Beyond the red light districts and coffee shops of Amsterdam, there are things about the Netherlands and the Dutch that you’ll surely fall in love with….that is if you could get past the initial shock factor. What are the things you might be surprised by on your visit to the Netherlands? Read on to find out.
1. The Stingy and Frugal Dutch
The Dutch are known to be stingy, so they won’t easily treat other people and don’t tip at all. They are also known to bring their own food when on holiday to avoid spending money. It isn’t a wonder why there’s the phrase “Going Dutch” which we say when we want to split the bill evenly between all participants.
One item of proof that the Dutch are extremely frugal is the thing they call flessenschraper or bottle scraper. It’s a Dutch kitchen tool designed to scrape the contents of long bottles so nothing gets wasted.
2. Bikes Everywhere
The Netherlands has more bikes (fiets) than the country’s 16 million+ people. Each Dutch person usually owns at least two bikes – one for daily use and one for excursions. The Dutch love their bicycles so much that even thieves can’t keep their hands off stealing them, which is why some people use 2-3 locks to prevent having their bikes stolen.
It’s a pleasure to do day trips with a bike around Dutch towns and see the amazing sights. You’ll enjoy it more when you notice that there are fietspaden or bicycle paths marked by white signs that you’ll encounter from streets to bridges to tunnels.
3. Mashed Food
The Dutch like to mash (eten prakken) their food. Not only potatoes, you’d also find them mashing any food possible. The best example to show their love for mashing is the stamppot which is done by boiling various vegetables, mashing everything, and ending the dish with a sausage on top. Some Dutch go overboard and even mash pasta and french fries.
4. Chocolate Sprinkles
If you’re used to seeing sprinkles on ice cream or doughnuts, get used to seeing these sweet toppings on bread paired with a glass of milk when you go to the Netherlands. These sprinkles are called Hagelslag and aren’t only eaten by kids but by adults as well. They can come in different colors and flavors like fruit flavor and licorice seed flavor. The Dutch also love to sprinkle Hagelslag on top of peanut butter sandwiches.
If you want to speak and understand Dutch, there’s one thing that makes it more exciting and troublesome: abbreviations. The Dutch are so fond of their abbreviations that at times it seems as if though that’s all they speak. Understanding Dutch can feel like trying to crack a secret code. which can make foreigners feel frustrated especially when they need to fill up some important papers. Examples? There’s a.s. (aanstande) which means “upcoming” or “next”, and a.u.b. (alstublieft) meaning “please”.