Get started in the Netherlands: 10 things you really should know about your new home country!

What is it like to live in the Holland? Here are the essentials in the Netherlands we think that will really help you to get started well in the land of the Dutch! Yes, you came to one of the safest, cleanest and most progressive countries in the world – but are we really that perfect? Find out..And: welcome to Holland!

1 Try Dutch cheese, ‘patat’ and ‘pannenkoeken’!

This first one might be the most important one of the essentials in the Netherlands. Go to your local supermarket – preferably an Albert Heijn or Dirk van den Broek – and go to the cheese department right away. No, not the fridge or freezer with the milk, but the actual cheese department with one or two cheese experts. Pick your favourite cheese. Our tip: go for ‘oude kaas’ or ‘belegen kaas’.

For the best Dutch fries – patat – go to Manneken Pis! You can find them in the major cities, especially in Utrecht, at the central station and in Amsterdam near Central Station (Amsterdam Centraal). A huge bag of fries with sauce will cost you just a couple or euro’s. Want to know the spots where you can get the BEST Dutch fries? Here you go.

For the best Dutch pannekoeken – pancakes – you really have to pick one of the authentic pancake houses (pannenkoekenhuizen). These are everywhere. You should go for the bigger ones, as they often have more experience and provide better service. Enjoy a big, delicious pancake with everything here – but do make sure you can actually finish it!

2 Visit Amsterdam, Maastricht, Eindhoven, Rotterdam & Groningen (and not only the touristy spots)

If you haven’t done this already, plan your trips to these cities right away! Don’t forget to visit the lesser known areas of the constantly growing cities, since they provide (better) food for at least half the price you pay in the touristic areas (center) and they have their very own hotspots. There’s no excuse, you can reach these place within 20-30 minutes by tram or bike anyway. This is the Netherlands – not the U.S.! Tips: in Amsterdam, go to Osdorpplein or Bos en Lommerplein. In Rotterdam, visit Weena, and in Eindhoven, go the shoppingcenter WoenselXL. Have fun!

Get to know the beautiful and calming rural areas of the Netherlands - The essentials in the Netherlands - the LDO BLOG.
Get to know the beautiful and calming rural areas of the Netherlands.

3 And the rural areas!

Do not forget the typical, authentic Dutch villages! Spend a day or two in a very affordable hotel, and amaze yourself. Better air, nice, warm and hardworking people and incredible rest and relaxation that comes along with it. Our tip: Nijverdal. It’s petite, but close to bigger cities like Zwolle, Almelo and Enschede.

4 Stay up to date with Dutch news outlets (and learn some Dutch in the process)

Read and blogs like Too hard? Start with For the news, choose NOS and not RTL. The latter is more progressive nowadays, though, especially online.

5 Learn Dutch!

Very important: do not be afraid, start learning Dutch in a group or individually. Get started with speaking and reading Dutch everyday. Do not be ashamed: if you never start, you will never learn!

6 Eat a typical Dutch dish at least once a week

Think of meatballs, potatoes or chicken soup. Go to the website of the Albert Heijn for example, to find some good recipes! Eet smakelijk!

Learn the essentials in the Netherlands in the LDO Blog today!

7 Make Dutch friends: take sports classes at a Dutch gym!

The best way to become Dutch is to integrate as soon as possible. Make friends, sign up for that kickboxing class you’ve been thinking about and start training and socializing in the process. You will learn alot of the people around you and you will adapt more quickly.

8 Play soccer with your neighbours and friends

The number one sport in the Netherlands: soccer! You will find proper soccer fields all over. Challenge friends and family and play regular matches. This will help you as well in understanding Dutch mentality and culture. You will understand why we like this game so much and be able to join and talk along when everyone becomes one during one of the (inter)national matches, when Holland plays!

9 Be aware of developments in Dutch society

Very important! We already mentioned zwarte piet (Dutch blackface). Although it’s not visible at first glance, discrimination, racism and also islamophobia are very present in Dutch society. A little girl was recently beat up because of her islamic, religious appearance in Emmeloord.

Read about it, research it and you’ll be amazed on how we as a people still have alot to learn from especially our colonial history.

10 Keep an eye on your financials!

Although you might heard otherwise, even our own Dutch brains can’t handle all the stress of the letters, bills and taxes we get (to do) on a daily basis! It’s amazing. But, if you can manage it here, you can manage it anywhere – and if you make it here, you can make it anywhere!

Enjoyed learning about these essentials in the Netherlands? Want to stay up-to-date with anything Dutch? Then you simply can’t afford not to follow on Instagram!

Keep on reading: why study in the Netherlands? Find out the top 10 reasons now!