This is the type of pre-conference information we provide.
BHC’13 – Den Bosch, the Netherlands, 3-4 May
Team Member Orientation
Congratulations! You are an official member of the BHC’13 Team.
This Orientation material will give you some helpful information as you prepare to join us on our short-term ministry trip to the Netherlands. Please take some time to read through the material now and jot down any thoughts and/or questions that arise. We pray that your cross-cultural experience with Lifework Forum will be a blessed and growing time for you. However, we want you to realize that your trip really starts TODAY. From long experience we know that the preparations you make from this point forward, before you even get on the plane, are part of the overall experience God has for you. The more focus and effort you put into preparing, the more meaningful the whole experience will be. This might be a good time to stop and ask Him to lead and guide you as you take each step. You had enough information to ask to join the BHC’13 Team, but what do you really know about Den Bosch or the Netherlands?
This sweet old town has a top-notch church, a good museum, outstanding cafés and restaurants, and atmospheric streets that make for plenty of enjoyable strolling. The official name of the town is ’s-Hertogenbosch (Duke’s Forest), but locals call it Den Bosch (den boss). It’s the birthplace of the well-known 15th-century painter Hieronymous Bosch, who took his surname from
the town. from Lonely Planet
The Netherlands, on the coast of the North Sea, is twice the size of New Jersey. Part of the great plain of north and west Europe, the Netherlands has maximum dimensions of 190 by 160 mi (360 by 257 km) and is low and flat except in Limburg in the southeast, where some hills rise up to 322 m (1056 ft). About half the country’s area is below sea level, making the famous Dutch dikes a requisite for efficient land use. Reclamation of land from the sea through dikes has continued through recent times. from Infoplease
The government of the Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy. The head of state is the monarch, presently Queen Beatrix, but the sovereign’s powers are now mainly ceremonial. The chief of the government is the prime minister who is appointed by the queen. The prime minister is usually the leader of the majority party in the nation’s parliament or the leader of the largest coalition of parties. The country also has an advisory committee, known as the Council of State, which develops and coordinates policy. Members of the council are appointed by the queen on the advice of the prime minister. from NationsEncyclopedia
Julius Caesar found the low-lying Netherlands inhabited by Germanic tribes—the Nervii, Frisii, and Batavi. The Batavi on the Roman frontier did not submit to Rome’s rule until 13 B.C. , and then only as allies.
The Franks controlled the region from the 4th to the 8th century, and it became part of Charlemagne’s empire in the 8th and 9th centuries. The area later passed into the hands of Burgundy and the Austrian Hapsburgs and finally, in the 16th century, came under Spanish rule.
When Philip II of Spain suppressed political liberties and the growing Protestant movement in the Netherlands, a revolt led by William of Orange broke out in 1568. Under the Union of Utrecht (1579), the seven northern provinces became the United Provinces of the Netherlands. War between the United Provinces and Spain continued into the 17th century but in 1648 Spain finally recognized Dutch independence.
The Dutch East India Company was established in 1602, and by the end of the 17th century, Holland was one of the great sea and colonial powers of Europe.
The nation’s independence was not completely established until after the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648), when the country’s rise as a commercial and maritime power began. In 1688, the English Parliament invited William of Orange, stadtholder, and his wife, Mary Stuart, to rule England as William III and Mary II. William then used the combined resources of England and the Netherlands to wage war on Louis XIV’s France. In 1814, all the provinces of Holland and Belgium were merged into one kingdom, but in 1830 the southern provinces broke away to form the kingdom of Belgium. A liberal constitution was adopted by the Netherlands in 1848. The country remained neutral during World War I.
In spite of its neutrality in World War I, the Netherlands was invaded by the Nazis in May 1940, and the Dutch East Indies were later taken by the Japanese. The nation was liberated in May 1945. In 1948, after a reign of 50 years, Queen Wilhelmina abdicated and was succeeded by her daughter Juliana.
In 1949, after a four-year war, the Netherlands granted independence to the Dutch East Indies, which became the Republic of Indonesia. The Netherlands also joined NATO that year. The Netherlands joined the European Economic Community (later, the EU) in 1958. In 1999, it adopted the single European currency, the euro.
In 1963, the Netherlands turned over the western half of New Guinea to Indonesia, ending 300 years of Dutch presence in Asia. Attainment of independence by Suriname on Nov. 25, 1975, left the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba as the country’s only overseas territories.
The Netherlands has extremely liberal social policies: prostitution is legal, and it became the first nation in the world to legalize same-sex marriage (2000) and euthanasia (2002). from Infoplease
Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. With more than one million inhabitants in its urban area, it is the country’s largest city and its financial, cultural, and creative centre. Amsterdam is colloquially known as Venice of the North, because of its lovely canals that criss-cross the city, its impressive architecture and more than 1,500 bridges. There is something for every traveller’s taste here, whether you prefer culture and history or just the relaxing charm of an old European city.
Settled as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important trading centres in the world during the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century. Amsterdam is not the seat of the government, which is in The Hague. It has always been a city that attracted many people from outside it’s borders. City attractions include the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House, the Flower Market, Albert Cuyp Market, and the Vondelpark. from WikiTravel
In general the Netherlands has a maritime climate of cool winters and mild summers. Wind and rain are year-round factors; March is the driest month, July and August the wettest (and hottest), and wind invariably comes from the southwest, although it always seems to be head-on when you’re cycling. from Lonely Planet
Plane tickets are the financial responsibility of each Team member. We believe that raising funds is an important part of the short-term ministry experience.
Each team member is free to book their own ticket to Amsterdam. You may want to check with us before doing so in order to coordinate with the on-site contact people. We are open to making travel arrangements with the understanding that airfare costs will be reimbursed in full at least 30 days prior to the trip. Some who have accompanied us have preferred that we make flight arrangements in order to travel along with us.
If you would like Curt to book your tickets, please let us know as soon as possible. We will do our best to make arrangements at the lowest possible rate that suits your availability.
As a ministry, we recommend purchasing travel insurance. The cost is minimal. You may choose from the following sources or another reputable provider: www.missionarvinsurance.org, www.gninsurance.com, www.missionaryhealth.net, www.otpplan.com.
Each team member must determine the amount of personal spending money he/she will need. This amount will include, but not be limited to, souvenirs, snacks, alternate meals, and sightseeing. Lifework Forum does not recommend travelers checks. Our experience has been that converting approximately $50 USD with access to further funds through a secure ATM card is preferable. Please contact us for further information, if you are unfamiliar with international travel.
A valid passport must accompany each Team member at all times. It is important to apply for a passport well in advance as it is difficult to get one at the last minute. Each team member should also have a second photo ID. Passports serve as a primary ID, but a secondary photo ID can be helpful. Each Team Member must send a photocopy of the information page of their passport and photo ID to Lifework Forum a minimum of 30 days prior to the trip.
All Team Members will be accountable to the BHC Team leadership for the entire trip. A signed “Release of Liability and Release to Obtain Medical Care” form must be submitted a minimum of 30 days prior to departure.
Lifework Forum does not insist upon any immunizations. However, we recommend that each Team Member check with their Department of Health to see if any immunizations are currently required for people traveling from the USA to this year’s destination. It is highly recommended that Team Members have updated tetanus protection. We encourage you to bring whatever over-the- counter health supplies you may need.
If you take prescription medication(s), if would be a good idea to have a supply to last at least an extra week. Unforeseen circumstances can and do arise that could prevent a timely return to the USA. If you would not have enough supply on hand, please talk to your doctor well ahead of time and ask how you should respond in this situation. You do not want to be caught abroad without the prescription medications you routinely need.