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The Netherlands: Expectations vs. Reality


Out latest post by Travel Ambassador Enora from A Frog On The Run


Some countries come with their lot of expectations when you visit them for the first time. The Netherlands is definitely not an exception. Just mentioning it, you probably have a bunch of images popping in your mind, whether it is of flowery fields, windmills, or bikes. 

But there is nothing worse than expectations when you visit a place for the first time. Chances are, you will be very disappointed once you get there.

Because at TransferTravel, we love The Netherlands, we have made a list of the expectations you *probably* have before you go there. Let’s forget about the clichés once and for all, so that you can truly enjoy your trip!

Bikes, So Many Bikes

Everybody knows that the Dutch love to bike. To work, to school, to the supermarket, everywhere they go.

If you have in mind a picturesque view of a few people on bikes in the middle of tulip fields, please, forget about it. Bikes in the Netherlands can lead to absolute chaos, especially in the cities.

There are bikes EVERYWHERE. It can be quite dangerous if you are on foot and not paying attention. Never cross a road without looking twice on both sides. Bikes won’t stop for you. 

And when I say never cross a road, what I really mean is, never step aside without looking. There’s probably a bike behind you trying to take over.

Does Everybody Smoke?

As you know, marijuana is legalised there. That doesn’t mean that everybody smokes it though. In fact, when you get out of the cities, it can even be impossible to find a coffeeshop. You cannot buy it everywhere, as you may think. 

A law was passed a few years ago, that makes it impossible for a tourist to buy weed. Big cities like Amsterdam have worked their way to keep it legal to sell to foreigners and tourists, for business reasons, but in the rest of the country, it is actually illegal (it depends on the municipalities).

So don’t expect to have weed smokers everywhere in the streets when outside of Amsterdam. The ones you will find in Amsterdam will probably be tourists anyway.

Where Do You Find Windmills?

Ah, the magnificent Dutch windmills. They are everywhere too, right? Well no, they are not.  

You can find some in Amsterdam for example, but you probably won’t be really amazed without the picturesque fields and countryside that usually go with them on pictures. Most of the ones in Amsterdam cannot be visited either.

The thing with windmills is that you need to be looking for them to find them. You won’t just stumble upon one, unless you are lost somewhere.

Don’t worry though, they are easily accessible by bus, train, or through a tour operator. 

Red Lights And Prostitution

Just as with the windmills, it is safe to say you probably won’t stumble upon any red light districts by accident.

Although, again, Amsterdam is a little different with that. If you think sex workers, you think Red lights district of course, but there are other neighbourhoods in the city where they can be found. Nonetheless, it’s definitely not an “every corner” situation.

Going out of Amsterdam, chances are you won’t find any at all. Either because they are located in small streets only known to the locals, or because they are simply not there.

The city of Utrecht for example is one of the biggest in the country, located 30 minutes away from Amsterdam, and prostitution has been banned there 6 or 7 years ago. Before that, there was a well-known street in the city center where you could find them, and a few boats outside of the city center. Yes, boats. It is The Netherlands after all.

The Dutch All Speak English

They all speak English, right? Well, yes, they do. English is spoken by about 93% of the population in the Netherlands, so in whatever situation you are in, you will find someone to communicate in perfect English with. 

But because they all speak English doesn’t mean they always want to… Just something to keep in mind during your trip, or else you might just think that some of them are terribly rude.


All Flights Landing In The Netherlands

Manchester – Amsterdam Return flight £90  – Returning On 4th June 

Manchester – Amsterdam Flight £65  – Returning On 4th August

Athens to Amsterdam Flight with 20% off €75 Departing 2nd August

London Stansted – Eindhoven Flight £90  – Returning On 6th August

Fancy a weekend in Groningen, Netherlands? from Southend on Sea, UK £120  – Returning On 18th June

Miami – Amsterdam Flights $360 

Madrid – Amsterdam 2 flight tickets 3rd – 6th June €200  – Returning On 6th June