I'm not actively studying at the moment, I just don't have enough time and energy right now.
When I do have some spare time, I usually don't feel like reading serious stuff, so I've been using childrens' books to keep in touch with Dutch.
Two resources that I really enjoy are "Lekturama Luistersprookjes en Vertellingen" and "Het grote Rijksmuseum luisterboek".
Lekturama Luistersprookjes is a collection of 39 books with fairy tales and other childrens' stories. Not only well-known Grimms' fairy tales but also a lot by Andersen, from One Thousand and One Nights as well as French, Russian and Spanish stories (all told in Dutch, of course).
I'm not providing a link because the only version I've discovered is on Youtube and I'm not entirely sure if it's copyrighted or not (apparently the publishing house went out of business in the 90s). However, it's easy enough to find the collection if you search for the title.
You can listen to the stories and read along on the screen. Or, if you prefer to only listen, you hear a "bling" whenever the page turns and there is something new to see. The booklets are really cute. Often I think, I'll just listen to one story and then I find myself going through a whole book.
Now on to the Rijksmuseum luisterboek
. I had my eyes on this one for a while but I found it a bit pricey, especially with shipping from the Netherlands. Luckily I saw a second-hand copy on Boekwinkeltjes
and snatched it up right away.
The package contains 2 CDs and a small booklet with the paintings that feature in the stories
. Each of the 25 stories was written by a different childrens' book author. They are not trying to educate the listener about art. Instead they use the respective painting as an inspiration to create their own background story.
To give you an example, there's a painting about the St. Elizabeth's flood
, a huge natural desaster that caused a few thousand casualties. The accompanying story is told from the perspective of a little girl who wakes up in the middle night and notices that something is wrong. She recalls that her grandmother used to tell her about a big flood (the first St. Elizabeth's flood 20 years earlier) when the dikes broke and many people died. Since the family notices the signs early on, they are able to flee to safety in their boat.
So far, I've listened to about half of the audio book and it's been a bit hit and miss. Some stories I really liked, others not so much. Considering that each of them was written by a different author and the intended audience is a bit younger than I am, that's not a big surprise.