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Main » Articles » ISSUE #3

Netherlands

based on the interview taken by Tatiana Likintseva  

 Cycling. Yes, everybody knows that cycling is a common thing in the Netherlands. In fact, 15 million Dutch people own about 18 million bicycles; that's nearly as many bicycles as people, and twice as many bikes as cars! Actually, Dutch people don't just use their bikes for fun - cycling is an important way of travelling, from doing the daily shopping to going to work or school. But when you come from Russia where people use a bike mainly in childhood and teenage years and then on rare occasions only, to start using it on daily basis is quite a challenge. Not only you have a kind of weird feeling but you are simply afraid of car drivers. It takes time to understand that you are not going to get knocked down by some impatient and careless driver. No matter how slow and tentative you are, cars will be patiently tailing behind looking for a proper moment to take over. Eventually you start taking it for granted and enjoying your ride.

   Child birth. If I told you that somewhere in Russia women deliver babies at home with the help of their husbandsand a midwife, what would you think? I bet, you'd think that I'm talking about some distant corner with extremely poor conditions. Imagine how surprised my friend was to know that it's a common practice in the Netherlands. Moreover, it's a part of their cultural heritage and they are putting a lot of effort to preserve it. So children and family are real values. There are a lot of 3 and 4 children families.

   True family men (a real life example). Last Christmas when asked how to spend a free evening, all men from where my friend's husband works, chose to spend it with their families rather than having a party.

    Parties. If you are invited to a party, you'll be told when it starts. But you can choose any time to come as long as it is after the indicated time. Nobody will be offended and nobody will be waiting for you to start partying. They never serve main courses at parties, only snacks and desserts. But the most unusual for us is that they serve desserts first and then bring salads and sandwiches.

   Names. You can meet natives with wide variety of names form slavonic Anouska, Annushka and Tanya to Spring. Yes, they can choose names of objects and phenomena to name their children. By the way, the name of her husband’s elder daughter is Junice as she was born in June.

   Language. I couldn't miss it, could I? My friend says that Dutch has very difficult pronunciation with guttural sounds non-existing in Russian. And above this, there is a variety of dialects. You can move 60 km from where you live and you fail to understand anything. That's why some of Dutch programmes on TV are supported by subtitles. Good news for English language learners. All cable TV programmes go in English with Dutch subtitles. No wonder they have very High Level of English Language Proficiency (check it here - http://www.ef-ireland.ie/epi/ef-epi-ranking/?tc=JQ)

   Landscape. Holland is 6.7 meters below sea level, at its lowest point, which is a polder near Rotterdam. The highest point in the country is called the ‘mountain’ and it is as much as 323 meters high.



   To sum it all. It's a small and friendly country. We have a lot in common but surely some things are really different. I hope one day I will visit my friend to see it with my own eyes.

the inetrview was given

by Olesya Dirks


 

Category: ISSUE #3 | Added by: Guzeliya (15-May-2011) | Author: Olesya Dirks
Views: 668 | Comments: 5 | Tags: Dutch people, Dutch families, Dutch traditions, Netherlands | Rating: 4.8/6
Total comments: 4
4  
So fun facts about names!))) I'm eager to visit this country, especially because my favourite band is from there=) And I really appreciate their affection for families and children! It's so nice...
P.S. I know one more unusual Dutch name - Eva Luna - it's a real name of a Dutch girl biggrin

3  
May be "Osen'ka" :) By the way we had Noyabrina and Oktyabrina too, or e.g. Marlen (abbreviation from Marks and Lenin) and Electron (from "104 Pages About Love"), it could be interesting Russian-Dutch competition "The Most Strange Name" :)

2  
"Letushka" and "Vesnushka" for those who were born in summer and Spring:) No ideas about autumn:) sorry!

1  
How would you like a name of "Zimushka" for a girl who was born in the Winter...

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