Learn by doing mistakes

When you come to the Netherlands you see bikes everywhere but still there is strict rules where can you leave your bike. It is hard to be sure about that, because Dutch themselves don’t follow rules or is it just hard to see it as a foreigner? Well I have spend time with thinking where is it ok to leave the bike when the place is full (mostly in the city center and railway station). But then came the day I was in hurry. I left the bike in place near railway station/the shopping center which is the same building. Afterwards I got the feeling maybe now I didn’t follow the rules. When I came back from lovely day trip to Den Bosch  bike was gone..

Bikes are stolen in this country of course, but my bike was with 2 locks, the other around traffic sign. Bike is old looking and who would saw that lock if not the municipal bike depot who takes care of that bikes are in the order. I also did mind the opportunity bike is stolen. I walked to this town’s bike storage where they store this illegal parked bikes. I had to look photos and describe my bike. And there were about 20 different black womens bikes collected that day. 

Hurray my bike was also there!

Small fee, 13,40e because I didn’t follow the rules.  I chose to walk everywhere for two days, because it happen to be this storages days off. Now I know I live close by the station and walking is also nice in this city, even though I choose the bike because it’s faster. And this all happened because I was in a hurry and taught it’s more important to be on time than follow the rules.


I believe I have learned to read the map while here.When I visit a new place I must take extra time to be early or on time, still I have been late -road block, roadwork can come on the way. I will be very happy when again at home, because I know the roads. Oh, and also the language. This time here makes me appreciate what I have and what is Finland. And what is to live abroad and in the home country.



I haven’t wrote about the price level yet. For a Finn, I think basic things are ok or affordable. I´ve been discussing about it with other international students (different nationalities) and most think it’s expensive here. But it’s true that living in Finland it’s expensive when comparing. I haven’t really eaten out. I can’t really tell about that but some restaurants ask the same in Finland, some cheaper. 5 euro pizza is seen also.


Supermarkets, groceries in stores are on average a bit cheaper. Like vegetables, bread, meat and milk products. But some basic elements in my almost everyday meals are prized higher – surprisingly oat flakes (havermout in Dutch), potatoes (aardappels) and apples (appels) are more expensive. Now is the season for apples I believe, and still they are expensive. Potatoes cost 2-3 times more than in home! Maybe that effects that potatoes are usually sold washed. But I spend less money on food here than at home with similar choices. Plus here I buy stroopwafels, the national goody quite often.
Ps. If you really miss Finland and lovely Finnish blueberries, I found a place where they cost 12,5 kilo frozen, package is 300g. It´s a lot, when I live in a country where it takes only 5 minutes to pick that amount by hand, for free. This story I have told to Dutch, for most of them it’s exotic.  

| Author: Helmi