Netherlands Second Tag

ACCESS MAGAZINE REVIEWS GREG SHAPIRO’S THIRD BOOK

ACCESS MAGAZINE REVIEWS GREG SHAPIRO’S THE AMERICAN NETHERLANDER: 25 YEARS OF EXPAT TALES

HOW DUTCH ARE YOU? 
by Giulia Quaresima
(ACCESS magazine, April 2021)

Greg Shapiro’s The American Netherlander, with its sense of humour and sharp eye for detail, is a good starting point to understanding life as an international in the Netherlands. The author is an American comedian, a member of comedy group Boom Chicago, presenter of Comedy Central News, and author of two books now collected together in The American Netherlander: 25 Years of Expat Tales.
This book tells the story of Shapiro’s personal cultural adventure and assimilation in the Netherlands, from when he first arrived 25 years ago and stayed for love. It is not a scientific guide, but a manual to understand and familiarise yourself with the country, using the author’s personal anecdotes for a subjective and hilarious point of view.
Shapiro tackles Dutch common sense, a pragmatic approach to problem solving, openness and tolerance, multiculturalism, politics, education, and even customer service. While his personal experiences really bring out the humour and irony, he also shows understanding. For instance, the renowned ‘Dutch directness’ is really brutal honesty that isn’t intended to hurt feelings.
Shapiro uses paradoxes and oxymorons in Dutch culture: How can Dutch identity be so independent-minded, yet also so obsessed with consensus? How can Dutch identity be so liberal and open, yet also so Calvinistic and conformist? How can Dutch identity be so proud, but then be so quiet about it? “Dutch police won’t stop you for having an un-helmeted ba by strapped to the front of your bike, like a human shield. In fact, Dutch police won’t stop you if there is a kid on the handlebars, one on the crossbar, two on the back rack, and another one standing on top of those for a playdate. But if they’d been riding at night without a light? That’s a fine of €50.”
The second part of the book is a Dutch assimilation test, a collection of all the questions that should be included in the inburgering exams. According to Shapiro, these reveal more than the exam ever intended.
Give it a try and see how Dutch you are!


Greg Shapiro Masterclass: CULTURE SHOCK THERAPY

Greg Shapiro Masterclass: CULTURE SHOCK THERAPY

“Hi! My name is Greg Shapiro, or you can call me Gregory. Or – in Dutch – ‘Krek.’ That’s my name in Dutch: Krek Tja-piero.’ Prime example of Culture Shock: When you move to a different country and realize ‘Wow – I’ve been pronouncing my name wrong my whole life.'”
There are plenty examples of Culture Shock in the Netherlands. Like having a Dutchman introduce himself and say “Hello, my name is Freek. I am Freek, and this is my colleague Tjerk.” But if you can keep a sense of humor about it, you experience Culture Shock THERAPY: when you realize that  cultural differences can be hilarious.

“I am a bit of both: a bit LOUD AMERICAN and a bit ‘Doe Normaal‘ Nederlander. And yes I am tweetaliggggg. But I don’t like to speak Dutch, because it makes my mouth feel sad. What is it about Dutch people and their Harde G? It makes you sound like angry, choking zombie people. Like that TV show The Walking Dead. Or – since it’s the Netherlands – it’s more like The BIKING Dead.”
And here’s another example of Culture Shock Therapy. As soon as I started learning Dutch, I realized “Oh, you don’t need to yell the whole time.”

“Other cultures might say things like ‘Wow, you look good! Have you lost weight?’ Dutch people will say ‘Wow, you used to be so fat!'”
Dutch people are known for being DIRECT. Which is an indirect way of saying RUDE. If Americans have a reputation for being politely indirect, and the British have a reputation for being politely indecipherable, Dutch people pride themselves on being brutally honest – sometimes at the expense of politeness, or tact, or respect for human dignity. But at least you know where you stand. And HOW you stand – which is much shorter, once their comments cut you off at the knees.

Greg Shapiro (Zondag Met Lubach, Boom Chicago, Comedy Central) is The American Netherlander. He has performed his masterclass in Dutch Culture Shock Therapy for heads of state, the King of the Netherlands and once for the Business Class section of a KLM 747 to Chicago. 

 

Greg Shapiro on NPO Op 1: How to Imitate Biden

Greg Shapiro on NPO Op 1: How to Imitate Biden
Broadcast date: 4 November, 2020
Hosts: Charles Groenhuijsen, Carrie ten Napel.
Language: Dutch (and ‘Bad Dutch’)

SO I was asked to appear on a Dutch talk show. In Part One I was asked to comment – as Trump – on the results of Election 2020. In Part Two, Carrie asked me if I could do a Joe Biden imitation. I told her “I’m working on it.” (in Dutch)

At that point, Joe Biden was best known as Vice President – and wacky sidekick – to Barack Obama. Biden was known as ‘Uncle Joe.’ Well, by now Biden is ‘Grandpa Joe.’ Can he stay awake for an entire speech? Stay tuned! Or more to the point: are his eyes still good? Can he see the TelePrompter clearly?

Since we were in a TV studio, where the hosts were reading their intro’s from the TelePrompter / AutoCue, I took the opportunity to ask them how big do they like their text on the screen? I’ve hosted a TV show before. I know how the size of your text can determine the entire pace and flow of your delivery. If the text is too small, you have to squint your eyes. If the text is too big, you have to speak. your. sentence. word. for. word. You stumble through your phrasing. Or – in the case of Joe Biden – it’s like you stutter. Poor Joe is pushing 80 years old. It’s a miracle he doesn’t need glasses. But I guarantee his text needs to be gigantic in the TelePrompter. Sometimes, he can even got tripped up over words with too many syllables.

Earlier in the episode, the hosts played a clip from Biden. It was meant to be inspirational. But he clearly tripped over the text.
Biden: “So let me be clear. I / we are campaigning as a Democrats.”

So that’s part one of how to do a Joe Biden imitation: BE the smartest guy in the room, but SOUND like George W. Bush.

25 Years in Holland! …Sorry “The Netherlands”

25 Years in Holland! …Sorry: The Netherlands

(As seen in Hello Zuidas, January 2020)

Hoera! I’m celebrating 25 years in Dutch-land / Holland / The Netherlands. When I got here, the country couldn’t make up its mind what to call itself. Interestingly, neither could I. Growing up, my name was “Greg Shore.” That was my step-father’s name. But it was the Dutch who would interrogate me about my authentic name: “What’s your birth name? THAT’S your name!” I grew up thinking Shapiro sounded too Jewish. But Dutch people universally replied “Shapiro: cool name.” What better way to say “welcome?” And my name was not the only one that would change.

Zuidas was not called Zuidas. Was there even a Station Zuid? No. It was Station Zuid WTC. They changed the name somewhere in the early 2000’s. Apparently after 9/11, the term World Trade Center was just not great branding. Zuidas back then was… I don’t really know. Like so many expats when they first arrive, my entire world was pretty much Amsterdam Centrum. Well, Centrum and the Vreemdelingenpolitie in Slotermeer. But soon enough every expat knew WTC as home the Amsterdam Expat Center! Of course, by now they’ve changed their name too. Now it’s IN Amsterdam. I just call it “The Office Formerly Known As ExpatCenter.”

When I came to the Netherlands, the country marketing said “Visit Holland.” The logo of the tourism board was a tulip saying “Welcome to Holland.” And the in-flight KLM magazine was called The Holland Herald. It’s no wonder most people fail to realize the name of the country is The Netherlands. Maybe it’s just too long, too clunky, not great for marketing. But then came a little viral video called “Netherlands Second,” which turned out to be pretty good advertising for this country’s true name. Then came The Netherlands winning Eurovision 2019 – and hosting Eurovision 2020!

And now – for the first time in at least 25 years – the Dutch government is ditching the term Holland and rebranding as The Netherlands. You’re welcome!

Using Trump to Help Kids in Cages – Shapiro Offers Christmas Trump Voice Message

THE VOICE OF THE ‘NETHERLANDS SECOND’ VIDEO OFFERS CHRISTMAS TRUMP VOICE MESSAGE – FOR A GOOD CAUSE: raices.org.
RAICES. The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, helping the families affected by the Trump Migrant Separation Policy.

I’ve been working on this show called The Madness of King Donald: a Trump Survival Guide. Offering much-needed therapy for folks suffering from Trump Outrage Fatigue. And I’ve discovered the best way to help yourself is to stop focusing on the bully and instead focus more on his victims. What better way to help the migrant kids separated from their families – than to use Trump’s voice against him?

Ever since the ‘Netherlands Second’ video went viral, I’ve been getting requests for Trump Voice Messages. “Can Trump speak my outgoing voicemail?” / “Can Trump insult my boss?” Mostly, I’ve had to say NO, for reasons of exclusivity. But now I’m free to offer you a Trump voice message – for a good cause.
1) Make a donation at raices.org.
2) Send your receipt to gregshapiro.nl + the text you want Trump to say.
3) I send you an mp3 or wav file.
MERRY CHRISTMAS!
I have all the best ideas. Bigly. So great.

Shapiro is in New York City for 2 more performances of his Trump Survival Guide show:
Sunday Brooklyn Comedy Collective.
Tuesday PIT Loft – The Peoples Improv Theater.