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CS Newsletter for the Netherlands 2010.1

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Inleidend stuk

There is a first time for everything

In CouchSurfing there is too. You most-likely still remember what your first CouchSurfing experience was like. Many questions ran through your head. Who is my CouchSurfer? How are the people at the meeting? What do I say when my host opens the door? Do I hug him? Give I one, two or three kisses on the cheek or just a handshake? Everyone experienced his first CouchSurfing moment differently. Nevertheless, most of us probably felt nervous and excited for what you could expect.

That´s how we, the editors of this newsletter, feel too: both nervous and excited. This is the first official CS Newsletter to be launched in the Netherlands. It is a moment where we have all been looking forward to since the first brainstorm session. It is the real deal now. Our first memory of the CS Newsletter is ready to be created.

The aim of the CS Newsletter is to inform you about happenings in our CouchSurfing community. We may be a very small country but we have an active CouchSurfing community. That’s why we give you more insight on past and future events, write about other CouchSurfers experiences and have you (re)discover new parts of The Netherlands.

You can find the CS Newsletter by clicking on the following [INVULLEN [link]. Open the link, save it to your bookmarks and read through it.

We hope that you enjoy reading the CS Newsletter, get inspiration from it and continue to create new memories together with us!

CS The Netherlands

PS. We also would like to receive feedback, suggestions and other remarks from you. So when you are finished with reading the CS Newsletter send an e-mail to: [INVULLEN] . Thank you, we really appreciate it.

Past meetings

CSinterklaas Rotterdam 2009

For the 4th time couchsurfers in Rotterdam celebrated Sinterklaas, and like other times hunderds of couchsurfers from all around came over for this special event. This year even the organisation was a joint venture between couchsurfers not only from Rotterdam but from several Dutch cities and even a Belgian city. The climax was of course the visit of his holyness himself and the handing out of presents. Sinterklaas didn't start giving out presents immediately but had to talk to some couchsurfers who have been naughty in 2009 (hier kan mooi de foto met Liza en Sanne die op de testpagina stond). There were also lots of possibilities to discover Rotterdam or the many rituals around Sinterklaas.

Presents

We asked some people what they will do with the presents Sinterklaas gave them.

Sam: Give it to a boy I know very well.

Paul: I am going to put coins in it.

Sagnik: I will break this puzzle tonight, before I go to sleep.

Jessica:

Speeddating

The Sinterklaas meeting is always a great event with people from nearby countries taking Rotterdam by storm, and of course filling local couchsurfers' couches. It all starts innocently enough on the Friday where the main party is the speed dating mee... wait, that doesn't sound very innocent.

Alright, it IS innocent, it's a bit of a joke on the "CS is not a dating site" motto going around, but as my friend Ben said, that regardless of the joke: "So many people are going to hook up", which sounds like it definitely wouldn't be entirely untrue. Presented by Carel & the speed dating bitches (Damn, I'd buy music by a band with that name.) we were all given cards with suggestive questions on them, and when the other person answered them we'd get to write something related to that answer on their back for everyone to read, and mostly for yourself to read at the end of the night, especially if you're very self-absorbed.

After that, all the men spent half the night finding out who wrote "He is definitely gay" on their backs, because God forbid someone realizes the truth.

If you want to read more about Tommy's experiences click here

Sinterklaas Pastry Extravaganza!

Part of the Sinterklaas Event in the last weekend of November was the Sinterklaas Pastry Extravaganza!

For this meeting 21 people signed up but at the day itself about 10 people showed up. So did the Wizzard of Oss (the writer of this article).

As we arrived the host of this event, Maartje, already had some tea ready. The forecast told that it would be raining a lot that day so everybody was happy to be at this workshop not having to do sightseeing in the rain. After finishing the tea we all went to work.

We made 'pepernoten'. They are good for getting dirty hands and a good view on the recipe.

In the end many things were made, like kruidnoten. Also many decorations were made with marzipan.

In the end after all our work we managed to prepare: pepernoten and cookies; the horse of Sinterklaas that was very tired; a flag (guess from wich country); meat (and a present vegetarian meat;-)) and fresh big pepernoten. Linda liked to color her fingers. A bored Couchsurfer with die sick dogs of the host Maybe someone was killed there. But when they saw this pepernoot everybody was happy again.

Everybody liked the baking extravaganza and because the group was small it was a very cosy meeting.

Sinterklaas in Utrecht

Sinterklaas was all over the Utrecht community for several days this year.

It all started with the monthly meeting of Friday December 4th when Sinterklaas left some nice presents for some nice couchsurfers. When Sinterklaas himself showed up it appeared that Utrecht had the honor of hosting the very politically correct Zwarte Klaas and Witte Piet who were quite willing to give all those naughty couchsurfers some decent spanking. After that it was time to say goodbye to Graham in Utrecht style: with something to write on, this time a table-cloth. On Pakjesavond (the evening of December 5th) Sinterklaas was to busy for us, so we had to make our Sinterklaas candy ourselves. Luckily Sint managed to come back from Spain on the 8th to attend the surprise evening of the Dutch lessons in Utrecht.

For more pictures check here: monthly meeting, baking evening and Dutch lesson.

Winter Efteling meeting

It is in days like this that you understand what fairy tales are made of....

The obstacles we all had to endure to reach the park, the solidarity of couchsurfer heroes who, because of their patience and support, allowed other people to also live the experience of the Efteling and finally the magical surrounding & great company, provided the perfect ingredients for an unforgettable day in which our inner child had a blast!!

Links to pictures: 1 2 3 4 5

Sauna Meetings

Ramon ?

Future meetings

Arnhem Calling

When the preparations started after the ambassador meeting we were thrilled to take up such a challenge for our small city.

Now, a few months later, the preparations are in full swing. Many people are working hard to create an event that is different, yet also familiar. With plenty of socializing and couchsurfing going on it is going to be an event where you make new friends but where you also have the chance to catch up with old ones.

What do we have in store for you????????

City tour

Be creative in the city tour: a tour where you will not just see the sights but also realize that Arnhem is a city full of culture, art, fashion, and fun. The tour is led by a notorious guide who also did the Zutphen tour, which turned out to be a great success. You can expect some really cool things during this tour and it will most definitely be worth your time. You might see something like this love poem here :)........

Liefste rollator,

Je liep knarsend en piepend mijn licht in. Ik straalde diep en wilde dat ik dichter bij de grond was, verbonden met de aarde en met jou. Heb je mijn opwinding opgemerkt toen ik ineens blozend een beetje rood begon te schijnen? Ik deed het voor jou maar je was supersnel weer in de volgende schaduw verdwenen. Nu hang ik hier het donker weg te jagen, als een stel ganzen op zoek naar de zon, wegdromend bij je knaloranje kleur. Als je nog eens voorbij komt rollen, mag ik me dan in je mandje laten vallen? Dan kunnen we samen keet schoppen en de wereld al rollend verlichten met ons kattenkwaad. Voor eeuwig zal ik branden, tot je weer onder me door loopt. Jij bent mijn knarsende, piepende, “alles-op-rolletjes”.


Je lantaarnpaallampje.

(Sorry for the Dutch: it's not really translatable. The story is about a lamppost falling in love on another object. They need love too right.)

Loesje workshop(16pax)

Loesje from Arnhem: you might know her or you might not, but she's famous !!!!! All around the world she distributes funny texts that make you laugh or think. And on the Arnhem calling meeting you get the chance to make your own Loesje text. In a 2 1/2 hour course you will learn all the ins and outs about Loesje and you will love her when you're done.

Some examples of Loesje texts:

The world is TOO ROUND to silently sit in the corner.

I woke up this morning and found the world on my doorstep.

One's plenty can be used to fill someone else's lack.

Is the earth still round if one side develops faster?

The hunt

Have you ever been afraid?? Ever been so scared you were ready to wet your pants?

Your old scares won't mean a thing anymore! Be ready to be truly afraid....

Be ready to be HUNTED!!!!!

That is what you can expect in the hunt.

This nightly event will be held in Sonsbeek. And you can expect to be a scared at times. But nothing life threatening: we promise :)



Of course there will be more activities at Arnhem Calling, like a cool jam session and a pub crawl. Find out more about the program on http://www.couchsurfing.org/meetings.html?mid=49785.

Small meeting

In April 2010 there will be a SMALL CS meeting in and around 's-Hertogenbosch (also known as Den Bosch).

The meeting will have one main eventlocation somewhere in or near 's-Hertogenbosch and several sub-events.

You can join in on the following sub-events:

- A city walk around 's-Hertogenbosch. Since we all want to get a good view on all the nice details of the city and hear all the stories, the walk might take a bit longer and take up to 4 hours.

- A canal boat tour takes us in the evening through the canal called 'de Binnendieze'.

- After all the fun things during the day we'll have a party to end the day perfectly!

- If the hang-over stays away we might have a walk into the nature the following day.

Check the meetingpage for more details and sign-up to the subevents that you like.

CS Carnaval

Couch Surfing Alaaf! The Netherlands Alaaf! Traveller Alaaf!

CS Crazy Couch Surfing Carnaval in the Maastricht (NL) / Aachen (D) / Belgian village (B) Euregion.

We start on the 11th of February and go on until Ashwednesday on the 17th of February. Note that te official Carnaval days are 14, 15 and 16 February, be sure to stay till Monday, Tuesday or (best!) Ashwednesday! Besides sleeping, on Ashwednesday it’s a custom to go for “haringbijten”, usually with classical music!

All days there is the Carnaval Style Open CS House at Marten’s place, close to the central station and the center; for meeting, disguising and eating! During all days there are Carnaval activities from the end of the morning until deep in the night! Main organizers are Frank ~ inofficial CS Carnaval Ambassador ~ who’s guiding you through the traditions from the morning till midnight, and Marten whom you can follow for Carnaval “the nightlife edition”.

The organizers are giving each square cm, so just the two of us can already host 33 people at the same time!

Sign up!

Midsummernight in the park 2010

Still a long time to go, but you can already sign up to celebrate midsummernight in Utrecht for the 3rd time!

To get an idea of what you can expect, take a look at the meeting page of last year.

Regular CS meetings!

Many cities throughout the whole country organize meetings. Some meetings might be a-once-in-a-lifetime event that you can attend, others are held on a more regular basis.

Mostly, the meetings are held at a bar in the city center where you can have a drink, talk and laugh with other (local) CS members. You don't have to be an experienced CouchSurfer to attend a meeting, new or old members; you are more than welcome to come along! So if you would like to meet other CS members in your area: don't hesitate to attend one of those regular meetings!

If you don't know whether your city/village/town organizes a regular meeting than take a look at this list. Here you can find which city has a regular meeting and how often they organize it. For more accurate information like date and time go to the CS Eventpage. This page can easily be found by going to your CS front page. Click at Community > Search events and fill out the area you would like to attend a meeting at! In a moment of seconds all the meetings organized in your city pop up. Let the fun begin!

Community uitgelicht/place unknown

Amersfoort

The CouchSurfing Amersfoort community is a young CS group, one of the smallest in The Netherlands. Nevertheless, CS Amersfoort grew rather fast in the past couple of months. Currently, Amersfoort has 104 members from various countries.

Being a small community doesn't automatically mean Amersfoort has an inactive community. Besides monthly meetings - usually every first Friday of the month - other events and activities are being organised on a regular basis. For instance, the Polish Food @ Home meeting that took place in November 2009. It attracted many CouchSurfers from Amersfoort, places elsewhere in the Netherlands and travellers from abroad. People brought typical Polish food – which was a home match for some and a rather challenging undertaking for others. Thanks to the host of this meeting and the professional guidance given by two Polish CouchSufers, this event was not only a very yummie one! It also brought together many CouchSurfers who had never met before which made this event turn out as a big success with lots of fun. Besides, it inspired CS Amersfoort to arrange even more Food @ Home meetings with a specific country character. There have been an Indian and Italian Food @ Home meeting before, and there are doubtlessly many more to come.

Leeuwarden

In the summer of 2009 the couchsurfers of Leeuwarden tried to organize some meetings. It seemed a great way to get to know each other a bit better. After an ice-cream meeting and a meeting in a bar where only three people showed up, it was time for more action. We gathered some people, picked a bar and had our first meeting on Wednesday September 16th. We met at 'De Stee', a bar right accross the train- and busstation which makes it very easy to reach when you are coming from outside of Leeuwarden. It was a hit and we decided to turn this meeting into a monthly one. Every Wednesday closest to the 15th of the month you can join us. In the previous meeting we had great fun meeting new CouchSurfers and to see old faces coming back to the meetings.

The success of the Monthly meeting gave us the inspiration to do more. We are starting to make plans as an community to:

  • To organize City exchanges
  • To Couchsurf with a theme. Like visits to the city with the longest name or visiting every province of The Netherlands the coming year.

We are always happy to welcome new people to our city. So if you are interested in visiting Leeuwarden, organizing a city exchange or just meeting up with us; keep an eye on the eventpage. You can also contact us through the Leeuwarden CS group.

CS Netherlands news

CS location-database fixing

Couchsurfing the Netherlands Geography

Among the different groups of volunteers who contribute to the site improvement, there is a team in charge of fixing and maintaining the Couchsurfing location database. This database contains the list of countries, regions, provinces and cities that you use when you select your location in your profile, when you do a CouchSearch or when you select the eventlocation.

Since last October, the team has started a comprehensive correction of the database for the Netherlands. This process is done province by province. As we write these lines, the provinces Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland, Utrecht and Flevoland are completed while Noord-Brabant is in progress.

The corrections consists of:

  • checking the spelling of places names
  • relocating cities into the right province
  • merging cities when needed (like Etten and Leur which should be Etten-Leur in Noord Brabant)
  • merging wrongly listed districts names with the city they are part of (like Statenkwartier which was merged with The Hague)
  • adjusting the cities coordinates (latitude and longitude) from which distances between cities are calculated: this is used when you make a CouchSearch with a x kilometers radius.

All these changes aim to make it easier for surfers and hosts to find each other, as this is the core of Couchsurfing.

Family welcome Netherlands

Family welcome Netherlands

It all started with a few people that like to Couchsurf while taking their children along. They formed a group, and soon many members popped-up who showed interest in sharing experiences and inviting other families to their homes.

International Family Meetings were soon to be organised. Everyone was very enthusiastic about the way their children started to get involved in hospitality, sharing, making new (inter)national friends and the art of having fun while dealing with language barriers.

Not soon after an official Family Welcome Group Netherlands was created. In this group Dutch families come together to share their experiences. Also, because of the group you can easily find other family Couchsurfers travelling around and seeking for a place to stay in The Netherlands.

This spring we hope to organise a meeting where many families will be part of. A meeting where the children can meet and play, the parents can enjoy and tell. But mostly a meeting where we can all share this great thing called Family Couchsurfing!

Remember you don't have to be a family yourself to join the Family Couchsurfing Community. You are more than welcome to join us anytime when you like to host, surf or share experiences with families.

We hope to welcome everyone soon!

tips / trivia

Traveltip for inside the Netherlands

We all like to some sightseeing in the country we are visiting, right. We all like to save money if possible, right? Well, maybe the next deal is good one for you then! If you like to do cheap sightseeing in Noord-Brabant than the dayticket is a good money saver.

The dayticket costs only 3 euros and can only be bought from the busdriver. The system is simple: When you are boarding the bus you don't buy a normal ticket but you ask for the so-called 'Dagkaartje' for 3 euros. You have the pay the busdriver in exact cash because they often cannot change.

The busdriver gives you a ticket that is valid in all buses driving through the Province of Noord-Brabant with unlimited stops and transfers. As Brabant is one of the biggest provinces there are many sights that you can visit for just 3 euros.

You can plan your route at the 9292 routeplanner or for those with no internetaccess just dial: 0900-9292 (€ 0,70 p/m, max € 14,-).

foto couch

Couchsurfing EXTREME

Ever had a massive number of people surfing your couch? Was it ever so packed with people that you were afraid it might break because of the sheer weight pressing on it.

The Couchsurfing Newsletter challenges you to top AT LEAST 5 people on one couch.

Easy? Proof it!!!

Gather a group of people, put them on your couch, make a nice photograph and tell us what happened!

The best picture will be selected for the Couchsurfing newsletter volume II.

5 people on one couch