Today’s guest post comes to us from Agness who runs an amazing blog eTramping. Agness is a Polish vagabond who, after graduation, left her comfort zone and set off for a journey of her lifetime to China in 2011. She has been constantly travelling the world since then (slowly, but surely as she says), living like a local for less than $25 a day. She became a photography passionate and adventure blogger sharing her life enthusiasm and travel experience with everyone around.
The more you travel, the more you learn about people from different parts of the world. You try to understand their way of thinking, their history, culture, traditions and their cuisine. Every time I meet locals on the road during my travels I try to observe them carefully and I often compare their personalities, hospitality and habits with the fellow-countrymen – the Poles. During my last visit in the Netherlands (one of my favourite European countries), I spotted a few significant differences between the Dutch and the Poles I would like to share with you today.Let’s see how the people from the Land of Tulips, Windmills and Clogs differ from my Polish compatriots:
1. Dutch people speak English. Polish don’t.
Nowadays, English is widely spoken all over the world. Despite that, Poland still seems to be behind. The majority of teenagers and adults struggle with the use of basic English on a regular basis, both spoken and written. Many foreigners visiting Poland complain about not being understood in a shop, gallery or in the street when visiting smaller cities. In contrast to Poland, Holland will impress you with its English fluency. No matter what age people are, everyone can speak English fluently with either American or mostly British accent. Whether you get lost in a small town in northern Holland or you need some help with direction, ask someone in the street and you will get an answer in English immediately. In this regard, the Netherlands is much easier to travel in than Poland.
2. Dutch people are more domestic, but Polish are more religious.
Although the majority of Polish people are extremely religious and they celebrate all of the most important ecclesiastical ceremonies as a family, going to the church and having a dinner together, the Dutch seem to care more about their members of family, friends and even neighbours on the daily basis. The family for Dutch people always go first and parents try to spend as much time with their kids as possible, playing football in the yard, watching TV or reading comic books. What I have noticed during my last visit in Poland and what worries me a bit is the fact that most parents lack the time for their kids as the career goes first. Locals keep rushing themselves forgetting about what really matters. Although they try to catch up with the loved ones during the national holidays, but it is still not enough to maintain family ties.
3. Dutch people are frugal, Polish are more generous.
In comparison to Poles, Dutch people are more stingy (they call it “being money wise”). In Holland, most of locals save money for the future, control their budget and spending and sometimes refuse to buy something for the sake of saving. Parents need to make sure their children are provided a good education when they get older and buying the house seems to be a priority for most of Dutch families. In Poland we often say “Never date a Dutch guy! They are way too stingy. They will never pay for you”. I guess there is something true about this statement, but there is also too much exaggeration. Polish people, in contrast to Dutch, spend money every day on things they might not need later, they often go on all-inclusive holidays even when having debts in the bank and they are extremely generous people. Some of them would give you more than they have and this is why I love this country so much! Hospitality is just amazing. Don’t be surprised if you get invited for a Polish wedding by random dudes. People will buy you some beer, show you around, pay for your food just to make you feel warmly welcomed.
4. Dutch people always smile. Polish…well…hardly ever.
Dutch people are extremely friendly and polite. This is something I have noticed right away. They wave at you in the street even when they don’t know you, they always say hi when they see you. They don’t need a reason to stop you in a shop or in the middle of the street to have a little chat with you, to ask how you are and what you are up to. In Poland, if I don’t know you, I would not dare to say hi. It’s odd and strange. Polish people don’t smile that much, they often look depressed and miserable. That really scared me off!
5. Dutch people are tolerant. Polish are NOT.
Unfortunately, being a gay in Poland is still considered as an illness and gay community has never been accepted by the society. What worries me the most is the fact that we are pretty racist country. Gay couples are out-rightly discriminated and criticized by the Catholic Church and people are disguised by them whereas in Holland nobody cares about it. You can express your sexuality without being judged. We are definitely not as open as the Dutch about sex, drugs and prostitution. These are still taboo topics and not many dare talk about it, especially elderly which makes us definitely less open-minded than Dutch society.
Well, if everyone in the world was the same, we would all get easily bored. Maybe Polish people are not the most smiling and frugal nation, but there are things the Dutch might learn from us such as hospitality, how to drink vodka properly and pay for their dates.