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Our stories

Our stories

Transportation in Netherlands

Everyone probably heard tales about Netherlands and its bike-friendly traffic rules. Thanks to the student exchange, I was one of the lucky people who could see with our own eyes the ingenious Dutch system.

Every road is designed thinking first about bikes, then cars. Even the smallest cities in Netherlands follow this rule. In truth, there are far more bikes than fuel-based vehicles. The proof of are enormous garages, especially in Amsterdam, where people leave their wheels. In such places there are hundreds or thousands of bikes and one could mistake it even for a graveyard. Bikes are cheap and many Dutch people own several of them. Sometimes people use someone else’s cycle if it’s not secured, leaving their own behind! From what I’ve heard it’s quite common and people don’t really mind it.

In populated places cars are a rarity and I believe it’s difficult to drive, taking into the account the number of pedestrians and cyclists. What caught my attention is what seems to be a validation of safety rules. Almost no one wears helmets or other protectors. Dutch people believe in their cycling abilities and feel confident on the road. Perhaps there is some truth in that, considering that cycling accidents are surprisingly few.

Most people choose bikes or public transportation to get to their workplace or school. Trains and buses are equipped in card readers, so process of getting onto and off the vehicle is fast and simple. Everyone owns a card that allows them to enter on board. It’s basically a pass that can get you everywhere. Of course, you can always buy a traditional ticket, but it’s simply easier to get such card.
On trains you don’t get a specific number of the seat – if you’re lucky enough you just find a free place. Otherwise, you’re forced to stand the entire road. The control of the tickets doesn’t happen often, but when it does the authorities are quite strict about the punishment for not having a ticket.

Our trip to Netherlands was wonderful chance to see how we are able to work and live in environment friendly system. Perhaps one day it will become more popular and people will see benefits of using bikes over cars.

Zuzanna Mujta, 3A


The 2022 student exchange to the Netherlands

I’ve had so much fun on the 2022 student exchange to The Netherlands. The town – Zwolle – was very lovely. When we got there I immediately started noticing differences on the streets. The biggest one was bike lanes. I think it’s a very practical idea, especially for the country where lots and lots of people cycle everyday. I took a lot of photos of beautiful architecture in different parts of The Netherlands. One of the best things was shopping! I bought a lot of small presents for my family and for me as well. I really liked shops with various flavours of pepernoten, which I then brought home. My family really enjoyed them. The trip schedule was full of activities but we had time for rest too. We did things like playing big Jenga, giant Twister, Slacklining which was fun. I enjoyed our workshops too. I was in a drawing workshop where we did 3D pop up buildings from our countries. I made The Palace of Culture and Science with my friend Bob. I think we did a really great job.

Talking about friends, I made a lot of them. For me it was the best part of the exchange. I loved how my host Michelle and her dad welcomed me in their home. How we went to get bubble tea or just walk around and talk. My other friend Indra, turned out to be a part of a cele racing club. They make very cool, sustainable cars and race them to see how good they present. I’ve got no idea how they do that! I really liked talking to Fréderique. One time we went to a Halloween store and wore fake knives on our heads! I really enjoyed dancing with Adina. She thought us some steps in Romanian dance. Giada was wonderful to talk to. We talked about our countries, how cultures differ. Turns out we even eat different meals at different times. There’s still a lot of people to name. I loved how everybody was so welcoming and kind. I really, really wish I’ll get to go to The Netherlands once again and that me and my friends will remain in contact! It was an amazing adventure.

Nika Jankowska, 2B