Arts & culture
Posted on: Jul 18, 2016

Lato the Greek Culture Center of Amsterdam


This post is also available in Greek and Dutch

Do you love Greece?

And when you're there you love the traditional festivals and dances and all these local delicacies that you can’t find when you are in the Netherlands?

This strange language enchants you, would you like to be able to order your coffee in Greek and understand the hotelier in your pension? Maybe yes, but they have told you that the Greek is difficult and you have no desire for difficulties!

Perhaps you are one of the many who have visited Greece so many times you already have friends there! But again many times you do not understand their humor and their habits seem weird to you!

Lato, the Greek Culture Center of Amsterdam has a solution for this all, because she was founded to give an answer to all this. The Greek Culture Center Lato started out of love for Greece, and was motivated solely by the love of the people who are living in this country for Greece.


Lato is a private initiative. My name is Katerina and from the first moment I was enchanted by the way people wanted to come close to the Greek language and culture. Automatically I felt that I could do a lot in this field! My work from 1995 and as long as I was in Greece was and remained teaching of Greek to foreigners.

I worked at embassies, multinational companies with expats, and even with families and their children. I taught Greek as a game through songs and tales and at the same time on a professional level, so fast-paced that a diplomat or business executive could follow meetings and participate in them after six months.

So I knew the rules of this profession at every level. Likewise after so many years of experience I had learned the most important lesson: no knowledge of the language can be obtained without contact with the culture of the place, nor the opposite.


And the best proof for this are the children of mixed marriages who live here in the Netherlands. Most of the time when these children go back to Greece they feel detached. The partial knowledge of the language they may have is unable to fill the cultural vacuum which created through the intensive exposure to the Dutch element, through school and of cause the local habits. Saint Vassilis is good, but Sinterklaas is more gezellig! The parents are trying, but the routine absorbs always so much of their time!

Then I met many more Dutch. Strange to see people with such a passion for Greece although they don’t know about the basic Greek habits. Or to talk with them about some of the most beautiful places Greece has to offer - what more magical place you can find than Pelion for example? -... And they can look at you with a look of surprise, because the Greece they know, is restricted to one or two places. But when they follow a presentation and see and hear what else Greece has to offer... destinations, unfamiliar customs, symbolism in the costumes so admired ... they are surprised.

So slowly the Center of Greek Culture took shape: Lato! And the love we received in our first year has given us courage and new ideas.


This year you will find us in one of the most historic buildings in the city, in Huize Lydia, at the beginning of a new cooperation, which allows us to offer culture as a common good, not only as a product. Because through the cooperation with Huize Lydia, Lato brings the Greek culture close to the minima group living in Amsterdam Zuid, free of charge, with only a minimal symbolic participation fee decided upon by Huize Lydia.

Here also all our other programs take place. Greek lessons for foreigners but also for children, when and where the interest exists. For those who are tired with the theory and prefer action, there are always the conversation classes . All others have the opportunity to learn the language in a relaxed atmosphere, while enjoying the playful side of the language and making new friends in a pleasant environment.


At the same time presentations are organized, aimed at bringing the Greece we grew up in and we love so much closer to our friends here. -I will never forget the satisfaction of a lady when she realized during a presentation, what the decorated bread was that the bride kept above her head in a wedding where she was invited. After that, the bride had cut the bread into pieces and began to throw them to the people-… And because Greece is great and beautiful and does not have only a summer face, Lato presents to everybody all the most hidden corners. Away from the all-inclusive programs, which most often consists of the same commonplace destinations, full beaches, sun and cliché tourist-menus.

With Lato you can meet Greece as only a Greek knows her. And likewise join the traditional tasting sessions, through the cooking workshops we organize. There is no need to go to ... that specific Greek restaurant to find the spinach pie that you so much liked. Make your own, in simple and quick steps.

Come so we get to know each other, to eat together and exchange our cultures while enjoying a glass of fine Greek wine.

And if you're Greek and you who have the same passion as Lato, come to plan together our next event. "Because together we can better"!

On you can always find the latest news and all new programs. Or you can simply subscribe to Lato’s newsletter and receive them directly in your e-mailbox.

With Lato you can experience Greece in a way you have never done before!


My name is Katerina Zahari and I was born in noisy Athens, in beautiful Greece. I have studied Philology, Laography, History / Archaeology & History of Art at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. I did my first professional steps preparing students for their introduction examinations to Greek Universities and tutoring children of immigrants who needed to follow Greek school. That was love on first sight: to discover your language further than the limits you imagined that exist, to transfer your language and your culture to other people and to accept their language and culture as a life' s lesson. All these years I have worked in big institutes and cultural centers teaching expats, executives or diplomats. They learned from me Greek and I learned from them to love multiculturality. Every step in my career was a new challenge which brought me more experience and extra knowledge. Since 2013 I live in Amsterdam, in the green Netherlands. Here you experience multiculturality every day and Dutch people love my country and admire her civilization. That make me happy and ready for the next step which still remains a challenge : ''Lato''. Lato is a culture center which has the ambition to bring Greece closer to her friends in the Nederland.