5 things you will miss if you leave the Netherlands

It’s a common situation among expats: you arrive in a new country, get acquainted, embrace the culture, the people, the food. Then, before you know it, it’s time to move again!

Perhaps you have been through this, or you are about to go. If that were the case, what would you miss the most about the Netherlands? Here are some of the things that immediately sprung to mind 🇳🇱 :

1. Friendly hellos

If you’re new to the lowlands, chances are that you have crossed a stranger in the street and he or she has greeted you with a warm smile. You might’ve even got a wave or a full-on hallo/morgen. While it may seem strange at first for some people (depending on the culture you come from), it undoubtedly grows on you. I personally find it uplifting. Who wouldn’t miss such a friendly trait?

2. Strangers being helpful

Similar to how you’re likely to be greeted by a random person in the street, they can point also you in the right direction if you need it. Maybe you run into your neighbour and they will ask you about your life, where you’re from, the weather, your childhood traumas. In my experience, Dutch people like to talk! I wasn’t expecting that but it’s actually pretty nice. Taking that step from small talk to a real conversation makes you feel truly welcome.

3. No curtains

You are walking down a charming Dutch street full of the cutest houses, and you can’t help but have a peek inside. Who can blame you with those big inviting windows? If you didn’t grow up in this culture, it’s inevitable your eyes will wander.

That is the thing about not having curtains and owning a beautiful home in this country. The long and narrow living room that leads into the kitchen, which leads into a lovely back garden — it’s just too tempting to look! P.S. I am sorry if you have seen me spying through your window. 👀

A few curtains spotted here, but the only few in the lowlands. Image: Victor He/Unsplash

4. Letters for everything

When I first moved to the land of bitterballen, I didn’t pay much attention to PostNL. I mean, I didn’t really know anybody, who would send me a letter? The answer is everyone apparently.

From receiving your BSN (Burgerservicenummer) to having a pediatric nurse at your doorstep (wait, what?). There is something special about waiting for the mailman in this hyper digitalised world we live in. Although, all that snail mail could have been easily been covered in an email — not so great for the environment. 😅

5. Beautiful summers

While the weather is obviously not the best asset of the land of windmills and tulips, it’s fair to say that the Dutch summer is very enjoyable. This is coming from someone who has spent the last few summers in Madrid, where temperatures can rocket to 40 degrees. I can safely say that a nice fresh, balmy summer in the Netherlands is exactly what I was craving. Even if you have to wear a sweater in the middle of July sometimes. 💁‍♂️

READ MORE | Leaving the Netherlands: 5 things that make you sob with regret (and 5 that won’t)

For all these reasons (and way more), I will definitely long for this land if I ever leave.

What would who miss about the Netherlands if you had to move away?

Feature Image: nikascorpionk/Depositphotos

Laila Robles Martínez
Laila Robles Martínez
Laila is a journalist born and raised in Mexico City, and has lived in Canada (a semester in high school counts, right?), Spain (where she met the love of her life and completed her Master’s Degree in Humanities) and most recently, The Netherlands. She has great passion for exploring new cultures, mothering her beautiful three-year-old son, tasting all kinds of vegan treats and, of course, writing.

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  1. I am a Dutchman, left in 1982 to work in the Middle East, and from there moved to England. I’ve lived in Ipswich, then Keighley Yorkshire, Northwich Cheshire and am now just outside Liverpool, in Bromborough Wirral.
    What I miss most is the Indonesian way of cooking and Grolsch ( Ok, I’m from Kampen, but studied in Hengelo and Enschede..)
    My wife and I, plus children, visited several Dutch locations, icluding Amsterdam, Arnhem, Zwolle, And many other places. Yet I will not move back to the Netherlands..


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