The Haves and Have Nots

It’s time for the Xpat Blog Hop again, and this one kind of amused me, so I thought I’d see what I could come up with. The prompt is: list 5 things your country doesn’t have and you wish they did, and 5 things they do have and you wish they didn’t.

Things The Netherlands Doesn’t Have:

  1. Air conditioning. It’s not really been necessary in our house this summer, but it still gets warm enough and humid enough that when you have to walk everywhere, you can get a bit warm and sweaty. Sadly, most shops and restaurants don’t have AC, so you can’t even get any relief when you arrive at your destination.
  2. Biscuitville. Admittedly, most places in the US don’t even have Biscuitville, but there’s nothing better for a hangover or just an easy Southern breakfast.
  3. Mega grocery stores. I miss the variety of products available, including the convenience of buying makeup, contact lens solution, sewing basics, and more in one store.
  4. Sunday shopping and 24-hour shopping. Occasionally, I miss the convenience of life in the US.
  5. Antihistamines. When you’ve got a cold, sometimes you want the kind of drugs that will dry out every inch of your body. Sure, you feel kind of parched when taking them sometimes, but at least you have a chance of breathing through your nose. Nose sprays are decent, but there are times when you want more. Or at least something that will knock you out during the worst of the misery.

Things the Netherlands Does Have (But You Don’t Want)

  1. The wettest summer since 1906. I like the rain, but this year has been insane. It’s raining right now.
  2. Geert Wilders
  3. Drop, aka licorice. It’s pretty popular here — supposedly the highest per capita consumption of licorice in the world — but it’s just not for me.
  4. Tax offices that legally can only speak to you in Dutch.
  5. I really can’t think of anything at the moment. I had to stretch for that last one.

I like Amy‘s idea of listing five things I’m glad the Netherlands does have, so here goes:

  1. Outdoor cafés and terraces. If it’s remotely possible, even just a table or two, most restaurants, bars and cafés will have outdoor seating.
  2. Always getting a cookie or chocolate with your coffee.
  3. Pataat met (aka french fries with mayo)
  4. Cultural Sundays here in Utrecht
  5. Dutch light (and a hint of a rainbow)

Dutch Light and a Rainbow


11 thoughts on “The Haves and Have Nots

  1. stumbled upon this, i’ve heard of all the french fries with mayo and a very relaxed life…i’m keen to visit the Netherlands some day, and this is a fun post to read. thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for stopping by! I really do love living here and recommend at least a visit to anyone. But make sure you visit Utrecht and not just Amsterdam! It’s a fantastic city, with lots to see and do and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Even when it is raining. 😉

  2. I would gladly trade my local Biscuitville for your local Jamin where I can buy all the drop that I want, whenever I want it!! I adore dropje. It’s hard to come by in North Carolina and expensive for the in-laws to post from Amsterdam, though they do send care packages c/o Sinterklaas!

    .Oh– and lets not forget the bakeries where I could buy mergpijpjes. Delicious mergpijpjes!! All the time!! 😛

  3. Hello Thanks for linking,
    Seems a trend is developing for the mega stores!!! I like the things I like bit at the end. The exchange sounds like a great idea, rather than do virtual blog hop!!

    • I’d probably be out of luck with the mega stores anyway, as they’d be built outside the city. Since I don’t drive here, that wouldn’t do me much good. And then there’s the tiny fridge and minimal pantry space … I guess the shopping I do now is best for where I live. Puts it all in perspective! 🙂

  4. I still think I need to stock up like I did in Massachusetts, always be prepared for a storm. But the reality is where in the world would it all go? The idea of a super store is fun, but it may not fit our reality right now.
    When I have written about life here on the blog, I get emails from friends who want the simplicty we have (like this is Little house on the prairie or Amish country). They say they like the Dutch style, but I am not sure what they are willing to really give up.
    Finally, there is a shop in Utrecht that almost makes me gag. I am not a fan of black licorice, and to walk into a little shop full of it, made me turn for the exit right away. And as I was leaving there was a line waiting to get bags of the stuff. Not my cup of tea.
    It is a fun list, and something I have been working on this year. The lists get longer and longer, of the pros and cons. What am I asking for Xmas this year from America? Deoderant, band aids, and antihistamines. Ah, the basics of life.

    • I appreciate elements of the “simplicity”, but there are definitely times when I long for the “crass American convenience”. 😉 The reality is that you adjust. I might mention my longing for the mega stores, but in reality, it’s not something that I think about that often anymore. I know where to shop for most things now and I’ve found alternatives that suit me. Plus, it’s kind of fun to go to the Saturday market to pick up seafood or buy three cheeses for only €5.

      But yeah, drop just is never going to be my thing. I usually try some about once a year, just to see if the Dutch have rubbed off on me, but nope, still icky! 🙂

  5. Alison, thanks for the like on my “Path” post. I am also an expat and miss all of the things about America that you do. I live in the United Arab Emirates in Al Ain, just outside of Dubai. Been here 3 years, we do have mega stores and mega malls and all of the biggest, tallest, etc here though.
    I love visiting Holland, but I don’t think living there would be my cup of tea 🙂

    • The UAE seems like such a drastically different place to live, but one I’d like to visit at least. You’ve at least got more air-conditioning there, though, don’t you? I should hope so!

  6. Just reading back some of your older posts, but I had to leave one here!

    Born and raised within these borders and the Dutch cuisine, but I’ve never liked licorice. The only one I can sorta eat one or perhaps two is Engelse drop and really good honing drop. But then both don’t exactly taste like drop. 😉 Otherwise, thanks but no thanks.

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