Posted on Jul 24, 2013 |

 The views expressed by the author and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Project Unify Team.

Contents:

 

Introduction

When you look at the world map, The Netherlands is a country which is easy to miss. Yes, we don´t have mountains and our country is relatively small, But that’s no reason to just skip it!

My name is Yousra Chaabane I am sixteen years old and I live in the Netherlands. My dad is originally from Marco and my mother is Dutch so that declares my name.

I’ve lived in the Netherlands my entire life, and therefore I believe that I’m the right person to introduce you to, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful countries in the world – The Netherlands!

One of the great things about the Netherlands is our love for soccer, we have a lot of different soccer teams, and there´s a great rivalry between them. However, when the national team plays, we are all one and nobody even cares about different teams anymore. You might think that it´s pathetic, but when the national team plays, the people are as united as people can be!

History

The Netherlands is a country with a lot of history, just think about it, we survived two world wars, and we were once one of the wealthiest countries in the entire world.

But did it change us? I don’t think so, because Dutch people are still famous for being so “down to earth”!  Nevertheless, we do have a lot of history, we are great sailors, which we proved in the 17th century by sailing almost the entire world to trade goods. Next to that we are a strong country, we survived, as I mentioned before, two world wars. And now you guys think, well, “world war” the word kind of says it, the whole world survived it you silly, but have you considered that we are the country right next to Germany?  Don’t think that we still consider Germany our enemy though, we have both moved on, which is great in my opinion. However, when the Dutch soccer team plays against Germany – nevermind I already explained that.

Next to that I don’t think that there is any country which can build dikes as well as we can.

Geography2

As I mentioned before, the Netherlands is a relatively small country, nevertheless we are divided into twelve provinces, which is a lot isn’t it?

The names of the provinces are from north to south: Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe, North-Holland, Flevoland, Overijssel, South-Holland, Utrecht, Gelderland, Zeeland, North-Brabant and finally Limburg.

As I also mentioned before the Netherlands is a flat country, we don’t have big mountains or anything which I think is a pity. What we do have though is a lot of water, and when I say a lot, I mean a lot.

Although, in some countries a lot of water means a lot of trouble, for us it means a lot of strength, Flevoland, one of or many provinces, for example was entirely created by the people. They drained a part of a lake to create more land, that’s really cool right?

Culture

In most of the different provinces people speak another dialect. It’s just the Dutch language, but some provinces like to give it their own twist. A Dutch rapper once sang:”This is the country where you can drive trough in three hours, and where you will find another dialect every ten minutes.”  (Believe me, it sounds better in Dutch), It is true however that in the Netherlands a lot of different dialects are spoken. Which I believe is funny, because it gives an identity to the different provinces.

The Netherlands is also a multicultural country, there are a lot of different cultures such as the Moroccan culture, the Turkish culture and many more.  The Dutch people are in my opinion really kind. We like to help or inform other people. There are also never really big problems in my country, the only thing  which is a big deal for Dutch people is soccer. But I already mentioned that.

Places

3For people who read my blog about Amsterdam, please don´t be confused it´s a beautiful place which you should absolutely visit. There´s so much to see that there´s almost no use  in writing it down here, because it would be too much. Next to that it also depends on what you would like to see. There are the shops, which are mainly the same in every city, but specifically for Amsterdam are a few museums.  If you visit Amsterdam you should just wander around, there are also a lot of undiscovered places which are worth a visit.

What you should also visit is The Hague, it’s also a city, but this city is a bit special because the Dutch government is situated here. Which is remarkable because Amsterdam is the capital. If you’re interested in Dutch politics you should therefore totally go here.

4Another thing you might like to visit while being here is Madurodam, a.k.a the little city. Everything in Madurodam is miniature, a few of the biggest buildings in the Netherlands are rebuild there, they are just made mini. It’s really cool and especially kids like it a lot.

Also great cities to visit are Utrecht, Groningen, Arnhem, Maastricht, Den Bosch, Leiden – too many to name actually. When you are there you will get a taste of the Dutch culture.

What you should do when you are here, is visit the small café’s and the small shops, and the small restaurants. Because then you will get an experience, instead of just food or drink. I would really recommend that. It will take some searching but it’s worth the effort.

Misconceptions

Now the misconception part, guys I´m sorry to tell you but not every girl in the Netherlands works in prostitution. Oh and only a small part of the Dutch population uses weed.  I don´t think I know more than 3 people who have used it more than once. However it is true that it’s legal here, and I can say that a lot of cities even the small ones have at least one coffee shop where you can buy it. However you need to be 18 and the government really discourages everyone to visit

Another thing said about Dutch people is that they really dislike spending money. It´s true that most of the people here don´t like to spend a lot of money at once, however there are always exceptions. I guess Dutch people are just a little more careful?

5Next to that, a little birdie told me: “The people at Dutch train stations are extremely unhelpful and cold though especially to non-Dutch speakers, just saying.” Well because I’m a native speaker, I can’t really comment on that, however I need to explain this one a little further I think.

Although the Netherlands is a beautiful country, people here hate cold weather and well the Netherlands isn’t really a tropical place if you get what I mean. And people who work at train station tend to be outside a lot, which causes them to be cold, which causes them to be cranky.

So, I bet that if you give them a cup of tea when it’s snowing, they are fully willing to help you.

Oh and the Netherlands is said to be expensive, well I don’t think that you ever think of your own country as cheap. I mean no one complains if they have to spend 20 euros for a shirt instead of 30.

However I think that people get used to prices everywhere, and I do believe that fruit is relatively cheap here.

6The most shocking thing I heard was that Dutch food was tasteless, Let me explain to you guys, one of the best things about the Netherlands is that there is a big mixture of cultures here, so if the Dutch food bores you, you can easily eat Spanish, Greek, Indian or anything you like. The Dutch food has a very specific taste, we Dutchies don’t eat spicy things, maybe if you are used to that you can think of it as tasteless.  The thing a lot of people like is Boerenkool. It is mashed potatoes with a vegetable in it – okay now it sounds disgusting, it’s really good! Just try it once, just Google a recipe and you will love it!

I hope that you have changed your minds about the Netherlands, and you will come here once.

Oh and for you guys, a picture of our queen, because every guy in the Netherlands thinks she’s hot.

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