Apart from the stereotypical parts of Dutch culture- the Red Light District, with its prostitutes, sex shops and coffee shops, there is a lot more culture to be experienced here. In fact, the Dutch government is trying its hardest to turn the Netherlands’ image around.

There are also the traditional parts of Dutch culture- clogs, cheese and windmills- all of which I encountered on a trip to the Zaans Schans Open Air Museum. Zaans Schans is a little village about 20 minutes out of Amsterdam, where people still live in tiny little cottages and make cheese and wooden shoes to sell.

But there are many other factors that are unique to the Dutch. To name a few:

  • Dinner is served at 6 pm sharp. Usually, this is a family affair and all members are expected to sit down to a cozy meal.
  • The Dutch speak their minds. Sometimes this can come across as extremely rude, as they are so blunt.
  • Sneakerheads- starting in New York, the trend to collect the most rarest and exclusive sneakers has made its way to the Netherlands. In Amsterdam especially, everywhere you look you can see thousands of pairs of colourful, metallic or fluorescent versions of the Nike Air Force 1. This is actually more of a sub-culture than a trend.
  • Pancakes- While not unique to the Dutch, they are certainly famous for them. Cooked with strange ingredients such as bacon and apple, or onion and mushroom, Dutch pancakes are delicious!
  • Creativity- Something I have noticed about Amsterdam is the level of creativity displayed. Every empty space has been filled with something creative and a bit “out there”. An empty shop gets filled with abstract art; roadwork fences get plastered with a sequence of images that continue throughout the city, the interior of metros are covered in all sorts of imagery. Amsterdam is a very inspiring place!

 

Despite its portrayal in the media, Amsterdam has a lot more to offer than merely the potential for a crazy weekend. The city is beautiful, with many world-famous landmarks to see, places to go and sights to inspire.

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