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Lifestyle in the Netherlands

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Are you wondering what life in the Netherlands is all about? Find, in this article, an overview of Dutch culture and lifestyles.

The Dutch culture slightly differs from those of other European countries. Hence, you are advised to learn the Dutch language so that you can mingle more easily with the Dutch population. However, you should not have much trouble in communicating with them as other languages such as English, French and German are also spoken by the locals, as well as by its huge expat population. Life in the Netherlands can thus be quite fun to discover.

Culture and integration

The State and religion are considered as separate issues in the Netherlands. However, churches and other spiritual organizations are greatly encouraged by the government to contribute to the realization of integration policies. In fact, the Dutch government favors those who believe that religion and philosophical principles can positively influence the integration of minorities.

Moreover, foreigners can benefit from a program which has been established by Dutch municipalities, aiming at helping them to understand the country's laws and customs. This program also includes Dutch language courses, which is mandatory for 15 years as per the Integration Act. You could have to pay a fine for non-respect of these regulations.

Lifestyles

At the end of your working day, generally around 5 pm, you are likely to enjoy various cultural and sport activities. In fact, the Dutch have an active social life, meeting friends to party, etc. However, Northern Dutch lifestyle differs from Southern lifestyle. In fact, you are more likely to find French and Belgian type lifestyles in some regions and Scandinavian type lifestyles in others.

Bike culture

The bike remains the Dutch's most favorite means of transport. Most of them prefer to ride a bike due to their environmental consciousness. It is believed that the country has more bikes than inhabitants. Special paths have been set up for bikers while some streets are closed to traffic and reserved to bikers.

Meals

Dutch meal schedules can be quite surprising at first. In fact, days are quite short in the Netherlands. Hence, you are more likely to eat a sandwich or a short bun called “broodje” for lunch. Moreover, you could find closed restaurants during lunch time. Only tourist restaurants and bars stay open during lunch time.

Furthermore, you will be having diner around 6 pm. So if you wish to have dinner in a restaurant, you are advised to reach there early. Advance booking is also recommended.

Festivals and traditions

The Dutch generally celebrate a dozen annual events, namely in Amsterdam. You can thus enjoy fashion, sports as well as community tolerance events. As regards traditional events, the most famous ones are the “Koningsdag”, that is the King's Day, and the “Grachtenfestival” which is known as the Festival of water channels.

 Useful links:

Tourism in Holland – Culture www.holland.com/us/tourism/activities/dutch-culture-1.htm
Tourism in Holland – Events www.holland.com/uk/tourism/activities/events-in-holland.htm
ACCESS – Lifestyles in the Netherlands www.access-nl.org

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