Hello, I’m Mandie Rose van der Meer, a lifestyle writer, editor, tutor, teacher and lexophile. (That means a lover of words.) The word “zeggen” is Dutch for “say,” and that’s the goal – say what you need to say with the right words to the intended audience.
I’m originally from New York City, and now I live in the Netherlands with my Dutch husband. The journey from ‘New Amsterdam’ to ‘Old’ has enriched my life in many ways – love, language, career, culture, friendships and just plain fun. I spent my first year or so here learning Dutch, though the journey is everlasting. It’s the same with my native English language, as one can never know too many words or ways of expressing ideas.
My passion for storytelling began early when my mother taught me how to read, with Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat, Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, and the impressionable Oddkins by Dean R. Koontz. Now I’m a bit like a kid all over again, trying to read Dutch writer Annie M. G. Schmidt’s amazing works, and Dutch magazines like Happinez and Flow. I’m motivated to get a better handle on this very tricky language and I’m lucky to have some lovely Dutch friends who help me with my speaking.
Communication has been the main focus of all my studies. In 2011 I earned a Master’s degree in Rhetoric & Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University. For my under-graduate degree I attended Elon University, on a beautiful campus in North Carolina. Those studies in English and journalism prepared me well for my professional work as an editor, a lifestyle writer, English tutor and communications instructor.
In 2015 I was the editor for six issues of The Holland Times news magazine. My work before that role included teaching English as a foreign language with the Berlitz Language Center of Amsterdam, and editing a 100-page book of collected stories from 150 internationals living in the Netherlands. The book Ready, Steady, Go Dutch, a joint project by DutchNews.nl and ACCESS, is a gem of a resource for expats and immigrants integrating into Dutch society. These first-hand experiences provide real insight and advice for foreigners. It was a pleasure to read participants’ tales and compile them into this approachable, handy book.
I am currently editing the ACCESS Magazine, which has returned to print for 2016 after five years as an ezine. Are you a writer looking to contribute articles about life as an international in the Netherlands? Get in touch!
Besides all that serious work stuff, there’s also room for hobbies, like photography, card making, cooking, reading, wine tasting, some yoga, hiking (or wandeling, as it’s better known in Dutch) and traveling. I’ve visited 35 states in the US, and 12 countries in Europe and Africa, and there’s quite an extensive list of places I dream to visit in the future. There’s just so much to learn from this world, isn’t there? So much to soak up and enjoy!