Brits are a fickle bunch. A nation that once boasted a globe spanning empire now sits sodden and reflective in the wild Atlantic. The modern British attitude is one of reserve and a sense that our best years are behind us. I can write with some authority as I myself am British. The recent surprise vote to leave the European Union could in many ways be seen as the nation collectively clearing its throat in the style of Hugh Grant and bashfully saying “we still matter!”
Yes, many Brits may feel that their place is no longer with Europe, but that’s not to say that we look across the water that separates us from the continent and wish we embodied some characteristics of our neighbours. We wish we had the work ethic of the Germans, the passion of the Italians, the style of the French, and the climate of the Spanish. But throughout all of Europe, I believe that the Netherlands offers Brits a sanctuary like no other, and thusly is in many ways an ideal holiday destination. Here’s why one should holiday in the Netherlands:
Only about 120km separate Margate and Middelburg. So it’s safe to say both the United Kingdom and the Netherlands enjoy our fair share of rain. Ponchos, raincoats, macs, cagoules – British and Dutch wardrobes alike are stuffed full. Sure, many Brits like to turn their pasty white skin scarlet in the Costa del Sol, but what’s fun about spending your holiday slapping on After-sun, whilst looking like a lobster thermidor? Not to mention the associated health risks.
In the Netherlands you’ll find weather close to what you’re used to, and if you’re lucky, sustained sunny spells in the summer months. The Dutch have their own summer paradise when the temperature breaches 20 degrees, and it’s just waiting to be discovered!
In the United Kingdom, when you say “European Cuisine”, a number of nations will stand out. Italian pizza, Spanish tapas, German Bratwurst, and let’s not even get started on the French! It’s fair to say that Dutch cuisine is woefully underrepresented in the British Isles, which is surprising, as there is significant crossover between the two countries favourite foods. We are both lovers of fish. There isn’t a Brit worth his salt (and vinegar) who wouldn’t dive head-first into a plate of herring.
Then there’s a DutchReview favourite – bitterballen. Fried balls of pasteurised meat might sound off putting to other Europeans, but Brits would find them similar to Scotch-Eggs or sausage rolls. Perfect with a pint!
Britain and the Netherlands are two nations united by a love of football. It has been argued that the Dutch national team are the greatest football team to never win the World Cup. And by that same sentiment, I think it’s safe to say that England are the worst team to win the World Cup.
There’s been no shortage of Dutch talent within the English Premiership; Robben at Chelsea, van Persie and Depay with Manchester United is just the tip of the iceberg. Brits in the Netherlands would feel quite at home in the stands of a Feyenoord game, and would have plenty to talk about with the locals over a pint and some aforementioned bitterballen.
I think it’s safe to argue that one of the great touch points between our two nations is our respective sense of humour. Sure, they aren’t carbon copies of each other. The verbal acrobatics of Stewart Lee would confuse an Amsterdam comedy club, and Zeg ‘ns Aaa is hardly going to get picked up by the BBC any time soon.
Both countries however do have a soft spot for the sillier side of humour. It’s been well documented that a number of British sit-coms and comedies have translated very well to Dutch audiences. Benny Hill, Monty Python and Mr Bean are well known exports where Brits and Dutch would find a lot of common ground.
As nations we know not to take ourselves too seriously, and that is how I would argue we are the most similar. For that reason, Brits are likely to feel very at home on holiday in the Netherlands. Whether they’re visiting The Hague, Amsterdam, or Maastricht, there will be something different, yet familiar for Brits. So the next time you’re reading the holiday planning guides and thinking about jumping on a jam packed EasyJet flight to sun-soaked Majorca, why not take a few minutes to see what’s on offer in the Netherlands? You might be surprised at what you find!