A tourist in my own country

I know I haven’t been writing in quite a while because I have been struggling to find something to write about. The thing is, I moved recently back to the Netherlands, Rotterdam to be more precisely. And I don’t know if other people experience this, but I find it very hard to write about my own country in a travel blog. For some reason it always feels more “normal” to be able to talk your own language and see your own culture at work. This means for me I find it difficult to find interesting topics to write about.

That being said, lets get back to introducing the Netherlands. I have been living abroad now for several years, only visiting the Netherlands for an occasional weekend or short holiday, I forgot how my own country feels, and how my fellow Dutchies live. And being back resulted in a very double feeling; on the one hand I recognize my real Dutch culture and personality (I used to say my heart is Gouda cheese, and I still have to admit this is true) and on the other hand I start to realize that in certain aspects I don’t feel Dutch at all anymore.

Let me give you an example of that. Dutch people are known to be blunt, direct and straightforward, weather your like it or not. I am fully aware of this, as this sometimes happens to me as well in an international setting. However, I had forgotten that Dutch people also tend to do this to people they don’t know. So last week I walked home from the city centre when a complete stranger walks up to me and states that I should smile more, because I look so angry. Even being Dutch I was completely flabbergasted; in no other country in the world a complete stranger would walk up to you to tell you that you look angry!

dutch directness

Apparently I was out of it for such a long time that I was too shocked to actually come back with a quick and sassy answer, which should be the ultimate response. I guess I have to face it, I am a Dutchie with a heart of Gouda Cheese, but with a definite European crust!

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