10 Things I Learned in the Netherlands

After two years that I have lived in the Netherlands (even if I am Dutch, I grew up in Germany and lived there for the biggest part of my life), I learned some things about the country and the people that I didn’t know before – and now I want to tell you, what that is!

10 Things I Learned in the Netherlands - DSC 0037

  1. The Dutch culture is really different from the German – this is something that I never realized before I moved to the Netherlands. I always had family in the Netherlands and we visited them and the country a lot when I was a kid, and I was always sure that the cultures are quite the same. It was only when I moved to Enschede that I realized how big the differences really are.
  2. When you are on a bike you basically always are the one who can go first. Or at least most of the time. You even nearly need to wait at the traffic lights! It’s great and certainly one of the things that I’ll miss when I leave the Netherlands.
  3. While everybody back at school had a 1,5 liter bottle of water with them everyday at school, no Dutch student would get the idea to do so. Why, when you can take a small bottle of water with you that you can refill in the bathroom? Obviously, this is one of the cultural differences I was talking about earlier – and a really funny situation when our teacher of cultural management identified the German students by their water bottles on the table in the first class.
  4. Kids are not wearing helmets when riding a bike in the Netherlands, or at least I never saw one before. And those typical seats for children on the carrier are only necessary as long as the child cannot sit alone – afterwards, it’s enough to sit directly on the carrier and put the feed into the bags on the right and on the left of the carrier.
  5. When it’s summer, it’s really summer and you should wear you summer clothes. What I want to say: as soon as the temperatures climbed up a bit, the Dutchies get their shorts, shirts and open shoes out and wear them for at least one week – even if the temperatures drop the next day already to about -3 degrees. It’s summer, so you wear them.
  6. Horsemeat in lasagna and packages that do not warn consumers explicitely what exactly is in the products (except of the small print somewhere at the back)? No problem in the Netherlands! Basically, that’s maybe because you sometimes don’t really want to know what’s in all those frikandels and krokets.
  7. Three kisses on the cheeks to greet somebody. Not one less. Since I live in the Netherlands, I’m regularly confused how many kisses are needed…
  8. When it’s somebody’s birthday, you have to congratulate everybody. Not only the person that is getting one year older, inclzding siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and the dog. I was slightly confused the first time at the birthday party of the mother of my boyfriend, when people started congratulating me – I mean, thanks, but…I don’t have anything to do with the fact that it’s her birthday?
  9. There has to be a calender with all the birthdays on the bathroom – with a pen so that everybody can add his or her birthday. Quite good because you never forget a birthday like this, as you see all the birthdays of the months several times a day.
  10. Dutchies NEVER look into the houses of other people, even if you have the chance at EVERY house you pass when walking along. Seriously. The windows (mostly of the living room) are always to the street and usually, it’s no problem to look through the house into the garden. But Dutchies are not intereseted at all and never take a look. But they all have awesome decoration in the windows so that basically it invites you to look into the houses. Even after more than two years in the Netherlands, I have to pay attention that I don’t just take a look when I don’t think about what I’m doing…


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