“When the world ends I’ll move to Holland, because there everything happens 50 years later” – Heinrich Heine
One of my goals this year is to move to another country, and whenever I inform people in my surroundings of my plans, they always react the same: “why would you want to leave the Netherlands!?”
Well, here’s seven reasons why:
- Despite telling everyone we’re a very tolerant country, we’re secretly not. Syrian refugees? Sure, we’ll take them in! Just not in our direct environment, please! I can’t even count on both hands the amount of local protests we’ve had since this “tsunami of immigrants” started. It’s ridiculous and childish, and incredibly hypocritical (something I am very much allergic to). If you don’t want them, just have the guts to say so, but don’t pretend to be all nice and kind, from a distance only.
Also, just wanted to state this as well, we might be the first country ever to have legalised gay marriage, don’t think for a second this means homosexual people are accepted in the Netherlands. To an extent, maybe, but in general: no. Don’t be fooled. The Dutch aren’t tolerant, the Dutch are evil.
- The Netherlands are too small for me. Or maybe they’re too crowded, take your pick. My native country is super-duper small, yet we harbour nearly seventeen million people! I know this might not sound like a lot to some of you, but imagine that many people living on a mere 41,543 km2… Feeling claustrophobic yet? I guess that’s where they got the Dutch saying “feeling like a herring in a barrel” from (herrings used to be stuffed to the max in tiny barrels). A herring, by the way, is one of our national “dishes”. Although not completely raw when eaten, the Dutch have a tendency to eat such a fish in one go (without the head, mind you), flavoured with nothing more than a few bits of onion.
I don’t want to end up like a herring in or out of a barrel. I need to leave!
- No more unwanted, unannounced family visits. I suppose there are members in every family to which the following Oscar Wilde-quote applies: “Some people bring happiness wherever they go, some whenever they go.” The first kind of people isn’t so bad, but it’s the second kind that drives me crazy. Not only do they always drop by when you least expect them, they also always seem to smell when you’re absolutely not in the mood for a visit. When you’re busy cleaning, for instance, or you’re about to go grocery shopping. If I’d be living in another country, they’d never be able to drop in unannounced! Never! Because someone needs to pick them up from the airport, and they need a place to stay the night, and last but not least: if they’d make the “surprise trip” and I wouldn’t be in, they’d be screwed!
I imagine a lot of peace in my house, wherever I end up :)
- Aggression is becoming a common thing. A few weeks ago I read the following story in the newspaper: two boys are cycling home, and at one point they split up. Boy A shouts “see ya!” to Boy B, who makes a turn to get to his house. While trying to pick up his pace, Boy A gets run into (literally) by an adolescent man, who grabs a knife, yells “WHAT DID YOU CALL ME!?” at the teenager, and stabs him before jumping on his own bike and racing off.
That’s normal nowadays, for I read stories like these on a nearly daily basis. Pretty much if you’re a teenager, a teacher, a train conductor, a police officer or a paramedic, it means you’re in for a lot of violent actions taken against you. I cannot understand why anyone would show such behaviour, and thus I wish to escape it.
- We have terrible politics. At this moment the national motto seems to be: “make the rich richer and let’s squeeze some more money out of the poor.” Plus (aargh!), we have Geert Wilders. This man is an idiot, but he’s gaining votes weekly and that terrifies me. The only things he keeps shouting are “away with all immigrants!”, “all Muslims are terrorists!”, and “no mosque here!”. He’s the epiphany of the problems stated by number one. I do not wish to be associated with this man, ever! And if he indeed makes it to prime minister, I’ll HAVE to leave this country. I’d be so disappointed in our democracy, I wouldn’t be able to live here a day longer.
- Despite our current prime minister’s statements, our labour market isn’t growing any bigger. On the contrary. I have a Master’s degree, yet it seems impossible for me to find a job that suits me and my brilliant brains. I always end up in shops and housekeeping, because those are the only sectors in which they seek people with less to no experience. And honestly, I’d never be hired for another store-job, because I am too old now. I feel like I have a choice to make: find a crappy job in the Netherlands, or find a crappy job overseas. Hm… Tough one – not!
- This is the saddest one: there are NO mountains in the Netherlands. On one of my last days in China, me and an Irish travel companion were musing about what we’d miss most about our trip when we got back home. She said she’d miss the people, but was looking forward to taking long walks on the beach again (she lived near a beach, and we were stationed in the mountains). I told her I’d miss the mountains the most, to which she replied: “Why? You have them at home, too, surely?”
I had to remind her I don’t. Apparently we have one hill somewhere that’s officially steep/high enough to be called a mountain, and they’re building an artificial one as well (to attract snow tourists – hahahaha!), but that’s it. We do have lots and lots of water, which we brilliantly learned to keep out, meaning most of the Netherlands is below sea-level. That’s right: if the ice caps melt and the world floods, the Netherlands are screwed big time. Especially because we lack mountains to climb to reach safety. It’s not fair :(
Before I get to the Earworm Of The Week (which is beyond bad, so be prepared!), I’d like to state that I fully realise there are worse countries to live in than the Netherlands, and that I am grateful for having been born here, and having had so many opportunities study-wise and life-wise. But despite all the good stuff my country has to offer, I still cannot see myself living here forever, and I need to get away. Especially the no mountains part makes it hard to stay.
I really like mountains :(
As promised, here’s this week’s Earworm. In tradition of the region I live in, it’s a Dutch Carnaval-song (I hate Carnaval – just another reason for me to leave!). Now, don’t get excited, our Carnaval is NOTHING like the Brazilian celebrations, and neither is the music. If you wish to experience Carnaval pleasantly, I highly suggest you do so in Brazil. In Holland, it only means: dress up and act as something silly, get drunk, sing along to bad music, and (in a lot of cases) ruin your relationship by cheating on your partner as many times as possible within four days.
The following song is a traditional Dutch Carnaval song. Please note I do not take blame for bleeding ears and/or traumas that might occur. You have been warned!
Alaaf! (Carnaval-Dutch for cheers!)