Last Updated: October 12, 2021
Life and Living in the Netherlands
The Netherlands, also known as Holland, shares its border with countries like Germany and Belgium. The country is best known for its vested interest in art, architecture, and philosophy along with its keen outlook on music and cuisine. The country offers candidates the opportunity of having high living standards and is a great place to start if they wish to explore Europe. The Dutch culture includes a large number of cultural and traditional festivals which last throughout the summer months.
The country has one of the best open economies in the world and they also play a big role in exports making education and career aspirants find a lot of opportunities. The programs that are taught here, unlike other European countries, are mostly in English and are offered at affordable rates. The country also offers candidates a lot of scholarship options that will let them graduate without any debts.
Languages in the Netherlands
Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands and is a language that is widely spoken in the country with variations in dialects. But since the country is close to other countries like France, Germany, and Belgium, it is common for people to speak and understand languages like French, English, and German.
The country is a popular tourist attraction and hence has a large percentage of its population to be foreign nationals which makes learning the language from within the country relatively easy. And due to the welcoming nature of the Dutch, they are open to errors and discrepancies that foreign nationals make while speaking the language and are appreciative of the effort they put into learning the language.
Cost of Things in the Netherlands
The cost of things in the country is dependent on the location candidates plan to buy them from. Due to a relative shortage in housing availability, the cost of accommodation is high in the country. The monthly rent can range anywhere between €1,400 to €1,800 depending upon the locality the candidate has chosen. Healthcare in the country is private and hence candidates will have to pay by themselves for all hospital expenses. On the other hand, public transportation is relatively cheaper than most places in Europe.
The department stores in the country generally contain everything one might be looking for and the prominent stores in the country are HEMA and De Bijenkorf. Every large town and city in the country will have a retail area that candidates can visit to purchase clothing accessories. A few of the names that candidates can look for while shopping is Wibra, Zeeman, America Today, WE, etc.
Living Expenses in the Netherlands
The cost of living in the country is relatively high but this is natural for most of the European countries that people wish to move to. The country also has one of the highest rates in the world for electricity. But at the same time, the living expense is not the same at different parts of the country. For instance, the living expense in rural areas is far lower than that of a city like Amsterdam. The average cost of living in the country comes up to €2,200 for a single person for a month.
The cost of basic food items are as follows-
- Milk- €1.04 per liter
- Apples- €2.10 per kg
- Red Table Wine- €6 per liter
- Tomatoes- €2.14 per kg
- Potatoes- €1.34 per kg
- Cheese- €5.71 per 500gm
The currency used in the Netherlands is Euro which is represented by the symbol €. Euro is the most commonly used currency across Europe with around 18 countries using the same. This makes it easier for people to travel within Europe without having to change the currency with every country they visit. The denominations used in Euro for banknotes are €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, and €500 while the coins take denominations of 1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, and 50 cents.
Things to Do in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is one of the popular destinations in Europe that people tend to visit owing to its relatively small size which makes the visit short and memorable. The country has a wide range of scenic locations ranging from the canals in Amsterdam to the traditional villages that still contain windmills. The interest people have in cycling from destination to destination is also one of the most commonly adopted methods by tourists due to the scenic beauty this form of commute offers.
Places to Visit in the Netherlands
While every city and village in the country is worth being visited, there are a few cities that candidates must definitely visit if they are a tourist or an international student in the country. A few of these are-
- Amsterdam- This city is known as the Venice of the North and is the capital city of the country. This city has umpteen number of canals, boat tours, coffee shops, etc. that candidates can explore. Candidates who go there must visit the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, Vondelpark, the National Maritime Museum, Rembrandt House Museum, etc.
- The Hague- This is the 3rd largest city in the Netherlands based on population and is located by the sea making it a scenic location for explorers. A few of the must-see places in the city include Mauritshuis, Kunstmuseum Den Haag, Duinrell, Escher in Het Paleis, Peace Palace. Louwman Museum, etc.
- Rotterdam- This is the economic center of the Netherlands and is a port city. It is considered to be a cultural melting pot with a deep-rooted maritime history. The places to be visited while in Rotterdam are the cube houses, market hall, Euromast, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam Zoo, etc.
- Haarlem- This city is located in North Holland and is known for the enclosed courtyard gardens also called Hofjes. The city has a medieval character to it with small shops and narrow streets. Candidates can visit places like the Frans Hals Museum, Teylers Museum, Het Dolhuys, Grote Markt, Ten Boom Museum, De Hallen Haarlem, etc.
- Edam- This place is best known for the cheese they produce. But at the same time, cheese is not all that the place contains. The place is rich in history and overlooks the Dutch village of IJsselmeer. The place also contains the old city center and multiple historical locations like the St. Nicholas Church, Town Hall, Edam Museum, and Carillion.
Cuisines to Relish While in the Netherlands
When compared to the cuisine of the rest of Europe, the Netherlands cannot be said to have internationally famous delicacies. But at the same time, people who visit or live in the country should ideally seek out traditional Dutch food to completely grasp the culture of the place. A few of the traditional Dutch dishes are-
- Stroopwafel- This is a pastry item that is famous across the world and resembles a cookie though it is a waffle made out of baked batter. The pastry is made with two waffles sandwiching a sticky syrup of sweetness and is available mostly in Amsterdam.
- Patat- This is a dish that resembles French Fries though it is thicker in comparison. It was originally made in northern Belgium and is served with tomato ketchup, peanut sauce, or curry.
- Hollandse Nieuwe- This is one of the most popular Dutch dishes that is made from fish and is served alongside raw onions and gherkins. This dish gets its name only during the months between May and July since it is required that the fish be caught during those times for it to be authentically called Hollandse Nieuwe.
- Pannenkoeken- This is a dish similar to pancakes but is larger in size and thinner in nature. It is generally had for dinner and is considered to be an equivalent of pizza. This dish is topped with bacon, cheese, apples, or raisins depending on individual preference.
- Oliebollen- This is a traditional food that is generally served during New Year’s Eve. The word implies balls of dough that are deep-fried and is served with powdered sugar. It can be considered to be the equivalent of donuts.
Festivals to Attend While in the Netherlands
The Netherlands has an endless list of festivals which tourists and international students will be able to be part of throughout the year. A few of these festivals are-
- Rotterdam Summer Carnival- This is also known as the Zomercarnaval and is one of the biggest street parties in Europe. It is conducted in July and contains music concerts, different cuisines, and even the Battle of the Drums. This festival is considered to be one of the internationally acclaimed carnivals.
- Redhead Day- This is a summer festival that is celebrated for 3 days at the end of August. People with a natural redhead gather in the city of Tilburg in large numbers where lectures, photoshoots, kid’s activities will be held. People from over 80 countries attend the festival.
- Amsterdam Canal Festival- This is also known as the Grachtenfestival and is a 10-day festival based on classical music. This is conducted at different locations during the set of 10 days. The performance will either be on stages that have been set up or on the waters in the canals in boats.
- Spring Opening of Keukenhof Gardens- The Keukenhof gardens cover an area of 80 acres in Lisse. The garden has an estimated 7 million tulip buds planted every year which bloom during spring between March and May. The gardens remain open to the public during this duration for 8 weeks.
- Holland Festival- This is a performance art festival which is conducted in June in Amsterdam. There will be performances on an international level based on music theater, dance, opera, theater, literature, etc.
Commuting to Places in the Netherlands
The Netherlands offers people the option of traveling using personal vehicles, trains, metros, and even cycles. The best option of traveling from one city to another in the country is to take trains which take the least amount of time amongst all. After this, the most opted method of traveling is through buses which are run by local companies. In some locations, candidates are expected to book tickets in advance while taking buses whereas other places allow them to pay the designated amount to the driver.
Cars are an available option that people have in the country but are less opted for by people due to the traffic jams that almost define the cities in the country. People mostly opt for commuting on bicycles of it is for short distances due to pathways created for the same along with the option of viewing the country better. Candidates will be able to rent bikes for a day for an amount of €7.50. The only drawback that drags people back to public transports is the unexpected rains that can ruin cycling plans.
Entertainment Options for Students in the Netherlands
The entertainment options that international students can choose from include visiting movies and performative theaters, experimenting the traditional Dutch cuisine, and even visiting historical sites in the country. Due to the relatively small size of the country, students can explore the country fully before they leave. The place is also known for coffee shops and clubs where students will be able to relax after a long day.
Candidates will also be able to attend the numerous festivals that are held in the country throughout the year. It is said that Amsterdam alone has over 300 festivals celebrated in a year which makes the lives of students filled with cultural events that can enrich their knowledge of the country.
Safety Concerns for International Students in the Netherlands
Candidates who wish to go to the Netherlands for educational purposes will find the country to be relatively safe when compared to other European countries. The country has a low crime rate and is considered to be safe for both female travelers and international students. But at the same time, the country is not entirely void of crimes owing to how international students often move to large cities. The cities have crimes that are typical of all cities around the world.
Candidates should take precautions against pickpocketing and other common crimes that can happen while living in any city. But at the same time, candidates will not have to take extra precautions while living in the Netherlands just because they are international students.