Now, I know I only live in The Netherlands and not somewhere super foreign and exotic but believe me, there are some differences which really stop the place from feeling like England. So I thought I’d list a few things I miss from home, and if you’re reading this from a similar perspective let me know what you miss!
- 24 Hour Supermarkets– Or just large supermarkets in general really! Shops here are all tiny! I’m talking like six or seven aisles. In my city of Nijmegen we have an ‘Albert Heijn XL’, Netherlands answer to a Tesco Extra? NO. No bigger than a small Asda back home. And what happens when you need something from the shop past 8pm? You have to wait! Truly a first world problem, yes, but the amount of times back in Hertfordshire when I would be working late on an essay and wanting a snack to tide me over so I’d pop to Asda, are countless. I’ve heard in some cities shops open later, whilst Nijmegen has to shut early. Apparently it’s because this is the oldest city in the country and it has to have ‘rest periods’ where cars aren’t flowing through, to preserve the city. I don’t know. Silly.
- Cheddar Cheese– I’m not a big cheese eater, but you know what they say. ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder! I’ve had enough of the Dutch Gouda. It might be famous but it isn’t that nice! I long for some cheese on toast, or some cheddar in my burger. The individually packaged and sliced burger cheese we get in England is called Cheddar here which is basically insulting.
- The English Language– I think this is one which will apply to anyone living in a country where you don’t speak the language, and this isn’t a complaint. It’s my own laziness as the cause of my inability to speak Dutch. But I miss being able to listen in on conversations, or just communicate easily. Thankfully basically everyone speaks English here, but I still feel like a massive pain when some kind old lady tries to spark up a conversation and I can’t humour her.
- Driving– It really isn’t a myth. Literally everyone cycles in the Netherlands. And it’s great! Except from when it’s cold and raining. Which was quite often over winter. We all cycle back from nights out, and tipsy cycling when its deep in the minus temperatures at 4am are far from ideal. Obviously I wouldn’t drive back from a night out after drinking, so that was kind of a redundant analogy, but there’s been loads of times where I’ve cycled in the freezing cold and longed for a car with heating.
- Pints, Pubs and Pool- This is kind of a non point too because I’ve found an Irish pub called ‘The Shamrock’ which has a pool table and serves pints.. But the majority of places don’t! Beer comes in small little 200-250ml glasses with a GIANT head of foam! Granted, in most places this costs just a euro, and the beer tastes waaaay better, but I miss the English unit of measurement and serving. Also pool is nowhere near as popular, and the average place you go for drinks doesn’t have a table. There are a few places specially to play the game, but it isn’t as chilled as a game at the pub. It’s the little things.
Obviously there are hundreds of positive things, and I love the Netherlands, but for the purpose of this post I thought I’d just share a few negatives. Maybe I’ll make one on the positives soon- It will be much longer I’m sure!
Thanks for reading!!