What is Koninginnedag or Queen’s Day?

We have heard people talking about Queen’s day for weeks now and how the whole country shuts down and throws a big party.  These people really do know how to party!  So what is Queen’s Day?

Every year on April 30th the Dutch celebrate the Queen’s birthday.  Most people are off of work for this National holiday.  Everyone takes to the streets and wears Orange, Red, White or Blue – their country colors.  There are food vendors, activities for the kids, live music every where and lots and lots of beer.  Queen’s Day has been compared to Mardi Gras or New York City’s New Year’s celebrations.

What makes this Queen’s day so special is that the current Queen – Beatrix is stepping down from her throne after 33 years.  She is passing the crown to her son, Prince Willem Alexander.  He will be the first King in 123 years.

It was a fun experience, a little much for Mikayla.  She asked to go home after about 30 minutes.  Another item marked off our bucket list.  Check out our photos!

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Fun facts about the Dutch

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1.  The Netherlands is the most densely populated country in Europe with more than 1 million people.  Lucky for the environment, they like to ride their bikes!

2.  More than 1/4 of the Netherlands is below sea level.  Now I know why I’ve been having that “sinking” feeling.

3.  The Dutch are the tallest in the world.  The average man is 6 ft. or taller while the average woman is 5’6.  I am definitely one of the shortest people living here.

4.  The Dutch love coffee & tea.  In fact they, after Scandinavians, drink more coffee than anyone in the world with an average of 3 cups per day.  Everywhere you go, the bank, someone’s house, etc, you are offered coffee or tea.  They look at me funny because I do not drink either.

5.The Netherlands exports more beer than any other country.  Half of it is shipped to the U.S.  Most beer is super cheap here.  It is usually cheaper to buy beer than bottled water!

6.  The average Dutch person bikes 3 miles a day.  That is about 560 miles a year!  No wonder they are in such good shape.

7.  The Dutch LOVE American music!  Everywhere you go you will here all genres of music from different decades.  Definitely makes me feel at home!

8.  Be careful when looking for a Coffee shop.  There is the Coffee Shop and the Koffie Shop.  One sells beverages while the other sells marijuana & hallucinogenic mushrooms.  To enter the shop you have to show proof of your citizenship.

9.The legal drinking age in the Netherlands is 16.  It is not uncommon to see school age kids purchasing beer & wine at the local store.  It is also legal to drink in public.  There are a few areas that have no drinking signs, but not many.

10.  Driving here is very different from driving in the U.S.  No turning right on red.  Watch out for bikes because they are everywhere and they will pull out in front of you.  Stop lights are on poles instead of overhead hanging wires and it gets very confusing.  I have not been brave enough to try driving here yet.  I see how stressed out Barry gets and I am happy to just be a back seat driver passenger.

Well, there you have it.  10 facts about the Netherlands.  We really are enjoying it here.  I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to live here.

Sources:  Expatica.com, funtrivia.com & personal experience

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Exact Change?

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I have made several purchases over the month that we have lived here.  Now that I am getting used to using the Euro, I have noticed lately that you don’t always get your exact change back here.

The Dutch like to round up your change.  Example:  I bought an item and should have received 3 cents back.  The employee handed me my change and I stood there for a moment waiting for the rest.  I then realized she wasn’t going to give me any more money back.  Instead of making a fuss over 3 cents, I moved along.  This has happened a few more times.

It has also happened in my favor.  I was at the grocery store today and my total was 7 Euros & 4 cents.  Although the register clearly said 7 Euros & 4 cents, the employee asked me for 7 Euros.

In the end, I am sure it all evens out.  I just find it interesting that they don’t like to deal with pennies so they just round up and down.  I bet counting your drawer at the end of the day is a nightmare…

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The Pissing Statue of Brussels

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I’m not being crude.  When asking a local where to find the statue of the boy urinating, the locals will refer to him as the pissing statue.  His formal name is Manneken Pis.  This small statue is made of bronze … Continue reading

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Dutch Book Titled Speed Cleaning

Dutch Book Titled Speed Cleaning

This bright yellow book caught my attention today at our local library here in Eindhoven. ‘Speed Cleaning, the ultimate household workout’. Not only did I grab a copy of this but I have a yellow jumpsuit on order 😉

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Our first Mums & Toddlers playdate

I wasn’t sure what to expect at our first Mums & Toddlers get together but I was pleasantly surprised.  It is a group of women and children from all different nationalities who all have the same thing in common. They all have moved here from another country.  

There are children in the group from newborn up to 4 years old.  Right now the group gets together every other week in a big play room.  The kids play while the Moms drink tea & coffee and eat “biscuits” or crackers.  When the weather warms up the group will be meeting once a week.  In between meetups they have potlucks at each other’s houses, outings for the moms, etc.

Mikayla & I had a great time and I actually met another woman who is in the exact same situation we are.  They are from the U.S. & her husband works at the same company as Barry.  They are here for approximately 6 months.  She lives in the apartment building across from us.  We exchanged numbers and hope to meet up with the kids again.

Despite the unexpected snow on the first day of Spring, it was a great day!

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The Dutch like dogs

It is hard to go out anywhere in Eindhoven and not spot a dog.  The Dutch love their dogs.  They take them everywhere with them.  We have seen them in the grocery stores, restaurants, shopping malls & bakeries.  I have even seen a few people who take their dogs to work with them.  I have spotted all types of dogs in different sizes, but the small breeds seem to be most popular.

As a dog lover myself, it is neat to see such love for our furry friends.

A blind man walks in to a department store with his seeing eye dog on a leash.  The store manager behind the customer service counter looks up, notices the customer is blind, and quickly looks away again.  Out of the corner of his eye he sees the blind man start swinging the dog over his head with its leash. Shocked, the manager runs over and says, “Mister, is there a problem – is there something I can help you with?” The blind man calmly replies, “No thanks – I’m just looking around.”

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