Ofcourse we’re not finished after part one. As if that would’ve been all the craziness that’s going on in the daily life of a Dutchman. Here’s some more..
Dutchies also LOVE..
We don’t want to keep you wondering. We just say what it’s all about. Some foreigners can feel suprised or slightly insulted, but either way, you know what you’re dealing with.Where people from other cultures like to keep up apperances, the Dutch inhibitants will definitely be straight and honest with you. Showing off your new carpet? Be aware that if a Dutch person doesn’t like it, he/she will tell you (in a nice way ofcourse, but still). But ofcourse when he/she does like it, you can expect a very enthusiastic and positive response.
.. Making fun of the Belgiums!
First things first, Dutch people love Belgiums. They’re similar to us in every way and their language (in the north) is similar to ours. It’s just.. where we have new words for things, they just name it the way it is. For example, like the Brittish use the word pavement where the Americans use sidewalk. Nothing wrong with either one of those, the American version in this example is slightly easier than the Brittish. Back to the Belgium ways of saying things. For us Dutchies, Flemish, as the Belgium language is called, sounds kind of.. funny. Which is a really good thing as well, they’re a lot funnier when it comes to telling jokes. It just sounds a bit.. stupid. We like to think Belgiums are a bit dumb (even though they beat us every year in language exams) so we like to make them the centre of our jokes. Jokes like: Two Belgian Policemen found two bombs in a park. They decide to bring them to the commisioner. When they sit down in thecar, one says to the other: ‘What do we do when one explodes?’. Says the other: ‘Ah well.. then we just tell him we only found one!’
That’s right, the Dutch are officially the tallest people in the world. With an average height for adults in the Netherlands is 6 ft 1 (1.85). Which is quite funny, since about a hundred years ago 25% of the Dutch men who wanted to join the army, were too short! There must be a lot of even taller adults in The Netherlands, since I, with my 157cm, drag down the average quite a bit. 😛
I never really realised this is a typical Dutch thing, until I got caught up in a conversation with some foreigners. In Holland it’s not common to have a babyshower or anything like that, we celebrate after the baby is actually born. The minute after the baby is born (or a couple of minutes, let’s take a breath first) the new dad calls family and friends that they just had their baby. Family and close friends tend to visit the same day, either in the hospital or at home. They bring a small gift for the baby, like some clothes or a small present they think the new family could use. When the parents go home with their newborn, they get a maternity nurse who helps the new parents with their baby andcleans the house. She also makes the traditional ‘snack’ for the visitors: beschuit met muisjes.(see picture). The aniseeds can either be blue or pink, depending on the sex of the baby. We like to decorade our garden. Ofcourse we still like to tell our children the baby was brought by a stork, so that’s what you usually see in thegarden of a new family: a stork carrying a baby, lots of garlands and balloons in front of the windows and sometimes the name of the baby appears proudly in between. If Dutch babies don’t feel welcome like this, I rest my case.
One thing I forgot to put in last one’s foodsection, and one of the most important foodfacts: Bread! In Holland we’re not big cereal eaters. We prefer to have a sandwich for breakfast or lunch. Dutch bread can’t be missed in this list, it’s the one thing I actually miss and crave for when I’m abroad. We have all kinds of the nicest bread, and always nice and fresh. Fact. If we don’t eat our bread with cheese, we eat it with hagelslag. Hagelslag = chocolate sprinkles. We’re not so fond of the peanutbutter & jelly hype, but we figured out that peanutbutter goes very well with hagelslag! If you’re ever in the Netherlands, don’t hesitate and try a peanutbutter and hagelslag sandwich!
.. Complaining about the weather!
In all fairness, the Dutch do have a point when they complain about the weather. We don’t have a subtropical climate, but instead our days are often quite windy and rainy, which doesn’t do any good to your state of mind. But we tend to stay in the complain-zone, even when there’s a slight positive change in the weather. It’s like the Dutch are so used to their bad weather and complaining that we don’t know what to do when it changes. When it’s rainy and windy it’s easy: ‘The weather is bad. I got soked cycling (that’s right) to work. And back. It’s so windy I got blown off my bike this morning. It’s all bad, when is the winter gonna start, we want snow!’ But then January comes and our wishes are forfilled, it started to snow. The first day we’re enthusiastic, but after a day or two we’re back in the complaining-zone: ‘It’s too cold outside. Bloody snow, when I cycled to work I slipped three times because of it! Where is the ice? We want to go ice-skating!’ Weeks of complaining go by when our wishes come true, frost. Finally we’re happy, we can go ice-skating! (I will tell you about the ice-skating madness soon enough). But then, the complainingmonster returns.. You get the point. In wintertime we wish for the summer. In summertime we complain that it’s too hot or still too cold. Too dry or too wet. If you want to small talk with a Dutchman, bring up the weather. Within minutes you’re part of the crew 🙂
We love the Swedish Ikea! It’s cheap (WE LOVE CHEAP) and it looks good (WE LOVE WHEN THINGS LOOK GOOD). Every large city in Holland has one. The massive blue building on the side of the road, which big yellow letter shout at us: come buy here, come buy here! And we do. Every house / appartment / studentdorm has at least one or more items made by the Swedish multinational. But not only are we crazy about the cheap furniture, we’re also crazy about the cheap food! Every Dutch person knows (and probably has tried it a few times as well) you can have a one euro breakfast every day from Monday to Saturday from 9 – 10.30! And be there on time, because Dutch people like cheap, so the place will be packed! Sad isn’t it?
.. Ice Skating!
Like I mentioned before, we’re crazy about Ice-Skating! Especially on natural ice. For decades we were able to skate on natural ice every wintertime. With little stalls on the ice where you could buy a hot drink and something to eat (koek en zopie). Unfortunately things change. The climate changed, and with that, our ability to go skating on the canals. If you were in The Netherlands in the last couple of months, you must’ve heard about something called: elfstedentocht. This national event was held for the first time in 1909, where thousands of people skated a route of 200km through the canals (and 11 cities) in the north of Holland. After this first time we were able to hold the event another fourteen times. The ice has to be at least 15cm thick to hold all these thousands of crazy ice-skating fans who’ve been looking forward to the event for years. Every year after the first frost the big question rises: will we have another elfstedentocht this year? It’s daily all over the newspapers, hundreds of people clear the ice from snow, experts check the state of the ice and people practice for weeks to be fit enough to skate the whole 200km. And every year the same dissapointment.. Our last elfstedentocht was held in 1997, and every year we have hope.. maybe next year?
Lots of love,smiles and happiness,