And we are back on time for an awesome guest post from Dutch blogger under our Flyway Friday feature. Are your prepared with the basic facts on Netherlands? I also posted some books to take us virtually around the country.
Hi there everyone!! My name is Maureen and I’m a Book Blogger on Maureen’s Books. I’m 29 years old, and I life with my husband and baby girl in the Netherlands. Next to being a Book Blogger, I’m a Nurse in a teaching hospital.
Thank you Gayathri for inviting me to share my country with you and your friends here at ElgeeWrites. I think it’s a great idea to share our different countries with each other. Especially since there are so many prejudices out there that just aren’t true. The things I read and hear about The Netherlands, or also sometimes called Holland, for example.
We all wear wooden shoes, ride our bicycles every day, we are all very tall and have used drugs at least once! Well.. Let me help you all out of that dream. I’ve only worn wooden shoes once for a picture when I was little, I haven’t used my bicycle in at least a year and half, I’m only 163 cm (I think that’s about 5 ft 3) and I have never used any sort of drugs.
Here in the Netherland we definitely do have our very own traditions. For one we celebrate Kings Day (here called Koningsdag) every year on April 27th. It’s a national holiday here. On this day we celebrate our King’s birthday (and before him it was called Queens day) with all kinds of parties throughout the country.
Children wake up early to sell stuff on little markets, and there is music and food everywhere. There are also many little book stalls, so for us bookish people it’s also a great day Everyone is dressed in Orange (because the Dutch Royal Family is from the House of Orange-Nassau), there are Dutch flags everywhere and it’s just a very fun day. In fact it’s my favorite holiday next to Christmas. I love it!
Also a fun fact: every day on Kings Day the King and his family visit a town here in the Netherlands and celebrate the day in that town and its people. It’s also shown on television.
Another sort of tradition here in the Netherlands is football and ice skating. It’s kind of a big thing around here. Especially football, although we haven’t been very good at it lately! Every time there is European Championship or a World Championship we all go a little crazy. Every supermarket is promoting football by making some kind of silly souvenir. And the streets are even a lot quieter when there is a big game playing.
Here in the Netherlands we eat stuff from every part of the world. Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, Italian, French.. you name it and we eat something from that cuisine at least once a month. But we do have some stuff that is really ‘Dutch’.
And my favorite is definitely called stamppot. Stamppot is basically mashed potatoes with some kind of vegetable. Two of my favorite stamppots are ‘Boerenkool’, mashed potatoes with kale, and ‘andijviestamppot, mashed potatoes with endive. I can eat that every single day. Unfortunately my husband doesn’t like it so much, so I don’t eat it much.
Another really dutch thing are Bitterballen. And boy are they taste. Bitterballen are deep fried crispy meatballs. And I don’t think they are really healthy for your, so I don’t eat them a lot. But during summer I love eating Bitterballen while drinking a glass of wine on a nice terrace. Yummy.
Although we sure have many restaurants, and we have the major fast food joints like McDonalds and KFC, I rarely eat there. I mostly cook dinner at home every day. It’s much cheaper, I enjoy cooking and eating out is more special if you don’t do it a lot, I think.
A Typical Day in the Netherlands
How does a typical day in the Netherlands look? Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is rainy and cold. Although the weather has gotten warmer these last view years, it still rains a lot here, and it doesn’t get very warm. A rain coat is definitely not a luxury around here.
Another thing that came to mind was traffic jams. We are a small country, but we have a lot of citizens. So the roads are often very busy, and there are a lot of traffic jams. Unfortunately traffic jams are a daily hassle for me. I go to work by car every day, and I stand in a traffic jam almost every single day. Blegh..
Like I said before, there are many stereotypes about Dutch people. It’s been said that we Dutch people are high on drugs a lot, since soft drug is legalized here. Well, although I would be able to get marihuana easily around here, I have never used it and don’t plan on using it ever. I honestly don’t think any of my friends and family use drugs regularly.
I think the fact it’s legal here, makes it uninteresting for a lot of people. So it’s nothing big here. The Dutch ‘drugs’ stereotype is used a lot in movies and tv series and I really hate that. Just as with the red light district in Amsterdam. Come on.. It’s one street that doesn’t mean we have prostitutes everywhere!! I also don’t think every American is like Trump. Just don’t judge! 🙂
Another stereotype about us is that we are ‘cheap’ around here. Well, I guess that’s probably true. If we can get something for free we’ll get it. Supermarkets and stores advertise with sales almost all the time and giving tips to waiters and mailmen etc. isn’t something that’s common here.
The last stereotype I hear a lot about Dutch people is that we are direct. And that one is also true I think. We don’t beat around the bush and we aren’t very hysterical people. For example when I see people going crazy wild about a famous person on TV, I know for sure it’s not here. They are just people like us right? And the funny meme here also proves it.. And yes, this is actually true!!
I have been reading books in English from when I was twelve years old. So I honestly don’t know much about Dutch authors and books. Obviously I hear stuff about Dutch Authors and books on TV and on the radio but I haven’t read many. I have read some Dutch children’s books while growing up, and I still own them.
My favorite Dutch Childrens books are written by Carrie Slee. Her books are mostly based on teens and a lot of her books are made into movies. I also loved the books by Paul van Loon. His books are more ‘scary’ and I adored them growing up.
Our National Language
Here in the Netherlands we speak Dutch, or as we call it Nederlands. Dutch, not Deutsch!! Deutsch is the national language of Germany. And although apparently our languages are very much alike.. I can understand it a little but definitely can’t speak it. Danish is also a little like Dutch. Some words are the same, but I also can’t speak a word Danish.
There are a lot of words in Dutch that are almost the same in English. For example:
- Tomato = Tomaat
- Apple = Appel
- Pear = Peer
- Banana = Banaan
And, I had to look this one up, we have one word that has no translation in English. It’s ‘gezellig’, And it’s a word we use a lot. This is what’s being said about our word ‘gezellig’:
Situations can begezellig, as can people and places – it’s an adjective, the noun beinggezelligheid. If something isgezellig, it is familiar, warm, friendly, cozy, and jovial. For example, enjoying a cozy dinner with old-friends in one of your favorite, quaint, little restaurants with some tasty food and wine isgezellig; being in a meeting at work is notgezellig!
Some important Dutch words and sentences for us bookish people are:
- Bookstore = Boekenwinkel
- Reading = Lezen
- Where can I find the nearest Bookstore? = Waar kan ik de dichtstbijzijnde boekenwinkel vinden?
- Do you sell “…” = Verkoopt u ook “..”
But one thing we Dutch people are mostly very good at is speaking English. Not everyone speaks or writes it fluently but most people can speak English pretty well. So if you come to visit and don’t speak any Dutch? No worries, we can understand you.
And that’s probably in short what I can tell you about our small country of The Netherlands. Who knows maybe some of you get to visit our pretty little country one day?! And to end things in Dutch:
‘Dankjewel Gayathri voor deze leuke kans.’(Thank you, Gayathri for this fun opportunity.)
Thank you Maureen!
Thanks Maureen for your time and sharing with us a glimpse of your Dutch life. You can contact here through her blog and social accounts.
That brings us to the end of our travel, the Netherland edition. I will meet you next month with another country with its books, authors and bloggers and whatever I can think of.
Let us chat
Have you ever been Netherlands? How do the Dutch stereotypes fare? Do you have any friends in the country? Let us talk.