Dutch have a style all their own. I think of them as the
perfect solution for North American political correctness.
They don't beat around the bush, they don't give empty
compliments, and when they say, "I'm fine." then they
probably are. I have worked with Dutch people for many
years and have always them found great to work with. Not
always easy, as they are stubborn buggers sometimes, but always
As for their
country....if you have never been there then you really are
missing out. They sell soft drugs legally from common
"coffee shops" all around the country. They
separate men's and women's change rooms an saunas and have
no problems being naked around each other. Besides that,
they are extremely hospitable, very friendly and take very good
care of their country and lands.
Things to Know
If you fly into the
Netherlands you will likely come into Schipol airport. The
airport is out in the country so if you want to get to a major
city you need to take a train. Once you clear customs just
follow the signs to the train station and buy a ticket from one
of the cashiers. Don't worry about the language, almost
all Dutch people speak English which makes it extremely easy
getting around. You don't even need to apologise for not
speaking Dutch, they are extremely easygoing in this respect.
The public transport
is superb. For intercity trains just buy a ticket for
where you are going from the ticket cashier. Within the
cities they use an above ground tram system. You need to
purchase a strippenkard which is a piece of paper with a bunch
of strips on it. All you need to do when you board a tram
is fold down the appropriate number of strips depending on how
many zones you are crossing (normally 2 or 3) and stick it into
this machine which will stamp the card.
The most important
thing you need to know when visiting bars in the Netherlands is
that they always serve beers with two fingers of foam on top.
I have no idea why.
does seem like a bloody shame wasting all the extra volume on
foam. So when your beer comes back with this disgusting
foamy layer just smile and drink it. If you try to send it
back they will just tell you to piss off.
It seems as if every
person in The Netherlands owns a dog. And these little
doggies just love making poo-poos on the sidewalks. The
Dutch don't mind letting their dogs do their 6business anywhere
they like and the result is a disgusting mess. Don't think
you will be wandering around enjoying the beautiful
architecture; you will actually need to keep your eyes on the
ground at all times in order to notice when "evasive
action" becomes necessary. Either that, or find
yourself a good shoe scraper.
This is the place we
know the best, especially the seaside area of Scheveningen.
Although it is quite windy most of the time, it is a very
happening place with many bars, restaurants, casinos, hotels,
etc. There is a huge jazz festival in the summertime and
they say the place really goes wild then. The city centre
of the Hague is quite average - plenty of shops and restaurants
and if you look hard you will find a few coffeeshops as well.
We spent a lovely
weekend in Apeldorn with our Dutch friends
Roy and Anka.
We met them through our Danish friends Martin & Marianne who
were also there to visit them. We had a great time sitting
around Roy's barbeque drinking lots of beer enjoying the sun, in
February! Roy and Anka showed us around the market on the
Saturday afternoon and we sampled the special herrings which
were extremely smelly, slimy and delicious. After that we
washed them down with a few pints of beer at one of the local
pubs. They also took us for a tour around the countryside
which was quite nice. One thing to keep in mind about the
country is that it is extremely flat. In fact, a high
percentage of the country is actually below sea level.
Live sex shows, drugs
for sale, prostitution...all within 5 minutes of Central
Station! If you actually want to see something that is not
in bad taste, then there are many, many museums and galleries to
keep you occupied. We went to the Anne Frank house which
was remarkable. We also had lunch at a small cafe where I
ordered some Amsterdam specialty which read like a
hamburger...but when it arrived I found out the hamburger meat
was very spicy, but completely raw. I put on my best
carnivore face and gobbled it down, though it was a little tough
going at times due to the texture. Ana had more trouble
finishing her meal due to watching me.