As an international, once you’ve gotten over the most obvious differences from what you’re used to, you begin to develop a kind of sixth sense when it comes to detecting unusual things going on around you – and let me tell you, it’s a lot of fun! Here’s a list of only five quirky things I discovered while attentively observing the Dutch and their gorgeous land.
Flagpoles with schoolbags – quirky things in the Netherlands
I started bumping upon schoolbags on flagpoles in various houses throughout town a few months back, and I couldn’t help but ponder what it represented.
Was it some sort of hidden code? Did they run out of room on the inside? It wasn’t long before I discovered it’s a Dutch tradition to celebrate the end of the school year in early June.
If a high school senior lives in a residence with a flagpole, they must hang their schoolbag as a sign that they have completed all of their final examinations and are thereby graduating!
It represents literally chucking their bag out the window because it is no longer needed. Very bizarrely endearing!
Bikes used to transport a home – quirky things in the Netherlands
During my time in the Netherlands, I witnessed some really badass cycling, such as the amazing parent or dad who rides a bakfiets with four children.
What I didn’t anticipate were all the additional solo bike activities Dutchies engage in, such as transporting items I would never have imagined.
Even if they aren’t carrying anything, these Dutch bikers like to keep their hands behind their backs – who needs a firm hold on the vehicle they’re driving?
Every damn day, Brood ran into Kas.
Unless you live under a rock, the love of cheese in this country is no secret. Having said that, I did not anticipate Dutchies eating the yellow stuff with bread every day for lunch.
I mean, I realize that a sandwich is a fine option when you’re in a rush or don’t have time to prepare — but that’s not the case here. The tall people of the land of endless canals simply don’t grasp life until they have a decent brood met kaas in the middle of the day.
Personally, I don’t believe that consuming so much dairy is healthy, but to each their own. Plus, what’s better than a great home-cooked warm meal?
A random female on stickers plastered all over the city
This is one of the most unusual. I live in The Hague and have noticed that practically everywhere I go (downtown, the beach, and the suburbs), there is a sticker with an image of a young blonde girl from a yearbook.
I mean, who exactly is this girl? Why is she spotted all around town and occasionally in other Dutch (and even worldwide) locations?
The explanation has yet to be proven, but one idea suggests that some guy decided it would be amusing to print a hundred stickers of his sister just to annoy her, so he did.
Later, I discovered that this girl has grown up and has an Instagram account (@hetzusje), where she visits the sticker theme and you can even DM her for stickers. I mean, how bizarre is that? This stuff isn’t made up!
Curtains that are completely open – quirky things in the Netherlands
I’ll admit that this isn’t the first time I’ve come across this subject, but I keep returning to it since it continues to blow my mind. It belongs on the list of strange things Dutch people do since nowhere else in the world can you watch everything that happens inside a house while walking down the street.
I believe it is a combination of “we have nothing to hide” and “everyone is concerned with their own business.” Of course, for impressionable internationals, this is not totally true. It’s difficult not to glance inside.