Monday, November 15, 2010

My first Dutch aniversary

Times goes very fast and so my first year in The Netherlands. Looking backward I cannot remember the day of my first "German aniversary". I do remember thought my first day in Germany. The day I started my life on my own.

It was August 2001. I still have somewhere the boarding pass. I remember my grandfather, mother and boyfriend (at that time) saying goodbye in Barajas. I remember myself in the plane being scared but also excited. I was flying from Madrid via Paris to Franktfurt. Once in Franktfurt I had to take the train to Freiburg, my original idea was to buy a "Wochenedeticket", which allows you to travel the whole weekend in all regional trains; but after the long stopover in Paris I decided to take the Intercity train, which was more expensive but much faster. I just wanted to get there!!

There I was, in the train trying to figure out where I could sit down for the coming hours. My face was delating me and soon I had someone helping me with my luggage and also someone telling me "Machen Sie sich keine Sorge über die Reservierung, es ist keiner gekommen".

When I arrived in Freiburg, I knew I had to take a tram to go to my rented room. I found the tram and I had to figure out this time how to buy a ticket. I asked someone and again I got help, even a free ride. The particular boy told me not to buy a ticket because I could ride with his ticket. At that time I didn't understood. After a year or so I discovered the reason: monthly abonaments, allow you to take a person after 7pm and in the weekend for free!!! 

I like to figure out things, to get to a foreign country and to wonder how to take the train or the bus...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Kom in de kas!

Last Saturday was the "kom in de kas" day, the greenhouses' open day. The Netherlands is well-known country for windmills, wooden clogs, tomatoes and tulips. But behind the scene they have the kassen (greenhouses) and without them the economy of The Netherlands wouldn't be so healthy. The greenhouse industry is a major income earner. Most of horticultural production is exported to other European countries and increasingly worldwide.
The Netherlands is still at the forefront of professional greenhouse technology. Growers operate high-tech greenhouses of several hectares to produce outstanding quality vegetables and flowers. But let's focus on the greenhouses we visited last Saturday.

Tulips' greenhouse - Mts. Hanenburg-Hettinga in Pietersbierum

This greenhouse welcomed us in Frisian (the language of Frysland): Wolkom! Yn'e wrald fan de tulpen means welcome! in the world of the tulips. There were several panels as well as employees explaining the production of tulips as cut flowers. Everything starts with the selection of the bulbs. Bulbs are measured by circumference in a horizontal plane at the middle height of the bulb. The ideal bulb size is +12 cm.
The bulbs are planted into water trays and placed into a cooler at 3-5° for 1-3 weeks. This temperature allows for some rooting to take place before the bulbs are placed in the greenhouse.

The tulips remain around 20 days in the greenhouse at 17°. Of course the warmer the greenhouse, the faster the bulbs will bloom.
Next step is to collect the trays/tulips and place them in a conveyor belt for cutting. A machine cuts the tulip just above the bulb. At the end of the belt a woman packs the tulips and put them in a bucket with water. The tulips are placed then again in a cooler at 2° until they are transported to the shops. Here is one of my favorites species:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My car is getting dutch too (part II)

… so I was at the douane window and the man there was asking me for the calculation of the bpm (Private motor vehicles and motorcycle tax). He said “since January we’re not longer calculating or helping you with the calculation of the bpm, you have to do yourself”. He also suggested me to go home and buy a program from the internet to calculate it: “the calculation is very difficult and this program makes everything for you. You can come back on Monday to bring the papers…”. Then I said “but I can only drive the car today with the provisional number, right? How should I come back here on Monday?” I mean, Heerenveen is around 60km from Harlingen and the RDW is middle of nowhere!!

I called Paul, to get “Dutch help”, am I not understanding this man correctly??!! But indeed I was…

At one point I asked him “what if I make a mistake in this calculation?” and he said “well, I will have a look before sending it to Emmen and in Emmen they will check it and change it if it’s needed”. Why are we arguing then??!! It doesn’t’ matter what I write down, they will change it!! I called Paul again and he was even better than me, in the meantime he had called a Citroën dealer to know the price of my car (I had the german price list with me, but the douane man said I have to use a dutch list). The dealer also told Paul the bpm.

At the end I put these two numbers in the papers and let everything else blank and went back to the window. The man looked at the paper and asked me how I did get these numbers “easy, we spoke with a Citroën dealer”. Then he disappeared for 10 minutes and when he came back, he was holding a description of the Citroën c4 from the internet with all the characteristics and the PRICE!!! He said “I will check the car and after that you can go”. He was checking if my car had extras or some special items like air conditioning, navi, etc… at the end he said my car was a little bit more expensive than what I wrote and changed the price!!

After almost one hour I was able to leave. I was so upset! I was discussing for nothing. bureaucracy is bureaucracy everywhere, I guess…

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A dutchtable car (under progress)

1- Apply for a "bpm vrijstelling" (BPM exemption) in case you are bringing your car as part of your moving goods.

2- Once you get the exemption letter, make an appointment with the RDW.

The RDW will keep your car’s registration certificate. It’s also a good idea to let them make the “APK-Keuring” (like TUV in Germany, ITV in Spain).

3- Draw your temporary registration number

RDW will send you a letter with a registration certificate valid for one day: the day of your appointment. This number will allow you to come back home after you have

4- Ask your insurance company for a “one-day insurance”

5- Go to the RDW appointment

6- Calculate BPR yourself and “afgifte doen”

7- Wait, wait, and wait

8- Finally you will get a letter with the final registration certificate.

Friday, March 5, 2010

My car is getting dutch too

Today is the day: finally I went to register my car in The Netherlands. In a few days it will be Dutch!

Before going to the RDW I had everything prepared: bpm vrijstelling letter, provisional registration certificate, provisional number, one day insurance…

My appointment was at 8:40am but I got there already at 8:15am, you never know how bad the traffic is and I had to be there 15 min before the appointment. First, I gave the nice lady of the first window all my documents: German registration certificate, passport, residence certification from the town hall (if you don’t have a Dutch driving license, you have to provide them with a residence certification as well). She asked me to go to the garage and wait until one of the employees call me.

After two cups of chocolate one employee screamed: “Citroën, invoer”, “Citroën, invoer”?? That’s not my name. I guess my name was too difficult for him. He asked me to drive my car into the garage. Amazingly you are supposed to stay with your car and watch everything he’s doing.

Twenty minutes later the car was ready. I went back to the nice lady and paid 130 e. Then I was ready for the next window. The douane window! Unfortunately there was no nice lady there 

The douane asked me if I already calculated the BPM. “Calculate the bpm? Why? I don’t have to pay it!”…

It will continue…

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Paul, gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag! Gefeliciteerd Shere!

Today is Paul's birthday and he is not the only one getting the congratulations. I’ll get them too!!

In The Netherlands you should wish a happy birthday / congratulate the birthday boy as well as his partner, parents and sisters or brothers… sometimes even the friends as well.

Dutch birthday celebrations are quite different than in Spain or Germany. Normally they start around 16:00 with coffee and tart. Everyone will be sitting down around the “salontafel”. After opening the gifts the birthday boy will tidy up the cups and bring finger foods such as cheese, nuts, cheese and tiny toasts and will ask you what you want to drink.

So if you go to a dutch birthday party, congratulate and give three kisses to everyone!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Leaving Deutschland!!

After 5,5 years in Germany (indeed 7 years counting all the time I spent studying at the WHU and during my interships) I am moving to Harlingen, The Netherlands.

Harlingen it is not so far away from Düsseldorf, just 300km, but enough to be in another country and to have completely different habits. Well, as Spanish you think all the "north-european people" are quite the same, but that is not true. After getting the german habits, now I have to "desalamanizarme" and get Dutch (for example by buying orange clothes...).

Further it is not only about moving, It is also about living with Paul together, starting a new job... starting a new chapter of my life!! ;)

In my blog I will tell about my adventures and misadventures. Don´t wonder if the posts are a mix of english, german, dutch and spanish...

Enjoy reading!