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 fourth and final post and I am sorry if I repeated some things, when moving around the different subjects.
You can read the first, second and third posts here –
Now, more to the people-y part of my Holland experience, where offence could probably easily be taken, but I hope it isn’t and is simply seen as the observations of a foreigner from a different culture ☺️
As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t find much in the sense of a new European wardrobe.
I am not the type of person to live in ‘put together’ looking outfits day in and day out.
If I’m at home, I live for comfort and comfort alone 😜
Jean skirt, sweater or maybe one of Mikes shirts or pj’s but NEVER a semi matching top and skirt.
Much-less a skirt made out of something other than denim and a top that looks better with a matching cardigan 😉
I WISH I had the energy and the fashion sense to put together decent looking, simple outfits to wear now and again but I guess I’m just not fashionable enough.
So instead I blame my lack of height, money and tolerance of non ultra soft clothing articles 😬
But the Dutch woman just look put together and ready to go out, all the time, anytime.
Outfit matching and probably with a simple classiness to boot.
If I had to go to out into town to get something, I would totally need a few moments to prepare myself to be even slightly ready for public viewing but not them, if they need something out they go, all ready and presentable.
I found it admirable.
And slightly sad 🙈
Do they not desire comfort?! Do they not long for the relief of changing out of confining, restricting, dress clothes?
Sunday is the only day I really put effort into my clothes and now even that too, is becoming less and less 😬
But if I do scrounge up a formal outfit, you can bet the first chance I get, I will change out of it.
I started ASKING Mike to change out of his day to day/Sunday clothes and into jeans and a t-shirt when we could get back to our house because he LOOKED like he should be uncomfortable 😆
Color wise they differ as well.
Pastels, muted tones, whites, tans, blush pinks and navy blues are the favourites.
By all, male or female, old or young.
I still feel slightly confounded when I recall a family photo that was taken at a wedding.
Because we were all together and dressed up, a picture was wanted and that was totally understandable.
What wasn’t, was that EVERYONE matched.
Without planning to!
At home, had my family all attended a wedding, there is no way in the world that our outfits would have matched and blended seamlessly, had we not pre planned and worked to make it happen.
But there, all were in light blues and blushes and it was pure luck that I hadn’t worn my bright pink top and went for my floral one instead, which still kind of worked with everyone.
(Though the black leather skirt was still a bit out there probably)
So clothing wise, I found it pretty hard to find things that were my style 😉
Hairstyles are very important to the men and not so very important to the woman 🙃
The opposite of back home.
It of course and always does, vary on the person themselves, but generally at home the men don’t care all that much about putting effort into their appearance but the woman will almost always have their hair done and styled, at least simply.
In Europe, the men (the ones I knew anyways) wouldn’t hardly THINK of leaving the house without at least running some gel through their hair, even if it was to just go do some work or play soccer but the woman would look like they’d been caught in a mini tornado before getting to work 😂
Sometimes I would wonder how the lady behind the till even got her hair that messy, as I could wake up with more calm hair then she was boasting.
They stilled dressed ultra classy, but would be out and about, letting their obviously freshly showered hair, air dry on their damp, breezy bike ride to work, resulting in a ‘whatever it is, it is’, kind of hairstyle and them being fine with that.
Not what I was used to and Mike wasn’t used to my habit of doing hair before every outing either.
Him feeling as if he was totally allowed to do his hair before we went out but sometimes getting annoyed that I would say I had to do my hair before leaving too, when to him, the half wavy half straight, down or up, home hairdo, was more than normal and even acceptable to him, for a womans hairdo.
Not bad, just so funny to me as it was so very opposite of what I was used to.
The characteristic that most Dutch people proudly say they have.
They seem to pride themselves in saying what they think, about whatever it may be and saying they are just being Dutch in telling you.
I personally think it could be a good quality in the correct place but I found there were some, not all by any means but some, that used the undeniable Dutch heritage of ‘being honest’ to be rude or to be able to speak their opinion in a way that could possibly have been worded much nicer 😉
Dutch people themselves even told me that some took it too far and used it as an excuse to be a little rude or blunt.
Like I said, not all were that way, but some do for sure use it as a way to speak their mind about whatever they wish, however they wish to.
Mike actually said that one of the things he liked about me ( gross detail I know 😜) was that I was honest about my opinions and thoughts and he, as a Dutch person was used to and liked that.
Once I was there and experienced it, I hoped I was of the at least semi politely honest sorts 🙂
Complimenting even those they are familiar with or others, is almost something they mock as being overly enthusiastic and too ‘American or Canadian’.
They are nice and friendly of course but only after having lived there awhile, did I notice and miss the absence of kind words.
At home we aren’t what I would call overly sweet, kind or complimentary but it would probably be odder then not, to go somewhere and NOT get at least one nice thing said about your outfit, hair, jewelry or whatever it may be.
I agree there are some people you meet who every time tell you ‘that’s the cuuuutest outfit I’ve ever seen! I don’t know if you’ve ever looked better!’ etc. and that is a little tiresome too, but never having anything said, was actually a little more disappointing then I would have first thought.
It’s not that they aren’t kind or don’t think well of others, it’s simply not really something they would consider going up and saying 🤔
They are very active folks, riding their bikes and walking many places if possible and though we are told bread is bad for us our whole life, that is a large bit of their diet and it does not obviously affect their figures 😜
Food laws are pretty strict on what dyes and ingredients are used and groceries are generally bought fresh and go stale faster than at home, due to less preservatives in them.
So the eating habits are healthier in that sense and as I maybe mentioned before, fast food restaurants are few and far between, though fried fries and snacks are still a big part of the youths meals 😉
It isn’t noticed until we would hit an airport and be in the midst of an abundance of people, from an abundance of places, that we would notice the general size went from small/average, to medium/large and beyond.
They are truly a healthy lifestyle type of people.
Mike and I never adhered to that part of the Dutch lifestyle unfortunately 😝
And so ends the observations and things I noticed and learnt from my year and a half in Holland, after moving there from Saskatchewan.
I truly did not mean to offend anyone, nor is one aspect pointed to anyone in particular.
When I moved there, I thought there would be a few, large differences but it didn’t take long to see that it was actually a multitude of little things that differed from what I had grown up with and for interests sake I wanted to share some of those things.
I hope it was an interesting read and helps explain a little of what a person goes through when moving to a place with a different culture and puts in perspective, that what is normal for us, isn’t normal for everyone 😏
Feel free to leave a comment if you’ve experienced something similar, have a different opinion or have any further questions! 😄