Those that have adopted me for some time have in all probability heard me joke that I’ve lived in The Netherlands for 100 years. Effectively, not fairly 100, however definitely since final century.
Sure, I’ve lived in The Netherlands since 1999. Child One Extra Time (Britney Spears), Fairly Fly For a White Man (The Offspring), Imagine (Cher), Fly Away (Lenny Kravitz), and Take pleasure in Your self (A+) had been on the high of the charts once I arrived.
It was alleged to be 2-3 years. After I first advised one in all my greatest mates in regards to the transfer, she joked that I might be right here for 25. This can be a lesson in not permitting folks to talk curses over your life (joking…kinda).
I used to be admitted to the Connecticut Bar on a Friday, was on the red-eye from JFK Airport Sunday night time, and arrived in Holland on a chilly, gray, wet Monday morning. Welkom in Nederland. I ponder if this has something to do with why wet Mondays all the time get me down (I really feel you, Karen Carpenter).
I’ve lived in The Hague longer than I’ve lived in wherever else, and but I nonetheless hesitate to name it “dwelling”. However I’m right here and regardless of my complaints it’s the place I grew up, in essence. It’s the place I grew to become a mom (each Miss P and Miss V had been born right here), realized to navigate life as an grownup, and I might say I’m in all probability extra competent and assured right here than I might be within the US.
In honor of my “hundred years” in Holland, listed here are 20 gripes and gratitudes; issues that I really like and detest about The Netherlands.
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- “Leaving”. That’s my response when requested what my favourite factor is about The Netherlands. The proximity and ease of touring to the remainder of the continent is indubitably the very best factor about being right here for me. It makes for simple weekend jaunts through aircraft, prepare, or vehicle to Belgium, France, Germany, England, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and many others., and I take full benefit of this profit.
- Summer time in The Netherlands may be completely wonderful. As a result of it’s fairly far north, on the peak of summer time days are almost 17 hours lengthy. Tables and chairs of each cafe and restaurant spill onto the sidewalk for alfresco eating and folks watching, seaside tents housing eating places and nightclubs populate the seashores discovered alongside the coast of the nation. These few weeks of summer time are nearly sufficient to override any gripes that I’ve. Nearly…
- The gray, drab winter is as brutal as summer time is wonderful. It has been this manner for me from the beginning. From November to March gray clouds cowl the nation like a weighted blanket that as an alternative of being comforting and therapeutic, is soul-crushing.
- Staying with the seasonal theme, SPRING! and the bollenstreek (bulb fields), tulips and Keukenhof are positively issues I’m grateful for!
- Zwarte Piet is racist. Offended from the primary time I noticed the blackfaced character, I did my very own analysis and located it’s racist historical past. That Zwarte Piet is black because of soot from the chimney is latest spin and PR, and never even excellent as they proceed to cowl their faces within the blackest black, put on Afro wigs and exaggerated lips versus smudges as could be the case if it had been soot. Zwarte Piet is racist and offensive. Interval.
- Bike tradition. Whereas I’m an admitted fair-weather bicycle owner, which leads to me mainly being a leisure bicycle owner, I do admire the bike tradition in The Netherlands. For the Dutch, nonetheless, the bike is transportation. Greater than transportation, in actual fact, it’s a lifestyle. On the bike paths, you’ll see everybody from ladies in skirts and heels to businessmen in fits to parents with a toddler seat on the back and front to move a number of kids (one thing I fortunately did when the Pretty Women had been small, in all probability as much as ages 2 and 5) to Bakfiets (wagon bike) with a number of kids or transporting stuff. There are designated bike lanes and lights to manage the site visitors; sure, site visitors, each morning and each night the bike paths are teeming with site visitors. 20 years into this gig and it’s nonetheless wonderful to see.
- High quality/tempo of life is without doubt one of the good issues about residing right here, with folks being intentional about stopping to odor the roses (tulips don’t have a scent), although I feel that’s extra indicative of Europe usually, and never particular to The Netherlands.
- Neighborhood retailers just like the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker – nicely, perhaps not a candlestick maker, however there may be doubtless not less than one store, perhaps even 2, that promote them – makes life in The Netherlands gezellig (cozy).
- Prolonged restaurant meals in The Netherlands should be the origin for the time period “sluggish meals”. Critically although, I didn’t all the time admire the prolonged restaurant meals, however finally got here to comprehend that the meal itself is the occasion, not essentially the factor you do earlier than the occasion. Waiters wait on you versus rush you thru the meal with the intention to flip the desk over for the subsequent company.
- The meals in The Netherlands will get gripes and gratitude from me. Sure to pannekoeken, poffertjes, oliebollen, friets, rijstaffel (which is definitely Indonesian, however the Dutch proudly declare), stroopwafel, cheese, and appelgabak. Nonetheless, I’ll cross on the bitterballen, Erwtensoep (pea soup), herring, and black licorice.
- Espresso and a cookie. I used to be upset for a very long time that there was no Starbucks in The Netherlands and never having the choice to seize a cup of espresso and go. However I quickly realized to like sitting and having fun with a leisurely cup of espresso – in an precise ceramic cup – and a cookie. For those who didn’t have a “koekje bij de koffie” (cookie with espresso), did you actually have a espresso? And to make it much more Dutch, I’ve a Koffie Verkeerd or “espresso unsuitable”, named so as a result of it’s made with extra milk than a traditional espresso with milk, to which I say if that’s unsuitable I don’t need to be proper.
- Leisure is one other topic that’s half gripe and half gratitude. I’ll begin with films and gratitude that the pauze (intermission) is a factor of the previous, not less than within the “huge cities like The Hague, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam. After I first arrived films could be paused in on the half-way level – actually stopped, the projector turned off in the course of the film. If that meant mid-sentence, mid-car chase, mid-fist connecting to somebody’s face in a battle, so be it. Patrons would rise up pop open a Grolsch beer, go exterior and have a cigarette (which is probably going the explanation for the pauze), or like me, sit there mouth agape in disbelief that the film was stopped. Humorous now, irritating then. I’m additionally screaming “YAAASSSS!!!” to common, or virtually common, film launch dates. Gone are the times when it was potential to see a film on a flight earlier than it was launched in The Netherlands, and in reality, there are events when the movie is launched in The Netherlands earlier than it’s launched within the US (HELLO, Black Panther!). One other advantage of films, each on the cinema and on tv, is that they don’t seem to be dubbed, however as an alternative have Dutch subtitles (kids’s movies are the exception, and the cinema presents dubbed, in addition to the unique model). The gripe is the TV present delay. This delay is normally a number of seasons, although extra in style exhibits will come a bit sooner. Firesticks, VPNs, iTunes, and different pirate-like habits might help get round this, however since I’m an fool with regards to tech these choices don’t all the time work for me.
- Café life. As with high quality of life, that is extra common to Europe than particular to The Netherlands, however I’ll take it wherever.
- The panorama. The structure, the windmills, the canals. Cliché however I nonetheless discover them undeniably picturesque and “charming”.
- The New Yr’s Eve fireworks and bonfire. I’d lived right here 16 years earlier than I spent New Yr’s Eve right here. I’d heard in regards to the loopy, knew somebody whose home caught fireplace and had excessive harm as a result of fireworks, however seeing is (dis)believing. How might it presumably be secure to sanction a bunch of drunk folks to play with fireworks? Oh yeah…IT CAN’T BE!
- Holidays – Good Friday, Easter Monday, Ascension Day, Pentecost. For a rustic that makes use of its church buildings for all the things however church (decommissioned church buildings have been changed into nightclubs, trampoline facilities, and casinos), The Netherlands positive does rejoice quite a lot of non secular holidays. And in case there’s any confusion, that is a gratitude. I exploit each one of many holidays to go someplace.
- Public transportation. Trams, trains, and buses are very environment friendly. I’ve a automobile however there are occasions when public transportation is simply simpler and extra environment friendly.
- Contemporary flowers may be had at comparatively low cost costs.€10 -15 will outfit a number of areas of my home with blooms for the week.
- No respect for private house is an enormous gripe. I get it. The Netherlands is small, and probably the most densely populated nation of the European Union. However there may be sufficient house for slightly elbow room. So that you can be far sufficient away from me after we’re in a queue I can’t hear you breathe or worse, odor your breath. Step. Again.
- Avenue Organ I don’t see them a lot anymore, totally on particular events like King’s Day or some weekends within the metropolis heart, however nostalgia all the time makes me smile once I see them and I make it some extent to place some change to place into the tin cup. When the Pretty Women had been little one in all these organs used to cross by our home each Saturday on its strategy to the procuring space. Miss P was all the time particularly keen on the organs and would run to the window and watch it till it was not in view, and after we’d see one after we had been out and about she’d stand there mesmerized for ages.
There you’ve got it. Individuals usually ask once I’m leaving. After the 12-year mark, I finished speculating. I’ll reside right here till I don’t. Within the meantime, I’ll hold my eyes and coronary heart open for extra issues to gripe about and be pleased about.
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Up to date January 2021