Chary is from Malaga, in the south of Spain, and has lived in the Netherlands for 23 years. She met her husband in a beach bar near Torremolinos, a popular destination for the Dutch tourist. Together with a friend, she wanted to eat satay for the first time in a Dutch restaurant, when she met her husband who was there on vacation. This man was the reason for her to move to the cold Netherlands.
At first she found this switch very hard. She missed the sun, her family, nature, and above all, the food. She also found contact with people in the Netherlands more distant. Spaniards are much more into hugging and kissing. In Spain, for example, you do not ask if you can come by, but you just go. But because of the contact with the mothers in the schoolyard and her friends at the tennis club, she integrated more and more and she now feels completely at home in the Netherlands.
"In Spain you don't ask if you can come by, but you just go"
The Dutch food was also something she had to get used to. But because she went to eat with her mother-in-law once a week, who according to her husband can cook the very best, she started to appreciate Dutch cuisine more and more. Where she used to find it boring, she now really appreciates the sauerkraut, kale and endive. "It's so easy!"
Something Chary immediately noticed was that the Dutch buy their groceries much more frugally. She explains: “In Spain you go to the supermarket and buy kilos of potatoes, vegetables and fruit, while in the Netherlands, for example, people buy two apples, one banana and three pears. I first wondered if the people here were poor? But it turned out to be just the Dutch way of shopping. ” She thinks this is mainly because in Spain, they always cook for a lot of people. It is better to cook too much than too little. She noticed something else when she first came to visit a Dutch family. Her mother-in-law prepared her in advance not to just grab a second cookie because that is rude. “I thought that was so strange, this would never happen in Spain. There the whole table is full and you just grab what you want”, says Chary, still being a bit surprised. But after 23 years she has adapted completely and now she also cooks for three or four people and she politely grabs one cookie when she visits someone.
Chary learned how to cook from her grandmother. She particularly learned Spanish dishes, as Spaniards mainly eat Spanish. “The Dutch are much more open to other cultures than the Spaniards. This is also because my generation and the generations before spoke poor English. Today's youth can do that much better,” Chary explains. In addition, far fewer foreigners come to Spain than to the Netherlands and the high level of tourism in Spain is only something of the last decades. Chary herself really likes these other cuisines.
"The Dutch are much more open to other cultures than the Spaniards"
When we ask about recommendations for good authentic Spanish restaurants in the Netherlands, Chary responds that unfortunately she has not found them herself. So, if you have a recommendation, please let us know!