/ The Dutch are a curious bunch...
They don't accept Visa or Mastercard... anywhere! (except in some hotels it seems). Apparently according to one local it is because they are too tight to pay the VISA fee so only use local banks. Was a right shock when I turned up and tried to pay with things (eg train ticket!) with my card.
The bicycles (and there are a LOT of them) all have these huge comedy handle bars... even the mountain and racing bikes I have seen have them. Hilarious! Though most bikes are those old granny ones.
The coffee is invariably cold; nearly every double espresso I have ordered since my arrival (quite a few!) have been lukewarm at best.
And also they don't seem to have discovered carpets here...
I used to work for a dutch firm and they were all very tall.
You'll notice they aren't big on curtains either (or at least on closing them).
Yeah... at 6'4" I was big in the UK. Here I am just average height! lol (well not quite, but I have certainly lost the edge)
Try speaking to them in Dutch, never managed myself and had a friend who spent two years trying to learn but the bloody Dutch were too polite and would always speak English so she gave up!
Also if you borrow a bike to get home after a few beers then check what the braking system is before you need to use them.
The Dutch are an odd bunch but a cracking bunch of people.
> I used to work for a dutch firm and they were all very tall.
I once tried to buy a pair of "large" ski tube/socks in Morzine. Assistant said "no no no! They are only for the Dutch!"
However their cricket team is doing remarkably well against South Africa at the moment :-)
I'll agree that they're cracking people.
From what I have been told, the thing where they only speak English to you is not politeness but simply that they are so keen to speak English to practise it. One guy said many prefer English over Dutch just to speak.
Useful in one way, but will be very difficult to learn anything as you said.
what about the women ?!
Shhhhh... even from Nepal Tamsin will hear us! And I don't want to be responsible for a crazed Scottish woman clawing the eyes out of some Dutch girls she things are a threat. Hahaha
Yet KLM, the Dutch airline, has the worst legroom I have ever experienced.
And, curiously, Thai and Malaysia have the best, and they aren't countries full of tall people!
Lack of curtains: goes back to some form of curtain tax i believe
Cold coffee: really? never had that problem myself when i lived there….try drinking coffee verkeerde if you can face milk in your espresso :)
Carpets: are an absolute abomination…its only the Brits who are so obsessed. A moment of horror for my italian gf was discovering that we even put little carpets around the toilet. To soak up the piss i told her ;)
The 'omafiets' granny-bikes are fantastic for lazy pedalling on flat ground…and even better when you have a tall Dutch beauty sitting behind you and holding onto your waist!
The language: why listen to this foreigner mangling our tricky language when we can all speak perfect english!
I love holland :)
You'll notice they aren't big on curtains either (or at least on closing them).
Don't they close them once they've received their visitors?
They used debit cards earlier than the UK (they used a stripe and PIN system years ago) - because of that the system is the Dutch Maestro one. As no UK banks issue Maestro cards any more (and when they did they weren't proper Maestro cards, they were a modified version of the old UK-only Switch standard), this can be a faff.
They aren't "comedy" handlebars. They are way more comfortable if you're using your bike as a day to day method of transport in normal clothes, as they all do. My hybrid bike has high handlebars for that reason.
We have a *lot* to learn from the way the Dutch do cycling.
I read somewhere that the reluctance to close curtains harks back to Calvinism, and the idea that people with closed curtains must be hiding something from God.
It does make for some enjoyable nosiness when mooching round the fancy-schmancy bits of Amsterdam though.
I'm with them on that. I particularly dislike net curtains and refuse to have any at all in my house. (If I'm getting changed, I just close the main curtains).
I like carpets as I an walk bear feet all found the house easily. Here I have something that isn't far off f*cking concrete in my flat. I wouldn't mind wood but this is just nasty!
In reply to Neil Williams:
They might be more comfortable but they are still pretty damn funny to see! Saw one top of the range racing bike sporting these huge granny bars akin to a 1930's French film. Made me smile
Yeah all the neighbours have seen me naked on a few occasions and it's only day 4 in this flat!
At the uni of kent at canterbury there is (well was when i was there) quite a few dutch students.
One of the lecturers once said could always spot their essays by the fact the English was better.
It is all to do with cleanliness. They dismissed carpets because they are actually very dirty things, and curtains because they gather dust.
They (quite rightly in my opinion) find it incredible that some people in Britain actually have carpet in their bathrooms.
...especially in those houses where they seem to have a communal central heating system they can't turn off...
Apparently the only country in the world where women are of greater height (on average) than the men.
Aren't the Dutch indeed the tallest nation on earth?
:) UKC needs a like button. (re the handlebars)
Edit: Laminate downstairs, carpet upstairs. Would prefer laminate throughout, but it's costly and time consuming to lift and relay if you need access to the electricals or pipework.
Oh, and wood-effect lino in the bog. But my parents do have carpet.
One of the most astounding facts that I ever learned about the Dutch, is that they don't have a word for 'orange'!
That'd be funny if it was true: oranje.
Oh... My mate Dave told me that.
I should have known better, because he also once told me that Rome had been founded by Romulus and Remus, who were suckled by a Yorkshire terrier.
In my experience, having a holiday in The Netherlands (not 'Holland' apparently, that's like saying Yorkshire when you mean England) we found the Dutch to be the friendliest people we had met in Europe. Invariably cheery and open, except when I asked one lady in the hotel reception 'do you speak English?' and she replied shortly 'of course!'
(text, because it won't let me post that on its own)
Yeah, they're a pleasant lot. They also tend to speak their minds, so you always know what they are thinking, much easier than English people who don't. I worked there for a bit and really enjoyed it.
A bit flat though.
I thought having them open meant the girls were available for trade, or closed they were busy at work. Could I have just gone straight in?
On the occasions I've been to Amsterdam I haven't spent time in the red light district, so your experience there will be more informed than mine is.
then you've never flown on Iberia Express. Even with my 5-foot-7-and-three-quarters frame, it feels like the've brought back the Inquisition.
Ah, I forgot Wizz Air, in which I physically can't sit down in the normal seats, and the exit row has about as much legroom as normal seats in easyJet's A320s (which have a bit more space than the A319s).
Colour - oranje
fruit - sinaasappel
Lovely language, lovely people.
You said it! How I ended up in the flattest country on earth I'll never know, but I'm sure I'll be flying back to the UK regularly for climbing - though in Groningen (my town) they do have the tallest free standing climbing wall in the world!
Try Monarch... I flew to Hurghada (Egypt) with them and it was probably the most unpleasant experience of my life. And that includes four near death experiences!
I wonder what they think of us?
I'll ask :)
That was not my experience on 31 December 2001. We had a few hours to kill between flights at Schiphol once and decided to pop in to Amsterdam on the train. That was the day before the Euro notes & coins "went live". We'd just flown in from Italy and so had no Dutch cash. Most of the ATMs were closed so that they could be reconfigured for the Euro, and those that were still open had queues a mile long. As it turned out we managed very well using nothing but UK plastic to pay for the return train fare, lunch (not in a hotel) and some odd bits of shopping in town.
I'd be surprised if they'd gone backwards in the 12 years since.
The ticket machines/office at Schiphol and (since quite recently) Amsterdam Centraal take UK cards. None of the others do.
Most of them at smaller stations don't even take notes, which is a right royal pain.
We were a bit shocked in Switzerland a few years back when not many places accepted credit cards there either. An they invented the bl**dy things!
Which are the other ones then? ;-)
These days they are *very* widely accepted in Switzerland, in some ways better than in the UK because minimum charges / card fees are rare.
Hmmm, maybe I'll go back there again then.
Feels uncommonly smug - there are some compensating advantages to being little! like being able to sleep curled up on the back seat of my hatchback at a push...
Because you forgot the nose :-)
Being tall has its advantages. But flights, trains, buses, a limited choice of cars, and trying to get 35" leg trousers and size 13 shoes are definitely disadvantages. Oh, and not hearing what people are saying because they're talking a foot below your ears.
I know your pain all too well! lol
Maybe it's different in Amsterdam, but in Groningen only one or two cash machines take Visa... everything else is Maestro.
And as Neil said, the ticket machines don't take notes mostly. Luckily the train fares are so cheap that it's not nearly as much as an issue as the UK... imagine putting £200 of coins in! Gulp
20min train ride from Groningen to Assen where I'll be working is just 5 euros. And a 2 hour journey to Amsterdam is around 20 euros. A two hour journey in the UK would be over £100 on some routes.
Hee hee. Particularly when some old woman told me off for setting a bad example to my Scouts for walking down the gutter with them on the pavement, when I was doing it so I wasn't talking quite so far down to them!
Do you mean ticket machines? I never had a problem with cash dispensers in NL, so if they are Maestro only now that's a massive step back since about 2006.
That's not so easy to compare, because while Nederlandse Spoorwegen is a very effective people mover, it's generally a low-speed operation. 2 hours will get you far further on our mainlines, mostly at 125mph these days, than it will on the Dutch system running mostly at below 100mph.
Nope... plenty of Dutch cash dispensers in Groningen don't take Visa. The only ones I have found that do are the ING ones.
Yeah that is true; the trains are slower. But I do love the double decker ones. We could do with that in the UK as would solve the capacity/platform space issue. But on the whole, I have found the whole train experience to be much more pleasant here than in the UK.
You make a fine point!
Have you tried keeping up with a Dutch granny on a bike? Good luck with that one!
I recall seeing some ladies sitting naked by their windows without drawing the curtains. Now I understand that they didn't have curtains to draw, for hygiene reasons. It all makes more sense now...
Double deckers won't work in the UK because our older system has a much tighter loading gauge, so they won't fit.
No to mention the tunnels...
Dutch people = Ace
Dutch country = Shit (if you're a climber.
Other things to point out - the Dutch have a excellent selection of Belgium beers...
So does Belgium.
Easily checked on Google , you beat me go it.
Try it in Afrikaans - it has them in stitches.
That was my point ...
A book called The Undutchables is quite funny, it's written by English Expats living in The Netherlands.
As a Dutch person living in the UK, I think Dutch people hold two views of what a stereotypical British person is like: they're either posh people who speak the Queen's English and drink tea with milk from small cups or they're loud football hooligans who get incredibly drunk during the weekend and whose girlfriends are plastered in makeup and fake tan but wear little actually clothing.
Personally, I think one of the key differences is (as Neil Williams said) that Dutch people are more likely to speak their mind. I wish British people (or at least some of the ones I know) would do so more often.
Finally, with regards to money, I find the extent to which cheques are still in use in the UK surprising. I received my first chequebook in the Netherlands about 15 years ago, but stopped using it two years later, as internet banking had taken off and hardly anyone accepted cheques anymore. I find it quite amusing that when trying to book a b&b or bunkhouse many will still list cheques as a payment method.
As an English person living in Scotland , I don't think the English or Scots have any views what the stereotypical Dutch person is like.. We know what the Dutch are like. We have all seen Goldmember .
I have only 1 question do normal crampons fit your clogs OK or do you have specially adapted clogs?
The only Dutch girl I ever knew was 6'. Used to play Goal Shooter in our netball team. She used to stand still like a very beautiful Princess Di look-a-like while we all lobbed the ball at her from miles away.
Beauty, height.....not fair :(
And also they don't seem to have discovered carpets here.
Carpetright yesterday published a profit warning due to poor sales in The Netherlands. 90 of their 240 stores are there.
> Try it in Afrikaans - it has them in stitches.
True, they fall about and say it's like Dutch for four year olds!
Can't believe you! The dutch people I have come across on my travels have been the coolest of people.
I don't think Zwarte Piet would be considered cool in the UK but all credit to them for respecting old traditions.
It is not so bad as a climber - only a few hours to the Belgian Ardennes and Germany. If you go to the Ardennes, it is best to join the Belgian Mountaineering Club and emphasise your Britishness - the Belgian climbers feel swamped by the Dutch.
Also, you can drive to the Swiss or French Alps from The Netherlands in less than 12 hours.
If you think the Dutch are curious, you should try the British!
I think we possibly have more in common with the Dutch than other Europeans.
Lol really? If that's true that's funny!
It was in yesterdays business pages.
Well I just had a good night out with a bunch of fun Dutch... met a female football team in a bar and drank with them all night :)
This is fine when they are of sound mind (which is often, if they are Dutch), but when someone who's a bit misguided speaks their mind and asserts an opinion, it is horrendous. The rare Dutch who fit the latter description there are one of my pet hates - on more than one occasion I have had to really bite my tongue to stop myself raging "STOP BEING SO DUTCH!(*)". The British reserve, in this respect, is actually a useful mutual self-preservation mechanism.
* this goes for all continental Northern European countries but The Netherlands seems the worst for it.
Curiousity is good.
I'm a regular visitor to The Netherlands and can certainly relate to that. It took me about ten years to become properly fluent in Dutch. I knew I'd finally made the breaktrough when the locals started replying to me in Dutch. I knew than that my Dutch pronuncaition was good enough that they couldn't tell I was English.
Bit far for me but thanks :)
I was answering the OP. Didn't read whole thread. When did Zwarte Piet come into play?
Likewise, it took me about four years of living in Zuerich before the locals would reply to me in Swiss German rather than in the boring, flat sounding High German they usually used with non-natives, which included those from the French and Italian parts of the country. By that time, I knew I was able to fool some of them some of the time into thinking that I was a local.
It also took about that long before I could go into a book shop and pick up a novel, any novel, without thinking about how much work it would be to read it.
I gave up on this one when I inadvertently said something very rude about Father Christmas and his helper.
Usually around 4th December ;)
Can I just intervene to say that this is a fantastic thread, and that I think we ought to have a regular series praising one of our crazy foreign cousins
Weekly thread from someone living abroad perhaps?
Being Dutch (a word that doesn't exist in our language) and therefore coming from Nederland (The Netherlands) and from Holland (North and South Holland are 2 provinces of The Netherlands)and having lived in the UK since 1999 it has been a absolute pleasure reading all the comments made on your post and I can say that I recognize a lot of the things you all mention, they make me smile and sometimes proud.
BUT when you talk about a strange bunch of people in a weird country do not worry this island is still top of the list as far as I'm concerned.
With love from a tall man without curtains or carpets.
Personally I consider being 'curious' or 'strange' rather good :) The UK is weird too, but in a different way.
I was talking to a new Dutch friend here and we came to the conclusion that the Dutch are all a little bit wild as the country is rather flat and in his words 'boring' in terms of things to do, so they make up for it in personality. lol
Already I have grown to love the Dutch as they're a great bunch and all speak their mind (as well as very friendly and welcoming to me)... it's just such a shame that the country is so bloody flat. lol
I have climbed regularly with general lee. This is the most sensible composition he has ever penned.
Normally he is barking mad and swears frequently. He is very reliable and to some extent house trained however.
Hmmm - living in Groningen, working in Assen... not for the NAM by any chance? :-)
If you fancy a decent coffee try the Ugly Duck on Swanestraat!
You guessed it :) Training to be a drilling supervisor.
Thanks, I'll give that a try. I do love the company at the place round the corner from me (I even get free coffees now) but it is nice to have a good hot espresso once in a while!
I would be interested to hear your list.
Working for a very large company I went on a course in holland with a load of people from all over the world. The Dutch attendees took it upon themselves to show us a good time, which the did with gusto. Charming people. 'Seemed' to like the Brits, no idea why really.
Have quite a few a ditch clients now. Very direct. Nice. Never concerned about their honesty either. Tall and make me feel u usually short lol.
Oh dear - Round one, round two - shake and bake DSV .... I worked on NAM B for a few yars (It's Deutag now) - watch out for the climbing the stand in the Derrick to touch the first tool joint trick ... they'll plaster the stand with pipe dope behind you - so you have to slide down through it. Good luck.
Sounds fun :) My day is tomorrow and I think first rig posting in May after the usual safety training etc (and learning some German apparently).
But cheers for the heads up! lol
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