Category Archives: Holland life

A Move, A Break or A Decision

The title makes little sense, neither did my head when I finally decided to leave the country I have called home since October 2004, yep 13 years.

13 years of joy, sadness, hurt, immense moments of happiness, fun, near-death experiences, sickness, health, evil and good, and fucking great, absolutely dreadful, but fantastic too. Beauty and ugliness, rich and poor, intense colour, and black and white. Sometimes, sadly, just black. Not meaning the dark-skinned smiling faces, no. The darkness of depression.

The country I probably love as much as I do my own has certainly made me who I am today, and I must acknowledge that. People who holiday there, those who spend extended holidays there, and even those who pop in and out for work or what have you, will not have experienced what I have, or ever will.

That in itself does not bother me. Everybody is different. I made things difficult for myself mostly. BUT, no regrets. What bothers me is a multitude of numerous things (HA! How many can I fit in she wonders… a multitude of infinite things perhaps…). But, relax not now. Later, maybe.

People inadvertently want things to work out at the beginning. Nobody likes telling their friends and family a job did not work out, they were fired maybe or decided it was not for them. Their relationship broke up, they cheated on their husband or wife or they have a regret about something else big. Whatever, nobody is 100% perfect, people fuck up – fact.

Well, my stuff just was not working out. I needed to leave. I fought this feeling for over a few years to the detriment of my health (mental AND physical). I am now in Holland and doing great. I miss many things. I really do but no lists here, not now.

This article is about transition. So no photos of curries, people, animals and sunsets that I miss, no sentimentality, no moaning, no nothing.

Also no blurb about the benefits and pitfalls of Holland, no photos of cheese, people, animals and sunsets, no sentimentality, no moaning, no nothing.

Just an article to say – hey this is what I just did. It’s not so difficult to make a big step. I am going back soon, but not like before. Because I learnt my lessons the hard way.

So, I am in Haarlem (NL) for now – more to follow on that!


Uitsmijter – Uniquely Dutch

It is Friday lunchtime, nearly weekend! I fancy something filling to eat so I decide to have an Uitsmijter. It is a Dutch dish similar to the German Strammer Max, but transformed with Dutch ingredients. There are many variations (see below) but traditionally it involves:  Dutch brood (bread), kaas (cheese), ham (ham), and spiegelei (fried egg). It’s not only filling but damn tasty too 🙂

Uitsmijter - from
Uitsmijter – from

The Uitsmijter. The name makes you take note, the Dutch word evokes images of strength, courage and forceful endings. According to the Dutch Table blog the word “uitsmijten” itself means to “forcefully throw out” so “uitsmijter” means “out-thrower”, i.e. somebody who throws something or somebody else out, and does indeed also refer to a bouncer at a nightclub. However, in the food world, it’s the name of a scrumptious open-faced sandwich with meat (although optional), cheese and fried eggs. It’s not a little snack or for those on a diet or with small appetites. The Uitsmijter addresses your hunger, your craving. It’s good…

In the south of Holland, where I was born, Uitsmijters would be served as the last “one for the road before we get thrown out” meal after a night of partying. Hence its name. Another theory says that, because the dish is made so quickly (all you have to do is fry the egg and make the sandwich), it is basically thrown out of the kitchen or the pan. It can be served quickly!

An Uitsmijter is often eaten for breakfast, brunch or lunch in Holland. Being a full meal, the sandwich is eaten with a knife and fork. Because you can decide what bread, what cheese, what meat etc. to use and how you like your eggs fried (most restaurants give this option too) it really is a win-win dish.

Usually ham is the meat used (I like a good smoked ham), but Uitsmijters can also be served with roast beef, bacon, salami, turkey, chicken, bacon or  just with cheese and perhaps a tomato. Other things which you can add are pickles, pesto, mustard, mushrooms, bacon bits sprinkled on top…

The eggs are usually served sunny-side up, with the eggs still runny. If you order an Uitsmijter for breakfast in Holland it is served as it comes. As a lunch item, it usually comes accompanied with a small salad and frieten (chips) on the side or some greens to spruce it up in a more fancy restaurant.

Uitsmijter Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of bread (toasted if desired)
  • Butter (GOOD quality REAL butter)
  • 2 slices of smoked ham (or whatever you fancy)
  • 4 slices of cheese (decent cheese such as Gouda, Edam, Cheddar, Emmental and so on. No processed cheese please)
  • 1 sliced tomato
  • 2 eggs


Plate up two slices of bread (or toast) and butter them. Put the slices of ham on the bread, then the tomato, then the cheese. Add butter to a frying pan or skillet and fry the eggs. Some fry their ham (or bacon) too – entirely your choice. When the eggs are done to your liking slide them on top of the cheese on the sandwich, add some salt and pepper and dig in!

Let me know how you like yours!

Uitsmijter - from
Uitsmijter – from

Odd Things About the Dutch Language

Dutch is a difficult and challenging language that has some odd unexpected surprises, such as phrases from other languages and extremely difficult spelling. 

Dutch & Other Languages

You may be surprised to learn how many Dutch words are borrowed from other languages. French used to be considered the height of elegance in the Dutch-speaking world, leading to a lot of French words being adopted into Dutch, such as paraplu (umbrella), bureau (desk or office) and horloge (wrist watch) etc.

Almost equal in the number of borrowed words is Hebrew, which is often perceived as strange until you consider the large Jewish populations in Holland from the Middle Ages onwards. The Jews developed their own versions of local languages (e.g. Yiddish) but also contributed to Dutch by process of linguistic osmosis. Today most of the Hebrew words are part of the ‘street’ or slang language in Amsterdam, such as bajes (jail), jatten (to steal), and kapsones (arrogance).

Dutch Words

Dutch is a curious language in three main aspects that make it look most odd to native English speakers (or, frankly, natives of most other countries except for Dutch speakers!).

For one, Dutch is very hard to pronounce. It contains a lot of very hard consonant sounds that can be very rough on the throat. When you first start learning Dutch, it’s not unusual for your throat to start to hurt as you try chewing through words like Scheveningen (beach resort town in Holland). If you think German is a tough language to pronounce well, prepare yourself, because the Dutch hit those hard consonants even harder. The difference is great enough that in World War II the Dutch would identify German spies by the way they pronounced Dutch words.



Dutch also contains some extremely long words. More than thirty letters isn’t uncommon, like the word for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: chronischevermoeidheidssyndroom. Yes, whereas English uses three words, the Dutch simply have one enormous word. Not only are these words long, but many Dutch words also have a lot of consonants, which can make for difficult reading and speaking. Take slechtstschrijvend (writes the worst) for example. After trying to learn and pronounce words with nine or more consonants in a row, you’ll need a drink to soothe your throat (quite possibly a stiff one!).

So, if you have always thought us Dutch were somewhat odd….you’re not far off!

My Country – Holland AKA The Netherlands and BRESKENS

I actually think Holland is one of the coolest countries in the world, yeah I may be biased, I was born there. I am a full-blood 100% Nederlander, only I’m not in spirit but that’s another story.

This post is all about Holland and my Mums village. Why? Because I’m here and I’m inspired. It is the country where I was born, where I learnt my culture and how to live in the first years of my life (to put it simply). I’m here in the beginnings of the summer and it’s lovely in the small fishing village where my mother lives, Breskens.

Breskens is a small fishing village in the deep south west of Holland only accessible by undersea tunnel or boat from mainland Holland, unless you want to drive through Belgium…..confusing? HA, yes it is. Trust me to come from a place like this. Inaccessible – says it all really 😉

Joking aside this part of the world is extremely beautiful, if you like your land flat, as in it’s so damn flat half of it is below sea-level. Yet this gives way to the most stunning landscapes, during winter and summer, spring and autumn alike. Villages with stunning churches are dotted generously amongst the farms, acres and acres of farm land, yielding everything from potatoes, onions, leeks, cabbage, lettuce to orchards of apples and pears and more.

It's flat but magical
It’s flat but magical
Tulips take my breath away
Tulips take my breath away

These villages celebrate their history in yearly festivals (ok it’s a drinking thing but there is a reason, like a harvest timing etc.). My village, Breskens has a yearly “Fish festival” because we are situated on the coast near the North Sea. It’s a raucerous event for most local adults but the kids and tourists always have a great time too. There is a huge funfair (where you will end up stinking of candyfloss and beer even if you have had neither), lots of street markets (with vendors from all over the world, mostly selling crap from all over the world that you don’t need but buy anyway), a local boot sale in all the residential streets (more gossip than sales 😉 and then the ultimate – I’ll give  you  2 Heinekens for that old vase – deal? Deal!), famous Dutch singers turn up in this tiny village to sing their famous tunes in the Market Square, there is free fish everywhere, there are free boat trips, swimming competitions but most of all there is happiness and lots and lots of beer…..

Some images from Breskens (don’t worry you foodies, recipes are following soon!):

Breskens Lighthouse
Breskens Lighthouse
Breskens beach in the winter time
Breskens beach in the winter time
Breskens beach in the summer time
Breskens beach in the summer time (I will get a better pic soon!)

It’s not tropical, it has no surf, it’s a quiet tourist town but hey it has a hell of a beach and some of the best seafood in the world (even in winter). I will miss it when I go home just like I am missing my home in Sri Lanka now. 🙂