All posts tagged: Netherlands

My first racist ‘attack’ in Europe and what I learned from it

Image source: Daum Blog Caption: Choose the wrong option. (the artist is mocking the idea of racism by using a multiple-choice question format popular in Korean education) Last Friday, I was leaving a supermarket when a group of young, white, mostly male, Dutch people ran up to me, took a photo of me, then ran away laughing. I froze, ran into MediaMarkt, the electronics store next door, which I was headed to originally, and stayed there for a good fifteen minutes before I went outside, looked around and made sure they were gone, got on my bike and pedaled back home. I asked myself if what had happened had really just happened. Yes. I saw the flash. I heard them laugh. I was sure. Back home, I sat down and wrote an angry and descriptive post along the lines of: “To the white, male, Dutch youth who just took a picture of me in front of the supermarket on this street, go fuck yourselves, go get cancer, go crash into a train. Same to the people who have …

Question 1. Why do the Dutch charge for flooring when you take over their rented flat?

To be specific, what would they do if you told them you didn’t want to pay for the flooring? Would they tear it up and take it with them? Considering the Dutch reputation (and truth) for being stingy (they say practical), I consider this to be a real possibility. I mean, I can definitely see one of my Dutch cousins with a stack of parquet or laminate flooring in their store-room somewhere, waiting for the day they can either sell it off for a good price or wandering around Ikea looking for the same material so they can redo their living room. Do you know what I’m talking about? Maybe not. On Dutch housing adverts, they often list the flat rent (what the space itself costs), the utility charges (can vary – usually a combination of electricity, water, gas, heating, Internet), and a list of furniture to take over. Sounds pretty standard, right? Then come a couple of items I’ve only seen on Dutch adverts: “[Insert type of material] flooring to be taken over at 50€” “5€ extra to share Wifi …

Week 2 in the Netherlands – Tall People Problems! (Not a First-Hand Account)

Hanging out with your everyday 180cm girl and 195cm guy, y’know. Today I met another girl who is 180cm tall – I really am in Holland! By now I’ve met so many tall Dutch men that 195cm is sounding like the average man, but tall women are still amazing to meet. She talked of the terrible growing pains she had, of wearing sneakers all the time for her boyfriend even though she loves high-heels, and about having to fit in strange ways to be able to sit on the metro. The first really tall person I’ve met was my cousin’s cousin who is 193cm, and who at that time was really into wearing New Rock Boots (which add 5cms). This was back when I was visiting Holland ten years ago, in 2004! When I met him he was also standing on the top of a couple of stairs, so the visual impact was considerable… Our conversation today opener today? “You’re still really tall!” “You’re still really short!” Closing sentence: “Maybe we see each other in ten years …

Week 1 in the Netherlands – Welcome to Feeling Like a Midget!

At my cousin’s place in the countryside So far I have experienced the following things here in Noord-Holland: – Getting used to the sun setting around 9pm instead or at 7pm – “Korea” North or South?” (it was a very, very old man) – Met a hardcore fan/heavy smoker of ze greens/seen an escort advert on the subway – Been on a boat trip with my uncle demonstrating of how the sluis works – Successfully pronouncing sluis – Understanding tiny bits of Dutch that sound just like English and thinking “Aha! I understood! One Word! Of your conversation!” – Learning to use the words mooi, lekker, and gezellig timely – Having an internal debate between saying “Holland” and “The Netherlands” and eventually going “Meh, everybody in Noord-Holland says Holland, so meh”, Googling it, and then finding angry comments from Southerners – People accepting I can be the cousin of a completely Dutch person and not asking any further questions or having puzzled looks – Seen a “Smoke Your Weed Outside” sign – Had a conversation in English with 60+ Dutch citizens …