Monday, 14 May 2012

The Natural Haven in Netherlands

Well hello from the Netherlands! Remember how I said it would be two weeks, well it was not! It was a serious nightmare getting all my stuff from UK with the shippers (see the side note).

On the plus side, I am back and ready to blog. I have 67 comments on the blog that I have not moderated yet (I love reading your comments so yay.....lol).

New blogs will resume tomorrow and we can get all serious and scientific :)

My Random Tidbits on The Netherlands

Fun fact: Did you know that it is actually The Netherlands and not Netherlands? I keep saying Netherlands though for some reason.

Natural Hair: The hair scene in Netherlands (Eindhoven) so far is not much natural hair at all. I see a lot of braids and weaves on Black women.

English: There is a myth that people in Netherlands speak English quite well. It is a myth. The truth is that the level of fluency really fluctuates and when it really matters (i.e you have to fill out an official form or get a work contract) it will always be in Dutch. I have the advantage that my husband is fluent in German and English and technically Dutch is a mix of the two so although he cannot speak it, he can actually read it extremely well. If you want to live in Netherlands, learn Dutch - you really need it for your tax refund at the end of the year (and with the level of taxation here, you want your refund!).

Weather: Many Dutch people think that their weather is quite miserable. I guess it is a matter of perspective because if you are from UK, this weather is fantastic, warm and actually quite dry (trust me when we say it sometimes rains all day in UK, we actually mean ALL day for 24 hours with no pause).

Green Points: Bikes, bikes everywhere.....it is very nice to see. Also, the type of bikes here are called Holland bikes and people ride with their backs quite upright. I cannot ride a bike (no natural balance, do not want to fall off in practice) so I am seriously getting myself a trike (yep like a kiddy trike but for an adult - driewieler fiets volwassenen:))

Money Matters: Netherlands is overtaxed and overpriced. You can save yourself quite a bit of money by going to amazon.de. Ordering from Germany (including delivery) is usually significantly cheaper than ordering locally especially for anything that costs 200 euros or more.


Side note: In case you are wondering, I used Anglo Pacific to ship. I read many negative reviews online but ultimately chose them because they offered substantially better pricing. If you have to start work in your new country or if you are relying on your shipment to start work, I would tell you, please never use Anglo Pacific. The UK part of the service is excellent (you get a good quote, you get free heavy duty boxes, they will load your goods for you) but that is where the service ends. Never ever request anything retrospectively, it will not be done and whatever arrival date you get, plan for at least 3 more. Plan to call the company internationally several times and never expect a phone call to be returned. Additionally, plan for bruises because although the delivery to your door is supposed to be on a palette (i.e all boxes wrapped together), some vehicles used cannot offload the palette which means you have to physically off load the boxes yourself.

30 comments:

  1. Very interesting tidbits. I will actually be in (The) Netherlands on Wednesday for holiday (from Berlin)... was wondering what the hair scene would be like

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    1. Just Eindhoven though, other cities may be different. Thanks for commenting :)

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  2. Aw, sorry about the movinf nightmare! But all the best in the new country for however long you will be there (I can't ride a normal bike too, do I'm totally with you on the trike thing, heh)

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    1. Thanks for the wishes :) I can't wait for my trike to get here!

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  3. If you need a break from the weave scene, try Amsterdam. Many more naturals here. Welcome!

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    1. Dank je wel :) I definitely plan to go to Amsterdam sometime later in the year, I need to see what all the fuss is about :)

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    2. Yes many more naturals. Visit De Vondelpark and De Albertcuyp markt if you are here
      And for vintage stuff the Noordermatkt:)
      Typisch Amsterdams
      Groetjes Chantal

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  4. AAAAAAAH OK this sounds weird but I LIVE in EINDHOVEN!! AAAAH I have been following your blogs for years. I go to school the TU/e. I know this might sound stalkerish, but I would love the chance to meet you. WOW!!!!!

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    1. lol not stalkerish at all. I get invites to meet ups but often they are just too far away from me. My husband actually works as a researcher as TU/e lol, so who knows maybe you have already seen me in a corridor lol.

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    2. hihi I'm sure I have not seen you around. I usually spot natural hair immidiately. In what field does your husband research? Because I study Chemistry.

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  5. WOW - so interesting! I know moves can be crazy, so I'm glad to hear you made it there safely. I hope all is well! Maybe you can help drop some natural hair knowledge to the sistas in The Netherlands :)

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    1. Thanks Mo! The move was quite smooth except for the boxes never arriving. I am glad it is done!

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  6. Nice to have u blogging again. ur bike comment caught me as I just learned to ride a bike this weekend. i also have no sense of balance (have fallen trying to stand up from a chair) but it can be learned really quickly. the trick is to take of the pedals and practice gliding and balancing before u attempt anything harder. good luck in the netherlands:)

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    1. lol My husband also suggested exactly that (take off the pedals and lower the saddle so that I could easily stop with my legs). I took the easy route and went for a trike. I think if I ever decide to learn to ride a bike, I will definitely try that.

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  7. Goed morgen. I enjoyed my time in Den Haag (The Hague) immensely. The bicycle phenomenon is fascinating. On a tour of Parliament, they showed us where the Prime Minister at the time parked his bicycle. Yep, he cycled to work everyday. You really do need to speak Dutch. I found the people to be more stiff upper lip than the English. My friends told me it was on account of their Calvinist history.

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    1. I actually know nothing about the Calvinist history, I must look that up!

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  8. Welcome to my little country! I can relate to what you have seen so far. The natural hair scene here is not much at all. It also depends, in Amsterdam (especially Zuidoost) or Rotterdam for instance, you will see some sisters who wear their hair natural, but not many though.
    As for the bike? You just need a little practise to find your balance, that's all. But a driewieler(trike) sounds like a good start. I hope you will enjoy your short stay.

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  9. Dank je. I think that while I like to see natural hair, sometimes I also like being the unique one in the room. I agree that I need to practice to ride on a bike but I know given my general lack of natural balance it will take much longer than it would for the average person.

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  10. Definitely sounds interesting, I wonder if you could post pictures as well? For some reason The Netherlands fascinates me.
    You may not see alot of loose natural hair but I think some braid and weave wearers might actually be natural underneath it.I recently wore my hair in the cinnabun style and went to a party and some ladies were asking how I got it "to do that?".One asked "Haishikani?"-(Swahili for-it doesn't tangle?).Sometimes people just don't know what styling options are available to them.
    I also can't ride a bike:(. I wish I could get a trike, now what would be cool!Now, this is random but check out www.villycustoms.com -expensive but very snazzy bike designs and you can build your own!!. I want to learn if only to get a nice colorful one!

    Sue
    Sue

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  11. hi JC welcome to the netherlands! i actually have a friend - natural- in eindhoven! in amsterdam most people speak english fluently though, but yes forms have to be filled in in dutch (im lucky my hubby is dutch, so i don't need to get a headache!).
    lol @ the trike! biking everywhere is great, i'm going to get a bakfiets later on this year, so i can go around with the 2 babies!! hubby has the baby chairs on his bike, but i'm not too comfortable with that.
    oh, btw, this is louloumatou from youtube.
    the weather has been pretty miserable laely but yes, not as miserable as in the UK, that i remember well.

    take care xx

    Jacky

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  12. Aside from your moving madness (wow!!) I am jealous at --> bikes everywhere. I moved to "the big city" (DC) only to realize I cannot afford to live INSIDE of the city yet due to costs, and the metro doesn't go a lot of places...sigh...so I'm stuck in the suburbs for a while, and pinned to my car for work, food shopping, etc, etc... Happy you are getting settled!

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  13. Welcome back Jc...enjoying everyone's comments, especially learning a little about life in The Netherlands. I can ride a child's "sidewalk bike" (with the banana seat), but absolutely no balance on "adult" bikes...good to know I am not alone!
    Noiree, I assume you are talking about DC in the US. If so, I am also in a Virginia suburb with the nearest metro a 20 minute drive. Since I'm originally from New York City, my constant running up and down subway steps and frequent walks everywhere (what bus schedule?!) kept me in great shape. Now I'll actually have to schedule time for exercise, because driving everywhere does little for the metabolism!
    Deevelyn

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  14. If you need hair products in NL you can order from http://www.mariposaimport.com/ Het is in Nederlands(It is in Dutch) but they have many of the popular brands. Ik hoop dat je het leuk hier vindt(I hope that you like it here :)

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  15. Glad that you made it safely and you seem to be settling in. Here's to new experiences!!

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  16. Is it really The Netherlands? A Dutch man flipped out on me because the option for his country in the computer was "The Netherlands." I worked with a few Dutch people from the energy business, and many were very rude. Most fit their stereotypes.

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  17. Glad you're back!!! I use to live in Germany and go across the border to Eindhoven for the clubs back in the 90's (lol).

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  18. Thank you all so much! I appreciate all your comments, notes and advice. I cannot say thank you enough :)

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  19. Love international curlies! I actually want to head to the Netherlands soon when I can cash in my vacation time. I'm currently in South Korea as an English teacher. I look forward to more blog posts!

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  20. i'm new to your page, and i really find it informative and smart. i'm trying to discover my own hair routine, and it's a fun journey so far. it's cool that you're in the netherlands...my husband and i live in rotterdam, and actually just visited eindhoven this weekend. and i absolutely feel you on zwarte piet.
    bedankt voor alles!

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  21. i'm new to your page, and i really find it informative and smart. i'm trying to discover my own hair routine, and it's a fun journey so far. it's cool that you're in the netherlands...my husband and i live in rotterdam, and actually just visited eindhoven this weekend. and i absolutely feel you on zwarte piet.
    bedankt voor alles!

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