Disclaimer: The following observations are things I noticed during my time living in Holland.
They are in no way about certain people and the opinions stated are just that, my opinion.
I don’t mean to portray anything as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ difference, simply ‘different’ then what I was used to.
As time goes by, I plan on sharing some of the things I learnt/noticed/experienced during my time living and traveling in Europe.
This is the third such post and I apologize in advance if I repeat some things, when moving around the different subjects.
‘Weather’ Tis Rain Or Shine… Congratulations!
Rain or shine… but mostly rain, or not even rain but not a whole lot of shining either 😋
I’ve been in Holland during the winter months most of all so I’ll begin there.
The first few months really messed with my noggin (I know, it doesn’t take much 🙄😏) in the fact that though it was mid winter, the grass was a constant lush green and the shrubs had full out leaves.
Which to me, would normally mean it was pretty warm out, but not so.
Since at home, during the winter there is no green. Trees are bare, fields brown if the snow isn’t covering them, bushes are see through like stick clusters and flowers? Hah!
I’d find myself assuming the day’s temperatures couldn’t be too bad, after looking outside and seeing green and then I’d dress how I thought I should, head out and be struck by the bone chilling dampness of December and wishing for more layers.
I figured it out pretty quickly though and adjusted accordingly.
In other words, check you phone for the temperature while you lay in bed and then you don’t even have to bother looking outside if you don’t feel like it 😜
The winter there doesn’t hold much snow but there is, on average, a couple of days here or there where some of the wet, white fluff, falls down and stays a day or two.
The coldest it may hit, mid winter is somewhere around – 8 but trust me, it feels colder.
This coming from a Canadian who has felt -50, even if only for a few, ice cream headache like moments at a time 😉
The damp, wet weather makes for a different cold then the dry cold I was used to.
The damp getting into your bones and making a -2 day, (something we’d be wearing a light long sleeve shirt in back in Canada) a day that you still need your winter coat and leggings.
*Bear in mind, I’m not the best to tell about weather, as I’m generally on the colder side of the scale and may judge things with that in mind, but even my parents who came out one spring, said it was one of the coldest springs they felt and agreed that the wet added an extra chill factor.
Days are generally grey, the sun possibly peeking out in the morning and then just again before sunset.
The Dutch WILL call that a sunny day 😳
If the sun was seen for more than a minute, they use it as a way to say, “Yes, the sun did shine.”
I would disagree 😜
The sun has got to shine AT LEAST half of the day for it to have been a sunny one, but I guess they just try to be happy with what they get.
Luckily I was used to grey winters or the adjustment would probably have been a lot harder weather wise.
Spring is a tricky one too, because the flowers do suddenly pop out in full force, blooms and buds everywhere you turn, but it can still be pretty chilly.
The sun having changed to the one that pulls greens up out of the ground, but the damp wind staying the same.
Come mid March though, you’ll experience some nice, hot days for sure and then they stick around.
Unlike Sask. spring, which usually dumps multiple, large snowfalls, just after the last one melts away and we get excited thinking winter is over 😜
I honestly can’t say a whole lot about summer because I wasn’t there for much of it, due to trips back home, travel etc.
The bits I did experience though were mostly nice.
A steady mix of sunny days and rainy ones but still much nicer weather, even with the rain.
I love warmth and green and colors of summer so it’s not hard to get good summer comments from me.
The temperatures get up to +30 mid summer but there is lots of shade and water so I don’t remember feeling too hot from it. Besides that one day when I was sitting outside, dripping in my own bodily fluids and then I heard the neighbour jump into their pool, the most wondrous sounding splash echoing in my ears and crushing my sweat soaked spirits.
Some of our nicest summer days were spent in Friesland, jogging along the outlets to the sea, water and sailboats on one side, greenery and little house along the other.
Yeah, haha, we used to jog 😝😎
Fall is as you’d expect, damp and rainy and… fallish 😜
The many trees make for beautiful autumn colors and just as the fall I was accustomed too, one day will be warm and sunny and the next you don’t doubt for a second that winter is around the corner.
As comes with the change of seasons, there is the holidays/celebrations/grief that follow.
Christmas isn’t very largely celebrated in Holland.
It is there and a tree may be gotten and a few presents but it isn’t nearly as commercialized or intense as a Canada/USA Christmas season.
Which was nice!
I didn’t go into stores dreading the outpouring of bad Christmas music, gaudy Christmas decorations spewing out of every corner or grumpy Christmas shoppers months in advance.
The charm of winter markets on cobblestone streets, lit with strung lights is a pleasant sight to behold once they do come out though 😉
What’s funny is their neighbour, Germany, is much for Canadian/American in its customs when it comes to holidays in general.
Decorations, songs, gifts and fooood (glorious food) all making a special appearance.
Easter, Valentine’s and the like are all rather downplayed, though as the years go by and the internet/social media connects people around the world more than ever before, the holidays are becoming a little more prominently advertised/practiced.
New Years is one holiday/thing they know how to do extremely well. Fireworks aren’t allowed to be purchased any other time of the year but come New Years, literally millions of dollars are spent on them.
They can only be shot off between specific times and you can be fined if you’re caught doing it before/after those times.
Public service is usually the price to pay if your younger. (I got that specific bit of information from Mike😏)
The streets stay lit up with bursts of colorful sparkles, for hours. Just as you think they are dying down, ‘pop!’ and off goes another big batch of them.
It goes on for so long and in such a large quantity that the streets began filling with fog like smoke and paper bits begin to rain down.
New Years knows what’s up in the Netherlands 😏👌🏻🎉
But, birthdays are also taken to a whole new level.
In Canada, yes you may celebrate a birthday but it’s more so for milestone birthdays and kids… the ages between are pretty relaxed.
You’ll get cards and presents sure, but mostly from family and one or two close friends.
It’s highly doubtful a whole party would be thrown or that everyone would be aware that said day was when you were born.
Birthdays are where it’s at.
If it’s a milestone birthday, your neighbours/family will decorate your yard so that everyone who passes, knows what’s up (your age hah ha😜).
If it isn’t a full out party, it wouldn’t be weird to have people stopping by with a little something and well wishes.
But usually there is a party of some type, be it small, or large.
Same goes for baby’s being born.
They don’t have a baby shower (how unfortunate😳) but they will decorate your yard to announce to all, if you had a girl or boy. People will come and go for a day, popping in to say hi, see the (probably ugly) baby to say how beautiful it is and then visit a bit and leave.
A baby shower/wedding shower is something I firmly believe should be a thing, everywhere 😜
Where friends and family come to see you/and or baby, celebrate with you and support you by helping supply the many items you won’t have as newly wed/new parent.
Plus, that’s where you go for some fabulous, homemade potluck food 👌🏻💗 🍴
They will have an engagement party and invite friends and family over to congratulate the couple though.
Weddings, service wise, are usually rather long because they will have one, or even two translators for all the friends and family present.
Friends and family are in charge of the slideshows/pictures and they show a lot of them 😜
(Cause we all really wanted to see that 8 minute video of the bride as a toddler taking a nap 😏)
But it is nice in the fact that the reception then holds a lot of surprises for the bride and groom and they didn’t have to have the added pressure of coming up with entertainment/slideshow making.
For births, birthdays, engagements and weddings, you (as very close friend but mostly relative) will be congratulated,
‘Oh, your cousin got married? Congrats!’
‘Your sibling had a baby? Congratulations.’
‘Your Uncle is turning 43? Congratulations.’
I would feel confused and a little dumb numerous times, when someone would come say congratulations to me and I’d look at them stupidly trying to figure out just why I needed congrats. Until it would click moments later, that a cousin of Mikes had gotten engaged and I should be celebrating 😬🙈😜
It isn’t normal to give food to the family or friends whom have had a loved one pass away/added a new member to the family.
It’s not heard of and not understood.
(Which I figured out quickly by the super weird face Mike gave me when I asked what meal I should make for someone who’d recently had a loss in their family 😬)
I think that is sad too 🙈
How lovely it would be to have a freezer full (I guess maybe they don’t like it/do it because they don’t hardly have freezers to put food gifts in? 😳 ‘liiightbulb’!😜) of homemade goodness, just ready to pull out and heat up if your tired from caring for a baby/family or lost in sadness and still have yourself and others to feed…
Whatever, I guess you don’t miss what you don’t know, so I’ll just be thankful I’m back where I know things and won’t be missing them 😋
As always, comment to let me know your thoughts or what your opinion on stated matters may be! 😉