TRAVEL DIARY | Random Myths and Truths about The Netherlands

Windmills the Netherlands

With all the traveling I’ve done so far in my life and the different posts I’ve written about my travels, I’ve never written anything specific about where I live, except for the post about my visit to the Dutch tulip fields.

Obviously, we as people always have this stereotype about one another, whether it’s about nationality, race, ethnicity or even our customs and traditions. So in today’s post I’d like to talk a bit about the stereotype, myths and truths about the country I’ve been living most of my life; the Netherlands.

{WARNING: The statements below are all based on my personal experience and are therefore my personal opinion – }

Dutch Windmills Zaanse SchansDutch Cheesedutch-tulip-fiels-the-netherlands

“People in the Netherlands wear clogs, live in windmills and tulips are everywhere”

There’s some truth and a bit of a myth around this stereotype about the Netherlands. So let me just clear this up for you. Obviously the Netherlands is known for its yellow clogs, windmills and tulips. So that’s without a doubt true! Although most people wear regular shoes here, just like in any other country(duh!), clogs are still being worn till this day, but only by some farmers in small villages in rural areas. And nobody lives in windmills, to be honest, but you can definitely see lots of windmills spread throughout the country. There’s even a historic village called “Zaanse Schans” made for tourists actually, where you can get a glimpse of the Dutch landscape in the 17th century including historic windmills.

As for the tulips; Obviously you can buy tulips throughout the year at floral shops, but to get a feel of the Dutch landscape and its colorful tulips, Spring would be the season! Why? Because that’s when tulips are in full bloom and there’s even a spring garden and park called “Keukenhof”, where you can see millions of color tulips for about 6 weeks straight! Beside the garden, you can see tulip fields outside on private lands of farmers also. I’ve written a post about my visit to one of those private tulip fields here.

Dutch Tulip Fields

“Prostitution and weed are legal and everyone walks around stoned”

Well, the Netherlands is very attractive to those looking to smoke some weed without getting caught! Yes, weed is indeed legal here and you can get it at the so called “coffee shops” (not just for coffee!), with some restrictions these days. Nonetheless, it’s  legal, but that doesn’t mean that everyone smokes weed and walks around stoned like Snoop Dogg – So that’s a myth for sure! Besides weed, prostitution is legal as well, which I think is ridiculous, but to each his own. Nonetheless, seeing women standing behind the windows half naked waiting for a customer is very entertaining to tourists. Because the popular “Red Light district” in Amsterdam, draws tons of tourists every year!

“Amsterdam is not the Netherlands and the Netherlands is not just Amsterdam”

When I travel I always meet different people from different backgrounds and cultures. And what often happens is when I tell them I’m from the Netherlands, the first thing they say is: “Amsterdam!” In my head I go: “As if Amsterdam is the Netherlands and vice versa”…And some people even think, Amsterdam is a country on its own! – but let’s not even go there… So I often say that there’s more to the Netherlands than just the capital city.IAmsterdam.jpgAmsterdam Canal Houses

Obviously, over the years Amsterdam has become a very popular, cosmopolitan city; If not just for the weed, prostitutes and dance festivals alone, but also for (tech)startups. Although in the recent years cities like The Hague(city of the Dutch government and parliament), Utrecht(Great for shopping!), Haarlem(which I call “small Amsterdam”), Delft(city of Delft Blue), Gouda(you know the cheese?!) and Rotterdam(city of the biggest port of Europe) have become popular as well. So if you ever come and visit the Netherlands, try to visit cities outside Amsterdam also, to get a broader perspective of the country. 😉

Den Haag Centraal - The Hague Central Station
Den Haag Centraal – The Hague Central Station
Den Haag Piet Mondriaan
2017 has been declared as the year of “De Stijl” , an artistic movement that was co-founded by Dutch painter Piet Mondriaan, exactly 100 years ago. This is celebrated throughout the country with expositions and colorful buildings in the style of Piet Mondriaan and other artists of this movement.

 

“The Netherlands is a multicultural country, but nothing is what it seems…”

In my life I’ve always found myself in international environments, whether for work, school or just through travel. I personally thrive in cities where I see people from different cultures, race and ethnicities. In big, urban cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague is where you can see people from different cultural backgrounds, which is something I love about the Netherlands concerning its involvement in the transatlantic slave trade… Although the Netherlands is known as a multicultural country, doesn’t mean people are accepted as they are. It doesn’t mean there’s no racism or discrimination, because there is, and a lot to be honest. I see it on a daily and even have experienced it myself. All I want to say is that, just because a country is described as “multicultural”, doesn’t always mean people live in peace together. Because one thing I know from my experience, is that there’s a difference between being tolerated and being accepted.

With that said, these were my random myths and truths about the Netherlands(in short). Hope you enjoyed this post. Have you ever been to the Netherlands? How did you experienced it? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. As always, xo, Jey.

Dutch Tulip Fields the Netherlands

17 thoughts on “TRAVEL DIARY | Random Myths and Truths about The Netherlands

    1. Thank you so much Charlotte. I wanted to write a different kind of travel post than what’s out there and show my readers a different perspective of the country. I’m happy you liked it! Have you thought of writing a similar one about the US or the state where you live? Have a lovely week 🌸🌸🌸🌸

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That would be a great title or maybe even a series??? “FROM TOURIST TO RESIDENT: MY LIFE IN NASHVILLE part 1” Looking forward to reading if you decide to write a post about your experiences as a resident..☺

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Jey,

    Nice to read about your experience in The Netherlands.
    And lovely accompanied by photo’s!

    I do understand all is your opinion, I just have some little additional information:
    At the national Monumental Day and at the national Windmill Day, you can visit windmills extra and talk to the owner or to the inhabitant. Yes, people live still in windmills and lots are still in use for production of flour from wheat or waterpower and so on… I do agree not every windmill is to be inhabited. Some are little museums as well but even in the city where I live, in the northern neighbourhood the windmill is still inhabited by the same family for a long long time. About the famous ‘Kinderdijk’ I am not sure if they are all inhabited but a few are.

    And true the ‘Keukenhof’ is nowadays open again for those six weeks. I might pay a visit otherwise I have to wait for another year haha.

    And true about the multicultural part. I live in Rotterdam, one of the big multicultural cities (nearly 200+ different cultures and backgrounds? Something like that were the new statistics). And I live in a very diverse neighbourhood.
    What I experience is like: you learn to see, listen and talk with people who have the same or different perspectives or habits.
    For example now and then a couple is getting married and a part of the street feasts with honking cars in a parade, balloons decorating the house, families and friends of the couple who play traditional music of their cultural. And as soon as something like that happens, that whole part of the neighbourhood takes a look and is applauding for the couple too or sending the best wishes.

    Lovely blogpost!

    Greetings by Sophie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lisa, It’s great to take a break from blogging every now and then. And I can tell you I love it, because it allows me to get clear on other things and new focus in terms of blogging. Cool you just moved here!! What city???

      Liked by 1 person

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