The Dutch way of life is definitely different from what I’ve experienced living in the US, UK, and France. Approaching my first official year residing in Dutch land, here are some of the interesting habits I picked up after moving to the Netherlands.
Complaining about the Weather
I’m originally from Los Angeles and the daily forecast is typically 70F and sunny with blue skies. My daily attire ranged from sundresses with flip flops to t-shirts and a skirt. With such perfect weather, there is not much to complain about (except when it rains those 3x during the year). So you can imagine after moving from sunny SoCal to the Netherlands: where it can rain, hail, be windy and then sunny in a matter of ten minutes, how quickly I was to open my mouth and start complaining. Many Dutchies told me I was slowly integrating because discussing the weather and talking about how crap it is, is actually a normal thing to do.
The Dutch even have different words for describing horrid weather like zeikweer (when it softly rains for hours on end, of the whole day-nagging weather). I noticed I picked up this habit when moving here, but who wouldn’t complain when you have to cycle to work and there is a bucket of water coming down your face. I’m with the Dutch on this one!
Tosti’s for Lunch
I have a hard time with this one because in the states we call this a grilled cheese that contains butter on the inside and outside and grilled. In my opinion, the tosti and grilled cheese are totally different styles in which I can easily taste the difference. A tosti can be defined as two pieces of bread with cheese in the middle that is heated in a toaster or tosti maker. It’s comfort food for the Dutch that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack! When I’m in a rush or don’t have much time or inspiration I will make a tosti for a bite. It’s quick, easy and a habit that I don’t intend on giving up because I love Dutch kaas (cheese).
Drinking more Coffee
When I say more I’m not exaggerating. Out of the world’s countries that consume the most coffee the Netherlands is number 5! In fact, coffee is a big part of Dutch culture with the Dutch drinking an average of 4 cups per day. The favorites range from koffie met melk (coffee with milk), met suiker (with sugar), cappuccinos, or the most popular just straight up black! I love all my flavored coffees, frappuccinos, and specialty lattes back home but zwarte koffie (black coffee) without ANY sugar is something I’ve had to get accustomed to. My coffee consumption has definitely skyrocketed while living here. The Netherlands used to be one of Europe’s leading coffee suppliers and the presence of coffee is still strong and present in the culture. Koffie can be had at any time, nearly anywhere here and I can’t believe I drink it after dinner now.
Riding a Bike Everywhere
Cycling is the most convenient mode of transport and the easiest way to get around. Out of a population of 17 million, the Netherlands has a sum of more bikes than people at 23 million. Whether it’s to work, the store or to visit a friend. I cannot imagine leaving the house without taking my bike anymore.
Being More Direct
In Europe, they say that Americans tend to beat around the bush. While we tend to be more positive in our conversation, living here makes my verbal communication much more straightforward, aka cut through the bs. Being more direct is just one of the habits I picked up after moving to the Netherlands.
3 Kisses on the Cheek
Dutch people greet each other with three kisses. I got accustomed to 2 kisses after living in the UK and France but always forgot the 3rd when arriving in the Netherlands. However, this is only with close friends and family and now I never forget to do so!
Put Mayo on Fries
I can’t believe mayo and hot sauce were my go-to! The Dutch love mayonnaise and every time you order fries mayo will accompany it! It’s rich, creamy, a bit tangy, and way better than what they serve in the states. The fries here are also a thicker cut and crunchy on the outside while soft on the inside. Mayonnaise compliments Dutch fires well and because of this I never put ketchup on my fries anymore!