9 things I learnt in my first 2 weeks in Holland.

It’s been two weeks since I arrived in the Netherlands, the country I have decided to call my home for at least the next year, and the learning process (AKA culture shock) has begun. Here are a few things I’ve picked up since I arrived.

1. The stereotypes are rubbish!

People here don’t smoke weed all day every day, nor are they all frequenting prostitutes every night of the week. The stereotypes are ridiculous! I just returned from 4 days of cycling around the country and I was asked by a friend “did you do the whole thing stoned?” No, no I did not.

2. A trusty two-wheeler is de rigueur for daily transport.

No fancy clothes, helmet, or expensive fuel needed. Snap on a chain guard, hop on in business attire, stiletto heels, or that sexy salsa outfit, and ride with pride, briefcase, lunchbox, kids (also helmet-less), and that all-important cell phone in tow. Cycling in Holland is taken very seriously! There are reportedly over 18 million bikes in this country, which is more than number of people here!


3. What hair and make-up?!

I’ve already pretty much given up on doing my hair and make up before I go out anywhere. By the time I cycle to wherever I am going I’m looking pretty disheveled…and I haven’t even cycled in the rain yet!

4. Dutch life is very structured

The Dutch, in general, seem to be very organised and great planners. I first picked up on this when I started my new job and I was sent my working roster for an entire year!

5. The 3-Kiss Rule

Because it does not appear I will be leaving anytime soon, and because of my desire to be culturally sensitive, in two weeks I have been forced to become more comfortable with the three kiss rule. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it feels natural to me, but I roll with it as best I can. I’m not going to lie, all that back and forth really throws me for a loop and I have encountered a few awkward mishaps. But really, THREE kisses?! That just seems excessive!

6. Dutch guys + hair gel = what the?!

OK, is it just me or do Dutch guys put waaaay too much gel in their hair?! Lucky for them they’re tall and incredibly good looking, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to get away with this one!

7. Dutch Lunch

A typical Spanish lunch would be a long, hot lunch with two main dishes and a probably dessert.

A regular Chinese lunch would be a well-prepared, hot meal, sometimes followed by half an hour nap at home.

A Scandinavian lunch would typically consist of a full hot meal with side dishes of small salads and dessert.

A British lunch would probably be some pub grub from the local.

What about a Dutch lunch?

A typical Dutch lunch would be a sandwich filled with a slice of meat and Dutch cheese accompanied by milk or juice. Easy to prepare, easy to pack and easy to finish.

8. Other food

Sorry Holland but so far your food isn’t wow-ing this foodie. It’s plain, boring, there are not enough vegetables and too much bread and potato. For breakfast most mornings I eat chocolate sprinkles on bread….and that is perfectly acceptable here for an adult. What the?!

There are a few things that I’ve fallen in love with and I’d almost go as far as saying that they make up for everything else!

Stroopwafel –  a waffle made from two thin layers of baked dough with a caramel-like syrup filling in the middle. Umm…AMAZING!

Dutch Waffles isolated on white background

Speculoos – Kudos to the guy that turned biscuits into a spread. Genius!


Mint Tea with honey – The ultimate soul-soother. Fresh mint in boiling water with a teaspoon of honey.


9. Holland. Is. Beautiful.

End of.

By Gidget Gallaher



15 thoughts on “9 things I learnt in my first 2 weeks in Holland.

  1. I really like that one. Feels like a steoreotype that everyone uses a bicycle in the Netherlands as well, but nevertheless a great and funny read. I hope you’ll keep on enjoying Holland 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No actually it’s correct! The actual biscuit is called speculaas, but once turned into a spread, it is called speculoos!


    1. the artcle is in english so speculoos is cooret . speculoos is the english name and speculaas is in dutch . just have a look on wikipedia


      1. English : Speculoos (Dutch: Speculaas , French: spéculoos, German: Spekulatius)
        source wikipedia


  2. Nice, and I agree with most of it. There is some “cutting” edge cuisine in the Netherlands, you just have to look closely for it. I’d go so far as to say, two of my favorite Michelin Star restaurants are in the Netherlands (Amsterdam and Rotterdam).


  3. Nice blog!
    It’s called speculoos in Belgium, whether it’s the cookie or the spread. And the spread was developed by a Belgian housewife, not a guy! Gotta give them credit for inventing good food.


  4. How about the large amount of coffee that everyone here consumes?

    I never drank coffee before I moved here.. Then I was drinking three a day… I’ve cut down now and am back to not drinking coffee again… We’ll see where that goes though.. 😉

    And Le Restaurant is a delicious one Michelin Star restaurant in “De Pijp” neighborhood in Amsterdam!


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