Shockingly, some people actually leave this little gem of a country. Once you have left there are certain things you will see, do or eat that will flood you with nostalgia for the land of stroopwafel and windmills. This will probably make you think that leaving the Netherlands was a mistake (Duh!).
However, if you do have to make the big move away from the lowlands, we’ve compiled a list of just five of the things you’ll miss about living in the Netherlands — even though there are more than we can count. Also, we have five things that will make you feel a lot better about missing the Netherlands.
5 things that will make you sad when leaving the Netherlands
1. Seeing a tulip
Ahh, the tulip. This symbol of Dutchness signifies spring is coming. Every year the humble tulip graces the Dutch countryside, gardens, and city centre. In fact, it’s actually pretty difficult to avoid tulips in the Netherlands. The first time you see a tulip on non-Dutch soil, your heart will ache with the memory of all those beautiful flowers from the Keukenhof to the market stalls. 💐
2. Riding a bike
Let’s face it, the Netherlands is the ideal place to ride a bike. The bike lanes, the storage, the traffic light system — riding a bike here is a doddle. So, when it comes to riding a bike in another country, you will be filled with a mixture of nostalgia for the Netherlands, and anger that the rest of the world hasn’t quite caught up to the super Dutch cycling infrastructure.
3. Drinking Dutch beer
Dutch beer is cheap, tasty, and available in most countries. Yet, as is the case with the famous Irish stout Guinness, it just doesn’t taste the same when you’re not drinking it in its country of origin. 🍻
4. Special dates in the Dutch calendar
Whether it’s King’s Day, Sinterklaas, Liberation Day, or New Years…The Dutch certainly know how to party! When that time of year rolls around you’ll be seriously considering booking the next flight and joining in the festivities.
5. Looking back at old photos (especially of pretty canals and buildings)
Let’s face it, the quintessential image of the Netherlands is a bridge over a canal, adorned by wonky, gabled houses. Perhaps even with a few bikes locked up, with hundreds of tourists posing for a selfie blocking the view. When you look back at your own version, you’ll miss living somewhere that is so pretty.
5 Things not to miss when leaving the Netherlands:
Now we’ve established all those things that will make you homesick for the Netherlands, what about things about living in the Netherlands that aren’t quite so wonderful? Yes, I’m going to say it – life in the Netherlands is not always perfect!
1. Dutch bureaucracy
Ahh, Dutch bureaucracy. That love of paperwork and rules can make life (especially for expats) somewhat difficult at times.
2. Dutch directness
Okay, maybe you enjoy being told things exactly as someone sees them. It can be refreshing. However, sometimes you don’t want to hear everyone’s opinion on your life choices or fashion sense. Sometimes the truth hurts, and things are better left unsaid!
3. The fear of crossing a road
Dutch roads are a nightmare. The bikes, the trams, the pedestrians, the cars, the mopeds…everyone thinks that they have right of way. Really, we all know bikes are king here, but it still doesn’t make navigating the traffic any easier.
4. The food
Controversial we know, but Dutch food is not always great. Sure, there are some delicacies to be enjoyed here but you have to question the culinary taste of any country that loves pickled herring as much as the Dutch do.
5…We’ve run out of things that you won’t miss — sorry!
This list is really nit-picking. The Netherlands is actually a pretty great place to live and I guarantee that you will miss it if you ever leave!
What would you miss, or not, if you were leaving the Netherlands? Let us know in the comments below!
Feature Image: Andrew Virnuls/Pixabay
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in June 2018, and was fully updated in May 2021 for your reading pleasure.