Category Archives: Culture and Life

Becoming Dutch

Culture and Life

Becoming Dutch

Note no.1: There are 12 provinces within The Netherlands two of these form Holland; North Holland and South Holland. The larger cities and tourist areas of Amsterdam, Keukenhof, The Hague and Rotterdam lie in Holland, hence the popularity of the name amongst westerners. Eindhoven is in the province of North Brabant but I’m sure you’ll visit Holland during you time in The Netherlands!

Duolingo: download the app and set to Dutch!

Key words and differential pronunciations – my take:

  • Hello: Hoi (hoy)
  • Bye: Tot zeins (tut zz-in-s)
  • No: Nee (neigh)
  • Thank you: Bedankt
  • Thanks: Dank U (Dank you-ell –kinda like noel)
  • Women: Vrouwen or Dames
  • Men: Heren or Mannen
  • Corridor: Gang (just ask a Dutch colleague – is what you think)
  • Gouda (hhhouda – raspy ‘h’ – again ask a Dutch colleague)
  • Edam (Ay-Dum)
  • Strijp (stripe)

Also Dutch greetings tend to be a handshake (may feel odd between women or people your age), or three kisses (probably won’t get to that stage!).

Modes of Transport:

Cycling
As you may already know, cycling is the main mode of transport around cities in The Netherlands. Cycle lanes are everywhere with special traffic lights at crossings.

Have a look on the Facebook group ‘Second hand Eindhoven’ or website: open-market.nl/?query=bike for a bike. I got mine from a bike repair shop called ‘Spokes Bikeshop Eindhoven’  which I recommend for repairs or parts if you can’t get it done at the HTC. Ralf is really friendly and responds quickly to Facebook messages for immediate repairs. The HTC and Tourist information centre (by the station) do offer bike hire which may be worth it for the first few days whilst you try out some bikes to buy.

You must must must TRY your bike before you purchase it, as many on the second hand market willhave problem within a couple of weeks and need repairs paid for. Check the brakes, the chain, the chain guard, tyre condition, overall rust, lights. You’ll probably get a bike that is stuck in one gear so check that it’s high enough as most of the route will be flat and a low gear will be an effort. From our experience I’d say It’s worth spending a bit more on a bike initially to avoid extra costs later. However, you won’t want it in perfect condition as then it’s a target for thieves.

bike

ALWAYS LOCK YOUR BIKE, the frame and front wheel together and where possible lock it to something!! Especially around August-September as people steal the bikes to sell on to new students coming into the City. One of us had two bikes stolen in consecutive days in this period from not being locked to something. You should expect to pay around €20 for a chain lock but some bikes may also have a ‘clamp-style’ lock on their rear wheel which isn’t removed, only the key is – this is an ideal extra to look out for.

My bike was a ‘peddler’ bike where you have to pedal backwards to brake. Most of these have space for a basket on the front as well as saddle bag on the back. If you don’t live close to a ‘Lidl’ I’d recommend you getting either of these for you bike to help with carrying shopping.

Bus, tram, train
In The Netherlands, tickets can be bought in advance for all these modes of transport, but they also use the OV-Chipkaart card (pictured) which works in a similar way to an Oyster card, where you top-up for journeys and get discounts for yourself and visitors.

As you are there for 5 months you’ll probably find this worth looking into for cheaper and easier travel throughout the Netherlands. e.g Eindhoven has no tram but Amsterdam and Den Haag do.  If you are planning to take your bike on the train you will have to make sure you’ve paid extra for a bike ticket and check you are not travelling in rush hour. The main Train ticket company/website is NS.NL.

tickets
Storczyk.nl

Travelling to the airport is fairly easy. The Bus from the airport is ~€3.70 which you can get on a machine in the middle of the bus with the correct change. This will likely go to a stop near where you live or at least to the station so you can to get another bus. When I went home in the middle of my placement, with hand luggage, I just cycled to the airport.

Look out for flight deals, such as ‘Business Plus’ with Ryanair, when you fly out/back as you get cheaper ‘hold’ luggage.

 

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The City itself

Culture and Life

The city itself

I really enjoyed living Eindhoven as it was very easy to get around, had a good range of shops and places to eat, and it had quite a youthful and interesting urban feel. The City isn’t too large but had a lot going on for its residence of all ages. The Philips Stadium frequently held football matches for the local team PSV (finished top of the league 2016 in NL), and often there would be a music/food or sports festival or event going on in the city centre.

I lived near a renovated area called Strijp-S, where multiple vintage style shops and cafes have be built within an old Philips warehouse – called ‘Urban Shopper’. In this area there is also the ‘Vers hall het veem’ which is a permanent street food market and ‘Area 51’ which is a indoor skate park.

During my time, I also visited The Van Gogh cycle path nearby and the Daf Museum and Philips Museum in Eindhoven. I also cycled to the next town, Best, where there are a few more stores such as Decathlon, a  watersports centre ‘Aquabest’, and a famous Statue of Michael Jackson. I also took part in the annual ‘Philips Connect Run’ for employees of Philips at the HTC and the site in Best. The 12.5km route ran along the canal between the two Phillip’s sites was a lovely company event to be a part of. We also received little medals at the end.


Stratumseind, in the city centre, is the longest street of club/bars in the Netherlands and where we went for a night out. There are also several nice breweries (Van Moll, Stadsbrouwerij – on the river) and cocktail bars (e.g. The little one, Lounge 8, De minibar) to look out for for a casual evening drink in the sun. The market square in the city centre also has several restaurants bars.

Some restaurants worth checking out in the centre are Vapiano, De Burger, Bagel and Beans, sopranos (bit more expensive, good for parent visiting) and Happy Italy (huge portions).
Albert Heijn is the main supermarket but look out for Lidl which is cheaper. There is also the ‘Amazing San Lee’ superstore which offers more international food.

Location, location, location

Culture and Life

Location, location, location

Being able to live in continental Europe gives you great opportunities for quicker and cheaper travelling around European countries. Here’s a list of some of the countries and cities, you may want to visit;

  • Belgium: Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Brussels, Liege, Achelse Kluis (brewery 1hour cycle from Eindhoven)
  • Germany: Dusseldorf, Cologne, Aachen
  • France: Paris (Disneyland)
  • Netherlands:
    • Keukenhof – Tulip flower festival usually finishes after your first weekend in NL. Be careful you don’t miss out!
    • Amsterdam – Canals, nightlife, Gay Pride fortnight (boat parade), zoo, Heineken Experience, Van Gogh Museum, Cat boat
    • The Hague – Parliament,  Peace Palace, Beach, Madurodam (miniature models of NL)
    • Rotterdam – Cubic Houses, Erasmusbrug, harbour, De Marktha
    • Utrecht – Canoeing, Shopping, Dom Tower, Cathedral of St. Martin
    • S’ Hertogenbosch – St. John’s Cathedral, Try the local Bossche bol cake.
    • Maastricht – Castle walls, Try limburgse vlaai
    • Apeldoorn – Apenheul Monkey Park
    • Arnhem – Hoge Veluwe National Park

For Travelling to these places you may want to check out: www.spoordeelwinkel.nl which offers day trip train ticket and lunch deals. I’d also recommend you checking coach services and Bla Bla cars which are very popular in Europe on: www.busradar.com. I often travelled with ‘FLix Bus’ but be aware delays often occur around Antwerp. Also note that the coach pick-up point is the other side of the train station to the bus station (the train station has entrances at both ends).

At the end of our placement, my friend and I decided to take several days to cycle from city-to-city up from Eindhoven to Amsterdam. Our route was: Eindhoven-Tilburg-Breda-Dordrecht-Kinderdijk-Gouda-Leiden-Haarlem via the coast-Zaandam-Edam-Volendam-Amsterdam.

This was a really lovely trip as there were cycle paths between all cities so we never had to cycle on the road and didn’t even wear helmets. It was great to see the varying countryside and architecture travelling north, with wildlife, canals, farm animals and lots of cheese!

For accommodation try
●    Couch-surfing app – free
●    Airbnb
●    Deals on hotels
●    Hostels

You’ll probably need to book a hotel or Airbnb for your first night in Eindhoven as most letting agencies are only open Mon-Fri. Let my supervisor know I could only make it in for 10am on my first day so I could pick up the house keys beforehand.