Ok, so I have been here only for 4 months. So what? They have been really intense months and were enough to learn those 10 things:
1. What everyone has to know, first thing, when coming to the Netherlands – especially if you are from Brazil – is that they put chocolate sprinkles on bread. Yes, they take brad, put butter and chocolate sprinkle on it and eat it. Not Nutella, chocolate sprinkle. They name the chocolate sprinkle Hagelslag, and believe me, no matter how you read that word, the pronunciation is wrong. That leads me to the number 2 of our list.
2. If you want to speak Dutch prepare your throat. The “G” in the Dutch language is an unique sound that only Dutch people can make. And they have the letter G in every. Single. Word. Ok, I am exaggerating, but the G is very common. And for you to have an idea how they are the only people who can pronounce the Dutch G, during the second war their password was Scheveningen, because foreigners just can’t say that word right. Seriously, don’t even try it.
3. Another thing that I would advice for you not to try: biking. That is if you do not master it like me. No one in this whole world knows how to bike like the Dutch people. They learned how to bike before they learned how to walk. They have this thing where people can read other people’s mind to know where they are heading. I tried it once and am still recovering. You can do it in a tour guide, but not with other Dutch people. Also, even if you are walking ALWAYS look for the bikes, they will appear when you last expect. Stay alert!
4. Now things to try: Dutch food. From what I hear the most traditional dish around – apart from hagelslag – is Stamppot; the farmer’s food. There are lots of variations of it, but basically is mashed vegetable and meet, it could be meet balls or sausages. Truth is although it’s simple, it is very tasty. Besides the traditional food The Netherlands have a big variation of excellent restaurants. Just go for it!
5. Now let’s go to music. Oh, the Dutch popular music. It is really something to appreciate. Their most famous representative is the iconic, unique Andre Hazes. He used to sing in bars in Amsterdam and achieved stardom. His songs are the songs you hear Dutch people singing when they are drunk. After you hear it once you will immediately recognize his songs. Even though they are in Dutch you can understand that he is talking about being alone in a club just with the agony in his voice. Truly amazing.
6. One word that defines Dutch people for me is entrepreneurial. Maybe it’s just the people I met, but I have never heard so many people saying they want or already opened their own company. And they do it like nobody. Being here I learned that the Netherlands has a culture of being traders. They are welcoming and speak every single one of them speak at least very good English, if not, it is a perfect English. After all they are a very small country without many natural resources, but the people are definitely resourceful, extremely creative and innovative when it comes to business. That is in their nature.
7. Have you ever heard that the Dutch people are the tallest in the world? It’s true! Bring your high heels.
8. The sense of distance is totally different. Ok, that might not be only in the Netherlands but in any minuscule country. Being one hour away here is way too far, when in other countries like Brazil is nothing. Actually I’ve made a whole collection of phrases saying how the Netherlands is small. I’m planning of publishing a book called “The Netherlands is so small that…” Here is a teaser for you.
“The Netherlands is so small that the forecast is the same for the whole country”
Is funny because is true.
9. The probability of meeting Dutch people in the Heineken experience or in The Bulldog Coffee shop is very, very low. If you want to meet them go to the terraces (at least during the summer) or parks. They will be there enjoying a beer or a barbecue, or both.
10. The Netherlands and the Dutch people are absolutely irresistible. It is impossible not fall in love with this place and everything that is going on here. There is innovation, creativity, energy, movement and inspiration everywhere you look. It is no wonder the world’s eyes are on what is happening here.
I will keep you updated about my Dutch culture knowledge!