The Netherlands is a melting pot of different cultures, attitudes, ethnic groups and ways of living. These differences cause Dutch people often to feel more ‘local’ than they feel ‘national’. For instance people from ‘Holland’ are nothing like people from ‘Limburg’. We make fun of one another and sometimes even feel a little bit of a grudge to those who are not from here. But there are two times when everybody feels Dutch and is proudly wearing Orange to show their nationalism: at Queensday and when the Dutch National football team plays during European or world cups. And guess what day it is today.
If you are from Limburg (the province where Maastricht is situated) you often get referred to as substitute-Germans or Belgians. Our accent is so thick it forms a language on its own. We feel like it is our own language, although it can’t actually be called one language. There are huge differences in accents between cities in Limburg. However, there’s one binding aspect: everybody is able to understand the other dialects until great extend. People who are not from here, don’t have the slightest clue what we are jabbering on about, which makes us to believe that we have our own little language. It proves to be very handy if you want to backtalk people in your own country. Limburg is often put together with ‘Brabant’ and referred to as ‘the South’; the more chill, laidback people who love to drink and eat (of course for Dutch standards).
People from the east are often seen as hill billy farmers. There’s nothing more to be found there than cows, fields of crops and people wearing jumpsuits and clogs. There are more tractors than cars and people are not generally very smart. Of course the area is less rural than a lot of other parts of the country, but it’s not like they still live in the medieval times.
The Dutchmen that originate in Holland often feel like they are the shit. They feel more prosperous and more intellectual than the rest of us. This has to do with the fact that the biggest cities and biggest companies mainly originate and still reside in Holland. They claim that all that matters happens in Holland and it is hard to deny that they actually have way more stuff happening than the rest of us.
Despite these differences and wrong stereotypes we still feel one whenever we go abroad or celebrate Queensday. However, the only time when we truly and utterly feel like one nation is when we are cheering for our national squad. If you talk about the national team it is automatically implied that you are speaking about the football team. Although a lot of us truly like the game an watch it with a passion, a large portion of the people watching world or European championships do it because of the atmosphere. Everybody is relaxed, drinks a beer, eats together and talks together. It is a time when we all feel like one big family instead of the closed family cultures the Dutch often have. If you walk around the streets you will see an overwhelming amount of Orange, our national color.
So as of today, the Netherlands is one again. Just go and have a stroll around town when we have to play. You’ll have the time of your life and you’ll see nothing but friendliness and joy in our eyes. You might even come across phenomena like this:
I was born and raised in a town called Geleen, sited between the hills of the Dutch province of Limburg. I'm a 25 year old Psychology Master student and a member of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN). I will enjoy shedding my critical light on life itself and share it with you while I am at it.