Why I am proud to call Holland Home

26 July 2017

Dear Friend,

It's rather a surprising thing for a northern girl like me to be writing this post. I was always rather dismissive of people who returned home to the North East and went on and on about; London, New York, Australia etc Returning to Middlesbrough will always feel like coming home; family, friends, football and the hills (god I miss the hills).



12 years ago I moved to Holland.

I left Middlesbrough 12 years ago. I can't quite believe that I have been living in this tiny, busy, brilliant country for twelve whole years, this place has really become home and I am proud to call it that.

10 Reasons why I love living in Holland...

1) Community
There is a real community spirit. The Dutch are great at organising events and keeping up traditions. Every year our village will host special days where the community come together and during the summer every town hosts their party week. There is a real sense of belonging and pride in these events with everyone taking part.



2) National Pride

A great example of this is Kings day when the whole country turns orange. Music events, games, markets, street entertainment ensures that there is something for everyone. The rest of the year the Dutch need no excuse to hang out their flags; birthdays, party days, passing exams, births, they proudly display their colours.



3) Work/life balance

Most people work part time many men included, there is shared responsibility for child care, men taking papa days to take care of their children. Working hours are shorter or many people work flexi hours to have Monday or Friday free. People here work to live they don't live for work.

4) Bikes

Everyone bikes, everywhere. There is something liberating about the freedom of jumping on your bike to go to the shops, beach, work or school. It is reminiscent of childhood. The rush hour is quite a sight to behold as are the lines and lines of bikes at the stations.



5) Honesty

Dutch people are the most honest people you can meet. This can be a little startling for us reserved English lot but if you ask a question you will always get an honest answer. Dutch people will ask questions about finances, personal issues, health etc that English would not. But you always know where you stand. Problems are spoken about, brought out in the open, dealt with and forgotten about!

6) Food

When I first came to Holland I missed lots of English foods and I still need a fix of fish and chips and a corned beef pasty when I visit the UK. But I have grown to love Dutch food too; creamy cheeses, stroopwafels and bitterballs are firm favourites in our house. Don't expect a massive freezer section in the supermarket. The Dutch shop regularly and eat fresh foods. Perhaps one reason they don't have a problem with obesity?

7) Shops

Small individual boutiques with little treasures and one off pieces, handmade jewellery and art. Yes the big chains are here too but I love the Dutch style and fashion, offering classic pieces with a modern twist. Dutch people support their local businesses and because we eat fresh the baker and butcher are still thriving.



8) Beaches

The beach tents/cafes arrive around May and stay until September. We love this time of the year. Being able to cycle to the beach after work or school is such a joy! The North Sea may be cold but the beaches are beautiful. If the weather is good then you don't need to go abroad to holiday!



9) Canals and Canal Houses
It is my ambition to own a canal house one day. The Dutch canal cities are truly beautiful!

10) Happy Kids
Dutch children regularly come out on/near to the top of the list of happiest children in the world.


Come and visit but be warned you may decide to stay!

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