (traffic fines)!!!! It’s very easy to get them when you use a car! Do you see what I mean?  One minute late to leave your car from a parking space and you have this small piece of paper on your windscreen…
What do you miss from your home country?
Well, we can find everything here…our family and friends can come very easily from France so I would say our mountains!!!
What’s the biggest difference between Holland and your own country?
I would say that much more Dutch people can speak English … and much more Dutch come for holidays to France!
Actually as far as I am concerned, Netherlands seems to be more organized for lots of things from the recycle bins to the public transportation, through to start your own company…..in one word, efficiency