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10 Things About Life in the Netherlands That Can Make Any Foreigner’s Head Spin

The Netherlands is a small European country that we most often associate with tulips, picturesque streets, and the joyful character of its residents. However, even this place is fraught with secrets that prove that the mysterious Dutch soul is a real secret for the rest of Europe.

Bright Side found out what the real life of the residents of one of the most developed and friendly countries of the world is like, why they need bottle scrapers and why the Dutch liked to sleep in closets back in the day.

There are no stray dogs in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands is the first country in the world that doesn’t have stray dogs and the local 4-legged friends have the same rights as humans. An irresponsible attitude toward pets in this kingdom is severely punished, and you can even get a criminal sentence for causing any physical harm to them.

Houses at the borderline

The Netherlands is a small country that is split into several parts. In the small enclave of Baarle-Nassau, on the border of Belgium, the state border runs right through residential buildings, literally dividing them in half. Thus, the residents in “borderline” houses can live in 2 states simultaneously.

Portraits in bathrooms

It might sound strange, but the residents of the Netherlands often hang the portraits of people who are dear to their hearts....in toilets. In addition, in order to not forget important dates in the life of loved ones, witty Dutch people also hang special calendars in the restroom, that show all of the upcoming events.

Bottle scrapers

The Dutch are very thrifty and one of their inventions called a “bottle scraper,” is good proof of that. They are used to get all the leftovers inside long bottles. After all, every Eurocent counts.

The residents of the Netherlands prefer the comfort of their own homes over parties.

Though we often associate the Netherlands and Amsterdam with never-ending parties and get-togethers that last until the early morning, in reality, things are totally different here. Many cafes and supermarkets in the Netherlands close around 6 p.m.

The Dutch used to like to sleep in closets.

In the Netherlands, you can find a closet bed that was used in this country up until the 19th century. The residents of the Netherlands (as well as other residents of medieval Europe) used to sleep in a semi-sitting position. Sleeping like this was believed to help protect the sleeper from animals, both animals in the wild and animals living in the house.

Potatoes with onions is the favorite type of fast food in the Netherlands.

Hamburgers and cheeseburgers in the Netherlands are not as popular as ordinary potatoes, which are served in over a hundred different variations in this country. Apart from potatoes, Dutch people enjoy eating herring with onions that is available both in the capital and in the smaller cities. By the way, herring and onions are sold here as street food.

They don’t like curtains in the Netherlands.

In the Middle Ages, the residents of the Netherlands tried every possible way to prove to their neighbors that they, as honest people, had nothing to hide from others. That’s how the special Dutch style, with its windows stretching from the floor to the ceiling, and the total absence of curtains, was born. It’s definitely tempting for inexperienced tourists to peer through those windows and get a glimpse of how Dutch people live. However, snooping around other residents’ windows is considered a sign of bad manners among locals. That said, younger generations have begun to embrace curtains (as well as their privacy).

The Netherlands have their own personal Noah’s Ark.

The whole history of the Netherlands is based on the fight against constant floods and rising sea levels. And though Dutch people don’t constantly worry about this, still, one of the local millionaires has built a version of the famous Noah’s Ark not far from Dordrecht city. Just in case.

People in the Netherlands like to use shopping trolleys.

These trolleys are basically associated with old ladies who go shopping in another part of the city early in the morning. However, they are not just used by the elderly generation in the Netherlands but also by young men and women on an everyday basis. These bags are called boodschappentrolley here and are freely used whenever there is a need.

Have you ever been to the Netherlands? What surprised you most of all there?