About three months ago I wrote this but never published it: “I really hate driving here because everything is so unfamiliar. Road signs are different, road rules are different (you give priority to drivers on your right unless they have a yield sign), you have to watch for bicycles (and they’re everywhere so it’s a nightmare), roundabouts are everywhere too, many roads are narrower than what I’m used to and they don’t have lines making you believe they are one-way roads until you see the oncoming car (Aah!!) or they have lines on the far left and far right meant for cyclists so when you have a bicycle in front of you and you see a car coming towards you, it sucks.”

Though I wouldn’t say that I enjoy driving (still isn’t the same as in Minneapolis), I am finally over my fear of driving in The Netherlands and today, I got my “Rijbewijs” (driving license) and it’s good for ten years! I walked out of the “gemeente” (city hall) staring at my new license with a big smile, as if I were 16 years old again when I passed my US driver’s exam. I should really thank M for this because it is through him that I’m even allowed to exchange my US license for a Dutch one (only countries with similar road rules are allowed to do an exchange). Otherwise we’d both have had to shell out too much money and take practical and theoretical tests which are not easy or fun based on blogs I’ve read. Anyway, none of that for us! Yeah!

The biggest differences, in my mind, between driving in the US vs. NL are that:

  1. drivers on your right have priority. That took some time to get used to and I still say it out loud in the car before I drive anywhere.
  2. stop signs have seemingly been replaced with roundabouts, which again took some time to get used to but now I’m much better.
  3. speed bumps are everywhere in the residential areas and boy do they work because you have to slow down unless you want to wreck your car.

So today is a good day. I can drive legally in NL and in other European countries. Happy Friday and “fijn weekend”!