With this entry I want to write a bit about summer holiday in NL in particular and how Dutch people have their own summer break.
The school summer holiday
Children in the Elementary School have 6 weeks holiday. Ministry of Education divides NL in three region, North, Middle & South for this holiday. This year, North region was the first (it started 2 weeks ago), Middle (just started from 6 July) and South region (the children living there still have to go to school for one more week). An average Dutch family spends 3 weeks on their summer vacation.
How Dutch go on holiday
The most favourite thing to do is to go on campings. Some adventurous ones choose to stay in a tent, other who prefer more comfort hire or take their own caravan along with them. Locations in NL: the region where I live, the Gelderland, North of NL, Wadden eilanden, South NL Limburg. Favourite destionations abroad for camping or caravan vacation: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Swiss. Some people take their own groceries with them on holiday such as pindakaas (peanutbutter), cheese, bread, koffie, drop (licorice) as they can’t miss these at breakfast, ok except the licorice then. I don’t really know whether they do this to be really sure that they could enjoy these things or to be able to spare some money???
Other holiday alternative is to go with a plane to Medditeranian countries Turkey and Greece. Or even further for those who can afford it: to Indonesia, Thailand, North Africa (Egypt & Tunisia), Australia or other side of the globe Suriname, USA (mostly the East Coast), Canada etc.
Most accomodations in West Europe set the availability within a week starting from saturday. Ones can check in only on Saturday. So you can imagine how busy the traffic is. So busy that the French invented the term Samedi Noir, Black Saturday. It is busiest Saturdays ever in the L’Autoroute du Soleil, the highway to South France and Spain. Black Saturday is the day when French en masse leave on vacation with a car to South France and Spain, causing more than 700 km traffic jam. Indonesian from Java can compare this with jalur mudik Pantura before the Idul Fitri. This year, French authorities announced two dates of Samedi Noir, 12 July and 2 August. Why I also write about Samedi Noir? because this also influences holiday planning of the Dutches. So they know which date they can avoid the best.
Dutch people prefer to arrange everything in advance just in case. So, going on holiday means tons of paperwork. Car insurance, health insurance, some medicins to take, obligatory vaccination against Malaria & Hepatitis. Last but not least, the most important question: is the passport still valid?
According to some research, vacation goers are just be able to really relax and let go of everything after day 2. Mine starts tomorrow, but it began yesterday with a really cosy bbq (if you can call it a bbq party with 19 degree Celcius & indoor) celebrating my daugther’s birthday.
Have a great summer holiday where ever you are! We all earn it to charge ourself very well before going full speed again from mid August. To fellow European residents, let’s hope the sun will shine the rest of this summer…