Friday, March 12, 2010

Linking out

Web graphs  All of the recent travel and business activity put me severely behind on my networking with the expat community, and  enjoyed taking a day this week to catch up with the blogs and emails.

I follow about 20 expat blogs in the Netherlands, and I appreciate reading the variety of experience and insights, photos and personal stories, frustrations and successes that you all share.  There are always small gems of ideas that help me keep perspective or see something new, or that keep me from feeling alone in dealing with the absurdities of Dutch banks, government offices, trains, and shops (esp. Stu’s link to the Albert Heijn comedy riff).  Thank you all for your writing, I appreciate getting your links to local events, the help with language and customs, and the good humored encouragement.

I think that US expats have found the web site for the US Embassy; less well known is the US Mission to the EU, located in Brussels. While the Embassy focuses on citizen issues, the Mission has more cultural outreach. They are sponsoring a number of talks for Women’s History Month, for example, all webcast. and indexed through their Facebook page.

The Library of Congress maintains a Portals to the World web site with links to a vast set of government offices and organizations serving the Netherlands. Many of these are local Dutch groups, not affiliated with the US, so it’s a good general resource as well.

Reciprocally, the Royal Netherlands Embassy provides information on  US-linked events here.  On May 4 and 5, for example, there will be a major event in Wageningen to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the end of the Second Word War for the Netherlands.

Finally, I’ve discovered an enhanced exchange rate site that’s worth a look.  I have to keep detailed expense records for taxes and reimbursement; XE is my usual source for converting euros to pounds to dollars.  Sometimes, though, I need to convert expenses across a period of time using a historical average exchange rate.  The OANDA currency calculator does this nicely and is a big help.

Image from “Graph Theory and the Web Map”, by Kimon Spiliopoulos

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