I got an amazing opportunity to travel to Netherlands for work! As I started my new job quite recently I haven’t got that many vacation days to use. I half-jokingly suggested that maybe I could travel to Netherlands to our other offices to do some work, because our finnish office is closed during July. As it happened, answer was “yes, sure!” and off I went. I got to see both offices in Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
It was great to travel as a worker, since I already knew I’d be a part of something. Not going around aimlessly as a tourist, but having the opportunity to meet my dutch collegues and getting a glimpse of their everyday life. I felt very welcome and my dutch collegues were all super nice! 🙂
Just a few fun cultural observations:
– Dutch people are efficient. When it comes to taking the most out of limited space they really are aces. Efficiency can be seen everywhere: the way land has been used, the way services work. Almost like clockwork! 🙂 Efficiency is something I really appreciate!
– They’ll let you know if you screw up, but take it as a no-bs advice that will help you not to make the same mistake again 😀 I only made a minor mistake in the tram with all my baggage and accidently one of my bags hit a dutch lady. Of course I got immediate feedback for that 😀 There was also a silent car in the train where you should be absolutely quiet. A swedish couple were sitting there and chatting in a normal tone, not loud. But yes, immediate feedback! In Finland, we would just give you a bitter look and that’s pretty much it. The dutch way may seem rude, but it’s not personal – just very direct!
– They eat tons of bread! Lunch was usually only bread, delicious of course with all the toppings. But after a while I’d imagine I’d start craving for something else.
– Everyone speaks good english!
– Especially in smaller villages, shops close at 6 pm already. How does this work when most people working, and how would that be good business for the stores? I wondered how on earth do they have time for groceries, but apparently it’s all fine and they usually buy all the stuff during weekends. This was weird to me, since my local supermarket is like my second fridge. Long opening hours and I’ll just march in anytime and grab whatever I like. Even in Amsterdam, many shops seemed to close early on sundays. Maybe legislation? Not sure, it’s a big tourist attraction so I’d imagine they’d be able to make decent profits with longer opening hours on sundays.
– Dutch people are open-minded and laidback.
– Everything is very close, except supermarkets and atm’s. Then again, with a bike that won’t be such a big issue. In Netherlands, they have shorter distances and that makes it more convenient to use bikes instead of public transportation. Public transportation was pretty good in NL as well, but not as frequent as in Finland. We finns have longer distances so these differences make sense. Best way to get around in Amsterdam is a bike 🙂 I didn’t rent a bike since I wanted to take things easy and explore the city without worrying about where to leave a bike everytime there’s something worth seeing. And as a curious soul, I see something worth exploring every five minutes – like a dog 😀 If I would’ve stayed in the citycenter, I most likely would’ve rented a bike. Maybe next time then! 🙂
All in all, a great experience and learnt a lot about Netherlands! A lot is very marginal in my case, since it was my first time there. There’s most likely tons of more to learn about their culture. I’d definitely visit again and see other places as well! I only saw a glimpse of Rotterdam, and am sure there’d be lot to see 🙂 -> wishlist stuff!