Stereotyps aside, the Netherlands is not all about smoking weed, red lights, bright flowers and wooden clogs; therefore knowledge about such things isn’t everything when you’re about to visit the country. In this article, I’ll try to enlighten you with some very useful information you need to pack with yourself, so you won’t get lost and nothing will surprise you on your way. Get ready, we’re starting!
- Dutch are not rude, they’re just direct
And you should be too. Don’t hesitate to tell your waiter if you’re in a rush, he’ll take it into account for real.
- Bikes first
If you’re travelling around the country with a car, you always give a yield to bikes. Same applies if you’re on foot. Also, never try to step on the bike lane, otherwise you’ll have a chance to learn some Dutch words very quickly!
- Be polite
If you want to photograph something (farm, clogs, window), ask for permission. Plus, never take photos of ladies in the Red Light District in Amsterdam!
- Do not try to buy stuff on streets
Although the Netherlands about this issue, you might well be arrested for buying drugs from local stoners on the street. If you really want to try some stuff, rather head to the coffeeshops. However, one more tip for you, if you have a Dutch friend, send him – a tourist is more likely to get quadruple the price the local would pay.
- Prepare your cash
In most shops you won’t be able to pay with a card, so rather prepare the cash in advance.
- Lock your bike
Never leave your bike (even if it’s hired) unlocked! Use at least two locks, otherwise it might well end up as somebody’s trophy!
- Dress for occasion
Always be ready for sudden rain sprees and strong wind!
- Get an OV-chipkaart
If you’re planning to spend a little more time in the Netherlands, I highly recommend you to buy the OV-chipkaart transport card in advance. You can reload it any time you want (or you can set an automatic reload), and you’ll be able to travel by public transport way cheaper. Acquiring it online is easy, just search for OV-chipkaart, set your language, fill in your personal information, send a proper picture of you, and they’ll send it to your address!
- Never act racist
The Netherlands is rather open and tolerant country (with many LGBT monuments and marches), therefore never act racist! But generally….don’t be a racist.
- Don’t worry about the language
English is very popular language in the Netherlands and many Dutch master it perfectly. Therefore you don’t have to worry about the language barrier. Although most of them would be happy to hear you try saying some words. I have experienced it myself when I visited the country for the first time.
- Keep an eye on your belongings
You’ll encounter many signs saying “bewaar de zakkenrollen” on all the busy spots wherever you go. It means to take into account an existence of pick-pockets, so make sure you secure all your belongings properly.
- Do not go out at the night alone
There is not a high toll of rapes in the Netherlands, however, high or drunk tourists can be pretty annoying and pushy.
- Watch the opening hours
Most of the markets close very early, but once a week (usually on Thursday/Friday) are all the shops open until late night/midnight.
- Carry hand sanitizer with you
Would you believe, that only 50% of all the Dutch wash their hands after the toilet? I personally think it refers to the fact that majority of Dutch taps run only freezing cold water. Who knows?
- Dutch standards
The Dutch use euro (€) as their main currency, metric system as the way to express measures, and 230V as the standard voltage in the sockets.
I might be wrong, but I think I’ve listed everything that can be handy when you’re travelling to the Netherlands, haven’t I? I hope so!
Thank you for reading this article, there’s going to be a new one, particularly dedicated to transport tomorrow!
Have a great day!