4 Things I Love About the Netherlands... - Jo-Ann Carson

4 Things I Love About the Netherlands…

…and think we should adopt in our culture.

1. Gezelligheid
To quote Lonely Planet:

“This particularly Dutch quality is one of the best reasons to visit Amsterdam. It’s variously translated as snug, friendly, cosy, informal, companionable and convivial, but gezellligheid – the state of being gezellig – is something more easily experienced than defined. There’s a sense of time stopping, an intimacy of the here and now that leaves all your troubles behind, at least until tomorrow. You can get that warm and fuzzy feeling in many places and situations:

  • while nursing a brew with friends
  • over coffee and cake with neighbors (the stoop will do)
  • lingering after a meal ….”

(p. 186, Amsterdam City Guide 7th ed., 2010)
It’s a wonderfully warm, relaxed way to live life, that is quintessentially Dutch. I’m finding it difficult to do justice to in my stories, but it’s fun trying. Maybe, I need to go back and do more research:)
I saw gezelligheid everywhere I saw people interacting. At first, I was shocked at how different the atmosphere is in restaurants. No one rushes you with a check,  quiet chatter and laughter fills the air, and the warm relaxed feeling of enjoying the moment is as much a part of the experience as the food you eat. Yes, I think I need to take more notes.
2. Dutch Kissing

They kiss a lot! When Dutch people greet friends and family they kiss each other three times (alternating cheeks) and hug. You end up feeling very kissed. The open expression of caring leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy. It’s nice.
3. Foot Power

People walk and ride their bicycles everywhere. It’s a flat country after all, and the people are fit and active.
4. Dutch Apple Pie

is worth the plane ticket to Holland. It oozes butter, freshly baked apples, and crisp pastry. Yum.