Coming from outside Europe, I feel that every city in this region is unique. It makes me super curious and I try to see as many different cities as I can. To my surprise, the Dutch don’t share my curiosity. They have often seen very little of their own country.
Every weekend I try to take time to explore different Dutch cities. Amsterdam, Leiden, Enschede, Tilburg, Eindhoven, Maastricht, Den Bosch... You name it, I’ve been there. And I guess that most international students visit the major Dutch cities. But when I try to talk to a Dutchy about any less popular city, chances are that he or she has never been there. By now I think I can claim to have visited more Dutch cities than the majority of Dutch people. I think that’s funny. The Netherlands is such a small country and railway connections are excellent here. The furthest major Dutch city is reachable from Wageningen within three hours. Still, many people do not take the trouble to go there.
A Dutch guy I spoke to recently confirmed my hypothesis that Dutch people rarely explore their own country. ‘Leeuwarden, Groningen, where’s that?! And no, I’ve never been to Gouda.’ And one Dutch friend of mine had never visited Rotterdam until three months ago, when we went there for an excursion of a course we took together. The funny thing is that his parents live in Den Haag, which is only 20 minutes from Rotterdam by train!
Tombayu Amadeo Hidayat, an MSc student of Geo-Information Science, from Indonesia
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