The Netherlands is one of my favorite countries! The name literally means “Low Country”, that is, it has been prone to flooding since the beginning of time. But with that problem came the Dutch admirable innovation — they built dams and canals and other flood control systems. The Dutch are not only remarkable for that. They are also known for many other things, from innovative and modern structures, transportation systems and windmills to cheese, wooden shoes and beautiful flower gardens (esp tulips) in summer.
I also had many wonderful Dutch penpals and postcards pals. The Dutch, the majority at least, are very friendly and trustworthy. One of them even hosted my stay in Belgium way back in 2014. And of course, my Dutch uncle and his family made me feel very welcome during my first visit in the country. It was cold and rainy December, and I had to accompany my grandmother from Sweden to Rotterdam, a city in Southern Holland. Courtesy of my aunt and uncle, I managed to get to know more about the Dutch way culture and a little bit of their traditions.
My trip, which lasted for a few days, began flying with KLM, or the Royal Dutch Airlines, from Copenhagen to Amsterdam. The Netherlands is a very small country! It only takes about an hour to travel from the north to the south. My aunt and uncle picked us up from the airport, and off we went to the beautiful little town of Spijkenisse.
I guess it is safe to say that the Dutch like cats. My aunt and uncle has two, and a friend who moved to Belgium has one. 😛 Anyway, Spijkenisse is located in the province of South Holland. According to archaeological research, the town has been inhabited for thousands of years, with fishing and hunting on the swamps as the main source of livelihood.
Expect to see lots of water when in the Netherlands! My aunt and uncle took us for a little walk to familiarize us with the town. The roads, woods and parks are very suited for physical activities like running, walking for fitness, biking, and so on. Did you know that the Netherlands is the Bike Capital of the World? I bet it is also very popular in autumn when the leaves start to fall, and in summer!
A little glimpse of the Dutch way of life: The Dutch like it simple and private. Most households have a deep-fryer, and houses have very narrow stairsteps! SO watch your steps! 😀 On new year’s eve, it is tradition to eat the Dutch version of doughnuts — the oliebollen. Deep fried in regular cooking oil, it is a perfect match for your coffee or tea! They also have the concept of gourmet, or the Gourmetten, an individual grilling set where people around the table pick the stuff they like — meat, fish, vegetables — and grill them on the go! (see photo below)
This is just a glimpse of the Dutch way of life and of a regular Dutch town in the south. More about my trip in the entries to come! Meanwhile, here are a few more photos of the beautiful little town! The Netherlands is all rain and wind in December. Cheers! ❤