Culture and Life
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:
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.
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.
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.