Why the Netherlands is a lovable country
(ed.) Why should you go to Rotterdam? Laisvyda shares her thoughts on the Netherlands, directness, flatness and much more.
I don’t really know what is it like in the other cities but the wind in Rotterdam is just spectacular. Have you ever felt your face nearly being peeled off of your head? No? Well I have, and it’s pretty damn nice. One thought that I have every day: can’t the wind just blow from behind while I’m cycling for once. Just this once. So I could rest from this constant physical fight with nature… But the best part is that when it’s 30 degrees outside (which, let’s be honest, happens pretty rarely) the wind suddenly disappears and then you are stuck in hell with sweat dripping from every part of your body. What’s there not to love?
This part is probably going to be a bit less sarcastic as biking in this country is actually an amazingly developed and convenient thing. We all know the benefits but not everyone knows how majestic Dutch people are at cycling. One of the first days of me living in here I saw a lady on a bike with an umbrella in one hand and a cigarette in another- how awesome is that? That’s what helps me realize which goals in life are really worth achieving.
It is pretty hard to surprise me with being direct as I already consider myself a bit painfully straightforward, but Dutch people are just a whole new level. It is directness smoothly becoming rudeness. And I love it because I know people are not intentionally being mean but when they translate their Dutch expressions into English it comes out way too strong. One of my most recent experiences regarding this was also extremely entertaining: I didn’t have any food at home to make my friend some breakfast and his response was: well you don’t look like a person who doesn’t have any food *wink wink*. And just after a split second this man realizes what he has just said and starts saying sorry but it is already out and it’s there. I couldn’t even react as I normally would with scares of physical violence because it was so unexpected and in the end I just find it so funny how people not purposely are very much mean.
This might seem like the opposite of the latter point. Dutch people are raw in all areas, that’s why they don’t hesitate to throw a compliment at you, or to say hi in an elevator, or to take a spider out of your hair. Of course, your friends would do it, but I’ve never encountered random people being so nice and ‘wall-less’ until I came to Holland. It makes you become a more open person yourself. For example, I now constantly engage into random conversations which usually start when I tell a person that his or her pants have a thread on them or that there’s some chocolate left on a person’s face.
From what I’ve heard, people usually hate that this country is so flat. They want hills, majestic views, etc. As I’m not a huge fan of nature or in other words, hills don’t touch my heart, I really do appreciate the flat surfaces we have here. Just imagine what biking would be if we constantly had to cycle up and down. I already have a lot of trouble fighting with the bridges of this city, so I don’t even want to start imagining what it would be like having steep paths…
This is probably what Rotterdam is super famous for- having a wide range of ethnicities. Of course, as an international student I’m mostly surrounded by non-Dutch people but even when I’m not with my course mates, everywhere I go I can hear a bunch of different languages. People don’t even know anymore if you are using English because it’s your preference or because you don’t speak Dutch… But being surrounded by so many different people makes you more open-minded because you encounter something unseen every day and that fulfills one of the purposes of why am I here.
When people ask me: why are you in Holland, what’s so cool about it? My first answer is the vibe. This is something I can’t verbalize but it reflects itself in a lot of things. Nobody cares if you wear a garbage bag as long as you are feeling it. As long as you are happy and not harming anyone, you are good to go and nobody gives a damn. One of my favourite activities here is singing while cycling and I don’t think I would let myself sing anywhere besides my shower in Lithuania, but in Holland nobody cares or at least nobody gets angry at you. Of course the vibe wouldn’t be what it is without the people around me and that’s what my last blog was all about. Meeting so many amazing, free people is a very beautiful thing. Just this past weekend I was at a party and afterwards I couldn’t stop thinking: how is it possible to collect such a random group of people and have so much fun? I don’t know if that was an influence of substance or a genuinely amazing company, but the fact is that the majority of the people are just sincerely kind-hearted and welcoming.
Anyways, the point is clear: if you want to experience something really worth it and breathe in some of this tasty vibe, visit Rotterdam!