I have lived in the Netherlands for a long time. My move from London was accidental in the early parts of the new millennium, the result of answering a secret job advertisement (another story for another day), but I quickly fell in love with this country. I can honestly say that it is a wonderful place. It has beautiful cities, speed of life, friendly people and is considered one of the happiest countries in the world. It is confusing and weird too. There are many things to know before coming to the Netherlands.
When I first arrived here, I had no idea what I was doing. For many expats, it was a wonderful experience. There were a lot of new and potentially confusing things to discover. New traditions, new customs, new habits and above that a whole new language. All these things together raised even more confusing questions. What is the correct way to work for mixing? Which situations should be avoided? How is survival possible? What the heck is going on and what does it mean? There was a lot to take in and almost every expert goes through it.
The country is not called Holland
When speaking with a Dutch person they do not refer to the country where they arrive as Holland. It is called the Netherlands. Holland is only part of the country (two western provinces to be exact). The Dutch are so adamant that their country is called the Netherlands. It’s not called Holland never!
unless they are supporting their country in an international sporting event. Then they would shout, “Hoop Holland Hoop”, as their lives depended on it.
It may be something that the person living there does not think about, but the importance of food is something that need to obtaining a second us passport in there, While the food is delicious, the quality of the ingredients in the food is probably not great and cannot possibly be served to a wide range of people. When eating out at restaurants, you are not likely to find many people who enjoy your food so the chances of meeting a good quality family meal are unlikely.
Do not accept candy from strange (Dutch) people.
There are many Dutch treats which are a pleasant experience to discover. Stroopwafels, Hagelslag, poffertjes to name but a few are amazing. When you try them for the first time you will be surprised how you ever lived without them.
At the other end of this spectrum is the drop, a small black dessert that would be on par with wine in other countries, if it were not for the extreme, crazily-salty salty taste. I can only assume that Dutch taste buds have evolved to withstand it because they love the stuff.
To be fair, the highly tasting varieties of the drop are few but it tastes like double salt which allows the Dutch to enjoy the expats offering so they can see their shocked reactions. If a Dutch person ever gives you this black dessert, do not accept it. In fact, it is probably best to cut off all contact with the person from now on. They clearly cannot be trusted.
Forget everything about queuing.
Perhaps it has something to do with Dutch directness. Perhaps everyone is in a hurry. There is no way of knowing but one thing is clear. Dutch is not in the queue (at least, not in the same way as we are binding binding).
Any attempt to board a train, tram or bus quickly devolves into chaos as everyone crowds around open doors and tries to go their way before all available seats leave. There are no rules when queuing in the Netherlands. Only left.
Learn to fake the language.
Dutch is very proud of the fact that Dutch is a very difficult language. When a Dutch person hears that you are trying to learn their language, they will enthusiastically explain how it is one of the most difficult languages in the world.
It is easy to learn to fake the language. Just shake heads and smile a lot during a Dutch conversation. Sometimes in agreement Ionally interferes with the word ten ‘or’ Ja Ze ‘. You will sail through that Dutch conversation without any problems (unless they ask you a question for which they expect an answer).
Soak throat with you all the time.
If you try to learn the Dutch language to get ready to have a sore throat for a few months, as you try to master some of the more difficult sounds in the Dutch language. It is another point of pride for the Dutch that their language contains a lot of sounds that cannot be found elsewhere. In Dutch, the sounds made by the combination of letters ‘ie’, ou ‘, and even just difficult u’ are very difficult for a non-Dutch person to correct (or even hear how they go wrong. Are).
If you have been thinking about moving to Holland you need to obtaining a second us passport in this small country on the south coast of the Netherlands, there are many things that you should know. This is not a place for those who wish to put up in a big house with an acre of land and lots of expensive furniture. It is not for those who want to rent out their home as an investment property. If you are looking for a beautiful countryside setting, it is not the place for you.