There are many different cultures and traditions within our continent. To learn a little more about each other's culture and traditions, there is a section in each newsletter about some typical customs and traditions of different cultures. We start the first edition with: The Netherlands.
Why make it difficult when it can be done together?
And there you are, finally after a long journey... Often you come alone, without family, without friends and everything is new. Your house, roommates, work, colleagues and living environment, and you have nothing more with you than some possessions in a bag or suitcase(s).
The countries where our roots lie are all part of the European Union. So you would think that there are few differences, but the motto of the European Union is not for nothing: United in diversity. There are many different cultures, languages and traditions within our continent. We can stubbornly stick to this, but wouldn't it be more fun and interesting to learn a little bit more about each other's cultures and traditions?
We think so! That's why we make a section every newsletter about some typical customs and traditions of different cultures. This time we start with some peculiarities from the Netherlands.
Every first Monday of the month - at exactly twelve o'clock (12:00 PM) - something happens all over the Netherlands that you have no idea what will happen to you when you first experience it: The air alarm. Don't panic, it's just an exercise.
The sirens are tested to see if the equipment still works properly and to make sure everyone recognizes the siren in the event of a disaster or emergency.
Does the siren go off at any time other than the first Monday of the month at noon? Then go inside, close windows and doors and turn on the radio or TV to the regional station. You will then be updated on what is going on.
A real Dutchman is a cheese sandwich. The Dutch aren't called "Kaaskoppen" for nothing. 97% of the Dutch eat cheese from time to time and 40% of this group even eat cheese every day. The chance that you will meet a colleague in the canteen with a cheese sandwich is therefore very high.
In the second half of the 19th century, eating a cheese sandwich developed into a standard morning ritual throughout the Netherlands. By now, the Dutch have incorporated cheese into breakfast, lunch, as a snack and dinner. It is truly a part of the Dutch food culture and for this reason is also on the list of intangible heritage.
Life is more beautiful on a bicycle
Wherever you are in the Netherlands, you will see bicycles. There are 22.9 million bicycles in the Netherlands, even though the country has only 17.28 million inhabitants.
The bicycle was once invented to make moving around easier. We now know that cycling is not only an easy and fast way to travel from A to B, but also very healthy for you! It burns fat, reduces stress, improves blood flow, is good for fitness, builds muscle and gets a better night's sleep. In addition, you can save on fuel costs or public transport costs, and you are also very environmentally responsible. Cycling does not cost any fuel, but the production of a bicycle uses much less energy than a car (think of engine oil and the battery). Cycling also brings you peace of mind. By cycling in the open air, you give your body and mind the chance to relax. This releases endorphins. This is the ultimate happiness hormone.
Have you never cycled before and did this post pique your interest? Whether you are 7 or 70 years old, anyone can learn! There are numerous cycling schools in the Netherlands that teach both children and adults how to cycle.