A Dutch Cultural Exploration of an Asian

A Dutch Cultural Exploration of an Asian

Article by Thien Minh Begu,
1st-year student at Creative Business

Hello, I am Molly, 1-st year student at Creative Business. Every since I moved to the Netherlands, I’ve noticed many differences between this country and my home country, Vietnam. Today I’d like to share with you the few things that struck me the most. Enjoy the read! 🙂

  1. From 10 am to 6 pm

The most surprising thing to me since I got here has been the working schedule. Even though shops open quite late sometimes (Sundays from 10 or 12 o’clock), they also close very early. I see most shops already stop welcoming customers from 5 pm. However, big supermarkets such as Albert Heijn or Jumbo stay open until later, the working schedule can be up till 10 p.m. This is completely different from Vietnam, where shops start their business at 6 am and close at 10 pm, some even are open 24/7.

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  1. Dogs and cats everywhere

This is also a little weird to me, and yet amazing. I’m pretty crazy when it comes to pets so I feel really lucky and pleased that I can cuddle them everywhere I go in the city. I see them leisurely strolling down the streets, sitting on the buses and trains, quietly sitting beside their owners inside restaurants and shopping malls, which is completely rare in Vietnam. Moreover, these little friends are so friendly and they know how to get your attention, they will come and ask for cuddling, sometimes you accept yourself to miss the bus just for a few more minutes caressing that cuteness. Trust me, this country is like heaven for dogs and cats lovers. Very important to note is that all these animals have an owner, but they are free to walk around the city.

2 @NaturePictureLibrary
  1. Public restrooms require coins

Maybe this requirement also exists in some other European countries but I just compare it to my hometown and paying for public toilet is quite rare in Vietnam, and also might be in other Asian countries. There are not many restrooms in the coffee shop or stores so you can’t just come in a random place and ask if you are in the need, they will show you ways to the nearest public toilet, for example in the department store or in the basement of some building, and each time you want to use the toilet you need to pay an amount of at least 50 cents. So, remember always have some coins in your wallet because it’d be very uncomfortable if you keep it until you get home.

  1. Canals activities

We all know that in the Netherlands, canals are specialities, they are so beautiful and romantic, and can even turn into a skating ring in the winter. Interestingly, they are much more than just a pretty view since there are so many activities offered for people to optimize their experience. You can rent a canoe to chill with your friends – grab a couple of beers, and enjoy the sunshine going through the tree canopies above. You can also bring your own boat if you want to kayak and then simply held a picnic ashore. There are several high-rated restaurants on the wharves and for sure it will be well worth your time!

  1. Cyclists don’t share roads

The Netherlands is home to more bikes than people! It is quite interesting to watch people cycling, as most often you’ll notice multiple people on a bike. Sometimes people even can carry huge things, such as a TV or a small table while cycling. I am always impressed when I see a mom with two kids on the bike and 4 bags of grocery shopping. Those skills are something special that I hope I’ll acquire the longer I stay here.

There is always a line for cyclists, which is painted in red and it is separate from the pavement and road for vehicles. Whenever crossing those lines – be aware – you can easily get hit and have to face an angry cyclist.

  1. Chocolate sprinkles on bread

The Dutch cuisine (or snack) is famous with the weird combination of chocolate sprinkles and bread. People here love bread, they eat different types of bread throughout the day, from bagel to baguette, from bread with sausage and salami to pastry filled with choco chips or grapes. It may sound hard to imagine eating bread with sweet-flavoured sprinkles, but trust me, they really go well with each other and it’s such a fun experience.

For a further read on these sprinkles:  https://www.bluezones.com/2017/05/what-do-the-happiest-kids-in-the-world-eat-for-breakfast/

  1. Cheese, cheese and cheeseeee!

It’s going to be such an omission not mentioning how wonderful Dutch cheeses and dairy products are. It’s really easy to find and buy amazing cheeses, you can find it in the supermarket, at the stores and most excitingly, open markets at the weekend. There are plenty of cheeses that I’m sure cheese lover will be thrilled to discover and prepare such an amazingly delicious meal for the family. They are not only all finger-licking good but also ensure the best quality and nutrients.

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