For me as an exchange student from Austria it was predictable that I won´t have that huge of a cultural shock, because Austria is, as well as the Netherlands, located in Northwest Europe. I guessed life and things will be quite similar to my home country, but there are more differences than I have thought there would be. I have noticed many small and nondescript seeming things.
What we find very common here – because we are used to it in the Netherlands or we think that’s how it should be – is sometimes experienced as special by a foreigner who visits our country. Weird, funny, crazy or nice. The many foreign students who come to the Frisian capital also have similar experiences. In the series ‘Through the eyes of’ YourPost gives them the floor.
First of all, I have to mention the beer! There are many delicious beer types, the Netherlands really should be proud of. But why do people just drink it out of small glasses like 0,33 or even 0,25? Last time I have ordered a small beer I really got a glass with 0,16 litre volumes! What? I think that doesn´t even exists in Austria or otherwise no one would order it. I am used to drink beer out of a glass with half a litre volume. Therefore, I have learned, the upcoming months, I will always order a big beer.
The free coffee
For local people it is very normal, to do the weekly shopping in a supermarket and grab a coffee for free meanwhile. Exactly this was very unique and surprising for me. You stroll and check if you have got everything written down on your shopping-list, you stand next to all the available vegetables and suddenly you find yourself next to a coffee machine, you see someone is clicking the button, the machine starts working and the person gets the free coffee. Nevertheless, that is not the only place for free coffee, there are also many machines widespread amongst the university NHL Stenden. I think this is such a nice offering which might have a positive effect on the population. I really like it!
Of course, we also have yogurt in Austria, but not in the same packaging. At home yogurt is normally out of pots, but here in Leeuwarden yogurt is often inside the packaging we only use for milk.
Until my time here in Leeuwarden I have known hagelslag as a common cake topping, but here hagelslag becomes a totally different meaning. It is an inherent part of the Dutch breakfast. Many people eat it every morning on their bread with butter.
Last but not least, the sugar bread: so good and typical here! Everyone should try it at least once!