Nine of my favourite books for Expats by Expats in The Netherlands


It seems the international community in the Netherlands harbours wonderful writing talent amongst us. Here’s a list of just a few books to get started. Each of these would be a perfect addition to your beach bag this summer!

The Mobile Life

Diane Lemieux and Anne Parker compare the move to a new country to that of an expedition of great explorers. This recently released book takes a totally new approach to assisting expats build a successful life in a new place. What made a huge impression on me was not just the recognition of the enormity of a move, but the useful practical tips and explorer anecdotes that help make this process more manageable.

How to be Orange

Greg Shapiro is known as the American Netherlander and recently celebrated twenty years of life in The Netherlands. In this time, he has gathered a wonderful array of experiences to share, to which he gives his own humorous twist. Promoted as “An alternative Dutch assimilation course”, what I like most about this book is that you are learning while you’re laughing.

Career in Your Suitcase

When relocating your life to a new country, this book is a must to make sure your career not only comes with you but helps you create your unique Career Passport!   The original edition was written by Jo Parfitt, a well known name for expat books in the Netherlands, with many great titles available through Summertime Publishing. This most recent (4th edition) brought career consultant, Colleen Reichrath-Smith, on board as well, adding even more insights and information.

In The City of Bikes

Pete Jordan is an American who relocated to Amsterdam and pours his passion for bikes into this book. Were the Dutch always born to bicycles or were there factors that contributed to developing this national obsession? Part personal memoir and part history, this is a fascinating read that will change the way you look at cycling in this country.

Dutched Up! Rocking the clogs expat style.

I’m a little biased here as I’m a contributor, but mine is just one of 45 personal stories from 27 women bloggers based in the Netherlands. With tales of culture shock, eating and shopping, bikes, language, working, tax, making friends and much more, reading this book is like sitting down for a friendly cup of coffee with other expats. A perfect read for feeling that you’re not alone in the challenges and joys of life in this crazy country. Currently available as an e-book, with the print copy coming soon.

Ready, Steady, Go Dutch

Produced through a collaboration between expat experts and ACCESS, it’s no surprise that this book is packed full of practical tips and tricks. Giving “The Lowdown on the Lowlands”, bite-sized pieces of information are grouped together under a range of topics including Working Life, Officialdom, Play and Health. A handy list of additional support and resources is also included. A treasure trove of tips from those who have done it all already.

Stuff Dutch People Like

Based on the highly successful blog and Facebook page, Colleen Geske brings us an entertaining but educational perspective of the Lowlands and its peculiar inhabitants. She shares fifty Dutch favourites from the typical to the more unexpected, alongside comments from the online community. A lovely layout and fun read.

Bicycle Mania Holland

This beautiful book by Shirley Agudo is a celebration of cycling. Filled mostly with beautiful photographs and complimented by some fascinating text, it’s like taking a tour through the country and seasons. From the King and Queen through to cycling in the snow, it’s all here.

Amsterdam… The Essence

A wonderful mix of beautiful photography and interesting interviews, David Beckett has brought together twenty-five Amsterdammers to share their own personal perspective of this amazing city. Also available as an ebook with additional multimedia extras.

A version of this article has also appeared on and in the Feel At Home in The Hague Summer Magazine 2015.

Favourite books by expats

Renée Veldman-Tentori loves to connect, share, learn and teach. She is the online editor and community manager at TheHagueOnLine and lectures at The Hague University of Applied Sciences in Marketing Communications. Mother to two little bilingual Dutch Australians, Renée loves living in The Hague and blogs at 

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