One of the bonuses of studying in the Netherlands is that the government actually pays for your public transport. Now, we’re not talking paying for the local bus or giving you a concession card; no, they give all full-time students a free travel pass for the entire country.
Through a number of gaping loopholes in legislation, I’ve managed to get myself this ‘studentenreisproduct’. (Yes, the Dutch tend to join all their words together like the Germans.) It’s certainly going to make getting to uni a lot easier, but I’m a hell of a lot more excited about potential travel opportunities. Without further ado, here is my Dutch bucket list, ready for 2012.
So, this year, I’m going to do it. I’m finally going to visit somewhere I’ve been obsessed with since I first heard of it; Baarle Hertog.
Baarle Hertog actually belongs to Belgium, but is not in Belgium proper at all. It’s a few kilometres north of the Belgian border, in the Netherlands, and is further complicated by bits of Dutch land within the Belgian enclave inside the Netherlands… yeah you get the picture. I have no idea about how I’m going to get here. It’s less than sixty kilometres from Dordrecht, yet doesn’t seem linked to anything. But don’t worry, I’m going to get here even if I have to cycle. It sounds awesome.
Another place I want to visit is the town of Giethoorn. I discovered this place after reading of it on slightlywarped.com; it is a town with literally no roads. The photos on the website make it look like a little piece of paradise. (Well, as much of a paradise as you can find north of Zwolle.)
Lastly (for the moment, anyway), high on my bucket list is the town of Alkmaar. I don’t want to see Alkmaar on any old day; no, I want to see it when it’s hosting its Traditional Cheese Market.
I have become a bit of a cheese monster here in the Netherlands, despite living with a Dutchman who hates the stuff. Alkmaar also is home to the national cheese museum, which I can only hope has free samples.
I’m also keen to find time to explore Amsterdam’s quirky neighbourhoods, see the tulips in full bloom and eat Gouda cheese in Gouda itself.
Oh, and study, of course.