We are a proud little flat country in the heart of Europe, and as with pretty much every country in the world, there is a long list of stereotypes about the Dutch. The good thing about many of them is that they work very well if you want to travel the world and become a true international traveler.
1. Our country is too small…
…NOT to be an international traveler. See, the closest border is a maximum 1,5-2 hr drive for ANYBODY in the Netherlands. On top of this, the borders are open and the next country is speaking a different language, has a different culture and heritage, and wildly different geography to us to explore! It would be a feat if you would manage NOT to be an international traveler in your life as a Dutchman, as it would basically mean you never drive more than 1,5hrs in one direction….
2. We speak several languages
To be fair, we have no choice (see the 1st point of this post). Our language is spoken by such a small number of people worldwide that we can hardly say we would get by with just the one. This is why we start to learn English early on in primary school and it is compulsory as a 2nd language throughout high school. What really makes the language stick however is the fact that everything in television is subtitled, which literally means you get English pronunciation lessons every time you turn on your TV. With German and French being spoken across our border, these are also languages we tap into regularly which makes us connect the dots between germanic/roman-based languages easily.
3. We’re frugal…
… or cheap? As the term ‘going Dutch’ (i.e. splitting the bill amongst participants) has made its way into the English language it is safe to say that we have a knack for spending as little as possible while maximizing the return. While this may not necessarily sound like fun, simple math dictates here: The less you spend, the longer/further you can go! From researching the cheapest flights/hotels/car rental, to haggling on local markets and eating street food. It is in our DNA, so don’t hold it against us!
4. We’re… well… DUTCH!
Which might be a silly statement to make, but having the Dutch nationality opens up a lot of doors. It is an absolute privilege to have the Dutch passport that is one of the least restricted in the world when it comes to entry requirements. This certainly helps your travel hunger when choosing your destinations (and saves money on visa, see point 3). On top of this, we have a labor law that obliges companies to give 20 days of paid leave per year (beyond national holidays) on a full time contract. And we are a country with the means to actually travel…
“If you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much” might be a bit too harsh of a saying, but simply being Dutch sets you up for a much easier international travel experience than most others around the globe. We are very thankful for this privilege, and are certainly making the most of it!