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 have shared 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 for how long it has taken me to get it up and I am sorry if I repeat some things, when moving around the different subjects.
You can read the first and second posts here –
Out And About In Holland
Generally trucks are not a thing owned by many in Holland, understandably so, once you’ve made you’re way through the streets, rows of houses, shops and parking spaces.
So smaller vehicles, bikes and public transport systems are the maneuvering method for most.
Bikes are everywhere.
They have multi level bike lots, bike lanes, bike only streets and roughly there are three times as many bikes in Holland as there are people they say.
Partially because students will have a few bikes and keep them parked and locked in different areas and stations so they don’t have to carry them with on the trains.
The trains… the system I would have hated having to use every day if that had been necessary.
Firstly, as a foreigner and tourist like person, I never found the terminals very easy to get around in and then after boarding your train you have to hope and or wait, for an empty seat until you reach your destination or where you have to get off and switch trains depending on their routes.
They are extremely useful, handy and available everywhere, simply not my prime choice of transportation, being surrounded with that many people and what not… but hey anything is better than walking and Mike obviously knew the routes, do’s and dont’s and almost anything new scares me, so maybe read all this with a big grain of salt if you haven’t been already 😉
As they drive around in the car, there will be streets that didn’t even look like the size of a sidewalk to me, but the Dutch would drive down them, watching their mirrors carefully, until popping back out onto a tad larger stretch of street.
It’s crazy 😬😳
If one needs to move something large, buys a big item or has to haul something, you rent a moving van and that’s just normal to them.
I do recall many a time I would be considering purchasing something and not think a thing of it and Mike, caught up in my excitement would go along with it and then suddenly we would be on our way out of the store and be faced with the major issue of having only a small, car trunk for the transportation and not knowing anyone with a truck to borrow either.
They use yields and round abouts, opposed to stop signs and as a driver it may be faster and more convenient, but as a passenger prone to car sickness?
They were awful.
It didn’t take me long after moving there to get into the habit where I’d attempt to fall asleep when ever we drove anywhere, otherwise I’d get car sick, especially when driving with Mikes aggressive European, standard, driving 😏
The sleeping habit stuck and for a long time when we drove anywhere, a few minutes in and my head would feel heavy and it would be a real struggle to stay awake 😬🙈
Only now has the habit begun to fade.
On a shopping day for home items, clothing and the average odds and ends, you’ll generally park your vehicle a distance away and have to walk to the shopping streets.
(Photo taken way back when we were dating and I am actually holding Mikes purchases so the picture looked more successful 😏)
These are streets of stores, not one big mall or one store on this side of town and one on the other, but a few rows of just shops.
Which in one way is nice and in another way it’s not.
If you park far away and have to walk to the shops in the winter, you’re already shivering before you’ve begun.
Then if you have one store at the start of the street and one at the end, down and around the corner and over to the right, you’ll have to tromp along in the cold until you get there, just to have to turn and walk the entire distance back, carrying whatever you may have purchased and looking out for the bikes and multiple other people surrounding you.
In winter it is not pleasant.
In summer it is for sure nicer, turning it into more of a summer walk/shopping day and being able to enjoy the outside bits as much as the inside ones but it is for sure different then the shopping I was used to.
Where you park a few feet from the store door, get out, grab what you need and then drive to the next store, or park and then spend a few hours at an indoor mall.
I do miss the variety of home item/decor stores that had large selections and reasonable prices, something that is found much less often here.
I didn’t have much luck finding myself a new and unique European wardrobe but I’ll explain that more in a bit 😉
They don’t have a lot of open land and spaces, the most open areas having farms scattered here and there and if not a full out town or larger city, a village will generally be found fairly often.
Yes, they call them villages 😋
Here, a small town is just that, a small town… but they have towns, cities and villages, making them sound all quaint and farmy.
‘Oh, yes I live in that small village, over that way’… it just makes me picture straw roofed little dwellings, a few wooden barrels and wagon wheels leaning on the houses which are all placed along a little dirt road which runs by a creek or to a well and they all have hoe’s in their hands and their wooden shoes on 😋
That’s not an accurate description in the least but that’s what the word ‘village’ makes my mind conjure up 😜
You actually will see some straw roofed houses but not so much in the towns themselves.
Wealth was at one time judged by your roof.
Did you have straw, tile, or maybe both?
Having both was allowed but how much you had of each, is what mattered most 😎
Tile meaning you were wealthier, if you didn’t guess that 😉
Personally, I can’t stand the look of the straw roofs but the spiffy tiles are something I could easily get used too and something not found at home 😏
The buildings are mostly darker in color, brick designs being the ruling style, with the odd, all white, manor like home mixed in ( those were my favourites😉👌🏻).
The old homes, ornate balconies and front doors, window shutters and trims all blended and contrasting each other marvellously so, giving an elegant air to many of the towns and cities.
(This is the one beach house I seen on multiple occasions, overlooking the sea it’s a stunner and I could vacation there well😎👌🏻)
I’ll post one last ‘Holland’ post soon but until then, leave a comment with any opinions or questions! 😊