Things you never thought about that are totally different on the other side of the world

This post is a little different, it’s a list of differences

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This post is a little different from my usual news reports. I have been here for a little over three weeks now, and I thought I’d make a post about the little things you never thought about, that are totally different from the Netherlands in the US. I’ll probably be expanding this list later. Enjoy!


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Ik had eens zin in wat anders, dus hierbij een post met een (Engels) lijstje van dingen die heel gewoon lijken in Nederland, en waar je eigenlijk nooit over na had gedacht, maar die heel anders zijn aan de andere kant van de wereld:



  1. In Europe people drive in mid-sized cars, with exceptions for larger families or special needs and preferences. In Maine, everyone drives trucks and SUV’s
  2. In America there are paper bills for one dollar, and no two dollar bills. In Europe there are coins for one and two Euros.
  3. In Maine there is something they call “winter”, and they say that is when white fluffy stuff falls from the sky.
  4. In Orono High School you can eat and drink during class
  5. and it is not considered strange to arrive to school in socks and slippers
  6. In the Netherlands, Caprisun has it’s straw on the backside. In America it’s on the front.
  7. In the Netherlands, the student is bigger than the backpack, unless you are a firstyears. In America, the backpack is bigger than the student, unless you are a giant.
  8. In America High Schools have police officers for security and lockdown drills, in case someone runs into the school with a gun. In the Netherlands this is deemed insane.
  9. In America people use a lot of lunchboxes made of fabric. In the Netherlands lunchboxes are plastic, or people use plastic bags.
  10. In America, there are supermarkets the size of multiple football fields. In the Netherlands, there are supermarkets the size of an American house.
  11. In Maine, houses are made of wood and are free-standing. In the Netherlands, houses are made of stone and many are conjoined in long rows.
  12. In the Netherlands, people only hang out their flag for special occasions like the king’s birthday. In America, there is at least one flag out on every street.
  13. In America, an American flag must be flying in every classroom, by law. In the Netherlands this is considered absurd.
  14. Similarly, in America, everyday before school people must look to the flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance. In the Netherlands this would generally be considered brainwashing or something similarly over-the-top.
  15. In America girls wear makeup on a daily basis, in the Netherlands girls generally don’t.
  16. In Europe all paper is white. In America lots of paper (think in bathrooms or paper bags) is brown.
  17. In America people wear a lot of sports clothing and sweatpants to school. If you do that in the Netherlands you look like a junkie.

  18. In the Netherlands we sort of celebrate Christmas early with the Saint Nicolas (“Sinterklaas” in Dutch) feast. Saint Nicolas is a bishop who comes from Spain to the Netherlands on his steam boat. His helpers are black people. Sorry, America.
  19. It’s helpers are black because they came through the chimney, don’t worry.
  20. They give candy to kids and Saint Nicolas rides his horse over rooftops. But I digress..
  21. In America the White House wants others to pay for a border wall, in Europe we’d gladly pay for a wall around the White House.
  22. In Europe power plugs are pig snouts, in America power plugs are sad faces.
  23. In America you say ‘How are you?’, which is the most rhetoric question mankind ever devised, as no-one really cares. In Dutch that would literally mean ‘How do you exist?’ so instead we say ‘How goes it?’. Yeah, that’s not perfect either.
  24. Europeans are introvert, Americans are extrovert.
  25. In the Netherlands there is a very good public transport system, you are almost everywhere within 10 miles of a bus stop, while America, being like a million times bigger, understandably that’s not the case.
  26. In the Netherlands (or Europe, for that matter) soccer is the way to go, and if you don’t play soccer you’re not part of the group. In America soccer is not a big thing. It’s way more seasonal in America with football in the fall, (ice)hockey in the winter and baseball in the spring and summer.
  27. In Europe the drinking age is almost universally 18, while in America it’s 21.
  28. In the Netherlands weed is legal, in Maine it is not. In some states in the US it is though.
  29. In America the recognition of veterans is very important. The Netherlands practically has no military so there are no veterans to honor. Not that anyone would do it in an extent the Americans do, to me it was like I was in a military dictatorship so extreme did it feel.
  30. Dutch people swear with diseases like cancer, tuberculosis (‘tering’) and typhus. Doing so is considered very vulgar indeed. Also we use a lot of English swears. In America it’s mostly dirty things or sexual words.
  31. Speaking of sexual, the Dutch make a lot more sexual jokes than Americans.
  32. Dutch house parties feature alcohol, music and cake, if the occasion is right. American parties feature food, more food, and football on tv.

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