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Things no one tells you about The Netherlands

The Netherlands

I have been living in The Netherlands for a little while now and I am still discovering new things about this lowland country I now call home. But there are a few small things I wish I knew about this place from day one!

Things I Wish I Knew From Day One About The Netherlands:

  1. There is no heavy (double) cream. Really! There is none. So any recipes you have that require heavy cream, forget it! Or just use single cream I guess.  (And hope for the best.)
  2. Denim jeans are perfectly acceptable to wear on any occasion. Need an outfit to wear to a wedding? Wear your favorite pair of jeans.
  3. Brown shoes are a thing here. You’re not truly a Dutch person until you own a pair of brown leather shoes.
  4. A lot of Dutch homes do not have a conventional gas/fan oven. Instead they have a microwave oven. If you happen to live in a home with a conventional oven, you’re truly blessed. Treasure that oven like it’s made from gold!
  5. A lot of Dutch homes do not have a bathtub. Instead they have stand in showers. If you happen to live in a home with a bathtub, you’re truly blessed. Treasure that bathtub like it’s made from gold!
  6. If you’re walking on the pavement prepare to be stared at. Why on earth are you not on a bicycle like the rest of us!?
  7. Not everyone here is a stoner. (Honest!)
  8. The national sport is Hockey, not football.
  9. You can eat chocolate for breakfast. (I love this place!)
  10. Dutch people like kissing. Prepare for your [face] cheeks to be smothered in precisely three kisses.
  11. The Dutch are open and honest people, and so are their homes. You will notice that most people will have their lives open and on display through their ginormous windows. (But don’t look, it’s rude.)
  12. There seems to be an odd North and South divide in the country. I won’t go into details. That’s for another post!
  13.  Once a month, normally the first Monday, at 12pm they test the alarm sirens. (It is not a robotic super police car on the horizon, like I first thought.) If there is a true emergency I have no idea what to do or where to go. Maybe under the dining table?
  14. Also on Mondays, normally there is no postal deliveries.
  15. Again on Mondays, some shops do not open until after 1pm.
  16. Dutch people are obsessed with the weather, especially the rain radar. (And rightly so!) They cycle everywhere and don’t want to be caught in the rain.
  17. Cycling around soaking wet is acceptable.
  18. There is no proper cider here. Despite all the apples.
  19. Swearing in English is fine.
  20. And lastly, learning to deal with the regret of not moving to The Netherlands sooner.

What are your things you wish you knew from day one? Let us know in the comments below!

Katie Joy
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Katie Joy

Editor & Writer at expatsHaarlem
Katie Joy was born and raised in London and now lives in Haarlem with her partner and their two cats. Katie Joy runs her own handmade jewelry business from home. She enjoys exploring Haarlem, trying new places to eat and drink and likes to immerse herself into the Dutch lifestyle.
Katie Joy
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