When we first arrived, we were unsure of what to eat, where to shop or how to read the dutch labels. Thanks to Utrecht University and the google translate app, we learnt. Here are a few things that we have encountered in the Netherlands that we love that are “oh so Dutch”.
This caramel, syrup, biscuit, waffle, sweet, sugary delicious treat is certainly a reason to fall in love with the Netherlands. You can get fresh warm stroopwaffles from any of the markets that are usually open on Saturdays or Sundays. There is one near Utrecht Central on Sunday. Stroopwaffles are also sold in almost all supermarkets and they are pretty cheap — no more than about €2 for a packet depending on how big it is. They are delicious with a cup of tea or coffee.
2. Flowers in the lampposts
Spots of pink, purple, green, red and orange are speckled around the cities of the Netherlands. This makes sense, being that the Netherlands are one of the leaders in horticulture. I love the pop of colour against the grey skies that are often present. I also found out that these flowers provide jobs for people all over the Netherlands. Someone comes to water them so they don’t die! Very first world.
3. Chips with lots of mayonnaise
The dutch are super proud of their potatoes and they are usually cut, fried and drenched in mayonnaise. People can be seen eating them at the train station, on the street or in restaurants. I have to say they are absolutely delicious and my dad is a potato farmer so I know my spuds.
4. Bicycles everywhere
Bicycles are apart of the architecture here in the Netherlands. They are one with the country – I think some of them have been sitting in the same place for longer then I have been alive! The Dutch started this bike mania scheme in the 1970’s in the hopes that people would move away from a car centric approach to safer, more mobile and liveable cities.
5. The Cheese
Go to any market or supermarket anywhere in the Netherlands and there will be all kinds of cheese. Gouda, cheddar, swiss, smelly, yellow, red, mouldy, young, old – you name it they have got it.
6. The Canals
Did you know that quite a bit of the Netherlands is below sea level? About a third according to some sites. So it makes sense that there are a lot of canals here. The Dutch are extremely efficient (in my opinion) at managing the excess water – they make it look easy and very beautiful.