10 things you probably didn’t know about the Dutch and the Netherlands

Cheese market in AlkmaarI lived in the Netherlands for a couple of years, and had a Dutch boyfriend for almost 4 years, so I know quite a bit about this quirky country and its unusual inhabitants (and I mean that in a good way). I’m going to share some pearls of wisdom about the Dutch and their country that I gleaned during my stay, and limit it to 10 because I could easily write 100 and bore you to death. Hope you enjoy.

1. Holland and the Netherlands are not synonymous. Holland is just one section of the Netherlands, largely the western coastal region, including Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Haarlem, Leiden and the Hague. However, other famous Dutch cities like Utrecht, Groningen, Maastricht, Den Bosch and Leeuwarden are *not* in Holland.

2. The Dutch love sprinkles on toast. I’m talking the sprinkles kids put on ice cream, but Dutch adults put it on bread. For breakfast. It’s called “hagelslag”, and De Ruijter makes the best kinds. Another variant, “muisjes” – little mice – are candied anise seeds; also delicious on buttered toast. You can get either pink, female, or blue, male, varieties. I’m not joking.

3. The Dutch will only eat one hot meal a day. If you arrive at a Dutch friend’s house around dinnertime, they might ask, “Heb je al warm gegeten?” which means “Have you eaten something hot already?” If you had a hot lunch, your friend will prepare a (cold) sandwich for you for dinner. You can not eat 2 hot meals per day.

4. Dutch “g” “ch” and “r” are all pronounced more or less the same (although the Dutch insist they’re different) – a harsh, guttural “kh” sound (like you’re clearing phlegm from your throat). So the word “gracht” (canal) combines all three “kh” sounds in one word…that sounds really, really awful: “khkhakht.” This is why “Grolsch” (the beer) sounds like “Khkhols”, not “grolsh”.

5. The Dutch love speaking English. See #4. Seriously, they all speak perfect, although heavily-accented, English. They will pronounce “idea” eye-DEE, and they will resist pronouncing it with 3 syllables in English, no matter how many times you correct them. On a related note, “I have no idea” is “geen idee”, which sounds a little like “rainy day” when pronounced correctly.

6. The Dutch loathe the Germans. Some pretend they don’t, some are openly proud of it, but they all look down on them. An example: I was walking along a beach (Schevengingen) with a Dutch guy, and we saw a guy furiously digging a hole in the sand. My Dutch friend sneered. I asked him why the guy was digging a hole. He said, “Because he’s a dumb German.” I pressed, but what for? Is he building a castle or something? “No, he’s just a stupid German! He can’t help it! The morons just love digging holes for no reason!”
Another story. A Norwegian friend flew down to Germany, rented a car there and drove to Rotterdam. He had parked on the street, and a cop approached him while he was in his car, and told him, in German, that he wasn’t allowed to park there and began writing him a ticket. When he looked at his driver’s license and saw he was Norwegian, he tore up the ticket, said, “Park wherever you want” and “Welcome to Holland!”, all in English.

Rows of tulips7. The country is drenched with rain year round, but the Dutch never use umbrellas. They use raincoats and rain “suits”, but they never use umbrellas (too hard to ride your bicycle with one; plus, it’s *really* windy all the time). The Dutch will happily put up with wet faces and heads. The “wet look” is permanently “in” there.
Another oddity is no matter how much it rains and floods temporarily, all the water’s gone in about 20 minutes. I think it’s because the ground is mostly sand; the water just drains away. The cement blocks used as a road surface are taken out every few years, the sandy ground is pounded flat with this sand-pounding-machine (seriously) and then they replace the cement blocks.

8. The Dutch have strange snacking habits. They eat fries (what they’re famous for) but they’re often drenched in mayonnaise or pindasaus (basically spicy peanut butter). They also love frikandel (all the scary remnant parts of animals they can’t sell elsewhere, pressed into a vaguely hotdog shape, and then deep-fried until dark brown; yes, it looks like a piece of shit), kroketten (deep-fried lumps of dough wrapped around meat, that look like dried-up old turds), and cheese souffles, which are greasy but I have to admit, pretty damn tasty. The most famous purveyor of this junk is a chain called Febo; you buy everything out of an automat. They’re everywhere, especially inside train stations, and open late when you’re coming out of the clubs at 3am.

9. You heard about the Dutch using free bicycles provided by the government? Nope – that’s the Danish. The Dutch love using bicycles (called ‘fietsen’, pronounced FEETS-un), but in every city, theft is rife and you have to use 2-3 locks to prevent even a piece of shit bike from being stolen. This is why the average Dutch person doesn’t spend more than $50 for a bike – it’ll eventually get stolen. Junkies in the Amsterdam red light district will sell you a bike for 10 euros (25 guilders before the euro changeover), but be careful; if you buy one and a cop sees you, you go to jail.
There are specially-designated “fietspaden” (bike paths) all over the country, and pedestrians can not walk on them. If you hear a bell ringing–that’s how the Dutch tell people to get out of the way–then pay attention! You’re about to get mowed over.

10. The Dutch are not big potheads. Despite it being legal there (along with “magic mushrooms”), you almost never see a Dutch person getting high. You see TONS of foreigners – Brits, Americans, Germans, etc – smoking out in Dutch “coffee shops” (“coffee shop” means marijuana; “cafe” means coffee, so pay attention to what the establishment calls itself), but it’s pretty rare to see a Dutch person there. The legalization is tied to a very Dutch concept called “gedoogbeleid” which is difficult to translate but means permissiveness-because-there-are-bigger-fish-to-fry. The Dutch live below sea level, so they have plenty of dams & dikes keeping the water out. To relieve pressure on this system, a little water always trickles through – that’s okay as long as they can keep the floods out. This is often why the Dutch are said to not care about trivial drugs like marijuana and magic mushrooms – so they can focus on hard drugs like cocaine and meth (which are very much illegal).

There’s my list. Let me add something that I found in a tourist brochure given out at the Schiphol (SKHIP-hull, not Shiffol!) airport, which I think totally captures the Dutch attitude (I’m paraphrasing because I don’t have it here):

  • Please keep in mind that not all of the women you see in the windows in the Red Light District are really women.
  • If something bad happens to you, please find a policeman/policewoman and explain the situation to us. Please do not be embarrassed – we have really seen it all before. You couldn’t possibly shock us.
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  1. Hm, I’m German and I like the Dutch, actually. lol.

    XD Somebody explain the holes thing to me, when I go to Holland, will I have the uncontrollable urge to dig a hole?

    We eat mayonaise on fries , too, in Germany. Many even like mayo with ketchup.

    Comment by Claudia — September 8, 2008 @ 11:05 pm

  2. I recently met a nice Dutch girl who was staying in England and she told me loads of crazy stuff. Correct me if im wrong but don’t they have some sort of bread and butter thing that translates as “turnover bitch”? We had a lot of fun with that! 😉

    Comment by Salmon — September 9, 2008 @ 1:55 pm

  3. i think the story about the norwegian is true. yes, everyone likes norwegians

    Comment by mb — September 10, 2008 @ 1:37 pm

  4. I’m an American composer and writer who has had performances in several of the major Dutch cities. I was very struck by the quotation from the tourist brochure which stated “we’ve seen it all before…you couldn’t possibly shock us.” This is very true about Dutch audiences which are, in many ways, the most avant-garde in the world. The Dutch support new and experimental performing arts including music, theater, music-theater, dance and performance art and there is a big Dutch public for new work. I have actually had someone say to me “we’ve seen it all before…you couldn’t possibly shock us.” Of course, it’s also true that The Netherlands is one of the few places on the continent where you can perform in English and expect to be understood.

    Eric Salzman

    Comment by Eric Salzman — September 10, 2008 @ 4:14 pm

  5. It’s been many years since I was there but I remember some things that wern’t talked about. My dad was born in the Netherlands & came over to the US as a child. My grandmas family has a cheese factory & cheese is a very big deal. Also the fish haring to be exact my grandma used to love the pickled haring ( yuch). In Amisfort where my aunt lives she has a factory that makes candy sprinkles. In her town in the mornings they have a market almost like the farmers market here in the US, they have everything you could imagine meat, veggies, flowers, baked goods, the stores bring out stuff it was so cool. Everyone was very friendly everywhere we went in the country & one day I hope to go back.The acents are so true my grandma lived here for 50 years & never lost hers & when she couldnt remember a word in english she would always say it in dutch. As for the german thing I can’t really say anything bad as I am German on my moms side & they always got along (duh).

    Comment by missy — September 11, 2008 @ 3:50 pm

  6. Holland is a part of the Netherlands and I always tell foreigners that it is similar to England in the UK. The name of Holland is based on ‘Wood land’ (holt or/and holz) from the past. There are woods but not as many as in the past. The relation with Germany is like Portugal-Spain, similarities in languages and culture and competition. The Netherlands are depending on Germany in the economic trade tradition.

    There are two official languages in NL, Dutch and Frisian. The Dutch people do not suffer from being modest about themselves, they still think they are best people on earth because they (think they) are so international. In fact they are far behind in education, attitudes and emotional skills. That is because they never learned to understand that other people might be far more interesting then themselves. There is a long history in making money out of other people, colonies, slavery and so on.

    The Dutch were never brave, Most Jews transported to the camps were from the Netherlands. They never said sorry to Indonesia. And why? The Dutch are only interested in money and will kill their relations to get that.

    Comment by Roelof — September 12, 2008 @ 11:55 am

  7. And then, there are the numerous church bell towers in Amsterdam, successively ringing their melodious carillon music. Fantastically quieting.

    Comment by Pleroma — September 12, 2008 @ 2:58 pm

  8. I would like to correct yourself on the comment:
    “coffee shops” (”coffee shop” means marijuana; “cafe” means coffee, so pay attention to what the establishment calls itself)”

    the real deal is:

    Coffee shop: A place where they sell coffee drinks and eats only.

    Coffeeshop (spelled together): A place where they sell weed, pot, cannabis, marijuana.

    Cafe: It’s how they call a bar, pub, place where you can get alcohol!!

    if you lived here for two years you should know that better mate 🙂

    Comment by Bryan Edgar — September 12, 2008 @ 10:49 pm

  9. Loved the article, but this is a terribly prejudiced article.

    First of all, I’m in no way nationalistic. In fact I do not think the Netherlands is the greatest country.

    But the comments are just ridicolous; sayings such like the tragic state of our educational system, our cockiness and our hatred for Germany are just false, only in some cases they’re true.

    But that’s like saying all black people can play the bass guitar.

    It’s not that I’m particularly proud of my country, but this biased stuff has to stop.

    We do not hate the germans, only the fact that they murdered millions of our people and occupied us for 5 long years.

    We are not cocky, we just have good living conditions and we’re proud of that.

    Yes, we have weird snacks, but the majority of the population eat healthy normal foods.

    We don’t have a bad educational system, I’m quite sure that our crême de-la crême of our education is amongs the best of the world. Only the lowest level of education is lacking. But that’s because of the increase of ‘buitenlanders’ or foreigners. Most of them still have to pick up on the language and other stuff, but when they’re integrated the level of education will rise agian.

    And JM, please get your facts straighten out. (Although you are right about Holland not being synonymous to the Netherlands)

    Comment by Evert de Ruiter — September 13, 2008 @ 7:21 am

  10. Holland and Netherlands are offically not the same thing but everyone who lives in Holland will say so. It is legal to buy grass till a certain (quite small) amount. It IS LEGAL to grow grass limited to one per person with a maximum height of 15 cm. The dutch don’t hate the Germans they just have a strong football rivalary. ( Please don’t argue on this point I’m German live in Holland and have a lot of dutch friends).

    Comment by matrix — September 13, 2008 @ 3:57 pm

  11. Your humor brought a smile to my face…thanks for sharing!

    Comment by DJ — September 13, 2008 @ 4:55 pm

  12. Nice, George Bush must be German. ”

    The morons just love digging holes for no reason!”

    Comment by Dr. Browne — September 14, 2008 @ 9:47 am

  13. Great article. Enjoyed the comments.

    As an Englishman though I’ve yet to meet a Dutch person that doesn’t speak English as well as me. Even the kids manage it too. Good old BBC eh?

    Everyone loves the Dutch don’t they?

    It seems when we travel in Europe everyone hates the French, us and to a lesser degree the Germans.

    Comment by Dane — September 14, 2008 @ 10:15 am

  14. …and what about “Engelse drop” (Englisch drop)? Why do we call it like that beats me. From what I’ve learned there is nobody outside of The Netherlands who is familiar with this candy, not even in a candy store in England…they actually never heard of it….

    Comment by Richard — September 14, 2008 @ 10:37 am

  15. hahhahahahahha
    all of this is absolutely true!
    i ve been living in holland for three years now, and some things are still strange to me but all in all it is a good country to be in..
    the language is horrible though, i can’t argue with that.

    but mmmm stroopwafels

    Comment by cuoct — September 14, 2008 @ 10:50 am

  16. Ask the germans about the Dutch clogging (what a pun!) up the german autobahns in the summer with their caravans. They pass through germany mind you, and try not to stop or spend money where possible. It really is frustrating, like a snail convoy where there is unlimited speed streches.
    I say the WWII thing is B/S. The dutch are hardly innocent when it came to butchering people. Ask any indonesian…

    Comment by Superdude — September 15, 2008 @ 8:07 am

  17. I have lived in NL for 20 years in total and although I have Dutch relatives, Dutch friends I am VERY fond of, I must admit the country and it’s people have some WEIRD things.
    Overall I liked living there, but the last 5 years hatred of foreigners (especially people of color and muslims has become worse. which is sad because they have conquered quite a lot of places in their days……

    I will never generalize though cause the people I have known there are just marvelous. I miss the dutch landscape, I miss amsterdam and it’s canals…for such a small country they have accomplished quite a lot. What they do and have done for art and design is simply genius!

    Although their dislike of Germans is simply idiotic……..

    Comment by miranda valladares — September 15, 2008 @ 8:46 am

  18. I was in Amsterdam many years ago and they had something in fast food places called something like “Hoodjes Broodjes” (or similar spelling). It was like a sandwich. Do you know about them?

    Comment by Raul — September 15, 2008 @ 12:27 pm

  19. JM – Cool list. Made me laugh a bit. Some need to put their tongue in cheek and relax a bit. There is the occasional American who is capable on independent thought and understand what you say is not a hard and fast rule.

    Comment by Anthony(Abev) — September 15, 2008 @ 7:19 pm

  20. I want to hear from some Germans on the subject of hole-digging…

    Comment by Jim — September 16, 2008 @ 2:30 am

  21. i dutch, and i wanna say that our language is very pretty and beautiful sounding.

    to us dutch. 🙂

    Comment by oki — September 16, 2008 @ 1:32 pm

  22. This is a great blog. I just came back from Europe, Amsterdam and Stockholm to be precise, and I so wish I discovered your site BEFORE I left. Based on my own personal limited observations, you’re right about a lot of things, especially this post about the Netherlands.

    Comment by T. AKA Ricky Raw — September 16, 2008 @ 4:07 pm

  23. Lol weird germans digging holes 😛
    btw not all dutch hate/dislike the germans.. A lot of the older do beacause of the war.. (not very strange if you consider what most have been trough or how many family members they might have lost)

    And lol @ pronouncing the dutch words 😛 not easy is it?
    (not easy for many dutch to pronounce english words either, come to think of it :P)

    Comment by Lisa — September 17, 2008 @ 9:04 am

  24. Olieballen, pannekooken, lyden kaas, gerokt makreel, borenkool…..yum…! Oh and the first time I saw someone in blackface roaming around the street dressed as Swarte Piet! I looked around to see if anyone else was as shocked as I was. Nope! Did you write poems for Christmas presents, and did Sinterklaas break in your door and throw speculaas (little anise cookies) into your house? Fond…but sometimes odd memories. Thanks!

    Comment by Kleine Monstreje — September 17, 2008 @ 9:19 am

  25. Great article, I really enjoyed it.
    And altough some of the information here is not factual but from your own experience, it really does describe the Dutch quite well i think 😀

    Comment by Wouter — September 18, 2008 @ 1:32 pm

  26. This seems really interesting, do you know if they have an animosity against black people? Everytime I travel to Europe I feel like I’m limited to the UK because I know a lot of black people live there and there wouldn’t be any problems. I’m always scared to go anywhere else. I’d like to explore other regions so let me know, thanks 🙂

    Comment by Ify — September 19, 2008 @ 12:11 am

  27. After reading some the earlier comments I strongly suggest you’d change one of the 10 things into:
    The Dutch have a tendency to be ‘azijnzeikers’ (people who piss vinegar, because they sourly comment on little things pretending it to be big things) and/ or ‘dominees’ (vicars, because they like to correct you in a self-righteous manner).

    Comment by Patrick — September 19, 2008 @ 2:18 am

  28. Mmmmm, stroopwaffels, you can feel your arteries hardening as you eat them, but they’re irresistible. I think it’s largely how they dissolve on the tongue when dunked into hot coffee.

    Comment by cookie monster — September 19, 2008 @ 6:45 am

  29. I really like the dutch, found them to be really nice and helpful people, but please explain this, if you come from germany your german, from france, french from england ,english, from holland, dutch?why………

    Comment by allen — September 19, 2008 @ 8:15 am

  30. A big part of Belgium speaks Dutch too. Calling it Netherlandish or whatever wouldnt do them justice, Allthough the Dutch speaking part of Belgium was actually a part of the Netherlands a few centuries ago (It was called Southern Brabant).

    O, and it’s true that we have a lot of ‘azijnzeikers’ living here (not all of us), but at least were not German…:P

    Comment by Dutchman — September 20, 2008 @ 9:15 am

  31. Of course Belgians would think their frites are better. You should hear the jokes we tell about the Belgians. 😛

    Comment by FormerNederlander — September 20, 2008 @ 8:46 pm

  32. I went to Amsterdam last February, and for me it was the best experience I ever have had, it is interesting the way they can live, I mean, it doesn’t matter if you’re smoking weed, it doesn’t matter if you’re homosexual or prostitute, I think that is the highest point that a society can reach.

    And of course I want to go back there. what a nice place

    Comment by chucho — September 20, 2008 @ 9:17 pm


    Comment by Marc — September 21, 2008 @ 12:31 pm

  34. […] clipped from dailycandor.com […]

    Pingback by 10 Things you didn’t know about Netherlands! at OnEarthTravel - A wonderful directory of Travel — September 21, 2008 @ 2:36 pm

  35. […] about an hour a day dreaming about a trip to Amsterdam (yes, it’s time consuming,) this 10 Things to Know About the Dutch is pretty interesting. It talks about some of their crazy eating habits and dislike of Germans. […]

    Pingback by theFreshScent » Blog Archive » The Royale with Cheese, Other Dutch Differences — September 22, 2008 @ 9:28 am

  36. Interesting article about Netherlands and its habits, thank You for sharing it. Also are very rich all the comments.

    Comment by Buenos Aires for dutch — September 22, 2008 @ 7:12 pm

  37. Many people wrote something about that the germans can´t and won´t speak dutch.

    but i made the experience that a lot of dutch people (especially unknown) don´t give you as german a chance to speak their language.

    i few years ago (in a period when i was learning dutch) i tried three times in different coffeeshops to order some weed in dutch but always i got an answer in german. in the fourth shop i was sick about always gettin german answers so i ordered in german but suddenly the guy was yelling at me what stupid german i am and why i don´t even try it in english and stuff?

    so help me, what can i do?

    and please forget, that the north of the netherlands, especially the region around groning was liberated not until the 4 of may in 1945 of the germans in IIWW. i don´t thik that the germans could´nt occupie this land that long without dutch supporters.

    but nevertheless…i love this country

    Comment by PeterKunze — September 23, 2008 @ 4:29 pm

  38. Dr. Browne should pull his head out of his arse.

    Comment by Ray — September 25, 2008 @ 12:49 pm

  39. […] bleeding (super gross), and he’s a little high strung. However, I stumbled upon this blog today, which sheds a lot of light on his […]

    Pingback by Culture vs. Personality « Implied Profanity — September 26, 2008 @ 1:31 pm

  40. @ all the people who think it’s appropiate to bring WW2 into this bloglog: please stop doing this, it is not even funny if you’re trying to make a point wether to hate/dislike germans.
    I’d suggest you watch the episode of “Falwty Towers” (the Germans) instead.

    Great blog by the way, LOL to read the comments and look at ourselves from the perspective of non-dutch!

    Comment by Richard — September 27, 2008 @ 2:12 am

  41. @ Ify

    It is more than safe for coloured people to travel to the Netherlands and to Europe. Why wouldn’t it? I am Dutch but live in London, and have not noticed any difference between the Dutch and British attitudes towards coloured people. Please go and visit Nederland( or Holland 😉 But do not limit yourself to Amsterdam. There is much more to the Netherlands to Amsterdam.

    I loved your article. I’m proud of my accent 🙂
    And most Duch people do not hate Germans. I love German people. My gran is German. We just like to tell jokes about them. I don’t know why.

    What I do not like about the younger generation of Germans is that they are not aware of the history of their own country. I’m from Rotterdam and a few years ago we had some distant family member with friends staying with us, and after a few days they asked. “Wo ist die Altstadt?” – “Where is the old town?”, Uhmmm… It was bomded by the Germans 60 years ago….

    Just pay attention in History, and we get along just fine.


    Comment by Tess — September 28, 2008 @ 5:59 am

  42. I love this posting. I’m an American and I lived a few years in Yugoslavia. My wife and I traveled a lot in Eastern Europe. We liked every country we visited. The best thing about traveling is meeting new people and hearing new ideas. (If we can just avoid anything dealing with governments we get along great.) I’d love to visit Holland. My wife speaks fluent German so I think we’d do OK.
    Once again, thanks for a great posting.

    Comment by Pat — September 28, 2008 @ 9:43 pm

  43. This is a great list. I was blown away about the ice cream sprinkles on toast. Had to confirm with my friend living in Belgium. There’s some more info over here on Amsterdam for Barry Shulman’s luxury travel blog. He just posted three items about his Amsterdam travels. I’m kind of interested in trying those ice cream sprinkles on toast now. 🙂

    Comment by Luxury Travel — September 29, 2008 @ 11:26 am

  44. To reply on some comments made about Sinterklaas: his helpers (Zwarte Pieten) are not black. In fact, they are Italian from origin, and got their color by sweeping the chimney before they deliver the presents for the children through it.

    Comment by Tijn — October 10, 2008 @ 2:53 am

  45. Also a comment about Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet

    Zwarte Piet (or Back Pete) is a good friend of Sinterklaas, ans NOT a slave, the ‘Pieten’ (yes there all called Piet) help Sinterklaas to deliver the presents and they entertain the children, these days the children believe Piet is black because he climbes through the chimney.
    ‘Piet’ first appeard in a childrens book a very long time ago when black people were kept as slaves ans some people had a black child dressed up funny.
    At the time the book was published this was ‘normal’

    Zwarte Piet these days are not slaves en i’ts not ment to be racial.
    The children love them.
    I’m Dutch and have children, I thought about this a long time, when they were small.
    My kids have black friends, and they love Piet to and don’t find it racial at all.
    There is more to Piet than just the color, just think of the costume, the earrings, the ‘Jute Zak’ filled with candy.

    Soon the ‘Sinterklaas journaal’ starts again(daily news about sinterklaas, every year the boat from spain runs in to trouble, will sinterklaas make it to the Netherlands this year?)
    And we are really looking forward to see all the Pieten save the day and deliver the presents to the children

    The are a lot of different pieten there is Hoofdpiet (Master Pete of Head pete), SorryPiet (sorry pete) Paardenpiet (horse pete) and many more.

    Comment by Mikay — October 20, 2008 @ 2:09 am

  46. I don’t every read blogs, but I was Stumbling and came across yours. It was great! Very entertaining. I have never been to the Netherlands but will go someday. I learned some fun and interesting things to look for from the Dutch people.

    Great job!

    Comment by Strength & Honor — October 21, 2008 @ 7:21 am

  47. Hi, I enjoyed reading your article! I’m Dutch and I’m from Groningen. I think what Jape means is that you can just call The Netherlands ‘Holland’…That’s just the informal word for our country. It’s not accurate, but that’s ok. If anyone needs a guide when coming to The Netherlands let me know. P.S. maybe a store should be opened in the US where they sell Dutch ‘drop’ 🙂

    Comment by Bert — November 1, 2008 @ 3:22 pm

  48. I am from the U.S. My parents are Dutch, but from the southern province of Limburg. Here is an amusing paraphrase of conversations I have had at least a couple of times (seriously):
    Me: “Hi, are you from Holland?’
    Dutchie: “Yes, how did you know?”
    Me: “My parents are from Holland and while they never taught us Dutch, I can hear a Dutch accent a mile away”
    Dutchie: “Oh, where in Holland are your parents from?
    Me: “W —, a small town in Limburg”
    Dutchie (with a bit of a sneer – seriously): “That’s not Holland!”
    Needless to say, I have learned to use “the Netherlands” rather than Holland, unless I am specifically speaking about Noord or Zuid Holland.

    I think it is a bit funny that anyone points out “weird” things about other countries or cultures. Every country and even regions within countries have different customs and idiosyncrasies. I also think it is narrow minded to think that your own country is superior to all or any others. We should celebrate the differences, that is certainly what makes travel so interesting.

    Three more observations:
    1) I would love to be able to live in the Netherlands
    2) Virtually everyone in the Western hemisphere is an “American”. People from the U.S. need to find a better name for themselves, I opt for USer.
    3) Bert, there are actually many “Holland American” stores in the U.S. and Canada where those of us pining for dutch food can get our fix of drop, hagelslag, Wilhelmina peppermints, chocolate letters for Sinterklaas and just about anything else you need. It’s just not quite as fresh!

    Comment by Jo — November 3, 2008 @ 1:39 pm

  49. Goodness, I would have loved to read through all the replies to see how worked up everyone gets just by interpreting one article in their own way.

    I am currently staying in Utrecht for a 3 month study visit and was interested in seeing if there was some good advice for people who will stay in the Netherlands for such a short while. So far from my own experiences: they love fries and drop, they are very rude sometimes (not everyone but we quickly learnt not to be surprised by their rudeness), *everyone* rides bike, shops close at 6pm (except Thursday nights when they stay open until 9pm) and are closed on Sundays except for the first Sunday each month and all Sundays in November and December. I haven’t seen any direct animosity against Germans, but I haven’t seen any Germans so…

    But the funniest thing about this discussion is how one person’s views can step on the toes of another’s without the first person even meaning it the way the second experienced it. Remember, this is a discussion, not the complete and utter truth of all Dutch (or any person) in the whole world!

    Comment by Elizabeth — November 5, 2008 @ 8:31 am

  50. I like their stance on drug legalization. Fry the bigger fish! Tax the trade and use the money for maintaining the countries damns and levies!

    Comment by Derek — November 17, 2008 @ 6:20 pm

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