Dutch VS. German | Not the same

After living in both two countries, Germany and The Netherlands, which are literally neighbours to each other, I could not stop myself giggling from the irony of how the Dutches and Germans could be quite different from each other. You would supposedly think that these two are similar because they are basically next to each other geographically and have almost the same culture as other Western European countries. However, here are some points that you would see the difference between these two that you would not expect before you come to visit.

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In fact, it is crucial criterion to both Germany and The Netherlands that you come ON TIME on a meeting. We have long-while known about how punctual the Germans are because of their inflexibility and seriousness on certain tasks. If you have met a German, you know he never keeps his date waiting. He would either come 2 minutes earlier or exactly on time (I really mean by time-ish). In contrast, the Dutches most of the time come 2 minutes later. For them, more or less 5 minutes are still considered on time.

How they spend money

This point discussed is based on what I have seen while living in both countries as well as interacting with these two people while travelling. They both certainly manage very well to save money. They would work the whole year or more and live in a small budget to take a small holiday or travel for a certain amount of time. It is quite different to see how they both spend money on holidays or many other things in general. As the Germans, after working hard for years, they save the money and spend good amount of money on their luxurious holidays in resorts or travelling for a long time (This does not refer to travellers). They would probably book a suite or a resort for a stay in Thailand or Indonesia to enjoy their hard working earnings. As the Dutches, they are really good at saving. They hardly go over their budget for a holiday and they even still save money while travelling. Their money strategy thinking is sharp and on point.


I am not sure if ‘showing-off’ is the right word, but let’s just keep it that way for now. What I mean is how they show their personal livings to others. It is the interpretation for a good living. Of course, it is not applied to every single individual, only general speaking.

If you have visited The Netherlands, there is one thing you will never miss – apartments/houses with big windows. You would wonder why someone would like to have their houses seen in public. Apparently, for the Dutches, it’s a pride if you have a fine home, nicely decorated. It shows that you have a good quality shelter and how good your earnings are. In Germany, people seem to care more about their cars in this case. They would choose to have periodical payment to pay off their good brand car.

The language

Dutch and German languages are Germanic languages so certainly they have some similarities. However, these two countries have the love-hate thing with the language of each other. The Dutches would never be bored of making fun of the German language by speaking like Hitler, and the Germans would never stop complaining about how harsh the Dutch accent is that it sounds like you are having something in your throat.

As being able to understanding both languages, it is funny sometimes if I try to translate some certain words that they are written the same but having a totally different meaning. But somehow I find that the beauty of languages.

Relationship with football

Quite an intimating topic for both Germany and The Netherlands! Since they are so close to each other, they are pretty competitive when it comes to football. At this point, football is a pride for Germany and they take it seriously. They always try to be in the list of all championships and they always proudly mention that they are from Germany because of their football team. They could give aggressive opinions about it because of their pride. On the other hand, even though it is a pride of the country, the Dutches seem to be more friendly and open about it. The pain of losing Germany sometimes during the World cup has gained their competitive attitude but they take it as a friendly communication. Or at least, that’s how I have seen it.


NOTE: All the information above is not bias and not based on fact. It is just the irony of how I have seen after living in both countries. Please do not take it serious or find it offensive. Any comments is welcomed!

Let’s Lunch in Utrecht

Experiencing the food in The Netherlands might not give you the wide opened eyes of the cuisine here. I always wonder if there is any Food Culture in The Netherlands. Okay, we do know their Bitterballen, Kroket, Haring… And if you have stayed in The Netherlands for awhile, you know exactly what Dutch favourite food is – sandwiches. As a foreigner in The Netherlands, I am not able to survive bread with cheese everyday. After living in Utrecht for 3 years, I have hand-picked some cool lunch rooms for you to check out and to escape for the Dutch sandwiches from time to time.

Criteria: interior, uniqueness, concept, menu, quality of food, affordability

De Klub

Address: Europalaan 2
Website: www.deklub.nl



It might be off the centre but it is worth the trip to try out their lunch menu. De Klub provides different set of menu each day so you will never be bored. The great thing is, you won’t be confused of a long list of dishes because there are only 3 dishes offered a day. This fact has drawn my attention because it is not easy to think of different dishes everyday. They must have the creativity, do you agree?

In fact, what they are trying to achieve is to keep all the products fresh and produce no waste. Having only few dishes would actually gain the quality of the food because there is less stress in the kitchen, therefore, the outcome will be better.


Address: Oosterkade 24
Website: www.broei-utrecht.nl


“We are able to do what we want but quality comes first” – shared Danny (the owner)

It is a great lunch room with simple but elegant interior. The space is inspiring and perfect for a hang as well as working. I was impressed by its welcoming vibe when I entered the shop. The room is brighten with daylight. There are many seats in the room but you will never feel packed. A book-shelf divides the room into two. The other part provides some rooms for people to work on their computers or just feel like not being exposed by the light from the front side.

Food wise, it is a great concept of sustainability. Broei always choose seasonal products for their menu. Every 3 months, you will have a brand menu to choose from. What I like the most about Broei is they make salad and sandwiches in a different level that you wouldn’t expect, creative indeed.


Address: Zadelstraat 10
Website: www.eetwinkelgeniet.nl

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It’s a small place in the middle of the city but it is exactly defined of a lunch room. It’s only open for lunch and with a simple menu but the quality of each dish is over the top. If you walk into any restaurants/café’s in Utrecht or The Netherlands in general, you would probably expect a menu which includes sandwiches, soup and salad, and ironically, most of them have the same menu. Alright, Geniet offers quite a similar menu but it is guaranteed to be different from its neighbours. I might be a bit bias by its crispy German bread but their style in the kitchen is divine.

Melle – the owner – shared with me his passion to innovate the cuisine and still keep the tradition of the Dutch food.


Address: Biltstraat 1
Website: www.crop-utrecht.nl



Taken by @Nansypop

Rather new but Crop has defined precisely its position to be one of the best Salad Bars in town. The concept is to give you the most convenient options for your salad. It is simple – you choose the ingredients yourself on the check list, hand it in, and voila. You will be served in style and what can be better than a healthy lunch in a chic place?

Crop is run by the same owner as 30ml so you’re always sure that you can have a good cup of coffee there as well.


Address: Korte Minrebroederstraat 11
Website: www.stegeman.nl


You might consider why Stegeman – a Dutch sausage brand – could be a place to lunch. I actually didn’t realise after finishing my delicious Tokyo Sandwich (as I remember). Even though they have the goal to promote their brand in the city, they also accidentally create a great menu that I enjoy very much all the sandwiches I have tried there. This is me, who have the hate for sandwiches, talking.

Stegeman is easy to spot because it is located right at the Stadhuis square. It is a very popular area for food and drinks in the city that is great to hang out.

The Netherlands: Coffee at its best in Utrecht

If you live in Utrecht, you probably have checked out some websites that shows hotspots for coffee in this city. Oh well, I’m one of you, too. However, they provide too general info and do not focus on the main point – COFFEE! I have hung around  and checked out almost all of coffee places here and let me tell you – you deserve good coffee and be served at the best spot. What do I mean by that? I love coffee, good coffee, and I want to be seated at the friendliest place with good vibe and atmosphere. I have sought for places to fulfil this desire. The list below you will find the best coffee in town with a good designed concept and a lovely atmosphere. These are ranked in sequence!

Top of the list: The Village Coffee and Music

Address: Voorstraat 46
Website: www.thevillagecoffee.nl

DSC_2194-3Click here for more photos of The Village

With the industrial design, The Village Coffee and Music caught my eyes. The owner of the shop, Angelo, was friendly and happy to share with me the story. He brought up the idea opening this coffee bar to give a place for people to hang out with good music and good coffee. “There was nothing like this in Utrecht, so why shouldn’t I start one?” – he said. The neat design with the cosiness of the room setting really bring a warm feeling when you enter the place. The shop is divided into two. The front has a small open space where people can sit by the windows or at the bar. This actually brings up the sociable vibe. The light comes through the big windows brightening the room and the bar. On the other side of this space is a roughly same size room but quieter. It is a bit dimmer there, which makes a good place for working and some serious talks. The music in the background does the rest of the work – get the place chilled.

About the coffee, hmm, what can I say? The Village Coffee and Music really got me! I like the fact that they have all kinds of coffee that should be served. From Espresso, Cappuccino to Latte, Piccolo, Cortado, etc. The Dutch knows Latte as either Latte Machiato or Koffie Verkeerd (Coffee Wrong) but here, they make it the way it is supposed to be, gladly. I came here for the first time having the Piccolo and I was impressed by the taste of the coffee. I normally prefer my coffee with milk with a bit of sugar but it was my first time ever having it without sugar. You can really taste the coffee and the balance between coffee and milk. That’s what I’m talking about with ‘good coffee’.

Design concept: ☆☆☆☆
Coffee: ☆☆☆☆☆

Coffee Roasters: 30ml

Address: Mariastraat 35
Website: www.30ml.nl


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Having almost the same concept as The Village, I rank Coffee Roasters: 30ml second place. It is located at a place that you can never miss in Utrecht. I passed by so many times but never had a chance to pay my visit. Then I did, and it was totally worth it. It is a cosy little place with the warm light and the vintage room setting. It might be in the city centre but it is quiet, perfect for working.

I got a Latte to try out and I very much enjoyed it. The coffee had its full taste and the milk blended it perfectly. You can get the coffee how you want it. 30ml offers a variety of coffee beans that you can choose from and they are from all over the world. Ray, the manager, said that he used different beans for each kind of coffee. For my Latte, I got the Brazilian. However, you always have five options to choose so don’t hesitate to try out each one of them.

Sometimes you don’t know what to do, so I think why not gamble – Ray told me why he started the place

Design concept: ☆☆☆
Coffee: ☆☆☆☆☆


Address: Oosterkade 24
Website: www.broei-utrecht.nl


Different from those two, Broei stands out as a cute artsy café. I was impressed by its welcoming vibe when I entered the shop. The room is brighten with daylight. There are many seats in the room but you will never feel packed. A book-shelf divides the room into two. The other part provides some rooms for people to work on their computers or just feel like not being exposed by the light from the front side. Either way, you can definitely chill here with friends or even just by yourself.

I did not have a chance to talk to the owner of Broei but it seems like the place is run by two enthusiastic young guys. I sure did enjoy my coffee they make here. It might not be as spectacular as The Village or 30ml but they do have their own statement. What I like the most, they work it with care and passion. That’s something I not care less – coffee needs love too, you know?

Design concept: ☆☆☆☆☆
Coffee: ☆☆☆

Lef Koffiecoöp

Address: Europaplein 702
Website: www.facebook.com/lefkoffiecoop


Every now and then you might want to have a break from the city. Cafés in the centre are most of the time packed of people.  In Lef Koffie, you can find a quiet time to work your own things. The space is big that makes you feel comfortable in the room. I love how they play with the setting. The design is industrial with a touch of vintage style as well as modern design. There might be a lot going on but they actually fit. With the ‘lack of money’ kinda design, they have made the place into a great space. A plus for recycling products,too!

Talking about coffee, I might be too strict on it. The intense of the coffee might not reach my standard but the barista really knows how to make it good. I gave a try on something new, called Aeropress, and it actually wins over an extra star. The aroma might be  not extreme but somehow it just feels right. The taste, I would say, outstanding. It is not a cup of strong coffee but its taste is real good. 

Design concept: ☆☆☆☆
Coffee: ☆☆☆(☆ for the Aeropress)

De Klub

Address: Europalaan 2
Website: www.deklub.nl


DSC_1789    De Klub

I was so fascinated to explore this place. It is in the same area as LEF. The whole place used to be a factory to make medicines then left empty. Mrs Astrid Petersen and few friends came up with a plan and brought up this place from an empty factory to a cool working area called Vechtclub. They kept a corner for a café restaurant. I paid my visit for breakfast and a cup of coffee (and it turned from one cup to another) with my girl Nansy.  We both fell in love with the place because of its design and setting. The interior design is chic and industrial. It is a large open space with an open kitchen. The space might be big but you won’t miss the cosiness. 

You can enjoy the freshly baked croissant with a cup of coffee there. At least I did. The coffee, I would say, is comparable to Broei’s. Full of flavour and care.  I can’t wait to pay another visit to try out their A la Carte. 

Design concept: ☆☆☆☆
Coffee: ☆☆☆+

O! Cafe

Address: Weerdsingel Westzijde 8
Website: www.o-utrecht.nl


I hesitated a bit to put O! Cafe in the list. They have amazing coffee that keeps me coming back several times. Whenever I have my Cortado here, I become a very happy person. Well, sometimes coffee could make a change in your day. That I haven’t told about the crema in the Latte Machiatto, I gotta surrender myself to it. So yes, I love the coffee here. However, I wouldn’t say I like the design of the shop. It is a combination of café and working place. As my personal opinion, the room for working is not very inspiring and motivating because of lack of light. Despite that fact, the coffee still wins me over. Therefore, why don’t you drop by for a coffee-to-go, or maybe take a seat outside and enjoy the sun with a sip of coffee. It is worth a try! I guarantee that that cup of coffee is far beyond. 

Design concept: ☆☆
Coffee: ☆☆☆☆☆ +



The Netherlands: The Dom Tower of Utrecht

When you’re in Utrecht, paying a visit to the Dom Tower is a must. It’s the highest church tower in The Netherlands and from where you can see perfectly the whole city. It was a different experience for me since I lived in this city. I saw where I used to live, where I normally hung out with friends, I knew exactly where is where… It gave me such a great connection with this city. Continue reading

The Netherlands: The ‘Gezellig’ Utrecht

It was a great two-and-a half year, Utrecht. There are good and bad memories. However, the best is all the people I have met and some have become great friends.

Utrecht is known as a student city. It is located in the heart of Holland and from where you can easily reach to other cities in the Netherlands. It might not be a popular destination for tourists as Amsterdam, but whoever comes here would wish to stay a bit longer. As I have lived here for almost two and a half years, I have experienced Utrecht differently. However, the impression for this city has remained the same – small but cozy (or the Dutch call it GEZELLIG).

Continue reading

Netherlands: De Streekmarkt @ Utrecht

Having lived in Utrecht for more than 2 years, what I feel very much excited about is the Regional Market which is opened on the first sunday of the month. It used to locate on Twijnstraat, now has moved to Mariaplaats.

DSC_2858De Streekmarkt (The Regional Market) is where you can find all the original products coming from different countries or regions.  They all look great and so interesting. Some are food, some are products. They all get your attention and they make your mouth-watering. If you get a chance to try, don’t hesitate! Continue reading