Netherlands

TRAVEL TIPS FOR NETHERLANDS

Zaanse Schans, Netherlands

5 Interesting Facts Netherlands

  • Czech Republic has the highest rail network density in the world 
  • Czech Republic has most petrol stations per capitain Europe
  • Czech Republic has most e-shops per capita in Europe 
  • Czech Republic has the highest density of castles in the world 
  • Czech Republic has the  highest beer consumption per capita in the world

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Netherlands - on the map

Good to know before you travel to the Czech Republic

1. One of the best public transportation in Europe

One of the things we can certainly be proud of in the Czech Republic. The public transportation here is very good and still pretty cheap (yes, even for the Czechs is pretty affordable). Basically the whole country is very well covered by either trains or buses, travelling is quite fast and reliable. Tickets for most destinations can be purchased online, nowadays. 

Train

Believe or not, Czech Republic has the highest rail network density in the whole world. It's such a small country, to most of the places you can get by train! I've run into a few blogs and websites

Bus

The Czech rail network works just very well, but if all the train connections are not enough for you, it will be covered by buses. .

Cars

Because of the reason mentioned above, hitch-hiking in Czechia is not common, it's actually very rare. Both trains and buses are quite fast and cheap so there is actually not really a point in wasting your time by waving at cars. Perhaps for the same reason, perhaps of a different mentality, I don't know, but even carsharing doesn't work well. I've never used it here myself, never really heard of anyone else who has done that, and if you look at  Blablacar, you won't find many offers.

2. It is Czechia (or Czech Republic), but not Czechoslovakia!

One important thing to mention and warn you about. I've met a lot of people, really a lot, who still think there is such a country like Czechoslovakia. And that is of course wrong. It's true that the Czech Republic and Slovakia used to be together in one country, but they split in 1993, and that is quite a long time ago. So from now on, remember that there is the Czech Republic (nowadays renamed to Czechia) and the republic of Slovakia. Two different countries that have lots in common and still keep very tight relationship, but exist as two separate, fully independent countries. Though not correct, I can understand that many Americans can still think of those as one country, but I don't understand why many Belgians think that too. 

Bear in mind that most of the Czechs don't like to be considered to be from Czechoslovakia, nor Slovakia. This is one of the only two situations (this one and when watching the national team playing ice hockey 🙂 ) when their "nationalism" comes to its surface. On the other hand, it's like saying to a person from a Balkan country that they are from Yugoslavia, or people from the former Soviet Union - oh, sure, I know where the Soviet Union is. 

3. Also, Czech Republic is not Eastern Europe

This one is my favorite 😀 This is a topic I've discussed with many foreigners, and it's a topic that very often arise again. Even though many  people from "western countries" consider Czech Republic an "eastern" country, it's definitely not something Czechs want to hear, and if you don't want to start a heated discussion and get in trouble, you should never say this when talking with a Czech person. Yes, Czechs like to be considered and always compare with "western" countries.

And here is a few reasons why they are actually right 🙂

And I will probably still discuss Another thing I've heard from many too many people is that Czech Republic is a former country of the Soviet. And it never was a part of the Soviet Union.

4. Czech Republic is a trash bin of (Western) Europe

As harsh as it sounds, it's unfortunately truth. If I said in the previous section that the Czechs tend to compare with the richest countries of Europe in everything, this is one of the few things that makes the country still "eastern". Very eastern. The quality of food you get in the Czech Republic is still just reprehensible. Although slowly (very slowly) getting better recently, the quality of majority of the products you buy here or in countries like Germany, the Netherlands or France is absolutely incomparable.

This is not supposed to be an article of nutrition counselling, neither is it supposed to be a movement of a brainwashed, vegan, Greepeace, whatever guy, any and it's totally up to you what you eat, but I feel like, as a local and a person interested in what I'm actually eating, I have to warn you, give you some insights and perhaps personal tips. So here is a few pieces of advice.

  • You should be aware that the Czech Republic doesn't have a sea, so all the sea fish you can possibly get here are imported, thus, first of all, they are expensive. Secondly, they are mainly imported from Norway, fished out from the waters of the North sea polluted by refining plants. Yes, all the fish imported from the Nordic countries are highly toxic, it's a generally know fact (ask Norwegians, they know what they export), so think it over if you want to pay for an overpriced, metallic salmon, or you rather chose something local. Which is, however, not so
  • I would generally say, if you care enough about your health and want to eat proper food, you should avoid hyper/supermarkets as much as possible, there is just a very few products that are fine. If so, go to Lidl, except for the mentioned Polish meat, fish and eggs, it's quite okay.

So what's actually my suggested solution? Well, not easy in an inland country with almost non-existing agriculture, but there are always some ways.

  • buy as much as possible from people who grow their own stuff - I know that this is not always possible, but getting fresh vegetables and fruits, meat, egg or dairy products from smaller farmer, or honey from a small beekeeper is always the healthiest solution
  • from Spring to Autumn support small local farmers and do shopping at farmers' markets. In not every city you have this option indeed, but fortunately, farmers' markets are becoming quite popular all over the country. In Prague you will find many.
  • These are the shops I personally shop from
    • dm - all products of the German, bio quality (the very same products you get in German dm) - reliable and many products for a reasonable price
    • CountryLife (shop but also products brand) - I have to admit that the products are sometimes pretty expensive, but also the quality of most of them is pretty good and you have a wide selection to chose from. I like the whole concept founded and run a guy who could no longer stand the quality of Czech products. I find them quite reliable so far. In Prague there also have a few restaurants with vegetarian meals.

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