How to survive (in) the Netherlands 

When you moved into your flat and been to university a few months it will most probably get you: your new daily routine in the Netherlands. Most probably you have been at that point where I also was: Why on earth are the Dutch how they are and why do I sometimes just don’t get them 😀  Here are a few of my experiences and tips and tricks 😛

1.  How to survive: the Dutch directness

Probably the Dutch are world famous for this trait. To me it’s not too much of a change as the Germans are quite an honest and direct nation, but even me surprised and somtimes overwhelmed the Dutch style of communication. When working togetehr with Dutch don’t always expect a good morning or a small talk about  your yesterday evening- most of the Dutch want to get to do business straight away. One time  when I said hi and asked him how he was doing to my  newly moved in Dutch neighbour- he looked at me and told me openly that he just broke up with his girlfriend that he is sad now. WOW I didn’t know what to say or do, that was one of the rare moments when I was speechless 😀 On the other hand you will experience Dutch “Gezelligheid” which means a nice atmosphere that you can experience in one of the numerous cute cafés, but also you and your group of friends, or your last holiday can be “gezellig” it’s the universal Dutch word and vibe for any nice event 🙂 The Dutch also love their cafés and even sit in WINTER outside! I’m not even kiddding! A thing that I will never understand 😀

2.  How to survive: cycling

No matter how long you live or will be living in Holland you will never master the art of riding your bike in a way the Dutch can! Just make sure your cycling skills are sufficient when you want to survive the morning and afternoon rush hours 😛

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This is a bike, not be be mistaken with the famous fish.

3. How to survive on a student budget

As we students always live on a budget it’s crucial to know where to get your food from: shop at your local market! Their prices are much cheaper compared to the supermarkets, you can buy in bulk and most of the time the products are from the local surroundings. Plus: you can practice your Dutch skills! 🙂 Unfortunately nuts are a mission to get same as to some biological products you might use, products for your daily hygiene are ridicously expensive and don’t expect vegan and or natural cosmetics in the normal shops- for those ones you need to check out the ‘gezondheidswinkel’. If you have the chance to shop and bring those products from Germany please do so it’ll save you money and nerves 😛 Read here on how to get cheap train tickets to get around. Often restaurants offer certain student meals or have a bit cheaper prices of their food, just ask their staff about it.

4.  How to survive the food at your University

If you like me, always dreamed of going to a university where you can get a warm plate of happiness each day around lunch- I’m sorry to dissapoint you! Dutch typically eat their warm meal for supper they only get some ‘broodies’, soup or sandwiches for lunch. Therefore the offers at your cafeteria will mostly  look like small snacks, most probably very expensive. And LOTS of meat. Meat in all variations, mostly fried how the Dutch love it. Bad times for a vegetarian/vegan like me. I always bring my own salads/sandwiches/sweets I recommend to you to do the same, at least you can pack what you love and get some healthy stuff in there as well 😛

5. How to survive techno, village parties and the combination of it

When you study in a small town like me you, chances are high that you mingle with locals quickly and that of course also includes in joining parties in small villages. My friend warned me: don’t dress up fancy, no one really does that and they throw their beer cups into the crowd so your clothes and everything else will become wet anyway. I couldn’t really believe her but she was right! At the end of the party which took place in a equestrian arena with wooden panels, I was drunk, beer was everywhere on me and I was super happy 😀 There were even some guys who wore their wodden shoes, but everyone was super friendly and wanted to know what I am doing here. So I can only recommend to you to also go to those ‘farmers parties’ they are probably much more fun than you would expect them to be 🙂

6. How to surive the Dutch weather

Well basically you don’t, we all live in one big cloud here in the Netherlands. I thought that it rains a lot in my home country Germany. then I moved here and learned my lesson, it really rains A LOT here. Remember that ugly rain coat your Mum wanted to buy you when you were little and that you succesfully always refused?  Chances are high that this ugly coat will become your best friend probably  after you got  soaking wet the 100th  time while cycling to University. Oh and it’s always windy, when it’s a day without wind you will realise it immediately as you will ask yourselve: something is missing. One of my friends literally got blown of her bike once at an autumn day!  But the few days of summer we have here are indeed nice 😀

But overall I think the Netherlands is a great little country on earth to study, make new friends and live in! Never stop exploring ❤

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20 thoughts on “How to survive (in) the Netherlands 

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  3. What a funny article! I really enjoyed it! The fishbike is so amazing and I also remember the cycling skills of all the Dutch, when I visited Amsterdam -its really kind of dangerous to step over the bike path.

    And thanks for teach me a new world “Gezelligheid”:) Nice, that they use it for more cases than us.

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    • If you guys well on a visit to Europe you should visit NL 🙂 There are also plenty of nice activties that can be done with children 🙂 I live here 2 and half years. Will stay one semester longer and then do my final internship hopefully in Cape Town 🙂

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  4. Very nice comment. Although I live in the neighborhood called Germany I’ve never been to the Netherlands. Poor silly me. As I read your article I’m already booking my stay at Amsterdam in mind and planning to bring my own hygienic stuff.

    Enjoy your stay as much as you can!

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    • Nice! Yes I am sure you will enjoy Amsterdam 🙂 I also recommend you too see Utrecht and come and spring and go to the country side and see how all the tulips are blooming that’s amazing 🙂

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  5. We have not lived in the Netherlands, but have visited several times. And we really like, what we have seen so far. Of course the weather is not always nice, and wind is to be expected in a country as close to the sea and as flat as the Netherlands. But I think that is part of its charme – as well as the rough charme of its people.

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    • Hey:) sorry for my late reply! Internet in Uganda is a tricky thing:P well I definitely recommend to visit Utrecht! It’s smaller and I think nicer than Amsterdam:) also come during spring and see endless fields of tulips:) in summer there are quite some nice Festivals and April the 27th is Kingdday which is one day filled with parties and wearing orange for the whole country:) have you ever been to the Netherlands? 🙂

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