A highway is a highway is a highway. There probably aren’t that many differences from one highway to another, from one country to another, at least in the standard western world. Aside from the license plate shape, the picture above really doesn’t look much different from any similar highway scene I remember from the US. Still, there are a few differences you’ll notice on Dutch highways compared to American highways (and I use highway interchangeably with interstates).
First up, the Exit sign is now an Uit sign.
Speed signs are posted above the road in electronic form that can change as needed.
We’ve got electronic information signs too, of course, but they’re in Dutch!
There are the big blue signs providing direction to various cities, and information about ring roads.
There are even signs directing you toward cheese! Yum! Gouda!
OK, no, it’s not actually directing you toward cheese, just the city for which the cheese is named.
As you can see, it’s all pretty similar to anywhere else. One thing that is a bit different here is the fact that there aren’t the same huge, ugly billboards everywhere. This is the only one I saw that even remotely came close to the ones I was so used to in America (I saw these South of the Border billboards a lot in North Carolina).
There are also a lot of wind turbines near the highway here, at least on the stretch we drove from Utrecht toward Rotterdam.
You’ll also see lots of fields divided up by canals like these, often with cows, horses and/or sheep hanging around.
But it’s always going to be flat.
Amy recently posted a link to an interesting map about names in the Netherlands, particularly the regional differences. It’s fascinating to see the tendencies toward certain names depending on the location, but I was particularly interested in (and amused by) the naming tendencies here in Utrecht.
Red areas would seem to coincide with affluence (or at least elitism), for the first names prevalent here are associated with socio-culturally prominent groups. These names, prominent in and around Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Haarlem among other places, are often Old Testament-y (Daniel, Sarah) come from nature (Luna), or might be French (Stéphanie, Olivier).
Thank goodness my Luna will fit right in here! Poor Lola and Pippo. I hope they don’t get teased in the schoolyard!
Luna living up to her rich-girl name:
Lola and Pippo, the buitenlanders: