The absolute joys of adulthood in the Netherlands

Adulthood and adulthood in the Netherlands: The struggles are real

It’s uncanny the amount of make-believe you immerse yourself in as a child, that is centered around being an adult.

You pretend you can drive a car, roll up a towel and pretend to be preggers, steal your dad’s keys and jangle them around unnecessarily as you wave goodbye to the imaginary friends you just met for a drink because, you know, it just sounds so… “official”. So grown up. You have thee most interesting conversation on a landline phone with no one (periodic nodding and frequent “uh huh’s” pepper the silence) and get ready to cook an invisible, yet tasty meal that your imaginary kids better appreciate.

Well, as a hypothetical grown up I can confirm that the make-believe is better than the reality! I’ve been living on my own for the past while here in the Netherlands and whilst there are a plethora of highs about leaving the comfortable abode of my parents home there are probably as many annoying things about living life as an adult. Here are my top 5:

1. Adulthood in the Netherlands: Sorting bills Holland

I was warned about this. I started renting my current home in Amsterdam with my roommate and we were warned about Dutch living (and salary- sheesh!) taxes: the trash tax, the house tax, the water tax, the breathing tax. Receiving a EUR 300 bill for trash in the mail is not for the faint-hearted.

2. Adulthood in the Netherlands: Laundry

There are probably few people out there who don’t enjoy the smell of freshly washed clothing. I definitely do! I have no problem throwing clothing in the washing machine and trying to meticulously pick the right setting for the right fabrics to ensure the right sort of wash ( i.e.: “mixed wash” basically).

Dealing with laundry is such a… chore. Removing it from the machine. Hanging it up. Struggling with heavy jeans, delicate jerseys and socks that seem so small in the grand scheme of things- do they really need to be hung out to dry?

Don’t even get me started on hanging everything back on its rightful hanger. Putting my clothes away. Not a chance. I will leave a pile of freshly washed clothes on my bed as long as I possibly can, carefully selecting my outfit for the day from my new bed-wardrobe. Please tell me I’m not alone in this.

3. Adulthood in the Netherlands: Laundry 2.0: Bedding

Okay, to be fair, I was just being dramatic before. The true bane of my existence is putting my freshly washed and dried bed cover on my duvet. I would lying if I said I haven’t gone a few days without putting the cover back on- maybe I’m just genetically programmed to avoid it for as long as possible? We’ll never know. Figuring out corners and sides and openings- the very thought of it exhausts me and…yawn..I think I’ll just curl up for a nap under this bare duvet and deal with wrestling the cover back on another day.

4. Adulthood in the Netherlands: Making an appointment in the Netherlands (Hair, doctor, dentist.)

Don’t you miss the days when your parents would help you make appointments like this and effortlessly ensure you attended? These days making a necessary appointment is like making social plans- as the time draws nearer, you begin to curse yourself for having agreed to the plan in the first place.

You schedule the appointment with initial determination and gusto (“My teeth are due for a checkup and responsible adults take care of their dental health!”) and when the time comes to actually get yourself to said appointment, you realise you are not as desperate as you thought you were because, if we’re being honest I have the irrational fear that if I tell the Dutch dentist not to hurt me he/she suddenly won’t understand my English. Don’t even get me started on what a mission it is to take the time off work to attend these appointments without causing a stir in your workload. (Disclaimer: I have perfect teeth)

Finding people that you trust for said appointments in the Netherlands is a whole other story.  I don’t have a base…they don’t know me or understand that my intentions to floss (whilst they never truly materialise) are there. And when it comes to a hairdresser?! Who can I trust to take care of my temperamental shock of hair? Niemand. That’s who…

5. Adulthood in the Netherlands: Cooking in Holland

Alright, to be fair here maybe you love cooking and it relaxes you. If that is the case, then please can we be friends (you can find me on Facebook). Maybe you’re like me though: Can follow a recipe, likes a good meal, indecisive so struggles to decide what to eat, looks into fridge, decides to make the same trustworthy meal (almost) every night. I can cook- don’t get me wrong. At the best of times, I’ll turn into Nigella (English accent and all, love!) and those adjectives will roll off my tongue as I explain the meal to the camera. You know you are an adult when you get tired of having to think about what you’ll be cooking for dinner and your chosen groceries have become a list you know by heart.

Stamppot anyone?

Do you share the same grievances about adulthood in the Netherlands? Anything I missed? (Honestly let’s just consider this part one) Let me know in the comments below!

Shaakira Vania
20-something year old traveller, coconut lover (Seriously-anything coconut), and Libran. I recently made the cross-continent move to Amsterdam and spend my weekends exploring the country, meeting new people and telling myself I will finish a book every month (a promise I'm yet to keep). If I had to sum myself up in three words they would be: quirky, curious, and meme-lover.


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