ACCESS NL > ACCESS Magazine > 2024 Issue 1 – Thriving in the Netherlands

2024 Issue 1 – Thriving in the Netherlands

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6. A First-Time User’s Guide to Dutch Education
by Bianca Pellet

12. A Matter of Choice
by Tasneem Hatimbhai

17. Finding Art in Every Lesson
by Nastaran Fadaei Heidari

22. Schools
Heart of the community

26. Knowing Where to Turn for Help
by Stephanie Baumgarten-Kustner

31. The Teacher who Teaches Teachers
by Richard Morris

33. Healthcare in the Netherlands: An Expatriate’s Perspective
by Bridget Kelleher

35. Enriching Cultural Exchange through Theatre
by Giulia Quaresima

37. A Perspective on Overcoming Burnout
by Katarina Gaborova & Thea Bailey

39. Tolerance, Pain, Paracetemol and other Marvels of Modern Medecine by Greg Shapriro

Dear ACCESS readers,

Healthy, wise, and well informed

As an aging adult (I’ll turn 61 this June) and having raised—and still raising—three of my five children in the Netherlands, I was happy to learn that this edition of ACCESS Magazine would be covering two topics which are both equally relevant to me.

Having lived in three different countries over the past 28 years, I’ve had a wide variety of educational and wellness-related experiences from being present at the births of my children—two caesarean, one hospital and two home births (see Tasneem Hatimbhai’s Face2Face interviews on page 12)—and, as one might imagine, I’ve made my share of middle-of-the-night trips to the emergency rooms, outpatient treatments, physiotherapists, dentists, and one corrective eye operation.

Looking back at these “adventures,” it’s easy to observe the differences from country to country. In Spain, for example, my children had annual visits to the paediatrician, while in the Netherlands they have only seen one a handful of times as babies and toddlers. During the two years I lived in England, I never had an occasion to see a doctor, but we received excellent pre and post-natal care from a top-notch team at the midwifery-led unit of the Liverpool Women’s Hospital. Likewise, in the Netherlands, my two youngest daughters were born at home where we were given superb care by midwives and their caregiving teams.

As you’ll read in articles by Bridget Kelleher (page 33) and Greg Shapiro (who takes a more whimsical approach to the Dutch way of healthcare on page 39), a visit to the doctor’s office in the Netherlands may be quite different than one is used to back home.

We segue from healthcare to wellness with a pair of articles by Ajay Kapur, who has mindfulness in the classroom on his mind (page 20), and Katarina Gaborova and Thea Bailey, whose piece on burnout (page 37) talks frankly and openly about a problem that is often misunderstood and infrequently discussed.

In this issue, you’ll also find some helpful articles about education in the Netherlands from both experts in the field and educators as well as parents whose experiences and opinions are as insightful as they are helpful. Bianca Pellet’s cover story (page 6) delves into the intricacies of the Dutch education system with a special emphasis on private international schools, catering specifically to expatriate families who have recently relocated to the Netherlands. Psychologist Stephanie Baumgarten-Kustner delves into the intricate landscape of educational support for international children in the Netherlands (page 26), while Nastaran Fadaei Heidari muses about the advantages of art in the classroom (page 17).

In her piece on theatre in the Netherlands (page 35), Giulia Quaresima explores the burgeoning English-language theatre scene that caters to both locals and expatriates while serving as a catalyst promoting the exchange of ideas and cultural awareness.

Finally, I recently had the chance to sit down over coffee with global education expert Dr. Caroline Ferguson to discuss her views on the challenges faced by international families in understanding and integrating into the Dutch education system (p31).

So, as you can see, there’s plenty of enlightened reading in these pages that will hopefully answer questions, inform, amuse and help you to gain better insights into education and wellness in the Netherlands. Happy (and healthy) reading!

Richard Morris