Zwarte Piet  Racist Stereotype or Harmless Tradition?

Zwarte Piet  Racist Stereotype or Harmless Tradition?The debate around Zwarte Piet – Black Pete – has been raging in the Netherlands for several years.

Is the character a black-face racist stereotype or just a harmless Dutch tradition?

Listen to the latest Here in Holland podcast to hear what internationals think:

Many in Dutch society are simply stunned as to what’s happened around what is a treasured family holiday. Sinterklaas is one of the favourite times of year for many people.

Positions are entrenched – with supporters and opponents clashing sometimes hysterically.

At one stage the UN even got involved.

For a lot of people in the Netherlands this was very bizarre – why the hell was the UN suddenly telling them they were racist?

The debate was already raging before this – but there’s nothing like a pointed finger from outside to add fuel to the flames and entrench positions.

The battle is between supporters who say Piet is part of a harmless tradition and embedded in Dutch culture and opponents who see Piet as a negative racial stereotype an image of a slave from a colonial era which should not be made light of.

Most white Dutch people now groan when the subject is raised and just don’t see the fuss…it’s been like this forever so, like, what are people on about?

Surveys regularly show that more than 70% of Dutch people say nothing should change.

Zwarte Piet  Racist Stereotype or Harmless Tradition?But there is an increasing backlash and the surveys show younger people are more open to change.

And amongst different ethnic groups the figures differ a lot with a survey in Amsterdam showing that more than half of Dutch people with a Surinamese, Antillean or Ghanian background finding Zwarte Piet discriminatory.

So what about the international community here?

How does the Black Pete tradition come across for people who have come to live short term in the Netherlands?

The podcast took a snapshot of opinion at a recent expat fair and online by posting the following question in a number of expat Facebook groups.

“ As an international in the Netherlands where do you stand on Zwarte Piet?”

There were hundreds of comments and a civilized discussion online – which is pretty amazing.

Opinions were divided of course.

A Nigerian woman who wished to remain anonymous:

“ It is racist – they say the Petes are black from coming down the chimney, but you don’t get thick black curly hair, red lips and golden earrings from coming down the chimney – it is just of way of them being racist.”

But a Bulgarian women felt the exact opposite:

“What if a black person were to put on white make-up would that be racist too? I think black people shouldn’t be so sensitive and as outsiders we should respect this tradition.”

For the ful range of the discussion listen to the podcast above or here.

Counting up the opinions what I found was a majority of internationals as being against Black Pete in its current form.

Around two-thirds of comments posted in the Facebook groups Leiden Expats and Expats Utrecht and the comments I collected at the expat fair were for changing Black Pete.

These people find it a negative racial stereotype and then yes, racist.

A small group of people were neutral on the debate with the rest favouring the situation as is.

The debate will remain heated of course – at the same time changes are happening. And the city council in Amsterdam recently came out with what they said will be the end of the discussion.

From now on Petes in the capital of the Netherlands were no longer be black-face but just have a smear of soot on their cheeks.

They will wear costumes from the 16th century based on the clothing from Spanish merchants to keep that part of the tradition alive.

The city is trying to compromise and keep everyone happy. Time will tell if the strategy works.

Here in Holland is the podcast in English about life with the Dutch – it’s produced by Andy Clark  – contact him via hereinholland@gmail.com or Facebook – website – you can subscribe to get all the podcasts in via your iPhone podcast app or your Android app of choice.  Or follow on Soundcloud

 

Emotional Plumbing – Free the Inner You

So, here’s a question, can someone feel another person’s emotions by touching them?

Not just a vague feeling but a deep intuitive understanding of emotions that drive or hold people back.

All sound a bit like mumbo-jumbo? Well, I have always been sceptical about people making bold claims like this but when I met one I decided to go and investigate. The result is the podcast ‘Emotional Plumbing.’

Sue Susnik describes herself as a coach for highly sensitive, highly intelligent and multi-faceted people. It’s a description which doesn’t really do justice to what she does.

Emotional Plumbing - Free the Inner You

She is a kind of ‘emotional plumber,’ a person with a highly developed skill to surface emotions in people.

“You know when people have potential but they can’t release it, that it is blocked, and they can’t be their full potential , their full Me?  Well, I’m like a plumber who comes along and unblocks it and lets it flow.”

“The way that I do that is quite specific, it is by working with the energies in people. And I know that is going to sound totally wacky.”

It does sound a bit crazy, but Sue is a scientist. She studied at Cambridge University and has a PhD in Environmental Science. Take this into account and you start to realise this is a serious proposition.

How does it work in practice?

Sue walks around me as I lie face up on a massage table (fully clothed) and she begins to ‘listen’ to the signals she is receiving.

She hones in on my head and lays on her hands. She is feeling a strong sense of frustration she says, an image of someone pounding their fists against a closed door.

She’s tuned into frustrations I have been having in my work – it is impressively accurate.


So what does she feel?

“It’s a way that I feel sensations in my body that gives me information about what the person needs.  So, I feel a draw in my arms and I’ll feel that I need to move my arms in a certain direction, to put my hands on say, the leg, or the foot, or the hand of the person I am working with.”

“And what’s happened over time is that the sensations have become more specific – so I can put my hands on somebody and if, for example, they have some strong grief then I can feel the experience of grief in me and I can say to the client I feel grief and they can tune into that.”

“It’s almost like there is a resonance between us that then helps me to amplify for them what they are feeling and then they can process it and digest it and that’s where the unblocking comes in. That’s where the release happens.”

Sue admits that at the moment there is no scientific explanation for what she does, she says she just knows that it works for her.

In a way it is similar to a proven phenomenon knowing as Mirror Touch synesthesia – there is a well documented case of a US physician Joel Salinas who can feel patients physical pain.

And Sue also points to the work of renowned Dutch psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk on trauma as also perhaps providing the start of an explanation for what she does.

And what about critics who would say this is some kind of con – just a way to make money?

“If I am not for you then don’t work with me. I am not out to necessarily to convince people. I am just there to say this is what I do, this is how it works and these are the benefits that people can get from me. These are the insights people can get from me.

“If you don’t think it’s the thing for you and you come along then there’ll just be piles of resistance, so I would say go and do something else. Go and do something that works for you,” says Sue Susnik.

Going through the experience of meeting Sue certainly broadened my horizons – I left the session with a sense that this  was someone with a unique gift. A gift being used to help people tackle deep-seated issues and live better lives.

Listening to the podcast will give a much better impression than reading the words on this page.

Here in Holland is the podcast in English about life with the Dutch – it’s produced by Andy Clark  – contact him via hereinholland@gmail.com or Facebook – website – you can subscribe to get all the podcasts in via your iPhone podcast app or your Android app of choice.  Or follow on Soundcloud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Joy of Cycling in the Netherlands

It’s as Dutch as cheese and windmills – cycling.

Did you learn to cycle when you came to the Netherlands or were you already up and running?

Whatever the answer, one thing is for certain – once you are here it is difficult to avoid being sucked into cycling culture.

There are more bikes than people in the Netherlands and there are bikes of all shapes and sizes.

The Here in Holland podcast is on the Joy of Cycling

The podcast is an interview with Samuel Nello-Deakin an expert from the Urban Cycling Institute in Amsterdam

The institute is part of the University of Amsterdam and is an internationally recognised centre of expertise – well, of course, the Netherlands is the cycling capital of the world.

“The thing about cycling in the Netherlands is that is more less impossible to avoid,” says Nello-Deakin.

“Cycling was actually popular throughout most of Europe after World War II but in a lot of places more car orientated policies were implemented.”

The Joy of Cycling in the Netherlands“Actually this was happening in the Netherlands too until there was a backlash in the 1970s and after that cycling began to rise in popularity.”

“Of course, the Netherlands is flat too and that helps and Dutch cities lend themselves to cycling because of the relatively short distances in volved,” adds the expert.

E-bikes and apps

With all the bikes whizzing around there are unfortunately accidents and the states show a cyclist dies every two days in the Netherlands.

If you just look at the pure numbers then the Netherlands is the place with the most cycling deaths – but when you take in to account the number of people cycling then the Netherlands scores very well and is very safe for cyclists.”

There are new issues too in the cycling landscape anno 2017 – e-bikes racing around and the rise of people using their mobile phones whilst cycling.

There are a number of campaigns to clamp down on this later phenomenon as figures show young people are at risk of serious injury and even fatal injuries due to staring at mobile screens instead of looking at where they are going.

Even so, cycling in the Netherlands remains one of the most popular activities for internationals and it’s a great way to explore.

Here in Holland is the podcast in English about life with the Dutch – it’s produced by Andy Clark  – contact him via hereinholland@gmail.com or Facebook – website – you can subscribe to get all the podcasts in via your iPhone podcast app or your Android app of choice.  Or follow on Soundcloud

30% Tax-Break for Expats in the Netherlands Under Review

30% Ruling under review

The tax-break for expats known as the 30% Ruling is being reviewed and is likely to be amended according to a leading tax expert.

Around 60,000 expats in the Netherlands currently receive this deal which gives them 30% of their salary tax free.

In this edition of the Here in Holland podcast host Andy Clark talks about the review of the ruling with tax advisor Robert Bosma from Broadstreet in Amsterdam.

Finance Ministry Initiated the Review

The review of the 30% Ruling has been initiated by the Finance Ministry and will be considered by the new cabinet once it is in place.

So who can get this deal anyway? You need to earn above €54,000 gross per year, be hired from outside the Netherlands and have lived more than 150 kilometres from the Dutch border at the time of hiring.

There are currently 60,000 people benefiting from this and the number if growing by seven percent per year according to the review.

30% Ruling Effective
“The report has shown that the 30% ruling is effective in attracting expat talent to the Netherlands,” says Bosma.

“So people shouldn’t be worried that it will be scrapped. Although some changes are probable,” 30% Tax-Break for Expats in the Netherlands Under Reviewadds the tax expert.

According to Bosma other countries around the Netherlands have comparable rulings so a complete stop is unlikely.

“The ruling might be brought back from eight years to five years – there are two reasons for this. First of all, about 80 % of people who get this ruling have actually left after five years and compared to other countries eight years is long.”

“The second thing that may happen is a cap, a maximum, so above a certain level – perhaps 100k or 150k then the rate may be lowered.”

It will take time though for changes to come in to effect. The new cabinet is still not in place and even when it is then it is difficult to say how high up the political agenda this issue will be.

So why the review now? According to Bosma the tax-break is reviewed from time to time and there is always a certainly level of political discussion as to the justifications for this sort of tax break.

Here in Holland is the podcast in English about life with the Dutch – it’s produced by Andy Clark  – contact him via hereinholland@gmail.com or Facebook – website – you can subscribe to get all the podcasts in via your iPhone podcast app or your Android app of choice.  Or follow on Soundcloud

How to be a successful expat – advice on how to prepare for life in a new country

How to be a successful expat - advice on how to prepare for life in a new countryExpats as explorers

Being an international in a new country throws up challenges.

Are these challenges comparable to those faced by the great explorers of a bygone era?

Sounds weird? Well not as far-fetched as you might think.

Check out the latest Here in Holland podcast. It features a fascinating interview on how lessons learned in exploring the globe can help internationals conquering their own new horizons.

Diane Lemieux is co-author of the book The Mobile Life – A New Approach to Moving Anywhere – she says of the challenges faced by expats:

“It is equally as difficult and equally as challenging as an exploration.”

How to be a successful expat - advice on how to prepare for life in a new countryThe book is a hands-on guide for gearing up for and getting the most out of life in a new country.

Ernest Shackleton
Written together with Anne Parker – the book takes lessons learned from the British explorer Ernest Shackleton and applies them to expat life.

“The reason why Shackleton is an extreme example and the best example we could have chosen is because not only was he an incredible planner but he also known as one of the greatest leaders ever.”

As the book progresses through a host of great tips for expats it links each chapter to the amazing story of Shackleton’s 1914 Antarctic expedition.

And by sharing this story and the planning and endurance skills it embodies the book provides a unique approach for internationals.

From the initial choice to make the move to tips on how to deal with the doldrums if expat life gets tough.

It’s a practical guide which captures the sense of adventure of making the move to set up life in a new country.

Here in Holland is the podcast in English about life with the Dutch – it’s produced by Andy Clark  – contact him via hereinholland@gmail.com or Facebook – website – you can subscribe to get all the podcasts in via your iPhone podcast app or your Android app of choice.  Or follow on Soundcloud

Making Friends with the Dutch

How to Make Dutch FriendsHow to Make Dutch Friends

Do you have many Dutch friends? It might sound like an odd question to put to internationals living in the Netherlands, but it isn’t.

Many internationals have no problem meeting Dutch people but when it comes to forming real friendships that’s when things get difficult.

Expat surveys back this up. The HSBC bank conducts a yearly survey on expat experiences in 45 countries around the world and the Netherlands scores badly on making friends and social life.

This time in the Here in Holland podcast internationals talk about their experience when it comes to making Dutch friends and there are some great tips too on how to melt the ice with the Dutch.

Feeling isolated

One of the expats featured in the podcast is Haseeb from Pakistan. An IT professional who has lots of expat friends but no real Dutch friends.

“Yeah it makes you feel a bit isolated, like you are not really taking part and you don’t really know what is going on around you,” he says.

Cheryl is an international student from Hong Kong:

“The Dutch are more comfortable in their own social circles and as an outsider, an invader, it is very difficult to break in.”

Take the initiative

Judy is from the US and lived as an international in Germany before coming to the Netherlands:

“I would say to people don’t expect people to come knocking on your door – they might, but don’t expect it. You have to make the effort yourself. It’s the same whether you are in Germany, the US or the Netherlands.”

Give the Dutch a reason to be with you

How to Make Dutch FriendsThis sentiment is echoed by Vassia Sarantopoulou who runs the Anti-Loneliness Project

“You need to insist on social contact and you need to keep on insisisting. If you are turned down once or twice just keep on going.”

“The Dutch need a reason to do things so give them a reason, find a common interest or hobby not just meeting over beers.”

Event to meet the Dutch

The city of Leiden is organising an event at the end August We Are Leiden to bring locals and newcomers together.

Newcomers will get a city tour and then there’s a picnic. The event is free and is being run by local cultural organisations. All internationals are welcome.

Video of internationals talking about the experiences of trying to make friends with the Dutch.

Here in Holland is the podcast in English about life with the Dutch – it’s produced by Andy Clark  – contact him via hereinholland@gmail.com or Facebook – website – you can subscribe to get all the podcasts in via your iPhone podcast app or your Android app of choice.  Or follow on Soundcloud

 

Hilarious stories of international life in the Netherlands

Ever had a funny, disorientating or downright weird experience as an internationalHilarious stories of international life in the Netherlands living in the Netherlands?

You are not alone.

Life as a newcomer in the Netherlands never ceases to amaze – just when you think stuff won’t get any wackier then things get turned up a notch or two.

This time in the podcast a collection of random stories I’ve gathered over the past few months since I started making the show.

Unlinked and yet strangely interconnected by the wonderful world which is our collective Dutch experience.

Hilarious stories of international life in the Netherlands.

Podcast: Here in Holland – Weird and Weirder

 

Cycling mayhem

Hilarious stories of international life in the NetherlandsThe podcast has a range of great stories this time. Take Luke, a British guy living in Amsterdam. Like most internationals he is keen to hone his cycling skills in the Netherlands. So, imagine his embarrassment when ending up mounting the pavement on his bike and accidentally head-butting an old man.

“There was lorry coming the wrong way down the street and I had to swerve to avoid being hit – there was nothing I could do,” says Luke.

“I ended up having to go up on the pavement and crashed into an old man head-butting him in the face. He swore at me profusely and I just kept on trying to say it wasn’t my fault and there was nothing I could do.”

In the end the old man was ok, apart from the shock of having a young British guy literally in his face of course.

Surprise  – it’s a cremation

When Molly from the US was trying to improve her Dutch she made friends with a lovely little old lady in her eighties who didn’t speak much English.

A perfect way to learn more about Dutch culture and practice her Dutch skills.

So, Molly was explaining about surprise parties in her best Dutch – verrassings feesten (surprise parties) she said, or thought she said. The little old lady heard – verassings feesten, which means cremation parties. Only one ‘r’ less but a world of difference in meaning and probably not the best topic to talk to little old ladies about.

“Yeah it’s only one letter difference but I guess my pronunciation was not so great and she was totally confused. She probably still thinks to this day that Americans jump out with balloons and streamers at cremations,” said Molly.

Coffeeshop menus

Hilarious stories of international life in the NetherlandsAnd Ruba from Palestine was totally confused by coffeeshops when she first arrived.

“We knew that you could buy cannabis from a menu – but we thought it was just an item on a menu in a restaurant. You know, like always on the menu in all restaurants. We had no idea there were special coffeeshops with their own menus for cannabis. It was a big surprise.”

“What was also really weird is that we were told it was not allowed to smoke a cigarette in a coffeeshop, only weed. I’m mean, why???”

To hear these stories in their full glory listen to the latest podcast. There are other stories too about language mix ups, more cycling mayhem and total disbelief about missing floors in rental apartments.

Here in Holland is a podcast in English about life in the Netherlands – it’s produced by Andy Clark  – contact him via hereinholland@gmail.com or Facebook – website – you can subscribe to get all the podcasts in via your iPhone podcast app or your Android app of choice.  Or follow on Soundcloud

Tips on how to get a good job in the Netherlands

Getting a job in the NetherlandsTips on how to get a good job in the Netherlands

The job market in the Netherlands is currently buoyant for internationals, according to recruitment expert Katerina Alikaridou from Randstad Multilingual.

And with determination and good planning internationals should be able to find a good job within two to four months.

This time in the Here in Holland podcast an interview on getting work in the Netherlands as an expat.

When it comes to your CV it should be a good reflection of yourself and something which exudes your passion.

“Your CV should be something you really believe in and something that really tells your story quickly so a potential employer knows what you have to offer.”

“It should not just be a paper that you don’t really pay attention too,” says Katerina.

And when it comes to photos on a CV the recruitment expert says it is not essential to have a picture but if you do have one then you need to make sure it is appropriate.

She’s seen pictures of women in bikinis on CVs and of men posing in sunglasses trying to look super cool.

“These sorts of photos are great if you want to send them to your boyfriend or girlfriend but definitely not on a CV – it needs to be professional.”

Adding a video pitch to your CV can also really help.

And being active on social media is a must in getting a good position in the modern Dutch job market.

Linked In is the most important – a good professional up to date profile listing your achievements and strengths.

And a word of warning. Be careful what you have open to the public on your other social media channels – those crazy party photos on Facebook are also there for a potential employer to see if you have everything open to the public.

When it comes to languages then English is pretty much vital when it comes to getting an international job in the Netherlands – learning to speak Dutch will also improve your chances.

Best of all is  combination of your native language, English and Dutch.

So what’s the golden tip when it comes to getting a good job in the Netherlands?

“ I people need to work on their motivation, they really need to be certain as to why they are here, what their goal is and then they need to really go for it. Once you know this then you will be able to stay focused build your network and achieve your goals, “ says Katerina.

Here in Holland is a podcast in English about life in the Netherlands – it’s produced by Andy Clark  – contact him via hereinholland@gmail.com or Facebook – website – you can subscribe to get all the podcasts in via your iPhone podcast app or your Android app of choice.  Or follow on Soundcloud

Laughing out Loud – Improvised Comedy in The Hague

A stepmother and stepson are on honeymoon together and the stepmother confesses she murdered the son’s father so they could be together.

Minutes later a heart surgeon sews his thumb to a patient.

Sounds gruesimprovised comedy in the Hagueome and bizarre? Don’t worry these are scenes from an improvised comedy evening at Theatre Pepijn in the Hague.

If you are not familiar with improv then it works by the actors asking for prompts from the audience.

The theatre goers shout out locations, characters and motivations and then the actors get to work. Then the comedy chaos unfolds.

This time in the podcast – Laughing out Loud with The Cyclepaths.

 

So, what does it take to make an expat audience laugh?

improvised comedy in the HagueLuke Davies is one of the core members of The Cyclepaths.

“Well it’s great playing for an expat audience and especially at Theatre Pepijn in the Hague – they really great out jokes and afterwards they are always asking us if we can do more shows.”

Margo van de Linde is another core member of the group and she says playing for expats is great:improvised comedy in the Hague

“We can really express ourselves in these shows as the audience speaks such good English so we can use all kinds of word plays and puns and metaphors that we would not necessarily use with a Dutch audience.”

The group always performs in English and does a lot of work with Dutch schools which have English language streams – the TTO (tweetalig onderwijs) streams.

improvised comedy in the HagueInyaki Magno has been with The Cyclepaths from the start – when asked what makes form a good show he says:

“Not trying to be funny – that’s an important one – and how drunk the audience is.”

Find out more about The Cyclepaths

Here in Holland is a podcast in English about life in the Netherlands – it’s produced by Andy Clark  – contact him via hereinholland@gmail.com or Facebook – website – you can subscribe to get all the podcasts in via your iPhone podcast app or your Android app of choice.  Or follow on Soundcloud

Blogger’s fight with Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome

An Aussie blogger pregnant with twins finds herself in a fight with an incredibly rare condition which threatens to kill her unborn twins.

Blogger's battle with Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome

Twins Mathilde (left and very red) and Emilie (right and very pale) – mum Stephanie first developed TTTS and then TAPS.

“Sometimes life throws something at you and you just have to deal with it. I sometimes asked myself how I remained sane,” Stephanie Ernst – blogger and mum of twins.

We all know that life can be random and just when you think things are running smoothly you are most likely to be thrown off course.

This certainly happened to Aussie Stephanie Ernst. First, she found out she was pregnant with twins – shock number one. Then then the twins developed an incredibly rare and life threatening disease whilst still in the womb, shock number 2.

This edition of the Here in Holland podcast features a story about the desire to have children and the fear of losing them.

Blogger’s battle with Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome

Fighting Twin to twin transfusion syndrome

Stephanie Ernst

When the Aussie blogger heard she was having twins her reaction was typical: “You’ve got to be shitting me,” she told the nurse before going to ask if she could have a vodka.

But it certainly was for real. Terrible morning sickness followed: “I think I threw up in every bin between my house and the local hospital,” she says.

But apart from this, things were continuing smoothly. Until a routine scan at 23 weeks.

An anxious technician calls for the doctor and then the wheels of the rollercoaster are set in motion.

The doctor at the Flevo Hospital in Stephanie’s home town of Almere suspects TTTS – Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome – and she is sent to the LUMC, a specialist centre for this rare condition.

“It was terrible – it was like I’d been given a death sentence for the twins,” says Stephanie.

The diagnosis was confirmed in Leiden.

Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome occurs in some identical twins who share a placenta.

These twins are connected by veins cross the placenta and when the syndrome strikes one fetus transmits a lot of its blood to the other.

TTTS Donor and recipient

One baby is known as a donor and the other a recipient.

“I was told that baby A was stuck to the uterus wall and had very little fluid,” says Stephanie.

The recipient baby – Baby B in this case – then receives too much blood and as a result starts to pee too much.

This leads to a rapid build-up of amniotic fluid and call lead to a premature birth and death of the babies.

Signs of TTTS

One of the signs women pregnant with twins need to look out for is rapid growth over just one or two days. This can be due to a rapid rise in amniotic fluid resulting from TTTS.

Stephanie was given the choice of having an operation or adopting a wait and see approach as there was still a chance the fluid levels would stabilize.

She chose to wait – it was a dramatic time. Ultra-scans every three days at the LUMC and constant travelling and stress.

“Stable became our mantra – as long as everything was stable we were ok…”

Things did stay stable for a while but then another scan revealed more complications.

Twin Anemia Polycythemia Sequence

Another dash to Leiden from Almere follows and an even rarer disease is diagnosed – TAPS –  Twin Anemia Polycythemia Sequence.

TAPS is very rare.

About 60  cases are recorded in the Netherlands each year, on average there are around 180,000 births each year in the Netherlands.

Two days of intense monitoring follow and then an emergency caesarian section.

The twins are born – Emilie and Mathilde. The fight to save their lives kicks into overdrive.

Emilie is pale and anemic whereas Mathilde is swollen and so red she’s almost purple. Mathilde is in the most danger her blood is also full of the blood from her sister and is so think there is a danger of clotting.

“One baby has blood which is like tomato sauce and the other has blood which is like rosé wine – both need immediate care in the neo-natal intensive care unit.”

Luckily the babies are in the right place as the LUMC is the leading centre of expertise on this rare disease.

LUMC expertise centre

The twins are constantly monitored and after a few days, and a few ups and downs, they can leave intensive care.

After several more weeks in hospital they eventual go home and normal family life can finally begin.

“I’m such a control freak normally but when something like this happens you realise there are some things you just can’t control. It just makes you feel so humble” says Stephanie.

For more resources on TTTS and TAPS you can go to the Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome Foundation is a good place to check online.

Leiden University Medical Centre discovered the disease TAPS and is world leader in research and treatment Dr Enrico Lopriore (link in Dutch)  heads the Leiden team on this and is conducting pioneering research.

When asked if Stephanie’s babies would have survived if they had been in a different hospital he says:

“That’s impossible to answer – there are lot of what ifs – and I prefer not to go down that road. What I will say is that she was in a place with the right expertise and we were prepared to treat the babies and we knew what to do.”

“But we still need to do a lot of work, a lot of research, it is a work in progress. We all these books and all this knowledge but we still need to be humble – there is a lot more to learn.”