Second postcard from Netherlands

Time flies and I have been already 1,5 months in Breda. The autumn has finally started here also, but luckily it has been beautiful weather most of the time. I actually like the fresh autumn air, and  darker evenings. Feels like a fresh start after the long summer. I wrote some first impressions from the life in Breda few weeks a go in the Postcard from Netherlands -post, and today I am writing a second card. Last time I wrote about amazing things (and few less amazing), but today I am sharing more little things, which have catch my attention lately. And actually most of the things I am sharing with you today, are somehow food related.  But as I am a foodie, it is a topic I give a lot attention in my life and see the differences easily.


NO FAST FOOD. I have realized that it is surprisingly hard to just to grab example lunch fast from the nice places. And with nice place I am now referring to everything else than McDonald. There are so many nice places offering for lunch toasts, soup and salads, but it is almost impossible to find a place where they offer take away also, or have fresh sandwiches ready, so you just choose one and continue.  I generally think that people should eat more slowly, spend more time together and make lunch also a nice moment, and for these the system here works perfectly. But you know, sometimes you just want to grab something fast and not spend few hours for lunch.


BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE. So ok, I don`t know if it is the genes or what is going on here, but EVERYONE looks just perfect. Tall, thin and so stylish! I feel like I am in the land of perfect looking people, and I should go for a full makeover. Hahah! We have been laughing with my friends how the families look like they have run out from TV-commercial, as they are so beautiful! I admire how everyone looks so stylish, healthy and happy. And I think I can count with one hand fingers all the overweight people I have seen the past weeks. Believe or not, people here looks super healthy! Maybe it is the biking, maybe it is something else, but it is working!


YEAST. I love baking, and when I am cooking I try to do everything from a scratch if possible. And for me this means making example pizza dough, bread every now and then and some pastry. Because of this, I use fresh yeast a lot, and it is something I can buy in Finland from every supermarket with less than 0.50€. So imagine the moment when I go to the supermarket and they think I am some kind of crazy lady, because I am asking fresh yeast. Yeas, the +50 years old lady working in the supermarket told me she had never used it, nor did she know where to buy it. She simply could not understand why someone would need it. Same happened with one granny I was talking about this in the supermarket, but also with my local friends. Luckily in the end I did find one supermarket in Breda selling fresh yeast, so it is not a problem anymore for me, just strange!


SERVICE. I did comment a little already last time how polite and nice people here are. But I want to talk about service little more. I have never in my life got so good service than I have got here. And now I am not speaking about good service as being polite, but to taking it to totally next level. It is not once or twice I have not find something I was looking for from the shop, and the staff has instructed me to go to some other shop. They don`t see it as a competition if I go somewhere else (like they do in Finland), but they are genuinely helping you out. Even in the restaurants this has happened, as example once we could not find anything suitable for my friend with strict  diet, so the owner told us where to go instead. And I could tell you so many other examples, but then you would be reading this till end of next year, haha!


ORGANIC EGGS. So let`s talk about eggs little. I use eggs a lot, like really a lot. And I have been using organic eggs now for some years. In Finland, the organic eggs (if you buy them form supermarket) look perfect and identical. And I never actually thought about this, until I came here. Here you buy organic eggs from a supermarket and they are all different. Little different in size, and definitely not identical. This might be a stupid notion for most, but I started to think the eggs a lot after this. Because eggs should not be perfectly same, especially in my opinion when they are organic. So what is it that is different in Finland and here in the egg production, just wondering!


OPENING HOURS. Everything is open so differently here than in Finland. And I feel I am still not totally getting the system. Sundays example many supermarkets are closed, or they are open only for a short time. But then most of the other shops are open all day, and there is a lot people shopping in small shops in the center. However when it is Monday, many smaller shops are not open, or open later in the afternoon, but supermarkets are open from morning to evening. And then there is Thursday, which is some kind of official shopping and going out day in Breda. Most of the shops are open even till 21.00 and the city is full of people. Bars are open till 4am or later, and last people go home when others wake up for work. And if we start to talk about cafe places and restaurants, the system gets even more messed up, as example Saturdays many nice cafe places close already at 17.00. Why? Yeah, and then there is the bakeries. In Finland bakeries open super early, and you can get fresh things easily before 7am. Here I have been out before 8am and hoping to get something fresh from a bakery on my way, but no no. They are mostly opening 9am or so..again asking why?


DUTCH LUNCH. In Finland we mainly eat two hot meals a day. The schools and lunch places offer hot meals, and it is less common to eat example only bread for lunch. Here it is totally opposite. I feel it is extremely hard to find decent hot meal for lunch here, and people mainly eat toasts, bread or something small like that. Salad and soups you can find, but I feel the soups are super small, and salad not that fulfilling as they are in Finland. I struggle with this especially in long school days, as I just cant survive all day with bread or small soup. A lot snack carrying happening every day, girl gotta eat right?


FRENCH FRIES. There is somethings totally strange going on with Dutch people and french fries. Or am I supposed to call them Dutch fries? Whatever you call them, they are everywhere! There are a lot places you can buy only fries, and many times in the restaurant people order extra fries. And now I don`t mean extra portion, but you example order meat with side dish, and then as a extra also fries. I went to eat on a nice restaurant, and got fries as a extra side dish, which made no sense when I think what I was eating. The only good thing is, that many times the fries are hand made, and taste better than any other fries you have had in your life.


WHOLE FAMILY. Just like in Italy, also in Netherlands the whole family goes out together. It is totally normal to see people sitting in a terrace, or restaurant with their dog. This so rarely happens in Finland, especially inside the restaurants. I actually like this a lot as he/she is part of the family, and after staying home alone long day (while people are working) you don`t want to leave again for some hours your family member alone. And when it comes to children, there is no problem taking them with you, when you go for a drink with your friends. I saw just yesterday two couples in a bar/restaurant, and both had a baby under one years old with them. Tey all took a glass of beer/wine together with their snacks and had a nice conversation. Nothing strange, just a normal Sunday. I know in Finland this is totally appropriate, but I think it has more to do with the alcohol culture.


STREET ART. I have fallen in love with street art already in Italy many years a go. It is something I am missing in Finland, as I feel it is nice way to give little something extra to the city. I never thought Breda would be so full of street art as it is, and full of so good art! There are so many AMAZING works around the city, and more is coming all the time. Last week we met group of Finnish artists in Breda doing new murals, what a funny coincidence. I will be writing about this more later, stay tuned!


ENGLISH. I have admired how so many people here is talking good English. Even the old lady, same age as my grandmother, in the supermatker was speaking so good English, we ended u having a full conversation with her. But then if we start to talk about written English the story is totally different. Me and lady A visited example Breda city museum, and no single word was written in English. And that is not only place I have experienced this. I can understand if example restaurant does not have English menu, but places where also other than locals and domestic tourists visit, it would be highly important to have English signs also. This also is case when it comes to ingredient list in food. It takes surprisingly long time to do your groceries when no single word is written in English. Thank god for translators!


HAVE A MINT. Most of the restaurants give you mint pastil, or small candy together with your check. First I was not sure what to think about this, but after eating something with a strong flavor it is actually nice to have that small mint. However you should know there is a huge difference between the restaurants. We once got super strange sugar candy kind of things (really don`t know how to describe them), and sometimes you get actually nice and fresh pastil. This is something I think in Finland would be seen only as a extra cost, but here I kind of appreciate it.


Remember to keep your eyes open every day, as we tend to become little passive in our every day environment. I have got a lot positive feedback from locals, as I have somehow managed to show “new” details from Breda to them in my blog. So next time you step out, try a new street, new cafe place or visit that attraction you see every now and then, but never seem to have time to visit.

xx, 754113785092521081215












Playing with camera – ILoveBreda photo walk

After moving to the Netherlands my calendar has been more empty than in years. It was hard to understand in the beginning, that now I finally have time to do all those things I usually can`t do as much as I want – yoga, playing with my camera, blogging, reading, wondering (I love example bookstores, libraries and secondhand stores and could spend hours in them), spending time with people around me and and.. But little by little I have realized that now is the time to do all these things, because life will not, sadly, stay like this forever, and the more busy days are waiting me later again. So I have been filling my free time with everything nice, and my camera has been playing a big role on that. I bought new camera this summer,  and I cannot tell you how much it has been inspiring me! I feel I have SO MUCH to learn when it comes to photography and photo editing, so I try to take advantage on every situation which could help me to become better. And what could be better way to learn than other photographers?


Last week I got the opportunity to participate in I Love Breda photo walk, with 25 Dutch around Breda. I got familiar with I Love Breda via Instagram, and I was super exited when one spot opened to the sold-out photo walk. I have to say, that I was little nervous in the beginning to join the walk, as I had no idea how professional all the others would be, and of course also because I do not speak any Dutch (except Hoi, haha). But the tour ended up being very relaxed, everyone spoke good English and the group was a mix of people from professional photographers to photo lovers who take photos only with their phones. So I would say a good combination, which keeps the level to join also lower. The tour started from Breda railway station 19.30, so just in time for sunset, and ended little after 22.00 in the beautiful hotel Nassau.



But what actually is I Love Breda? The way I see it, it is a strong community just like Breda as a city is. It all started from the personal Instagram page of the founder Patrick Verkoeijen in 2015, so not too long time ago. His Instagram page full of photos from Breda was discovered by fellow townies (loving this word), and the page started fastly gain a lot followers. As there was no good “town account” in Instagram for Breda that time, Patrick decided to change his personal account into I Love Breda – smart! Now the page is home for Breda photos of other Instagrammes, and only occasionally Patrick posts his own photos in the page. To be featured in the page you need to use the hashtag  #ilovebreda.



After growing from 100 to 10 000 followers (AMAZING job) in just one year, the whole concept has been taken into a new level. Now I Love Breda has also it`s own Facebook and Twitter pages, but also a website. I see that even though the core of the concept is still in the community and the followers, I Love Breda is now also providing information about different events and constantly progressing in new ways. The goal is to be more presented in Breda and find new ways with different partners to develop the concept even more. And one of the new ways to be more present in the city, but still stay in line with the photo concept, is the photo walks. The one I attended was now third walk they organized, and it is obvious that there is demand for services like this, as it was sold out just on 36 hours. Every time a new road is planned for the walk, and they try to include also places which normally are not open for visits (example now the hotel Nassaus neo-Gothic chapel).





For me the photo walk was a perfect opportunity to play with my camera. I tend to take photos very similar way most of the time, and from very similar things. This time I was not in charge of what will happen, so it gave to me totally new views to Breda. And of course when you see 25 people around you working from totally different perspectives, you also start to look different way your surroundings. I also tend to take photos only when there is good light, so it was another learning point for me when the sun went down. And in addition to all this, I also borrowed for me totally new objective from lady A, so I got to test something new from that point also. So over all a lot new things for me in one evening.





What about the photos? Well, I have to say I surely did have fun playing with the camera, but I see a lot to improve. But I am happy how different places I ended up photographing, and especially the glass ball photography was totally new thing for me to try out. It was also nice to play little more with the editing, as I usually try to keep photos “neutral”.  So I am showing here a set of photos which are not meant to work together as a harmonious set, and it is more a collection of different things I tried out.








I took many photos when we visited the beautiful hotel Nassau, and especially the chapel was magical. But the quality of the photos are not satisfying me enough to post them here, So I ended up choosing only few photos here. And the chapel definitely is something a photo can`t describe. I also felt it was extremely challenging to make nice photos in the chapel when the lights were changing color constantly.



This photo is cropped from a bigger photo and then I ended up editing it to look almost like a painting. Love it!


Coolest art I have seen in a long time. Could take this to my home anytime!




Postcard from Netherlands

Happy Sunday! I finally have photos, stories and time. So today I am sending you my first postcard from Netherlands. I have been here now almost two weeks, and I have to say I feel happier than in a long time. It feels like home. And already so many amazing moments have passed, I have met amazing people and found amazing places. Yeas, it is amazing, if you already did not get that point, haha! But now, let me share some of those amazing things with you. Ok, and few not so amzing things also, as it is life after all.

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PEOPLE. One night at 2am while walking home with a friend, we decided to pass the crossroad from the middle, as there was no traffic at all. While we were walking a young boy drove with his bike to our direction. As soon as he saw us in the middle of the road he stopped and shouted to us that hey girls, you are middle of the road. Please be careful. And that boy did not continue his ride until we were safe on the other side. Who does that?!

In my local supermarket, every time in the checkout the lady ask you “Did you find everything?”.  And this kind of super polite customer service happens basically everywhere here.

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FOOD. I am a foodie, and absolutely love fresh, organic and healthy foods. For me it feels like paradise here, because I can find everything I use in kitchen with lower prices than in Finland, and the range of products is much better. Yesterday I went to a supermarket, which only sells organic products and does not over charge for it. Eating healthy has never been this easy for me!

But what about the Dutch food? what`s going on with that? The only few things I have understood so far are amazing  stroopwafels and all the good (and cheap) beer. Hahah, I know!

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WEATHER. The weather had been amazing from the day I arrived here. First week almost every day +35 and this week somewhere between +20 and +25 every day. I have been able to use sandals, t-shirts and favorite dresses in September without feeling cold. Crazy!

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BIKES. Well, everyone knows Netherlands is the promised land of biking. But who would have known how hard it is to find a bike here? This is a country of 18 million bikes, and it really took days to find the perfect match. Well, of course if you want to buy a nice new bike, or pay over price for something that once was a bike (you should see some of the used bikes they try to sell you with 100€) then it is easy. But to find a nice bike with nice price, not a easy task. Luckily in the end I did find a perfect bike for me (Thank`s for the tip R), and now I am riding the streets every day like the Dutch do. Lean legs 2017 here I come!

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BIKES vol. 2. As so many people are using bikes, there is some nice solutions to make it more smooth. In the center there are free bike “garages” where you can leave your bike. It is so nice as then you never have to be afraid someone stole your bike, while you went to take care your errands. The only thing I am afraid is to loose that small paper they give to you, so that they know you pick the right bike. Wanna bet how long it takes before I end up loosing that one?

Another things is how amazingly they have arranged cycle paths everywhere. They have even colored all the bike paths with red, so you absolutely cannot miss it. And hey, also own traffic lights for bikers.

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CULTURE. If you love culture, this is your place! We have been here less than two weeks and there has been already so many events and festivals that I stopped to count. And every time I go to the center, I see a new poster telling me that another amazing event will happen soon.  The city is full of life and you will find always people sitting outside, enjoying and being social. I just love that! There is also many interesting museums and sights, so you certainly don`t have to sit home and wonder what to do.

And yeas, there are also parties, parties and well, parties. Thursday is the official party day, alcohol is ridiculously cheap and you can party until early morning.

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DAMN MONEY. If a lot things are amazing, there is actually one thing which is less amazing. In Finland I basically never use cash, I just use card to pay everything everywhere. But here it is not that easy. Somehow many places accept only local cards, or MasterCard. Which is crazy, as Visa is card known around the world. And of course we all have Visa with us. So now we have been learning to use cash again.

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PRICEY INTERNET. Honestly, I still cannot understand the internet prices here for your phone. In Finland with 20€ a month I get unlimited 4G internet. Here the best they could give me was a prepaid sim which gives me 1GB a month with 10€. Hmm…how is that possible? The unlimited was 90€ a month, hahah! Camoon people, don`t you use internet here? Social media updates anyone? So that is also a reason why I am not posting example more snaps, as it would eat all my internet in one night. Sad I know!

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FUNNY DETAIL. If people in Finland love privacy, the Dutch people seem to be the total opposite. Many houses are surprisingly low and many times you enter to the house straight from the street. As the houses are low also the windows are in the street lever. I have never accidentally seen so many people eating, watching TV or doing  something else in their homes, as I have seen here. It seems that the people just don`t care. Of course there are many houses where people have installed “sticker” to the window, so you cannot see straight inside, but definitely most windows are without the cover. Confusing I would say!

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THE LANGUAGE. The moment I knew I will be moving to Netherlands, I decided I want to learn Dutch. Little I knew on that moment. The language is insane! Like you can understand a lot when you read something, but the moment people starts to speak, it is just sounding like they are sick. Sorry, but it is true. This language is insanely difficult. But I have to say I am super impressed how many people here speak so good English. So I can survive, just need A LOT time to actually learn the language.

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COFFEE. If I loved the coffee culture in Italy, well here it is even more perfect for me. Why is that? Well first of all I can find the MOST AMAZING soy milk cafe latte with less than 3€. And secondly 99% of the cafe places look so cool that you get never tired of watching all the amazing details. But maybe the best part is, that I have found a place, where the cute owner grinds coffee beans for me, so I can have super good and super fresh espresso every morning at home also.

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SAFETY. I feel absolutely safe in this city, and in this country. But when it comes to traffic safety, there is this one detail I just cannot handle. Where is all the helmets? I have literally seen like one person wearing a helmet while driving a scooter or motorcycle. I was told that if you drive under 30 km/h you basically don`t have to wear the helmet, but camoon why?!?! And the bikers, well they use even less helmets than people with motorcycles. It is crazy!

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ARCHITECTURE.  Breda combines amazingly old and new when it comes to architecture. Next to each other then can be one building which looks 100 years old, and then next to it there is something super modern.  And the best part is that they all fit together perfectly. I love all the details and how every single house presents people living in it. The only thing in common seems to be taking care of your garden, and cutting all the bushes into perfect geometrical shapes.

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CITY CHICKEN. Yes, you see correct – I am talking about city chickens. This is probably the most funny thing I have seen so far.  In Helsinki we have city rabbits, which somehow for me makes sense. But to have instead city chickens, what the hell?!? Hahha, it is beyond funny!

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DETAILS. I love creative solutions, unique design and beautiful details. In Breda I can see that many companies have used a lot time and effort to those small details. Everywhere you look you can see interesting concepts. Imagine book store in a old theater? Or place selling only organic, hand made fries? And a restaurant where every furniture is also in sale? Just to give few examples.

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SHOPPING. In Finland I feel you find the same shops from every city, and many times they are not anymore around the city, but centralized to huge shopping centers. Here it is totally the opposite. You find amazing small shops around the city, and many of them are independent stores, offering unique products. I could do shopping all day every day, just need to win in the lotto first. Or move here permanently so then I don`t have to think how to get everything back to Finland.

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Tot de volgende keer!