This month marks my 5th time in The Netherlands. I guess you can say this tiny country holds a piece of my heart. Like with every location, there is the good and the bad, but in this case, the good certainly outweighs the bad. By this point, I’ve navigated my way through the busy streets of Amsterdam, the historic city of Maastricht and the tranquil countryside of Ootmarsum.
Some know it as the most liberal country in the world because of their 4/20 friendliness, while others know it as the cheese capital. If you’re looking to make a trip soon The Netherlands is worth considering, and I can let you know what to expect! Let’s walk through some of the pros and cons, shall we?
Pro: The Dutch know no strangers.
Despite the size of The Netherlands, the capital city of Amsterdam is home to nearly 200 different nationalities making it one of the most diverse cities in the world. This made for an interesting food experience during my time there. Where else in the world can you try authentic Dutch, Indonesian and Surinamese food? Needless to say, I was very pleased with them all. From the north to the south, the country is full of people from different backgrounds. Yet they have learned to come together in a way that makes the country the peaceful place it’s known as today.
Con: Relearning traffic patterns
Once you land in Holland, you’ll find that many people prefer to get around by bike. I personally love this! It contributes to great health, less emissions, and it’s just fun! However, if your biking skills are a bit rusty this is the last place you want to fix them. Since biking is the popular way of commuting in the city, it comes with its own set of rules and they even have their own traffic lights. Depending on the city you’re in, you might want to stick to public transportation or walking because it can be pretty intense for a foreigner. Knowing how to maneuver in and out of a traffic in The Netherlands is a skill that one can’t acquire overnight!
The Netherlands has done an incredible job at preserving their history. Seriously, a lot has happened here. The world-renowned Anne Frank wrote and left her diary in Amsterdam. That’s a pretty big deal. Once you come to The Netherlands you will be pleased with the amount of knowledge you leave with, and there is no way around it! From the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam to the birth of the euro in Maastricht. The Netherlands has put themselves on the map in more ways than I can count.
Con: Warm Food
Each time I’ve visited The Netherlands the weather hasn’t been the greatest. What’s better than a warm meal on a cold day? I can answer that…nothing! Just kidding. Like I mentioned above, there is a large variety of food in The Netherlands. However you will find an abundance of bread, cheese and pastries as you sightsee. That isn’t the con, but if you’re looking for warm things to eat while on the go that isn’t coffee, you may be searching for awhile. If you visit during the warmer months, you’ll be just fine.
Pro: The People
What makes this place truly amazing! The people in The Netherlands are some of the most delightful you will encounter. From customer service to asking a passerby for tram directions, the chances that you have a bad encounter are slim. The mutual respect and kindness that is displayed in The Netherlands is admirable!
Okay, so none of these are “real” cons, because the country is overall safe and accepting of just about everyone. I’ll be the first to admit I really love Holland! It’s a wonderful place for a trip with friends, your beau, or just to wing it solo like me! I hope your journey leads you there one day so you can experience it for yourself. The Dutchies will show you a wonderful time! I’m sure of it.
Until next time,
The Pint Sized Traveler