I had never thought that I would love this country. The country that for 350 years colonized Indonesia, was indeed not as popular as Japan and US among the Indonesian people (at least before I knew in the Netherlands there were many Indonesians). The most well-known things from this country for Indonesian are windmills and colonization memory. In fact, the products of Dutch companies were overflown in Indonesia, for example, Unilever and Phillips. You can see how many Unilever and Phillips products in Indonesia. I used to think that Unilever is American company. However, after I searched for information about the Netherlands before going to the Netherlands, I just found out that Unilever’s head office was in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
I also became more and more fond of this country after coming to the country. Yes, people in this country were very friendly. I had never even experienced discrimination here. Everyone I asked answered my question kindly, sometimes even with a little joke. Some Dutch I met on the street greeted me in Indonesian. They said they missed come to Indonesia and said that Indonesia is a beautiful country.
When you get the opportunity to the Netherlands, not only will you meet the friendly people, you will also see how comfortable this country is to live in. Comfortable public transportation system, people who use bicycles (someone said to me the number of bicycles in the Netherlands are more than the population), clean air, and very few private vehicles on the streets. Moreover, I never found traffic jam while I was in the Netherlands. Even houses in the Netherlands, although small, always provided space for the garden and flowers, at least for apartment, there are flower pots near the window. It’s really pretty. ^^
Well, if you want to see grasslands in the middle of the city, then come to the Netherlands. As far as my eye could see, there were lots of grasslands in the Netherlands with cute cows and sheeps along the way, even for Amsterdam-class metropolitan city.
For Indonesians who wants to continue higher education in Europe, but don’t want to feel homesick, the right country in my opinion is the Netherlands. Because there are so many Indonesians in this country. When I walked, I often met Indonesian. Indonesian communities quite spread across the Netherlands. You don’t even need to be afraid of being stuck in the Netherlands. As long as you can speak English, you can always find the way. Because most of the people in the Netherlands can speak English. Even you don’t need to bother learning Dutch for schools in the Netherlands, because there are so many English-language programs offered.
Well, now you are interested going to the Netherlands, where should you go?
Here I want to share my travel experience while I was in the Netherlands which hopefully can help those who plan to go to the Netherlands, but have never been to the Netherlands before.
1. Airport Schipol
If you go to the Netherlands, most of you will arrive at Schipol International Airport, as it is the largest airport in the Netherlands. This airport is very clean and comfortable for the first timer to the Netherlands like me. Wifi facilities are spread everywhere. Even this airport provides prayer room facilities for those of you who want to pray. In addition, this airport is connected by various public transportation in the Netherlands, from trains to taxis. If you want to use the train, there is a Schipol Airport station under the Airport.
Futuristic Schipol Airport
‘Iamsterdam’ monument in front of Schipol airport
2. Dam Square
This Dam square is the center of Amsterdam’s city square. Around this place, there are many famous museum buildings. Like Madam Tussaud Museum.
Madam Tussaud museum and the queue
buildings around Dam Square
A little bit walking, you will find the world-famous Red Light District. I found Red Light District when I saw a building from a distance that had a roof similar to a mosque. I thought it was a mosque, but actually it was a church (It was my first time seeing church with dome). When I walked there, I entered an alley. Suddenly I saw various women barely dressed standing behind the windows. Well, soon I accelerated my pace.
church building which has a dome
3. Zaanse Schaans
At first, I was confused when I asked a number of Dutch people related to Zaanse Schans, they seemed confused. Well, after I showed from the book the name of the place, my Dutch friend finally understood. It turned out that my pronunciation was very different from what it is supposed to, so it made my Dutch friend felt confused. When I wanted to say a few words in Dutch to my friends, they seemed confused or even didn’t answer, it turned out that my pronunciation was wrong, haha. After all, just use English if you are in the Netherlands. I tried to pronounce Dutch like German since in high school I used to study German and some said it was similar, but unfortunately pronunciation in Dutch was not like German. Zaanse Schaans is an area on the suburbs of Amsterdam where you can find lots of windmills, grasslands, Dutch wooden shoes, and famous Dutch cheese. It’s also not strange here that you see Dutch people wearing traditional Dutch clothing. If you want to feel relaxed from the city crowds, then come to this place. Laying down on the grassland while looking at the beautiful blue sky can really make your mind relaxed.
This was where the worldwide pharmacy student conference I participated took place. Utrecht is one of the largest cities in the Netherlands. Here, there is a famous church building whose architecture is very beautiful, The Dome Tower. Strolling around Utrecht city center is really comfortable. Many unique and futuristic buildings stood side by side with beautiful ancient buildings.
inside of Dom Tower
5. The Hague
The Hague is the center of Dutch government. There is an International Court here. The Indonesian Embassy is also located here. At the time of Eid al-Fitr, I could pray at the Indonesian Al-Hikmah mosque in The Hague. Eid al-Fitr is truly a good time to meet and gather with Indonesian people, there is also Indonesian cuisine, hehe.
It is said that Indonesians in the Netherlands live mostly in this city. In The Hague, there are also famous tourist attractions, Madurodam. There are miniature of cities and landmarks across the Netherlands here. So, if you can’t get around all the Netherlands, then come to Madurodam. It feels like you have go across the Netherlands. This place is really suitable for family tours, there were lots of children when I came.
miniatures of Dutch cities in Madurodam
This was my last destination before finally going to Paris, Brussels, and the next day I returned to Indonesia. This fishing village is my favorite place among all places in the Netherlands. It was really pretty. Moreover, the architecture of resident houses are unique, overlooking the sea.
I love Volendam, to the extent that I thought a place like this is very pleasant to live in. Here we can also take pictures with traditional Dutch-style clothes. There were a lot of Indonesian people, haha. Even when I uploaded my photo on Volendam on the Facebook page, many of my friends from the congress participants in the Netherlands asked me where I took the photo. Well, among Indonesians, this place is very famous. For example, when queuing up a photo in a studio, I saw there were a lot of Indonesian public figures’ photos displayed. Even there were a picture of Mrs. Megawati (former Indonesia president) with her husband, several officials, and photos of Indonesian artists displayed in front of the studio using traditional Dutch clothing. Some Indonesians said, if you go to the Netherlands but you don’t go to Volendam, then you haven’t graduated from the Netherlands.
Here we can also see the manufacture of Dutch cheese. It’s really fun here.^^
The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page
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