Typical Dutch icons

Spotted at a bus station in The Hague. Can you identify all these icons?

I’m not sure if this is an advertising campaign or simply a space filler. It seems that it’s representing “typical Dutch” things….can you guess them all? What else do you think should be there?

The overall style is in “Delft Blue”. Then, from left to right, row by row:

  1. Cheese/Kaas
  2. Traditional dress – is there a name for this?
  3. Bike/Fiets
  4. Amsterdam
  5. What are those music things in the market called?
  6. A record?
  7. Royal city The Hague, residence of the House of Orange
  8. Clogs/Klompen
  9. ?
  10. Alkmaar cheese markets
  11. NS railway
  12. Schiphol airport
  13. Swimming
  14. ? Rijksmuseum?
  15. Rembrant? Golden age paintings
  16. Casette tape?
  17. Sailing
  18. Peanut Butter/Pindakaas
  19. First country in the world to legalise same sex marriage
  20. Harring

Icons that should perhaps also be added:

  1. Tulips
  2. Windmills
  3. Rookwoorst
  4. Canals
  5. ? What else? – Comment below!

Dutch summertime and wintertime

Image: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zomertijd

Twice a year in the Netherlands, clocks are changed for summertime (zomertijd). This happens throughout the EU, where summertime kicks in on the last Sunday in March (clocks go forward an hour in spring) and ends on the last Sunday in October (clocks go back an hour)

There has been much discussion lately as to whether this should continue. Passionate representatives of both sides argue their case regularly.

After growing up in Queensland and spending a bulk of my life in Australia, I have always struggled with the short, dark days in the Dutch winter. An hour extra either way doesn’t make a huge difference – I still find it really difficult to go to work when it’s still dark, and come home when it’s dark!

Personally, I love the long summer days, where it can be daylight right through until about 10pm. When I had younger children, this was an issue to get them to sleep earlier, but now they are older, I prefer it.

For more information visit: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zomertijd

2019 KLM Urban Trail Den Haag

On Sunday 7 July 2019, I ran the KLM Urban Trail Den Haag. SO.MUCH.FUN! It’s such a great combination of fitness and exploring this amazing city of The Hague, which I’m lucky enough to call home.

Last year, I ran 5km in the 2018 NN Urban Trail Den Haag. This year, I did the 10km. In both events, Runkeeper actually records about an extra 1/1.5km, which is no doubt all the internal running through the buildings.

The KLM Urban Trail Series is an annual event all across the country, see here for participating cities and more information:


See you next year!

For my photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/jd46236vb9ghHYsx9

2019 Golden Tenloop Delft

Along with around 5000 others, on 30 May 2019, I took part in the Golden Tenloop Delft. This is an annual race in Delft, the Netherlands that takes part on the Hemelsvaart Day public holiday. This year was the 32nd edition.

Around 3 years ago, I started running. I set myself the goal of participating in my first ever 5km race. That was the 2017 Golden Tenloop Delft. Back when I started, it took me up to 50 minutes or so to “run” 5km. Really, it was a walk/jog/walk/jog. I documented part of my running journey here: Renee running vlogs

This year, my 9 year old daughter ran as well. We picked up our start numbers at the beautiful Delft City Hall.

This year, I set myself the goal of completing the 2019 Golden Tenloop 5km in under 30 minutes. Unfortunately I didn’t quite make it but completed in 32.49.

My husband and daughters cheered me on from the sidelines. My youngest recently developed an interest in running and has joined me on a few 3-5km runs. She can manage 5km faster than me, but at 9 years old was only allowed to enter the 2.5km in the Golden Tenloop. Her time was 13.03.

All the children receive a medal:

All the adults receive a t-shirt, I picked mine up before the race and wore it.

This video was set up just before the 3km point of the 5km race. You can see me for a few seconds at 12:49, green shirt, black pants + ponytail.

You can find my Google Photos Album here: 2019 Golden Tenloop Delft

The official website with more information: https://goldentenloop.nl

Renee 🙂

Museum Prinsenhof Delft – Mojo Back Stage

From 12 April 2019 – 01 September 2019, the Museum Prinsenhof Delft has a special exhibition. Mojo Back Stage: Dutch Masters of the Music Industry is a really interesting glimpse at the role Delft-based business, Mojo, has had in the Netherlands.

For more of my photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/mrMm46EYXTGHwzgi9

More about the MOJO Exhibition: https://www.mojo.nl/over-mojo/mojo-backstage/mojo-backstage/

More on Prinsenhof Delft: https://prinsenhof-delft.nl/

Australian Author Andy Griffiths coming to the Netherlands

Australian author Andy Griffiths is touring the Netherlands in February 2019 to share his new book, the 104-Storey Treehouse.


My daughters are 9 & 11 and have read a few of his books in Dutch already – here they are called the “Waanzinnige Boomhut”.


We are raising our children bilingually here in the Netherlands, so it’s a great excuse to encourage them to read more – and am very pleased that bol.com offer both the Dutch and English language versions.   I’ve just ordered a few English versions for them – and I’m going to have a read too!

Andy Griffiths will be at several locations throughout the Netherlands, including Assen, Delft, The Hague, Rotterdam check here for the list:


We will be going to meet him in Delft!

It seems he’s a regular in the Netherlands, I found a video promoting a visit last year:


Have your children (or you?) read any of Andy’s books?  Please share your thoughts in a comment below, or come and discuss in the Dutch Australian Community Facebook group. 

Renee 🙂

Invictus Games 2020 heading to The Hague, The Netherlands

Screenshot 2019-02-11 10.58.23

The fifth Invictus Games will be hosted in The Hague, The Netherlands in May 2020. The fourth Invictus Games took place in Sydney, Australia last October. The Invictus Games is an international adaptive sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women, both serving and veteran. The Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect of all those who serve their country.

Invictus Games Foundation Patron, HRH The Duke of Sussex said: “I am delighted to announce that The Hague is taking up the challenge of hosting the fifth Invictus Games in 2020. The city will soon become the motivation for hundreds of servicemen and women using the Invictus Games to inspire their recovery from physical and mental injuries. The Netherlands has supported the Games from the very beginning, and I know that everyone there will fully get behind and support the soldiers and veterans who have served their countries so bravely. We have already seen in London, Orlando, and Toronto just how exciting hosting the Invictus Games can be, and I know this will be an incredible experience for everyone in the Hague as they embrace the Invictus spirit in 2020.”

Edwin de Wolf, veteran, former team captain of the Dutch Invictus Games team and competitor in the Sydney 2018 Games said: ”The Games are a lifechanging event. I was able to gain so much strength from the pain I felt in the past but sometimes still feel today. The journey towards the Games as part of my rehabilitation process was invaluable to me and my family. I am proud the Games are coming to The Hague in 2020 and I hope I can show and share some of the enormous strength that the Games can provoke. IAM gonna make the rest of my life, the best of my life, we are INVICTUS!”

The inaugural Invictus Games was held in London in September 2014. The Patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, and the organising committee of the London 2014 Games always hoped that this event would be the beginning of the ‘Invictus’ story and that other cities and countries around the world would take up the challenge. Since then, the Invictus Games have been held in Orlando, USA in 2016 and Toronto, Canada in 2017.

“The Invictus Games The Hague 2020 Chairman, Lt Gen (ret) Mart de Kruif said: “We are very honoured that the Invictus Games is coming to The Hague. 2020 is an important milestone for The Netherlands, marking 75 years since liberation. The Invictus Games provides the perfect opportunity for us to link the past to the present by paying a tribute to wounded, injured and sick service personnel who served, and are serving, the military. These role models have shown that the strength of the human spirit is unbeatable.”

Conny Wenting, CEO Invictus Games 2020 said: “We are really excited that we were appointed to host this event in 2020, that will bring together over 500 competitors from 19 nations to compete in a series of adaptive sports. Later this year further details will be announced on dates, venues, possible partnerships and how you can support this amazing event. Let’s show the world our invincible spirit to welcome these brave men and women and honour them for sacrifices made.” 

More information:

For the latest information on the Invictus Games 2020 please visit:

Web : www.invictusgames2020.nl

Twitter: twitter.com/InvictusGamesNL

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Invictus-Games-2020-1868381396794838/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/invictusgames2020/

2018 Biesland Dagen

The Biesland Dagen festival has become an annual fixture in our family calendar.  Not only is it conveniently close, it’s always a fun day out.  The Hoeve Biesland is the centre of much of the action, but other nearby locations also have entertainment and activities.  Again in 2018, we were lucky with the weather and despite it raining throughout the week, we had lovely sunshine over the weekend.

The festival actually runs over two days, but the first day usually clashes with another annual event we love, so on Saturday we first went to the 2018 Embassy Festival.   On Sunday though, we had a great day enjoying day 2 of the Biesland Dagen.  This year was extra special, as my mum was visiting from Australia, so she of course came along too.  I grew up in a country area in Australia – in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, Maleny, though my mum and dad now live closer to the beach.  What I love about where we now live, here near the Biesland area, is that you get the best of the country & city so nearby.  It’s right on the border between The Hague and Delft, and though you feel like you are on a remote farm, you’re really only minutes from the city centre.

It’s great to have such easy access to farm fresh produce. Not just at the festival, you can also visit the Weiland Winkle 6 days a week. 

This year was the first time I actually went into the “Half Molen” – I’ve cycled and run past it countless times, but until now, had never had the opportunity to explore the gorgeous gardens out the back, and get a sneak peek at the old waterworks underneath the windmill.

A number of local groups share information there, including one about “the value of hunting”.  The topic makes me both a little sad and squeamish but I know that’s most likely hypocritical as I do eat meat.  This beautiful bird of prey was on display, and we tasted some goose meat, both smoked and in a sort of croquette.  Not really my thing but I guess these days we are spoiled with our supermarket shopping.

There were plenty of activities off in different directions, with a fun farm tractor ride between them, though the queue was a little long so we walked.

An ice cream has become an annual tradition….

….so has painting a piece of wood.  Here are some kids’ creations drying in the sunshine before being taken home….

Something new that we discovered this year was clay creations, here is my daughter’s face on a tree (complete with blonde straw hair)…

After petting bunnies and hula hooping, we had just enough time and energy to build with blocks….

We went home tired but happy, and had a tasty afternoon tea of toast with some local honey we had bought.

There are two annual festivals held in this location, this is the 2 day September Biesland Dagen Festival, then there is also the Biesland Food Feest, a smaller, more food-focussed festival usually held on the Pinksteren public holiday in May.

You can find my Google photo album for the 2018 Biesland Festival here:


More information here:



My previous blog posts:

See you there next year?


2018 Embassy Festival, The Hague

On 1 September 2018, we attended the colourful cultural Embassy Festival in The Hague.  This was the fourth year we have attended, and it didn’t disappoint.  To make it even more special, I was the lucky winner of their Facebook competition for an overnight stay in a suite at the Mecure Hotel Den Haag Central.  A huge thanks to them for our amazing view and the great opportunity to have a very rare night away, even if it was in our own city.  My mum was here for a visit from Australia, so she and the girls came to check out the festival and our suite, then she took them home.

The Embassy Festival really is an amazing example of what world harmony can really look like.  With around 50 stands showcasing the food, drinks, products, traditional dress and tourism of their countries, it is a truly unique experience.  Even just simply pointing out the names of each country to our children is a great learning experience.  The festival gives them a tiny taste the many, many sights, sounds and smells our world has to offer – without expensive airfares!  What I love most is that it is all in an atmosphere of interest of and respect for each other.  Whether you attended the festival or not, even a peek at the Embassy Festival website gives an impression of the variety of global culture that was there.

I had a lot of delicious food and drinks – I have to admit though that now I am sharing these photos, I don’t actually remember which stands/countries it was all from!  I know the first is my daughter enjoying Finnish food (a type of cinnamon bun).  The rest became a bit of a blur (and I don’t think the margarita and strawberry daiquiri  were to blame!)

Our only two complaints were that firstly, it was a very crowded. Great to see it so popular (I’ve been telling my friends, students and colleagues about it for years!) but when attending with two kids and my mother, it was a bit hard to keep track of everyone, move around and see what was at the stands.  Secondly, as an asthmatic, I also had the issue I often have in crowds – regularly breathing in cigarette smoke.

That said, it was still a fantastic festival and we enjoyed a few hours wandering around and literally exploring the world.  A huge thanks to the organisers for making the festival both free and such an amazing experience.

It finished at 8pm, and we stopped off at the Pathe to see some American culture on the way back to the hotel (Mission Impossible Freefall!) before enjoying this great view from the Mecure Hotel Den Haag Central.

See you next year?

My blog posts for previous years are here:

The festival website is here:


Their facebook page has plenty of photos:

My own photos are here:


Attention Australians divorcing in the Netherlands

This is one of a series of guest posts from GMW lawyers in The Hague, offering information on legal matters in English.

If you’re an Australian who got married in Australia, but now lives in The Netherlands, you may think that if you get divorced, it will be under Australian law. Actually Dutch law could still apply when you get divorced – and that has consequences for how you can divide your property. International divorce lawyer Marjet Groenleer highlights key considerations about the division of property for Australians divorcing in The Netherlands.

Which law will apply to your divorce?

Even though you were married in Australia, and even if you married an Australian, Dutch law could apply to your divorce, and to the division of your property when you get divorced in the Netherlands.

Does that really matter?

Yes. If Dutch law applies to you, then all assets or property that you and your ex own will automatically belong to a “matrimonial community” or “community of property”.  This means you will have to share those assets 50/50 when you get divorced.

Your assets are not just your houses, stocks or cars – they may include an inheritance you received, or even gifts from your parents.


If you were married after 1 January 2018, your inheritance and gifts will be automatically excluded from the community of property, as Dutch law changed on this date.

If you married before 1 January 2018, the only way to exclude your inheritance and gifts from the community of property is

  1. if you have a prenuptial agreement in which you exclude inheritances or gifts from the community of property.
  2. If your parents (or others from who you inherit or receive a gift) have a so-called exclusion clause in their will.

If you do not have a prenuptial agreement and there is no exclusion clause, you will have to share your inheritance with your ex.

What is an exclusion clause?

An exclusion clause is a clause in a will that expressly states that  an inheritance should not fall into any marital community of property.

If such a clause exists then, for instance, an inheritance received during the marriage will not become part of any community of assets and property into which the heir(ess) is married. Even if you get divorced under Dutch law.

An exclusion clause is typically Dutch, so you may not have heard this term used in other countries, but it could still work to your benefit.

For her own use and benefit absolutely

In countries like Australia, a sentence like “for her own use and benefit only” is frequently used in wills. Such a sentence could work to your advantage.

Under Dutch law, this could be considered an exclusion clause which could prevent your inheritance falling within a marital community of assets and property.

In a recent case, the courts of appeal in Arnhem-Leeuwarden had to decide whether this qualified as an exclusion clause when a wife received an inheritance from her Australian uncle during her marriage (ECLI:NL:GHARL:2018:3767). In this case, the uncle’s last will and testament contained the sentence mentioned above.

First, the courts of appeal considered that the will should be interpreted according to Australian law (referring to international private law legislation laid down in EU-regulations and international treaties).

Further, the court found that because the uncle had deliberately added this sentence to his will, even though in Australia inheritances by default stay out of any marital community, that the uncle had clearly expressed his wish to leave the inheritance solely to the wife.

The court therefore decided that this qualified as an exclusion clause. The result was that the wife did not need to share her inheritance with her ex.

How can you ensure you don’t need to share your inheritance?

There are two ways to protect any future inheritance. The first is to go to a notary and make a prenuptial agreement in which you exclude gifts and inheritances from any marital community, as mentioned above. The other option is to make sure that any future testators have an exclusion clause in their wills.

Dealing with the reality of divorce in The Netherlands

Getting divorced in another country and having to navigate the impact of a new legal system can add an extra pressure during to an already stressful situation.

When you face divorce in The Netherlands and you’re unsure about your rights, consider getting legal advice from a lawyer who specialises in international divorces. They can help you get a clear picture of your rights, advise you on the applicable law, and help you find a solution.

If you have a question about getting divorced in The Netherlands, or you’d like to discuss your situation, please contact Marjet Groenleer.

Marjet Groenleer is an attorney-at-law and associate partner at GMW lawyers in The Hague. She has been active in family law for more than 15 years, focused on international divorces and is a trained divorce mediator.

Marjet has particular expertise in the international aspects of family law, and is familiar with several foreign legal systems. She is an expert in dealing with complex financial and multi-jurisdictional cases of an international family breakdown. Many of her clients are expats in The Netherlands for the various international organisations and companies based in The Netherlands, specifically in the area of The Hague (such as EPO, Estec, OPCW, NATO, the tribunals, ICC, Shell, etc.)

Marjet worked as a lecturer in International Civil Law for several years and at the Court of Appeals in The Hague in the family law sector. Today, she is a deputy judge in the Court of Appeals in Amsterdam and publishes regularly in professional journals.

About GMW lawyers

GMW lawyers is a law firm based in The Hague that has one goal: to achieve the best result for you.

Since 1989, GMW lawyers has been helping international and local individuals, companies and organisations to solve their legal problems.

Having lawyers who have been expats themselves, GMW lawyers has a strong understanding of the issues expats can face. Their legal experts work together in teams, using their extensive personal and professional experience to deliver the best possible solutions. In this way, they can provide service and guidance in more than one field of expertise.

GMW lawyers can assist you with questions about family law and estate planning, employment and pensions, property and tenancy, liability and company law.

Learn more about GMW lawyers on their website: www.gmw.nl/en