Known for its progressive and open nature, the Netherlands is one of the world’s happiest countries to live in. This country has everything to offer from the countryside to the city nightlife, from windmills to flower gardens and from bicycles to canals.Sound interesting? Want to travel or relocate to this country? Well! Here are some things to keep in mind to make your travel/relocation a silky smooth ride.
1. Punctuality is key
First and foremost, remember that Dutch people are very punctual. Neither early nor late, Dutch people are always on time. Be it a party, a social gathering, an interview for a job or for account opening, make sure you reach the place on time.
The public transport system here consists of buses, trams and trains. It is very reliable and generally on time. You can download offline maps so that you can plan a trip to your destination properly.
2. Planning ahead of time is a good idea
In the Netherlands, people have set agendas. They love to plan ahead of time. So, if you want to go to some event or say a movie or have a coffee with a Dutch friend, then it’s good to ask at least a week ahead of time. Calling on a Friday night and inviting them for a movie on Saturday might not work!
The same goes for planning your holidays and other professional as well as personal meetings.
3. Your umbrella is your best friend
Rain is the only constant in this country. The Netherlands receives rain throughout the entire year, so you should be prepared with your rainproof clothes. You can use apps like Buienradar which show you whether there is any rainfall predicted in your location for the next two hours. This app is available on iOS as well as Android.
4. Watch out for strong winds
Even if it is sunny outside, you can expect strong cold winds. So after looking at the weather from your window, you might dress up in summer clothes, but as soon as you get out of the apartment, you might realize that the sunshine is accompanied with strong cold winds. Walk a couple of blocks and you will realize that carrying a jacket would have been a better idea!
5. A bicycle is a must-have
The Netherlands is a country whose terrain is very suitable for bicycles. You will see a lot of people cycling here. There are parking spaces available for bicycles at regular intervals.
Cycling is so popular here that there is a joke which goes:
“The depth of the canals in Amsterdam is 3m, of which 2m is water and 1m is bicycles.”
The country is full of fresh air and so cycling is also good exercise which will help you stay healthy.
6. The OV chip card makes travel easy
In the Netherlands, with the OV chip card, you can travel on all public transport in the country. You only need to recharge it and then you can travel by checking in and out. The recharge machines are available at all major stations.
It’s very easy to use. It can be bought either as an anonymous card or a card in your name. The card is valid for 5 years and costs 7.5 euros.
7. Learning Dutch is important
Although English is a popular international language, in the Netherlands not everyone speaks English. Dutch is pretty dominant and is also a requirement for some jobs. So, as soon as you come here, you can familiarise yourself with terms like ‘Goedemorgen’ meaning ‘good morning’, ‘Hoe gaat het met je?’ meaning ‘how are you?’ and so on.
8. You must try the Dutch cuisine
Dutch cuisine has several dishes, like poffertjes – made with yeast and buckwheat flour and typically served with a lump of butter and powdered sugar – or stroopwafel – two thin waffles stuck together with a layer of sweet syrup. These dishes are easily available in a lot of cafes in the country and are definitely a must have.
9. Tulip Gardens and Flower Parades are a treat for your eyes
Tulip season in the Netherlands runs from mid-March to the end of May, However, the tulips are at their best in mid-April. Most tulip farms in Holland are located in the Noordoostpolder in the province of Flevoland.
If you miss this season, you can see a flower parade instead. There are flower parades organised in different regions of the Netherlands from March to September.
10. Windmills – An integral part of the landscape
Windmills are an integral part of the Netherlands. Just go on a long drive in the country and you can locate plenty of windmills, spread across the lush green Dutch land.
The Netherlands is definitely one of the most attractive and happiest countries to live in. Just follow the above pointers and you will enjoy your stay in this country.