Our First 2 Weeks in The Netherlands
We are Herman & Janke Fourie.
We moved from Potchefstroom, South Africa to Rosmalen, Netherlands on 22 April 2023.
We were asked to write about a particular experience we’ve had in the past two weeks living in the Netherlands, but we’ve had so many fantastic experiences, it’s really hard to single out one experience.
Firstly, we have had such a pleasant experience doing the ‘everyday’ things – such as going to the Gemeente, grocery shopping, setting up our cellphones, using public transport, and even receiving mail. It might sound strange for someone to say they enjoyed these seemingly mundane tasks, but for us, coming from South Africa - where very few of these kinds of institutions function properly, we have genuinely enjoyed dealing with a system that just works.
Our time in the Netherlands so far, has not been without its challenges, we had to learn to drive on the “wrong” side of the road and figure out the recycling. Our South African bank cards are also not accepted everywhere and although we are native Afrikaans speakers, and we have had months of Dutch lessons, there is definitely still a significant language barrier. Especially since we do not live in a very large (multilingual) city, and Dutch people talk FAST! Still, we eventually figured out these little issues, thanks to the very friendly and helpful Dutch people in our community.
Getting to our favourite experiences in the Netherlands so far, we would like to highlight the following days:
Our first trip to Ikea – This place was like Disneyland to us. We thought we were going to drop in to grab a few necessities for our house, but instead we ended up spending the entire day at Ikea, and we especially LOVED the Swedish meatballs.
Koningsdag – We really enjoyed the festive and patriotic spirit in the Netherlands on Koningsdag, dutch flags waving outside every house, every single person wearing orange, and goodness, Dutch people know how to throw a party!
Keukenhof – Since we arrived in the Netherlands during tulip season, we could not miss the opportunity to see this one very “touristy” destination and we had the most amazing experience. What a fantastic place! We were in awe, walking around the gorgeously landscaped park, and we were amazed by all of the colours and different flowers.
Our first braai – Well first off, we were very pleasantly surprised to learn that we were in fact allowed to braai here, and we learned that it’s also called a “braai” in Dutch. All of the grocery stores in our area have a “braai”-section with everything we could possibly need. While talking about South African culture over a biertje with our awesome Dutch neighbour, he even loaned us a little “braaier” so we wouldn’t miss home too much. So, we spent our first Saturday in the Netherlands, with the sun shining, Afrikaans music playing and a nice braai going.
We feel extremely blessed, privileged and extremely thankful for this opportunity. We are living a life that we could never have imagined a few months ago, and it’s all thanks to IR Olav’s Globetrotters team who made all of this happen.