You know when you’re so fed up with the Netherlands that you’d rather get on a plane to Farawayistan today? Before, I had that feeling regularly. All those dreams I had, traveling, getting away from Holland, after all, somewhere else the grass is much greener. Or isn’t? When I was in the Netherlands the other day, I suddenly noticed all sorts of things I had never thought about. Those things that may be obvious to you, but when you start comparing it to, say, Bogotá, it suddenly gives a whole new dimension. Suddenly I saw it. Just during those ten days in the Netherlands. This is pretty cool! Not that I am coming to remigrate right now, but taking a moment to reflect on why my home country is actually not so bad at all won’t hurt. After all, this is one of those points to consider when emigrating. So here it comes: 50 reasons why the Netherlands is so cool.
50 reasons why the Netherlands is so cool
1. The first thing to notice: there are just no holes in the road. The car tires smoothly on the highway without shaking us. How nice is that!
2. And everyone drives so neatly and safely. Maybe you often annoy yourself in traffic: the Netherlands is really a relief on the road compared to a country like Colombia.
3. It smells so nice and fresh and clean. Yes really, even in a village close to Schiphol Airport. Delicious.
4. They just have rooibos tea everywhere. Not only in the supermarket, but also in a café. At least that makes me very happy.
5. And a cookie with tea. I had to laugh about it when we went somewhere for a drink and then I remembered again: in the Netherlands you (almost) always get a cookie with your tea or coffee ♥
6. Supermarkets are full of vegan and vegetarian options. Great right?
7. And then the humus: they have it everywhere, is good to pay and there are also many varieties. Hallelujah!
8. My family and friends live in the Netherlands. That already makes it pretty cool right?
9. The short distances. From Kudelstaart to Almere to Kudelstaart to Den Bosch. It can just all be done in one day and it’s fast too.
10. Cycling is really the most fun in the Netherlands. With your hair in the wind through the polder. Fantastic!
11. And cycling at all: do you know how nice it is just to be able to get on your bike without the risk of someone pulling you off to steal your bike? At least in the Netherlands they steal your bike when you are not on it yourself. Cycling on Texel for example, wonderful!
12. Bike lanes everywhere. And it all connects together, too. There is a great need for that in Bogotá too.
13. When I took the tram for a moment I thought: wow this is fun!
15. Of those typical Dutch customs, such as ‘beschuit met muisjes’. Incredible that this exists.
16. Security was perhaps the biggest difference from Bogotá. It took a few days before I could surrender myself to that security situation. Without having to look around me all the time to see if someone isn’t coming to snatch my phone (or worse).
17. In Bogotá you can’t do it, in the Netherlands you can: always take my camera everywhere. Yay!
18. The quietness.
19. Dealing with the environment is really well regulated in the Netherlands. We couldn’t get plastic bags anymore, all trash is neatly separated (there are even multiple color trash containers) and the cars are just pretty clean.
20. I love the mountains in Colombia, but then when you get to Holland, just that flat country is very special. Zeeland for example, spectacular landscapes.
21. You’ll be at the beach in no time. I have to fly at least an hour for it in Colombia….
22. There is a mailbox on almost every street, and the mail arrives. There are no mailboxes in Colombia, and whether the mail arrives also remains to be seen.
23. Although I love the Bogotan climate, it was really cool to have a week of 30 degrees. Just in the Netherlands…
24. The music: listening to 100% NL.
25. You immediately notice people are more reliable and honest than Colombians. You just know it’s okay.
26. There are so many traffic lights for pedestrians. Really nice.
27. And then the pedestrian crossings…. And cars stop for them, too.
28. The yummy cakes in Holland, such as apple crumble cake and rice cake. Yummy!
29. If you want a weekend away in the Netherlands, you don’t have to find out first whether it is safe there. You can just go wherever you want.
30. The Dutch conviviality. You really don’t find that anywhere. One of the 10 things I miss from the Netherlands.
31. Bread, bread and more bread: lucky Dutch people. You can buy it everywhere, too.
32. The beautiful flowers and landscapes. Can look at it for hours.
33. And then the lakes: how beautiful are the Westeinderplassen….
34. You can do these fun sports there, like skating and sailing.
35. I really can’t think of anywhere in Colombia where you can take a canal tour or take your own boat through the canals (which don’t even exist there). In the Netherlands, it can be done almost anywhere. So much fun!
36. How organized the Netherlands is. Health care, retirement, disability, parental leave, schools, etc. Even though there are many problems, the Netherlands has it all pretty well organized.
37. Amsterdam is a really cool capital city that actually feels more like a village.
38. Dutch films are great, aren’t they? Soof, for example, a must-see.
39. Starting work or school at 9 a.m.: that’s seriously a luxury, right? Here in Colombia, the lecture halls and offices are full by 7 a.m..
40. Everything can be ordered through the Internet, something I sometimes miss in Colombia. In fact, this trend has not really landed here yet.
41. Rye bread! We took home 3 packs. So I really missed that.
42. Wonderful to go to a birthday or dinner party in just nice clothes without having to dress up like the king is visiting. Just be yourself.
43. It sounds so simple, those bags of pre-cut vegetables in the supermarket. But believe me: what a luxury! In Colombia we don’t have that, even though it would save a lot of time.
44. The weather reports in the Netherlands are very often just right. Not always exact, but at least you get a very good indication. Pretty handy if you go biking a lot, for example. In Colombia, it always remains to be seen what the weather will be.
45. Double glazing: the invention of the century. Would love having that in my home in Colombia.
46. That Dutch sobriety is actually pretty cool…
47. Raw chicory. If you look very well and pay a lot of money it might be found in Colombia…. On our first night in Holland, my mother made my favorite raw-wheat salad. Delicious!
48. Mills! Where you can also buy many kinds of flour. Pretty special.
49. Being able to grab a terrace. Something not common in Colombia, but just so cozy.
50. With a Dutch passport you can go anywhere without worries, what a freedom.
And then we were back in Bogotá….
And actually that immediately felt completely familiar again. Like home. The Netherlands has become a vacation country and the country I visit for family and friends. But my house is still in Bogotá (for 4 years it was in Sopó). My visit to the Netherlands did bring up some questions. Do I want to live my future in Bogotá? What about security? Do I want to start changing Bogotá for a safer (and cleaner) option one day? I all don’t know yet … Despite the fact that Colombia/Bogotá is just a really crazy place to live.
The memories of these two weeks are forever well stored. The Netherlands is always the country where my roots are, where my family and friends live. Where I live doesn’t really matter, every place has advantages and disadvantages The grass is not greener on the other side of the ocean.
What do you love about the Netherlands?