What it’s like to live in The Netherlands

Although I have lived in The Netherlands since I was three years old, I have never been able to call it home, and I had no appreciation for it. But when I became interested in social media—which eventually led me to become a social media influencer—and I created my Instagram page @dernederlanden, I saw The Netherlands in a new perspective.

There are many pro’s to living in The Netherlands, they have excellent health insurance—without which I would have lost my dad at a very young age. They have close to no natural disasters, and overall it’s very safe here. Here are five subjects I thought were worth highlighting.

Infrastructure
Roads in the oldest parts of the cities were built to ride a horse and carriage or a bicycle, buildings were built close to the road, so in many places there is no room to drive your car to the city center. To get your license in The Netherlands, you have to save up €1,000.- – €2,000.-, and you have to be properly trained to maneuver your car while using as little space as possible. When you make a traffic violation, the fines are much higher than in other countries, with some fines being as high as €400.- for speeding (39km/ph too fast) (the same violation would cost €160.- in Germany). The roads in many places in The Netherlands are very well maintained, Dutch people who own a car pay road taxes, we never have to pay a toll. The road taxes are used to maintain all the roads in The Netherlands. When a road is being maintained, road workers always place detour direction signs so you won’t get lost. When you drive from Holland to Belgium or Germany, you’ll know when you get there when the road gets bumpy.

Water management
The Netherlands is a country unlike any other, 27% of its surface is actually below sea-level and is reclaimed land from the sea—60% of the population lives there. The sea water is held back by dykes. On average it rains 240 days a year, yet we rarely have floods. This is because of our advanced drainage system—which could be one of the most remarkable accomplishments of the Dutch. The last disastrous flood was The North Sea Flood in 1953, where more than 1,800 people lost their lives. Our water is managed by the “Rijkswaterstaat”, who in my opinion should be hired to teach other countries how to build dykes, drainage systems and canals in countries all over the world.

Politics
Our politics are a little bit different, basically anyone can start their own political party. We currently have 28 political parties participating in the national elections, some of which are as crazy as the “Pirate Party” (Piratenpartij) who believe in the right to download movies and music from the internet. But because there are so many political parties, there is little room for corruption in our government. 
Dutch people are generally very accepting and have a very Globalist mindset, they believe in open borders for immigrants and stand for LGBTQ rights—but it has gotten so out of hand that even pedophiles participate in the gay pride now.

Education
Children in The Netherlands get 8 years of primary education, 4, 5 or 6 years of secondary education (depending on the type of school). After secondary school they can go on to vocational education or higher education.

There are both public and private institutions at all levels of the education system; the private institutions are mostly based on religious or ideological principles.

At the age of 12 children go to one of the following types of secondary education:

  • Preparatory vocational secondary education (vmbo) – 4 years in duration
  • Senior general secondary education (havo) – 5 years in duration
  • University preparatory education (vwo, atheneum and gymnasium) – 6 years in duration

Students who enroll in preparatory vocational secondary education (vmbo), are often discouraged from transferring to senior general secondary education (havo)—which in many cases is because of unfounded reasons. I believe many students enrolled in vmbo are perfectly capable of completing havo.

Career
The Netherlands has one of the lowest unemployment rates of the European Union with 5.6% unemployment. This is the 6th lowest rate, compared for instance to the 9.5% of France. The full-time working week is 40 hours, which means 8:00 hours a day. Of course lunch break does not count as working, so you will spend around 8:30-9:00 hours at work. Most companies offer opportunities to grow in their company, but in many cases such opportunities are non-existent. Your salary will be dependent on your degree, the Dutch law states what your minimum and maximum wage will be depending on your education.

Architecture
The oldest houses in The Netherlands have close to no isolation, strangely shaped rooms (they’re not square), and they were built with no bathroom (that was built in later). Instead of demolishing or renovating old houses, they add bathroom facilities and build them into student homes which are then rented out. While the “herenhuizen” from Amsterdam look nice from the outside, the inside can be an unhealthy environment due to lack of isolation or air flow. Houses in The Netherlands are often built very small, and a larger than average house is often referred to as a villa. A family home will quickly cost you a quarter of a million.

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