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AMA

I live in the Netherlands, AMA

83 replies

Tulipsfordays · 18/01/2023 19:27

Not sure if this is interesting or not, but I couldn’t find a lot of threads sharing experiences about life here. So here goes!

I live in NL (near Amsterdam but in a different city) with my daughters and (Dutch ) husband. We moved about 2 years ago now. Expect to stay long term. I’m English, lived in London for 10+ years prior and grew up in the midlands.

OP posts:
LiteralSycamore · 18/01/2023 19:30

People always say that Dutch is both (a) difficult but (b) has a comparatively small vocabulary — is either true, in your experience?

Friends who lived in Amsterdam for years say the Dutch as a culture are direct to the point of rudeness — did you find this difficult, assuming you’re a more indirect communicator?

BeaBachinasec · 18/01/2023 19:32

Do you always have a jar of liquorice in the house?

Teacherteachernotapreacher · 18/01/2023 19:33

i would love to move to the Netherlands. Visited with the chn recently and it felt so calm and organised. Loved Amsterdam and the surrounding area
is it like that when you live there?

N1C · 18/01/2023 19:34

Do you cycle often?

Userwoozer · 18/01/2023 19:41

We're told that the housing crisis there means that some students can't find anywhere to live. So what happens to them?

Tulipsfordays · 18/01/2023 19:42

@LiteralSycamore hmm no I don’t agree. Vocab not particularly small - and actually lots of random indioms / sayings which don’t translate. I think it’s a relatively easy language to learn tho- at least to a certain point. I’m definitely not fluent. I’ve picked up a lot just by being here and hearing it, and some language lessons to support that. Only other language I’m decent at is French which I find much harder from grammar perspective

I don’t really recognise the direct thing. Mahbe because I was already married to a Dutch guy. But yeah I think it’s overblown as a stereotype

@BeaBachinasec ha, no I’m not a fan. The salty version especially.. eewww

@Teacherteachernotapreacher yeah I would say so, although my contrast is zone 2 London. I don’t find central Amsterdam calm tho! I like it, but so busy w bikes and tourists. Much prefer different areas of NL.

@N1C yes pretty much every day. Same for most people even if relatively old, unfit etc. Think that’s great, just to be moving around. Kids also love going in the cargo bike to daycare or the beach etc. Very handy

OP posts:
Tulipsfordays · 18/01/2023 19:44

@Userwoozer i don’t know re international students but know they are maybe cutting numbers for that reason

many Dutch students seem to live at home w family still given the crazy costs / availability (at least in Amsterdam)

however I am late 30s with 2 under 5s, so can’t claim to have big insight into the uni housing system here

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SweetSakura · 18/01/2023 19:46

I always look at the maps of sea level rises due to climate change and wonder how people in the Netherlands feel. Does it get discussed a lot?

ofwarren · 18/01/2023 19:47

Have you been to Efteling?

Userwoozer · 18/01/2023 19:50

From a quick Google, people in the Netherlands have been able to change their sex on official documents since 2013 (if aged 16 or over) and since 2018 have been able to get official documents including passports showing that they are "gender neutral". The Netherlands now anticipate moving to a system where sex is not mentioned on documents at all.
Do you have any feedback on why this has happened and how it's all working out?

Userwoozer · 18/01/2023 19:53

Are the Dutch all very good at English, or is it just city dwellers, or just younger people? Why are they so good at it?

Userwoozer · 18/01/2023 19:56

So prostitution is fully legal? How do people feel about prostitution?

Tulipsfordays · 18/01/2023 19:57

@SweetSakura less discussion than you’d expect. I agree - I think about it a lot! There’s so much ‘polder’ land near us -
literally below sea level. It’s clever but also strange and kinda worrying. I watched some Dutch apocalyptic drama about flooding a while back on Netflix here , but no generally doesn’t seem to phase people

@ofwarren not yet, want to go next year Christmastime. Think kids will both be at a good age then. It looks like such a fairytale! And I hear much quieter than Disney etc. Have you been?

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Genevie82 · 18/01/2023 19:59

I had a family member live in Holland a few years ago ; they were quite taken aback by the ‘ black Pete’ tradition with kids at Christmas - it it really mainstream in Dutch culture or exaggerated by my relative?

SweetSakura · 18/01/2023 19:59

Thats interesting @Tulipsfordays . I live near the coast here but on higher ground but know loads of people who live at sea level and I think they have just all stuck their head in the sand

ofwarren · 18/01/2023 20:01

Tulipsfordays · 18/01/2023 19:57

@SweetSakura less discussion than you’d expect. I agree - I think about it a lot! There’s so much ‘polder’ land near us -
literally below sea level. It’s clever but also strange and kinda worrying. I watched some Dutch apocalyptic drama about flooding a while back on Netflix here , but no generally doesn’t seem to phase people

@ofwarren not yet, want to go next year Christmastime. Think kids will both be at a good age then. It looks like such a fairytale! And I hear much quieter than Disney etc. Have you been?

No, I've never been but really want to. I've been to Disneyland Paris but Efteling looks so much better and is much cheaper too.

Tulipsfordays · 18/01/2023 20:02

@Userwoozer to be honest this surprised me in many ways. Although the Dutch are liberal in terms of eg gay rights , in many ways they are very traditional / not so progressive. But I did have a couple of different colleagues announce that they now were ‘officially’ gender neutral on documentation etc. Mostly I find that forms etc have the same male / female boxes as in the Uk - and use of pronouns in eg email signatures doesn’t feel particularly widespread here. Not sure what drove the legislative change, you’ve encouraged me to look into it more

@Userwoozer yes younger generations stronger than older. Less educated people often not confident at all, whatever age. Also instances of young, educated people (doctors for example) not being fully confident. Even though that are very fluent often are not keen to speak it socially - I think outside of Amsterdam you benefit a lot from knowing some Dutch unless you plan to mix in expat cliques only. Not sure why they are better at English than other European nations - husband never had an answer either. Taught in schools but perhaps more so it’s the movies etc.. But like I say - it’s not across the board fluency

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Westfacing · 18/01/2023 20:03

I've twice been to Amsterdam, many years ago! I'd like to visit again - are trains now direct from London?

The Dutch always seem to me to be very nice and sensible(!) are you on the same 'wavelength' as your neighbours, if you know what I mean. Do you fit in?

Puffy123 · 18/01/2023 20:03

Do you find Dutch people racist? My DD had a boyfriend of Iranian origin and they visited his Iranian family in Amsterdam and had various comments made by Dutch people when out and about.

For context my mother is Dutch and I spent a lot of time in Den Haag when I was younger and was surprised by this. Though there was a lot of negatively towards young men from North Africa.

Tulipsfordays · 18/01/2023 20:04

@Userwoozer yes legal. Not really a topic I find, think in Amsterdam it’s more for tourists. In smaller cities it’s much more hidden. There’s a lot of ads etc though around borders - eg as soon as you cross over from Germany. So again perhaps a lot of it being tourism?

@Genevie82 no I think it’s mostly phased out now. Definitely didn’t see it in any public parades etc this year. Think they took a little too long to phase it out but yeah it definitely isn’t normal or accepted by most in 2022/3

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LindorDoubleChoc · 18/01/2023 20:08

What is the weather like? All seasons? Do you have a high summer with hot weather?

RogersOrganismicProcess · 18/01/2023 20:12

Is it true you can throw your furniture out of the window and someone will take it away?

LindorDoubleChoc · 18/01/2023 20:12

What shocked me about visiting Amsterdam in 1985 (I have been 2 or more times since) was that hardcore porn was on sale everywhere and the covers of the magazines/videos were not censored in any way. So you could see hardcore sex - straight, gay, bestial - in the windows of shops or on the covers of magazines in the street markets/street newsagents. I loved Amsterdam hugely but this was a dirty mark on my experience.

Cattenberg · 18/01/2023 20:17

I left the Netherlands 20 years ago, but I noticed a lot of racism back then, especially towards black people. Some of my colleagues were quite blatant about it, including some of the “nice” ones.

Anyway, I have a question. Back when I was in NL, I thought that the Dutch looked fitter and more active than the British, overall. But they smoked an awful lot, including in many workplaces and on the trains. Has this improved since then?

IntentionalError · 18/01/2023 20:25

What is the healthcare system in the Netherlands like? And how does in compare to the collapsing NHS?
Do Dutch people ever speak to you about Brexit? I worked with Swedes & Germans a few years ago. They all thought the Brits had lost our minds, and were not shy about saying so.

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