(Cultural) differences between The Netherlands and Romania

Today I want to touch upon the differences between The Netherlands and Romania. Now, I have definitely not visited all of Romania, so I’m writing this from a Iasi-perspective. The differences are not necessarily good or bad, but simply different. But, as always, I’ll offer my 2 cents on things. More than that, I do not have.

Starting with, what else, food. Romanians (Iasians?) love to share food. This obviously creates a feeling of community. Every time they have food, they will ask you: “you want to try?” And you don’t even need to shy down with the trying part. Try as much as you want! I have to say that this still kinda makes me feel uncomfortable. While I love the idea of sharing food, I’m not used to it coming from The Netherlands. Also, I often feel like I have nothing to offer back. While they say this is not a problem, it feels like an issue to me cause I can’t give anything in return. While in NL we also share food (sometimes), it is not to the extent of the people here. Usually, you just offer one bite and hope that the other person will say no.

Staying in the realms of food. Lunch is probably the most important meal of the day here. In NL, we have sandwiches for lunch, and not ones of the fancy kind. Just ham or cheese sandwiches. Real exciting stuff, I know. Here however, they eat warm meals for lunch and I definitely can appreciate that. If I could, I would ditch the sandwiches all together, but that’s practically impossible being a student at heart. Need to pick up my gym membership when I get back 🙂

Another difference are the stray animals, especially dogs. In NL, you wouldn’t see a single stray animal wandering the streets. Here however, it is a commonality. But don’t be afraid of them. They won’t harm you or bark at you ever. They’re really nice (and smelly) actually. And that’s coming from me, the biggest animal lover on the planet.

What can harm you however, is their reckless driving style. Or “sporty” as they like to say. But really, it’s reckless. Rules are a loose concept here, but you get used to it. But, they have way more cabs here than in NL. You can definitely call one, or use the app Clever Taxi to order one, but most of the times I didn’t feel like this was necessary. However, pay attention to the company you’re driving with and the four numbers written on the cab. This might come in handy if you lost something in the cab and the cab driver drives away without ever looking back or answering the phone. Trust me, this has happened.

As most of you might know, a lot of people in Romania are practicing their religion. The most common one is the orthodox. You can see that Romania is a religious country because of the amount of churches they have (a lot) and the fact that they would do a sign of the cross when passing one. I see people do this quite often when I’m in the tram. This is mostly the older generation, but some young people and also children do this as well.

I think this is it for now. If I come up with more, I’ll write another post about it but I’ve also covered a lot of differences in the blogpost “challenges of living in Iasi” and “reasons to go to Iasi”. If you can come up with more, please let me know!




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