Is it possible to spend merely three days in The Netherlands but still be able explore three totally different sides of the country? Impossible? Of course not!
Couple of months ago my Polish friends decided to visit me in the Netherlands. They flied from Katowice, Poland to Eindhoven, The Netherlands. I was supposed to pick them up from the airport so that we could catch a train to The Hague, spend the afternoon relaxing at Scheveningen beach and after so many months we didnt’t have the chance to see each other – spend the night partying and sleeping in Rotterdam.
After doing so we would go to Amsterdam where we planned to rent a boat, cruise the canals, take thousands of pictures together, visit Rijksmuseum, have a picknick in Vondelpark and finish the day in one of the famous coffeeshops as most of the tourists do. In the evening we would head to Maastricht, the oldest Dutch city to which I moved in in the summer of 2014.
However as we all know, usually the things don’t go the way we plan them therefore we had to change our itinerary as of the moment my friends arrived to Eindhoven. Unfortunately I was forced to stay in Maastricht due to some personal reasons so that they had to act spontaneously, you know.. in the way the most unexpected things happen.
And as we should always strive to see the good in every situation, even in the worst case scenarios, we decided not to look at what happened but what it brought and taught them. With me living in the Netherlands for over four years they wouldn’t be able to see the things with their own new eyes because I would most probably try to answer their weirdest questions such as… Why is the police patrolling the city by riding the horses?
Some things are better left unsaid for your own piece of mind!
So let’s just conclude that they explored the essentials of Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
They subsequently arrived to Maastricht where we had loooot of fun!
I decided to make some sort of interview with them so that we can all see what was their general experience, what caught their attention, how does Holland differ from Poland and most importantly if some parts of their hearts have been left here so that they will have a great reason to come back and take them back some day.
Their journey wasn’t the easiest one as they were stuck with their suitcases which accompanied them wherever they went to in Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
But what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and it this case it filled their trip with even more laughter.
What caught their attention?
What did surprise them?
What did make them laugh the most?
And did something made them angry?
Agata: What can I say… Each place significantly. What’s astonishing is that I cannot decide which city: Rotterdam, Amsterdam or Maastricht is the most beautiful. They’re all special in their own way. Rotterdam is the most modern, Amsterdam is fun and full of lovely canals and in Maastricht you can feel as if the time machine really existed. This is the birthplace of European Union and is also seen as the oldest Dutch town.
What cannot be missed in each of those places are surely the bicycles. We heard that there is more bicycles than inhabitants, that’s so funny. Almost everyone we’ve seen was cycling! That’s crazy because it’s not only the youngsters but also children and even elders! Generally speaking – everyone!
What’s more, you can find the bicycle paths all around The Netherlands. It’s very useful especially at the traffic lights because in Holland, it’s not the car that has a priority but actually the bike! I totally love this ides because in the city I live in – Opole in Poland, there is still not enough bicycle paths and that’s such a big pity because that would be the great solution for the problems related to the town’s traffic. Not only it would make our life much more simple but also much more healthier.
What’s also interesting is that most of the Dutch people opt for the healthy lifestyle. They not only cycle but relatively lot of them rollerblades and runs on the regular day basis. What caught my attention in Rotterdam was the special traffic signal which shows you with what speed you run.
What about Dutch people? From my experience, they’re very friendly and helpful. If you pass them at the street you’ll most likely hear ”Hoi!” (Hi!) which unfortunately doesn’t really happen in Poland.. They also seem to be in the very great majority bi-lingual. They don’t have any problems with speaking English which was very helpful as we don’t speak Dutch at all and that’s what made our experience even more positive. Wherever we went there was always someone who spoke English therefore we could obtain all the information that we needed.
What also makes The Netherlands different from Poland is surely the railway infrastructure which unfortunately has its impact at the tickets prices. On the other hand, there’s always a price you have to pay for the benefits you get. Even though the tickets are extremely expensive you can at least be sure that your train arrives on time. And even if it turns out that you have to change the trains in the middle of your trip – don’t worry, it’s not problematic at all because in most of the times, the change takes place at the same platform or at the one just on the other side. It’s also possible to buy some discount day tickets that allow you to travel all around the Netherlands on a fixed price, much cheaper that every single ticket but at the time we were in The Netherlands – that was unfortunately not possible.
ŁUKASZ: My experience was very positive. The Netherlands is very easy to operate in, it gave me lot of pleasure and despite the fact that I don’t speak the local language at all – I had no problem at all neither with transport nor communication with Dutch people. What is amazing is that Dutch people are very friendly and wiling to help.
What I really love about The Netherlands are their unique solutions to even the smallest of things that one could expect to be the problems. The original water infrastructure and various smaller and bigger bridges connecting the canals in Amsterdam made the great impression on me. It seems that Dutch people are really great at making their life easier. They not only cycle but they also use the boats to cruise the canals or to have some fun with their friends sipping beers and having picnics.
Luckily, the weather was amazing and the sun was shining from the beginning until the very end of our stay therefore when it comes to us, we cannot say that the rainy stereotype of the lowlands is true! And the only thing I can regret is that we didn’t lend the bikes because with them, we could really experience the Dutch atmosphere!
ALEKSANDRA: What I liked the most about The Netherlands is that everyone we met spoke fluent English. This is really amazing because not only people in our age but also children and elders seem to be bi-lingual! Let me say that again – Dutch people are very kind and open-minded. They are used to live in the very multicultural environment and the racism seems to not exist in here. You could see the interracial couples walking around the town, having picnics in the parks and the same comes to the work environment. Unfortunately, Poland still has a lot to catch up with.
What you can feel in The Netherlands is that people respect each other and accept others as they are and this comes also to the people’ sexual orientations. They don’t seem to get engaged with others lives. They don’t look in other people’s beds, wardrobes and refrigerators. Everyone lives their life and seems to be happy for the successes not only theirs or their family members and friends but also praises and boosts others – employees and neighbors.
What else did I like? Of course, the Dutch extravagant architecture especially in the city of Rotterdam. We spent the whole day outdoors in Maastricht. We went to the St. Pietersberg and had a long walk in the nature. Was totally amazing.
And you? Have you ever been to The Netherlands?
Do you share the experience of Agata, Łukasz and Aleksandra?