10 Things I Have Noticed About the Netherlands

engels-bord.jpgWhat better way to bring up my one thousand and first post than to reflect upon my first two weeks in the Netherlands! Yes, as Sting so memorably sang in “Englishman In New York”, I’m an alien. In fact, I’m now an alien who’s waiting to receive notification of becoming a resident, but more on that some other time. I can’t really believe it’s only been two weeks since I left Oz. So much seems to have happened during that time but when I look back, I can’t remember much at all. Maybe that’s got something to do with being semi-immersed (is that possible?) in another language, a different climate and a faraway continent. In any case, here’s a list of things I have noticed during the short time i have been here.

1. The cheese section in the supermarket makes the average Australian bottle shop look like a vending machine. It’s that big.

2. Junk mail arrives in neat plastic packages in the mail box. Read avidly by K. and her mum.

3. Rental properties often carry a fixed extra charge for ‘utilities’ of up to 150 euros per month! So much for containing global warming – if you were paying $250 for water and electricity each month, you’d have two-hour long showers too.

4. If you buy a book during national book week, you can travel for free on the train for one day – this year, 200,000 people took up the deal.

5. Princess Laurentien looks like a man but is also an avid reader.

6. Sasha de Boer, the national newsreader, is despised by most people I mention her name to. I think she’s rather nice.

7. Did I mention the practice of calling white coffee koffie verkeerd? Translation: wrong coffee. A fairly accurate description of the quality of the brew.

8. It snows at Easter but not during winter.

9. Don’t even get me started on Sinter Klaas and his Spanish friend, Black Piet (the subject of a much longer post – stay tuned for that!).

10. The word for whipped cream is slagroom. Funny, I thought that was where my sisters slept at night.

Thanks to Anouk for the image …

5 Replies to “10 Things I Have Noticed About the Netherlands”

  1. I love number 4! Book-buying and free train travel, how perfectly lovely and random. I wish I could travel across the world that way!

  2. Hey Lisa, GMT,

    Thanks for yr comments – I forgot to mention that as part of the book week thingo, if you spent 12 euros on a book you also got a free book (a nice looking novella by Bernlef), which we had great fun showing to the ticket inspectors on the trains that day!

  3. Slagroom???!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks davey glad to see you still have a sense og humour, I’ll be sure to let the other slags know

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