When we think about why we love it in the Netherlands under normal circumstances, picturesque cobblestone streets, fried snacks, and carefree living would normally be at the top of the list. However, after spending the last several days inside, fearing for the worst as restrictions from the government continue to pile up surrounding COVID-19, I’ve found my new favourite thing about this country and its people.
The sense of community. The city of Amsterdam (and the country as a whole) holds some of the most resilient, kind, and supportive people I’ve ever known. From groups of students offering to deliver groceries to those in self isolation, to the entire country taking pause on Tuesday at 20:00 to clap for all those working tirelessly in the health sector.
Whether you’ve lived here all your life, or you just arrived yesterday: you’ve chosen the right place.
Have a look at some of the other reasons why we love living in the Netherlands right now:
Expressing our gratitude
In support of all the hardworking healthcare and service workers on the frontlines of the outbreak; Dutch residents took to their windows and balconies for a standing ovation. Churches throughout the city also tolled out their bells in a show of support- helping to bring us all together when we need it most.
In the wake of the outbreak, many initiatives were set up by individuals and organisations in order to connect people who are wanting to help with those who need it most, including:
Samen sterk tegen corona where you can receive free posters to hang on your door/window to indicate if you need or are able to offer someone else help.
Serve the City Amsterdam who are a volunteer organisation dedicated to showing kindness in practical ways to people in need. They have joined with other organisations in the Amsterdam area to coordinate efforts to support Amsterdammers at this challenging time.
#coronahulp which contains a collection of heart warming stories and offers of help from people all across the Netherlands
And many more! This DutchNews.nl article highlights some other creative ways people are helping each other get through the COVID-19 outbreak
We are used to getting a lot of rain in the Netherlands so the insides of people’s homes are usually designed to be a cosy environment - now that we are spending all day here we get to enjoy it! If you feel like your home needs a lift, check out our 10 tips for boosting your ‘gezelligheid levels’!
Nature in the city
Even within the city, there are plenty of places you can be out in nature… at 1.5m distance from others. In addition to the numerous parks and children’s playgrounds dotted all over the city, there are large forest areas (such as the Amsterdamsebos and Vliegenbos) where you can get your nature fix while staying far from other people.
After the Prime Minister’s address on March 15th, many workers and business owners were relieved to hear the government's plans to help them through this trying financial period. Many Dutch workers can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that we’ll be out of the woods soon.
Being a part of the usual peak hour on your bike in Amsterdam can be thrilling. Nerve wracking is probably a better description if you are new to the city! While we are missing normal life - if you are still allowed & need to leave your house - you are sure to enjoy a relaxing ride around the city, as there is no bike traffic at the moment!
Food delivered to your door
When you’re stuck at home and hungry, there’s nothing better than knowing you can always count on Thuisbezorgd, UberEats, and Deliveroo to bring you junk food that hits the spot. Thankfully, lots of home delivery apps for food are still operating (relatively) normally, despite all the restaurants being closed.
Supporting local businesses
Also, for supporting small local businesses (specifically in Amsterdam Oud West), you can download the “Local Heroes” app. The app allows you to order directly from local shops in the Oud West area online. If you order before 15:00, they also guarantee same- day delivery. This is a great way to keep local favourites in business, without breaking isolation. Through Support Your Locals, Amsterdammers can also order a box of high quality groceries for delivery that support local suppliers.
Written by Emma & Jess from our Amsterdam Rental Team