In response to my recent 5 things I will always love about the Netherlands I thought I would write a counter post. The things that I really don’t get. The things that always mark the differences between our countries. In many ways the things I don’t understand about the Dutch are the basis for the reasons in which I love them!
- Cheese for breakfast. After having the debate with a Dutch person about breakfast food it as interesting to hear the views on bacon and beans for breakfast being odd whereas for me a cheese sandwich pre-midday is most odd.
- Over Friendliness. Being the foreigner I am well aware that for everyone I meet I am just one person but for me you are a face in a long list of people I have met. I’ve been visiting the Netherlands for a good many years and it is safe to say I’ve met more people fleetingly than I’ll ever be able to remember but being told you know someone and then kissing them not once but three times is still a little odd.
- The speed in which the Dutch communicate. Now then, in my quest to learn Dutch I was constantly being pulled up for pronunciation, speak slower, think about your words whereas when you are actually there they talk to each other at lightning speed which makes understanding the whole conversation as easy as cracking the Enigma. The odd word you can get a grasp of helps you find the subject matter and I believe that smiling and nodding helps too but the speed and questionable accuracy just doesn’t help little old me.
- The height of everyone, specifically men. Give me a chance at 1.62m I am a long way from average for the Netherlands but I swear they get taller every year. I recently saw a man in Albert Heijn who was so much taller than me I was if at least level with his nipples. It hurt my neck to look at his face. Just how can a nation be quite so tall?
- Bread. Back on to food because that in my opinion is where most good conversations always end up. The Dutch take bread, with bread. Bread as an aperitif. Garlic bread is not chunks of bread with garlic butter spread on it. There is just bread and butter with garlic. In a bar you have wine and bread. I’m all for nibble don’t get me wrong and I suppose the humble peanut isn’t eaten the same way there and in the UK but my body and bread don’t get on well together. I fear that dieting in Dutch would be very difficult.
So there we have it. 5 things I still don’t quite understand but help make the Country of Orange all the more fun!