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