Holland Cultural Difference

Many things have struck me as somewhat odd in Holland. Whether it is something that they do daily or even weekly, there are many small things that are different from my home in America.

Many differences that I have noticed have occurred at breakfast. As most of the places we have stayed at so far have been with the organization Vrienden op de Fiets---which includes breakfast---we get to experience this in full. Most breakfasts so far have been bread and toppings such as jam, cheese, butter, and sprinkles, along with a hard boiled egg. This is in stark contrast to the American breakfast of multiple eggs, several strips of bacon, toast, jam, and maybe hash browns (or in our case cold cereal or toast).

The drinks also pulled my attention; kids and adults alike are expected to have tea, which is not as common in the coffee-capital of the world, Seattle. Personally, I find the Holland breakfast to be enjoyable and a little different in each house, with slight variations on meats, bread toppings and extras, like yogurt and granola.

Another difference I noticed is the quality of life. The Dutch are out of their houses and interacting with others, rather than just staying at home indoors. Half of the country are on their bikes daily, out and about whether shopping, spending time with their family, or going to work or school. There are markets regularly in town squares---especially on Saturdays. Restaurants are everywhere, and many great kids ready to play a pickup game of soccer or go swim in the canal. People are definitely more out and about here than we experience in the United States.

People's houses also are a point of interest to me. They are not huge; rather they usually include a couple beds, a kitchen, dining room, family room and a smallish bathroom or two. Some interesting things in the house are also a bit different: toilets are in their own separate room (like a tiny closet), frequently there are steep, spiral staircases, and a tiled or thatched roof.

Mentality can also be a factor. For instance, the thinking here would be if you get hit by a tram, it is your fault (you should have been paying better attention). Whereas in America, people would think 'this should be safer,' or 'the government should have put in a fence', or there should be a crosswalk here (in other words, it is somebody else's fault). Of course, they do have crosswalks here in Holland, but here people could touch the tram easily, and the trams actually stop for you.

Holland is an interesting place with a lot of bikes, full of rolling countrysides and fun experiences.

1 comment:

  1. So, overall, which do you prefer? Too soon to say?


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