If you are new to The Netherlands, here are 10 things you need to be aware of – specially for South Africans.
Not everyone speaks English fluently and that goes for the paperwork too. Be aware that your mail will arrive in Dutch (if not specified otherwise).
Cycling is going to be the best way of getting around. Everyone does and it’s actually a lot of fun. Whatever you do, stay right, at all times, this goes for walking too.
If you ever find yourself shopping for groceries in South Africa, 99% of the time there’s a till assistant packing your groceries into bags for you. Don’t be caught off guard in The Netherlands or you’ll find a mountain of groceries, confused cashier and huffing-&-puffing shoppers waiting for you. Take your own grocery bags or get them at the cashier and ring them up first.
Sometimes you may yourself standing at a bus stop watching buses – you need to be on, pass by. Here’s a tip: To signal a bus to stop, lift your arm in the air.
Exchanging Rand (ZAR) in The Netherlands is a little tricky. Believe it or not, but notes without Nelson Mandela’s face on are not accepted – anywhere. Don’t rely on your bank card either. Especially if you’re the happy swiper… South African debit and credit cards are not always accepted.
Using the trains, metros, trams and buses is very easy. First, you’ll need to get yourself a travel ticket/pass. It needs to be swiped when entering and existing doors and/or booms. They can be bought at the station offices – after hours, from the big yellow ticket machines located at most entrances.
Using Uber saves you when public transport is canceled or unavailable. South African Uber accounts (currently) work in The Netherlands.
You need to buy yourself a really good bicycle lock – bad things happen if the opportunity presents itself. Even though The Netherlands is so safe you often hear of pickpocketing and stolen bicycles.
- a warning of approach *
- get out of the way *
- no walking in cycling lane *