By Hellen Chandra-Boortman
It’s Monday morning and it’s been two weeks since I saw the last newsletter. Time to check out the latest edition! I’m curious about what’s in store for this week and next. Wait, what newsletter? And, what makes this newsletter different from any other newsletter?
I’m talking about the Delft MaMa (DMM) newsletter, a biweekly online publication which plays an essential role in DMM communications. It’s a leading source of child-friendly events in Delft and its surroundings, carefully selected by the DMM newsletter team for the DMM community. If you’re a parent of young children and live in Delft and its vicinity, this newsletter is probably something for you. You can sign up for it here.
How it started
The DMM newsletter dates back to July 2007 when social media platforms were relatively new. Back then, DMM was a small community and there was a need to keep up with the news among the members. Renée Tentori initiated a quarterly digital newsletter with a variety of content, aimed at sharing news and information with the DMM community. It featured birth stories, interviews and articles on useful topics such as learning Dutch, choosing schools and recommendations on children’s products. Readers could also find some information about both DMM and local events and things to do in and around Delft.
Working together with Lucie Cunningham, they distributed the newsletter in PDF form via email. In October 2007, another volunteer took over the work which resulted in a longer format with beautiful graphics. The newsletter team continued providing valuable information to the community until Autumn 2009 when sadly the publication came to a temporary halt.
Towards the end of 2014, Lucie Cunningham, the founder of DMM, sought to revive the publication. A hardworking member of the DMM community took on the challenge of single handedly getting the newsletter up and running again. By May 2016 a DMM newsletter team was in place, consisting of Ams Huisjing, Elizabeth Newcamp and the late Karen Heijman. Together with Karen, Elizabeth created a template in a more up-to-date format which allowed plenty of clickable links and quick access to information. We have used that template ever since, with some modification along the way.
BUILDING THE DMM NEWSLETTER TEAM
As people came and went, the newsletter team went through some changes. Kate Groves joined in October 2017 and I joined in the following month. Amanda De Souza came on board a month later, but due to personal commitments, she left the team. Then Kate, already the DMM blog coordinator as well as doing her own studies, also decided to step down. Gabriela Ricci then joined in September 2018 and Angela Osorio followed suit in May 2019. Our newest team member is Nessia Fausta, joining at the beginning of 2020, which nicely accommodated Ams’ wish to stop volunteering for the newsletter. To this day we remain as a team of four, working together well and building our friendship.
Starting as a quarterly publication, the newsletter certainly did not cater initially to the need for fast circulating news. However, as it evolved, the team decided to publish the newsletter more frequently, making it biweekly. At first, the content was useful information about expat life in Delft. Now, the newsletter has gradually developed to include internal communications, such as DMM events, role vacancies and links to DMM blog posts, as well as occasional promotions from DMM partners. We have also tried to improve the newsletter in some other ways, such as by making the layout more reader-friendly and creating new columns. For example, we include a special column, Editor’s Pick, in which we recommend places of interest, activities and services in and around Delft.
By now, we have 418 subscribers, mostly residing in the Netherlands, but with more than 16% living elsewhere. We strive to produce good quality newsletters and hope to continue gaining more readership.
HOW WE WORK
Each member of the team takes turns in drafting and issuing a newsletter. The team draws up a publishing schedule and we are quite flexible about it. We can simply talk over changes if we need to, for example, swapping our turn because of conflicting schedules or any other reasons. Moreover, working together has forged a stronger bond between us. Before the pandemic, we met up regularly and we really enjoyed each other’s company. I hope the situation will improve soon, so we can resume our face to face meetings. All in all, I am happy to be part of this wonderful team.
The DMM newsletter team welcomes suggestions and ideas at any time. Do you know any great events that would fit the DMM community’s interests? Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. And, if you have not yet had the chance to subscribe to the DMM newsletter, do not hesitate to join us!
Special thanks to Ams Huijsing, Elizabeth Newcamp, Lucie Cunningham, and Renee Tentori for providing some background information and images. All photos are private collections, used with permission.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hellen is a mother of two who enjoys meeting people, trying new recipes and crafting. Born and raised in Indonesia, she moved to the Netherlands with her little family six years ago to embark on a new adventure. She’s now preparing her comeback to the workforce while watching her two girls grow.