First, excuse my generalizations in this post. The University of Illinois has educated me enough to realize that my statements below do not apply to every person in the country referenced.
After settling down (unpacking my belongings, meeting my hallmates, and mapping out Wageningen) I feel at ease in the Netherlands. Right from the beginning, I had a group of students I spent a week with during AID, the new student program. They’re the cuties in the picture.
AID was a quick tutorial about how life works in Wageningen from classes and grocery shopping to social parties and Dutch traditions. Because it such a small campus, I still see them around the Forum, the main building on campus.
The Netherlands is a gorgeous country. The huge amount of precipitation leaves everything very green. The countryside is covered in green fields and pastures full of cows and sheep. The cities have fantastic architecture that make each town feel unique. The Dutch seem to have a pretty simple culture. Many are not religious. Their politics are boring as several students have pointed out to me. They are very proud of their country, language, and traditions. For example, many “hate” Flemish, a language known as Belgian Dutch. It sounds like Dutch with a French accent. Another example is when I ask about a festival or tradition from another country, I’ll get a response like “Oktoberfest is a German thing” or ” Hamburgers are an American thing.” I mistook
Heineken as a German beer and the Dutch students I was with got very offended. Know your Dutch culture!
Living here isn’t too different from the US. I’m a bit of an odd ball when it comes to eating habits, so sorry to all the US citizens out there. They think you’re weird because of me. Here are some small, very common differences I have come across:
USA vs. Netherlands
- We eat chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. They eat rolls with butter and chocolate sprinkles.
- We drink 0-2 cups of coffee in the morning. They drink at least 3 cups everyday.
- We buy 2 weeks of groceries at a time. They buy 2 days worth.
- We have copious amounts of cars. They have a staggering number of bicycles.
- It rains sometimes. Sometimes it doesn’t rain.
- We have umbrellas. They have rain jumpsuits.
There are tons of similarities, though! Organic products are still way expensive, waking up in the morning still stinks, and everyone loves Adele! The Netherlands has some quirks. Their food palate is a little dull and holy moly does it rain, but it’s my quirky little home for the next 3 months.
Fly you high,