Between canals, cycle lanes and windmills: my journey through the Netherlands ~

Part I

"The Netherlands is a mindset", I will always keep telling myself.
It has been more than a month since I left this country to move to the busier London and still it is hard to believe that I have discovered so many enchanted places which will always have a special place in my heart.

The Netherlands is something words cannot easily describe: it is nature and silence, but also dynamism and innovation. It is flat, however its views are breathtaking, colorful and endless. The Netherlands is both business men and skyscrapers, but also farmers and windmills. The Netherlands is Rotterdam and Giethoorn at the same time. There is always an interesting justapposition characterising the life in this country, which never undermines its stability. Instead, it is the perfect balance of all these factors which makes the country so special to me.

My journey to this magic country land began when I got a scholarship within the Erasmus programme: in August 11, 2016 I moved to Nijmegen, a lovely city close to the German border to spend a semester at the Radboud University. Before that I did not know anything about the Netherlands (a part from its capital, Amsterdam of course); I was only willing to challenge myself by leaving my confort-zone at once, in order to learn to be an independent, more self-confident spirit.
The beginning has not been easy at all, but later on I started to overcome the fear of the "unknown" which crippled my inner self and, and finally I embraced my new adventure.

If I had to answer to the question "what is Dutch in one word?", the answer would be "Dutch is biking". I would also say ironically that Dutch people are born together with a twin little bike. Yes, exactly, Dutch people tipically move by bike, no matter what the weather is like, they will take the bike anyway. They will bike to work, to school, to drop the children at school (sat on the parent's bike or already biking themselves), to Uni, to the supermarket, to the hospital, to another city...(ok, that is a little bit too much, but still possible in some cases). It is said that in the Netherlands there are more bikes than people and I do firmly believe it. Why biking? I would argue that first of all biking is extremely easy in the Netehrlands as the country is overall flat. Secondly, it is fast and safe thanks to the many cycle lanes spread throughout the cities. Last, but not least, biking is healthy, it eases from the stress provoked by smog, cars and traffic, it makes people enjoy the surrounding environment, and of course it makes them happy. This is the first thing I had the luck to experience in the Netherlands: go biking and you will notice that your life will be less time demanding and you will be more positive and friendly.

*To be continued*

Cycle lane from Nijmegen to Arnhem

Source: my Instagram,


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