This word has become one of my favourite words to use since living in the Netherlands. It’s one of few words that cannot be perfectly translated into English, as there is simply no English word that is the same. If I had to describe it in my own words I would have to describe a situation.
Some of my examples:
- A cozy evening on the sofa with a film or series playing from Netflix, while underneath a warm blanket, a bowl of crisps on my lap and candles lit.
- A lively party full of family members celebrating someone’s birthday with cake, wine and a great mix of music playing.
- Sitting in a small restaurant with friends while stuffing your face with delicious food, while being provided with great service.
One word to describe these situations is definitely gezellig. It’s about feeling comfortable in the situation and being confident with the people you are with. The pleasantness of being with that someone or the inviting fun feeling that a party offers is also gezellig. The moment has to be right.
“Gezellig; cozy, nice, inviting, pleasant, comfortable, time with loved ones, relaxing atmosphere, fun.”
I bought my first bike from Queens’s day a few years ago, now officially King’s Day. It was for about €25 Euros, didn’t need much work and perfect to get from A to B. My partner had fixed the lights for me and I gave it a good clean. It was just what I needed and intended to buy that day, as well as clothes.
Cycling in the Netherlands is pretty different to cycling in England. For a start there are no hills, unless you live in the south. You don’t have to worry about cars passing closely to you, as there are separate bike lanes basically everywhere. So you only need to avoid other cyclists and the occasional idiot on a scooter. You also have to avoid getting your tires stuck in the tram rails when crossing over them, as you will literally get stuck. Finding a spot to park your bike in the city can also be a nightmare.
Bikes are pretty much most peoples first mode of transport in the cities, unless it’s really bad weather and you catch the tram. The Dutch love using their bike to transport stuff too, like children on the front/back or a dog. But there is also some crazy things that I have seen being transported by bike, like a matress, a built billy bookcase from Ikea and full grown christmas trees.
After a year my first bike was the subject of drunken thieves. I had not used my bike in at least two weeks, but I checked on it often to make sure it was still there, as it was chained to a lamppost near where I lived. Well the third week came as I was actually going to use it. Arriving at the lamppost I had emotions to laugh and cry at the same time. During the night thieves had taken basically every part and left only the frame, attached to the lamppost with my chain still there.
My latest bike was bought on Marktplaats, a dutch version of Ebay. I definitely keep it safer, with two locks and I use it daily so its less likely to be stolen. But you never know…
Flowers are popular in the Netherlands. On a sunny market day the flower stalls are so popular you may have to wait a while for your turn to be helped. Plus they always have so many different types and colours to choose from, beautifully making a bouquet of your choices. I’ve definitely become a fan of buying flowers every month!
Even though tulips are originally from Turkey, it has become the flower of the Dutch. The Keukenhof is exreamely popular in the spring months when it’s open to visit all the tulips. If you love tulips and walking around decorated gardens then it is well recommended. The gardens have more than seven million tulips each year growing and well worth a visit.
Having travelled to France yearly as a child, i knew their tradition of 4 kisses to greet someone who they knew well. However I didn’t really do it as i was still young. Since arriving in the Netherlands and being greeted by my partners family, it’s something I have got used to. Going round the room and greeting everyone in this way is definitely welcoming. The usual three kisses goes left-right-left, but every now and then theres someone who wants to do it differently and you clash noses.
anupriyabasu12315th June 2017 at 6:05 pm
Great piece. It’s always nice to read about the intricacies of a different culture! And, I am surprised that people stole the parts of your bike in Netherlands? I always thought those things happen in notorious cities!
Zoe | Together In Transit15th June 2017 at 6:09 pm
Thank you for your comment. I’ve had my current bike for a few years now and no problems so I think some drunks probably enjoyed taking my old one apart for fun – since it was nothing special!