No matter what sort of Dutch house you live in or visit, there are some things they always have in common.
The L-shape room with the kitchen at one end is part of the Dutch drive for gezelligheid. But who wants to view the piles of washing up over dinner or smell the burned potatoes? When some houses in Amsterdam were given big separate kitchens, they were branded ‘halal woningen’ because, it seems, only Muslims like a door between the kitchen and the civilised world.
Downstairs loos with no hot water
We’ve never understood why all downstairs loos, our own included, have a small sink with one tap. They also usually have a squishy bottle of Albert Heijn hand soap. Perhaps this odd approach to hygiene helps explain why the Dutch like to curse people by wishing them deadly diseases.
These usually hang in downstairs loos so you get reminded to send a card. As a foreigner, the birthday calendar is also a convenient way of reminding yourself to have something else important to do so you can avoid the compulsory family visit. See birthday rules.
Note: There is never a pen handy so you can add in your own.
Two things in the window
Next time you are outside, check the windows in the houses along your street. Nearly all of them will have matching things in the window. This will often be two white plant pots with an orchid or spiky cactus thing in them. Or two metal lanterns with big white candles. The popularity of ‘two for the price of one’ bargains in garden centres could be responsible for this.