In The Netherlands
Posted on: Jun 17, 2013

All the things a Greek learned after 18 months in the Netherlands

Mike Klianis

This post is also available in Greek

The things that I managed to learn in a year and a half are quite a lot actually!


First off, I learned that the Dutch are very open minded (most are), they really love their mothers, they are excellent traders (and they haggle) but also unimaginably caring and loving with animals!


I learned that the weather will almost always suck! There is no summer, besides a couple of weeks in June maybe and a couple in August, if we are "worthy", so with 4 pairs of summer shoes, I am OK! Also at any moment it can rain, be sunny, start dropping hale, maybe snow and then again some sun, and all of those might actually happen within the day.


I am telling you, there is a lot of humidity here! More the Komotini and Thessaloniki put together. I don't know what they are spraying us here with, but this thing lasts at least 9 out of 12 months.


The ducks live here by choice. In the beggining I thought that the Dutch filled the place with ducks as a decoration, but then I recalled that Ducks are birds that can live at any time they like. Well, apparantelly, someone likes this climate.


Insects don't live in the Netherlands. Cockroaches, grasshoppers, obnoxious bugs, have not appeared in front of me yet. I saw a bee the other day though, really fat and yellow. I assume that most things come in XL sizes here.

Vegetables are not like back home. Most, such as tomatos and peppers, are "well built", with a skin that is hard like plastic and boiling temperatures that differ. If you find peppers like the ones back in Greece at the market, then buy them! Its a rare phenomenon!


The roads are crooked. Thats why you don't see anyone wearing heels. I shouldn't have bought those fuschia 12" heels.


Busses dont come on time. Many times, they don't even show up. The trains also have delays. Especially if you live in a place like Zaandam or even further away. If you need to be on time, start 30 minutes earlier.


If you really want to bike, against the wind, with rain and on a bridge, well, you can achieve it. Offcourse the next day everything will be in pain but it is worth trying it once. Just think of the stories you can tell your grandkids about being starting life in a new country.


The Dutch drive a bit different than what we are used too. Always be careful when walking a street. At any moment, the incoming driver might decide to regret his current course and just turn around at the first field he will meet.


I you are on foot and you hit a cyclist, most of the times its your fault. Make sure you are insured otherwise, you might end up with his hospital bills and yours.


Most technicians love to listen to euro-house and euro-techno while they are fixing your house. So that way, you can enjoy and get to know all the latest hits of the season, in the case that your house needs some serious construction.


If you don't already have a phone with a GPS and an Internet connection, your life is harder by 10 times. Trust me when I say that it is worth to have one and that having Internet on your phone can solve hundreds of problems with transportation, maps and information on the spot.

Everybody is connected online. When you meet someone, you friend him on facebook just to see if you got some common friends, especially regarding Greeks that have recently moved here.


If you don't learn Dutch, you'll probably end up paying it financially at some point. Google translate doesn't always work.


In order to find a house, without a work contract that you can register in, you have to be a ninja, fully connected or very very lucky.


If you truly don't want to be seen as an immigrant, put on your smile, be yourself and learn to speak Dutch. Get to know people and if you got something good to provide, you will be rewarded in time.

Photos by: cookipediachef, JeremyGeorge, PhillipC, Travis Hornung, judsond, Stipo team, infomatique, NinaZed