Is the grass really greener on the other side? The answer is no. Everywhere in the world there is something to complain about. In the Netherlands, in Colombia and probably also in popular emigration countries such as France, Spain or Canada. Only when I left Holland did I begin to appreciate certain little things more. I am very happy here in Colombia, but of course I sometimes miss something from Holland. Sometimes it seems that the focus is particularly on what is wrong with the Netherlands. I don’t follow a lot of news, but when I look once in a while it’s packed with negativity. Therefore, today a positive look at my little froggy country: 10 things I miss from the Netherlands!
10 Things I miss from the Netherlands after emigrating
1. Bread and cheese
The Netherlands is really a cheese and bread country and so those things are also just super delicious. There are also so many kinds of bread and cheese: how proud you can be of this! Especially the bread from my mother’s bread machine is just a piece of heaven. If you are in the area you may come wake me up with a delicious slice of freshly baked whole wheat nut bread with real Dutch cheese!
2. Structure, clarity and honesty
I admit it right away: in the Netherlands, someone also sometimes gives wrong information or something is not clear. But believe me: it’s still a thousand times better than in Colombia. Just asking for directions produces great ambiguity, since Colombians never say they don’t know something. Instead, they just say something. If you are not careful you will be sent miles in the wrong direction. And it’s really like that with everything: one person says this, another claims that. Never do I know what will happen and in the end things always go differently than supposedly planned. Being honest is also extremely difficult, therefore trusting someone is not easy. I’m pretty used to it, but gee, how I sometimes miss that Dutch honesty, clarity and structure! Read more disadvantages you will encounter when you emigrate here.
3. Care for animals, nature and history
Colombia has really beautiful nature, and so many beautiful animals live there! Just like in the Netherlands, by the way. How about the bulb fields, vast forests and beautiful lakes. And then those beautiful old towns, history everywhere. The Zaanse Schans for example. Or the beautiful Zierikzee. Great right? What a shame it is that Colombians don’t seem to care about their beautiful flora, fauna and history. Sometimes also just painful to see. It may not seem so with the large Schiphol Airport, many highways and almost 17 million people in such a small country, but compared to Colombia, the Netherlands takes extremely good care of animals, nature and history, something they can learn a lot from here!
Many Dutch people are heartily open-minded. Anything is actually possible and much is accepted. Eating vegetarian for a week, changing a pattern, just not going with family for once, more or less determining your vacation days, or traveling for months at a time. Colombians, on the other hand, are rather stuck in their own habits and thoughts. Trying something in a different way or thinking differently is quite difficult here. The Dutch are really a breath of fresh air in this case.
The Netherlands is a fantastic country for sailing. Beautiful lakes and even at sea there is plenty of opportunity. During the season, I sailed at least one day almost every weekend, and even in the winter I still went out on the water sometimes. I would like to sail here as well. It can be done, about two hours away is a beautiful lake. But there is not nearly as much sailing there as on the Poel (or the Westeinderplassen, as my favorite lake in the Netherlands is actually called), where I lived and sailed. Looking back at the photos makes me want to do it again. What a wonderful sport that is!
I feel perfectly safe here, do everything I want, but secretly I am quite limited. Because that safety does come from not venturing into dangerous areas, not going out on the streets with jewelry, not carrying too much, tucking everything under my clothes, always knowing where I am and if we want to travel outside Bogotá first thinking about whether that area is safe or not. So yes I feel safe, but freedom is somewhat limited. Something I quickly got used to, but when I was in December in the Netherlands, that freedom did feel particularly nice. Something to think about: in the Netherlands, you are simply free!
7. Clean air
I sometimes read that the divide between rich and poor in the Netherlands is increasing. I immediately believe that, but come live in Colombia for a month and you immediately miss equality in Holland.
9. Just act normal then you’ll be crazy enough
I am really a ‘just act normal and you’ll be crazy enough’ kind of person. I look neat, but otherwise no fuss. That drive for perfection that Colombians possess is sometimes really too much of a good thing. Life in Holland is so nice and simple and easy. Just do what you feel comfortable with. Very nice.
10. Dutch ‘gezelligheid’ (no word in English for this, sorry)
Do you know of any language that really explains the word “gezellig” well? If so, I would love to hear about it. In Spanish, at least, there is no good word for it. And in Colombia, I don’t know this kind of sociability either. The television is always on loudly, washing dishes while half of the family is still eating, a house as bare as possible, coats just kept on in a restaurant and I could go on and on. Dutch coziness: where in the world can you find it? It shows up in so many little things. From apple pie to beautifully set tables, sipping tea together or linger for hours, having breakfast at the Ikea, old grannies in the park or snuggling up on the couch watching Farmer’s Wife. Just that Dutch coziness: I’m proud of it!
Of course, I am also very curious about what you appreciate so much about the your country after emigrating. Therefore, today’s question: what do you like most about your country? What do you miss?