7 ways living in the Netherlands has changed me

You're so weird

1. I’m bilingual… kinda. 

I think and speak in two languages and I can switch between the two. (Most of the time, anyway.) Apparently, I now talk differently when I speak English – so my friends from the UK tell me. More slowly. It’s probably not a bad thing. My best friend also says that my intonation is different but she’s the only one to comment on that. I don’t care though. I feel like speaking Dutch is a super power!

 

2. I travel more…

I travel more because everything’s new and exciting – and close by!! I actually feel bad for the Dutchie, because when he lived in the UK, we didn’t do that much exploring: we went to London of course… and Brighton, Bournemouth, the New Forest and Weymouth… but apart from that – not a lot. Now we’re slap bang in the middle of Europe, it’s so much easier – no flights, no ferries, no schedules – you just jump in your car (or in our case our camper van) and drive. It’s definitely made me (and us) want to travel more.

 

3. Fashion & grooming aren’t so important to me anymore… 

Last time I had my hair cut? December. In the UK it was every 6-8 weeks, except when I was a student… then it was whenever I could afford it. Last time I bought clothes? Also December, I think. I used to shop once a WEEK in England, seriously! Sometimes even multiple times a week! Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes slick on a bit of red lippy or very occasionally wear high heels (if I don’t have to walk or cycle long distances) but that’s about it. I’m a very toned down version of my English self – and I like it.

 

4. I rarely talk about money… (and I care A LOT less about material things in general!) 

Dutch people don’t talk about money. Not the people I know, anyway. No one asks how much you earn or how much your last holiday cost or how much you pay per month for your car. They just don’t. I find it refreshing. When I go back to the UK, I feel like everything’s a competition – who has the biggest house or the fanciest car/watch/jewellery. Here, no one gives a fuck. And the majority of Dutchies don’t use credit cards either, it’s all cash or bank card. They live to their means. (Very sensible in my opinion.)

 

5. I am confident on a bicycle… (and I don’t own a car!) 

I used to be confident riding a bike until I was about 16/17! (A BMX btw, I was a total tomboy.) Then I bought a car and didn’t cycle again until my late 20’s. These days, my sole mode of transport is my bike… or my own two feet! I work from home, so it’s not necessary for me to own a car. I occasionally drive at weekends, or in the evening if needed – but like a lot of Dutchies – cycling is my primary mode of transport.

 

6. I have a much better work / life balance… 

I work 4 days a week. So does the Dutchie. Last year we had friends over from the UK with their toddler, they both work full-time and were astonished that we both work part-time. “But how do you afford it?” Well, we don’t have kids for one…

We share a car, we have a mortgage we can afford (we don’t need lots of space because there are only two of us) and we have money left over for meals out and holidays. Why would we NEED to work more?

 

7. I have embraced deep-fried snacks… 

In a previous life, I would avoid anything deep-fried. “Too unhealthy, too fatty” etc etc. Now that I walk or cycle every single day, I can embrace the occasional treat. Why the heck not? I’m not a cake/sweet person… so Dutch deep-fried snacks are my guilty pleasure. Bitterballen for life ❤

 

How about you? How have you changed since you have lived in NL?

Hayley x

 

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15 comments

  1. It’s so refreshing to wake up in the morning and read something so refreshingly warm and wonderful I’m tempted to move there. I don’t need to tell you what life these days are life in the USA. UGH!! Thank you for sharing a bit of your wonderful world.

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  2. Hoi hoi, this was so much fun to read, such a positive post! I’m a Dutchie married to an American and have lived all over the world, but I do miss a lot about my native Holland (Netherlands) like the things you mention, but not the weather. I do visit of course (was there just last week), but the truth is that once you don’t actually live in your own country anymore you change in ways you may not expect or even know. Most of the time I think it’s a good thing because you become more open-minded and creative in your thinking. My Dutch friends also say that my Dutch sounds a bit ‘off’ and I think it’s the intonation or cadence. Congrats on learning Dutch–it’s not easy, I’m sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Miss Footloose, thanks for your lovely comment 🙂 Totally agree that when you don’t live in your home country anymore you change a lot… and in a good way! I’ve definitely become more open-minded as you say 🙂 En dank je wel, zeker niet!

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  3. My wife and I are experiencing all these same wonderful changes (well except the bilingual, we have a ways to go on that one) in the 9 short months that we have been here. Glad to have found your blog -Inspiration to get back to ours 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My US girlfriends say too that I speak English with a Dutch accent (nice trick)! I’m also married to a Dutchie and we moved here from NYC (of all places) more than 20 years ago and I haven’t looked back since. The US is great for vacations but I don’t think I could live there full-time again. NL is a very sane place to live and raise kids. Great work-life balance, good healthcare that won’t bankrupt you, and you actually get a lot for your tax money here.

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  5. I’m German and my husband and I have spent so many vacations in the Netherlands that we decided to learn Dutch- it all started simply because I wanted to be able to read the menue and not accidentally order horsemeat and we don’t like being around places where all the Germans seem to go. It’s embarrassing and impolite how many Germans take for granted that everybody speaks German in the Netherlands, although knowing German helps with understanding dutch. It only takes us two days in kikkerlandje to return to Germany and speak Dutch without realizing it

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