When they say the world moves on with or without you, I personally never thought too much about it. That is, until I arrived in the Netherlands again.

From landscape to

To city scape (neighbourhood in Rotterdam)

It is sort of strange that when I arrived in New Zealand I craved for something like a city buzz which, with the exception of the occasional boy racer and police, ambulance and fire truck, is basically missing in most parts of town. I have to admit that hearing city noises and an apparent 24 hour buzz does have its quality. At the same time, and of course temporarily, you realize how used you get to a lot of space and a possibility to walk into the garden even if only for a cigarette. So far, the balcony, feels like a trap when you are used to a garden. At times it feels like being a lion or tiger in a cage, going up and forth.

Red Tape and Bank Cards
Used to the relatively laid back approach of Kiwis, I found all the Dutch ways, rules, procedures quite overwhelming. Simple things like opening a bank account, an internet account, required more red tape issues than anticipated. It may well be because Dutch still is my first language, but faced with all the red tape and more importantly making the first mistakes with it, I found that service levels are quite low. I had the feeling at times that I was being treated like I was some sort of mental patient.

At the same time it is not appreciated when you explain that apparently logical matter for a Dutchy are not as evident anymore when you’ve been in places to actually live there. Getting the essentials organized evolves around an Eftpos card, it is almost like  credit cards are non-existent here, and even for basic things like an internet connection: no DUTCH eftpos card, no subscription. So ok, I went for the prepaid version, yet topping my account up will still require getting of the couch and go to a sales point cause …. you guessed it, online top up can only be done with a DUTCH bank card. The DUTCH bank card seems to be at the center of all your options and possibilities: THE SYMBOL OF UNBRIDLED INTEGRATION.

Traveling public transport was like being shot into a new time and space:Smart cards for this, chip cards for that, a “strippen card for the bus” excuses that chip cards were not available for certain buses yet, gates, touch screen ticket machines, shuttles that looked like a Volkswagen Beetle but didn’t require a driver.

It can’t help myself, I sooooooo enjoy all the yummy food and snacks available around every corner: Surinam Baras, Indonesian Chicken and Vegetarian Resoles, a variety of fish, cooked, smoked and even raw (herring), shoarma (Egyptian grilled meat, lamb or chicken) and my all time favorite, DUTCH FARMHOUSE CHEESE just like that or with dark bread or crackers hmmm.  And my favorite brand of soda: Fernandes.

I saw a good friend earlier this week, who told me he should lose some weight cause he gained same since being in the Netherlands again. Well it is not hard imagine that you’ll end up gaining weight with so much temptations around.

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2 thoughts on “FIRST IMPRESSIONS

  1. Pingback: ROUNDUP « John Dierckx

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