There are countless lists to be found on the internet and all travel blogs are really full of them; packing lists with things you should not forget to pack. Sometimes 30 random items that you supposedly absolutely have to take with you! Often with the sole purpose of selling you even more stuff…
So, if we disregard the commercial nature behind all these articles, which items are actually essential to bring from the Netherlands?
Table of contents
Unique in the Netherlands
What I learned during all my previous trips is that you can buy (almost) everything while traveling afterwards. Good shoes, mosquito repellent, backpacks, headlamps, power banks, you can get all that kind of stuff almost anywhere in the world. That is why these items are not really necessary to pack if you are making a long trip or world trip. You'll get there anyway, in case you forgot something.
However, the things you should definitely not forget to pack are only items that are actually related to The Netherlands† Items or stuff that you can't get anywhere else in the world!
That being said; below I have collected 4 essential items for you, including some substantiation of course. With us, no journey will start without these 4 items.
The indispensable Items from the Netherlands
1. The Dutch flag
We down-to-earth Dutch are not really patriotic. The majority of Dutch people don't care as much about our origins and don't express our national pride as they do in countries like America, where the national flag sometimes seems even more valuable than human lives.
Still, taking a Dutch flag with you on a trip is something I can recommend to everyone. It doesn't even matter whether you're with a self-built bus camper by Europe or like us, by America travels.
Even if you are backpacking in South America of South East Asia, having a Dutch flag with you is great.
Hanging a Dutch flag on your motorhome or on your balcony in a hotel or hostel is a nice way to make contact with people. Flags are the ultimate conversation starter. Not only do you attract compatriots with a Dutch flag, you will also often meet people who are curious about the Netherlands. For example, in America we often find that we attract people who have some connection with our country, through their last name, their grandparents or work.
Flags radiate a piece of identity. We Dutch may live in a small country, but it is a country of which we can be absolutely proud. A flag weighs little and takes up hardly any space in your suitcase or backpack. As far as we are concerned, there is therefore no reason not to take the Dutch flag with you on a trip!
2. Dutch-language books and sleepers
Anyone who likes to read books knows this dilemma. Dutch-language books cannot be found abroad. Our language is hardly spoken anywhere, so it is simply not available on the other side of the world.
Sometimes with a bit of luck you will meet other Dutch travelers with whom you may be able to do a book exchange. And if you bring an e-reader, you can still download books online. But those who are not into technology and/or prefer to just read a paper book will have finished their books after a few days or weeks.
Books are heavy and clumsy. Try to check with yourself how much you like to read and how much space you can free up to perhaps take some extra Dutch books with you.
As an extra tip I can add that there is such a thing as 'cross readers'. These are complete paper books, but in a small format. These fit right in your pocket. You read the books crosswise, hence the name sleepers of course. You can take up to 20 Dutch-language sleepers on holiday and still need less weight and space than one or two normal books. You can do that for a few months. Useful!
3. Travel plug (and converter)
No matter how normal our plugs in the Netherlands seem, you will quickly notice that you come across all kinds and sizes of plugs abroad. Yes, travel plugs are often available to a limited extent elsewhere in the world. However, I know from experience that it can be quite a challenge to find a travel plug that actually works well with Dutch devices.
For example, anyone who travels to America, the ABC islands, Brazil or Japan should really think carefully about his/her devices. In these countries, the standard is 100 or 110 volts instead of 220 volts. For this you not only need a travel plug, but also a so-called converter. Many devices from the Netherlands simply do not work on 100 or 110 volts. You therefore need an inverter that converts 110v to 220v. In fact, you're likely to harm them if you just plug them in without changing the voltage.
Also read: What is the best camera for a world tour? And why?
Computer equipment and devices that get hot, such as kettles and hair dryers, are particularly sensitive to this. Fortunately, most telephones nowadays have a standard charger that can handle all voltages in the world. But just to be sure, always check in advance!
Again, forgetting an inverter can be really problematic in these countries. The countries you go to will have inverters for sale, but they usually work the other way. So from 220 volts to 110 volts, intended for tourists traveling to Europe. And that is of no use to you…
4. Cheese slicer
Finding good or tasty cheese abroad is a challenge, but fortunately there are more and more countries that make delicious cheese. In countries such as Switzerland, America and Australia you can find excellent cheese with a little research, but sometimes it is unaffordable.
Usually the cheese is already sliced and sometimes even packed per slice in paper or plastic. A waste of the materials of course and this also drives the price up. You do not only pay for the cheese, but also for the packaging material. It therefore really pays to have a cheese slicer with you. You can then choose to buy a block of cheese, to slice it yourself with your brought cheese slicer from the Netherlands. Moreover, the cheeses that have not yet been cut are often of better quality.
Because simply put; they hardly know a cheese slicer anywhere in the world. It is really a unique item from the Netherlands. There are of course those wild stories that an importer of cheese slicers has become a millionaire in America and Australia. Well, after traveling around the United States for three months, I can confidently tell you: We haven't seen a cheese slicer here yet.
Seen a mistake? Ask? Remark? Let us know in the comments!