Netherlands

Falling in love with the city of cyclists

The Dutch have the reputation of being one of the happiest nations in the world

With their sustainable, healthy lifestyles, accepting nature and liberated attitudes it’s no wonder they have smiles on their faces.

Celebrating the Dutch national holiday King’s Day with my Global Garden sisters Josie and Jasmine

Holland is home to 17 million people… I could honestly be very tempted to make that 17 million and 1. To quote an iconic Australia ad for Qantas…

“I’ve been to cities all over the world. From New York to Paris and old London town… but no matter how far, or how wide I roam”.…

I’m sorry Qantas commercial from 1997… Holland is the first country to tempt me away from calling Australia home.”

Why I’ve got a big crush on the bicycle capital of the world

Did you know that Holland has more bikes per capita than any other European country?

I love ride bikes rather than using taxis when I’m traveling. The wind in my hair always makes me feel free, I get my bearings so much quicker when I have my own wheels and there’s no barriers that stop me from connecting with the city and the country.

I love riding bikes rather than using taxis when traveling

Amsterdam in a city owned by cyclists. It is a city so well equipped for riding – bike paths and lanes line every street and canal allowing cyclists safely swarm the city. Cyclists heading to and from work, laden with groceries heading home from the supermarket, parents with kids piled in the cart in the front, seniors with electric bikes… I even saw someone who looked like they were moving house on a bike!

Amsterdam in a city owned by cyclists.

This isn’t something unique to Amsterdam, all Dutch cities follow the same rules. To make biking here even more loveable there’s hardly even a hill in Holland! To an outsider it seems like cycling is part of Dutch DNA but I think it’s more their DNA to want to lead more sustainable lifestyles that gives this movement it’s pedal power.

Such happy people

The Dutch have the reputation of being one of the happiest nations in the world and I’m going to agree with that. They persistently rank as one of the highest in “Child Happiness’ – the United Nations rated Dutch children the happiest in the world in their UNICEF child happiness index of the 29 most wealthy, industrialized nations.

Celebrating King’s Day, the Dutch national holiday on Amsterdam’s canals

Caring for the wider world

I am so impressed by the Dutch’s care and generosity for the world around them. It’s not just the cycling culture that give insight into the environmental psyche of the Dutch people. A cultural factor a that I couldn’t help but notice is the Dutch trait to be open and outward-driven. There is such a “strong belief” in Dutch society of caring for the next generation and for the wider world too. The Netherlands has historically been one of the world’s most generous nations in terms of international aid, for instance. On the home front, welfare payments have been traditionally high too.

Jan Graafland, the ‘Nature Manager’ in Weleda gardens at Zoetermeer, NL.

“It’s not about looking at it as a reward for you, but as a reward for the total. For the surroundings, for the environment. You have to ask yourself, what is the win not for me but the environment.” Jan Graafland, Garden Manager in Zoetermeer, NL.

The most accepting place on Earth

In so many countries even ex-pats find it hard enough to carve out a place in society let alone tourists finding their feet in social circles. But I couldn’t feel more embraced – by Weleda staff, my gorgeous Global Garden sisters Josie (Netherlands) and Jasmine (Belgium) and locals alike. The Dutch openness, transparency and accepting nature has well and truly won me over. You don’t even need to speak Dutch to be treated like an equal here. I am honestly wanting to extend my time in Europe so I can return, my time isn’t done here.

Prioritizing sustainability

I was lucky enough to join Hanne and José, two of 400 Natuurmonumenten forresters to visit the nature reserves in Pietersberg, Maastricht. Here we saw new born nature at work.

Watching new born nature at work with Hanne and José, forresters from Natuurmonumenten – Holland’s largest nature conservation organization

Weleda and Natuurmonumenten – Holland’s largest nature conservation organization, are working together to restore nature. It was so inspiring to overlook the perfect ‘before and after scenario’ of how nature can heal itself… with a little helping hand.

Looking at before. Imagining the after.

To my left was the ENCI quarry which will be returned to Natuurmonumenten in 2020 and turned into limestone based nature. To the right is supported nature at work. It’s only 8 years since Natuurmonumenten and Weleda have been involved the area and has seen it become the home of eagle owls, butterflies, orchids bats and over 150 new species of plants.

I love the Dutch practicality and openness of acknowledging problems and their pragmatism to find and action sustainable solution to bend the circle of life back into shape.

On the right path – the law of attraction

Focusing 100% on this positive path of the Weleda Global Garden journey is allowing me to live my dream

I have had such a wonderful week that regardless of whether I am riding my Amsterdam bike or not I feel like I’m on the right path. I left my job, my home, my family and my friends to wander the Weleda World and every week I feel like I grow more and more as a person.

I’m a big believer in the Law of Attraction – which uses the power of the mind to translate our thoughts and turn them into our reality.

Focusing 100% on this positive path is allowing me to live my dream. This is why the universe is such an infinitely wonderful place because the Law of Attraction allows you to realize whatever you imagine – I actually had long discussions about this very topic with new Dutch friends, also big believers in the power of this practice.

I was the massive underdog to win this trip of a lifetime

If you listen to your intuition, your imagination and take action on a plan you can get to where you want to be.

I was the massive underdog to win this trip of a lifetime… with only 1500 Instagram followers I was definitely the ‘David’ to some incredible social media ‘Goliath’s’ and I couldn’t be more grateful to be on this journey. I am learning so much every week and meeting so many incredible people. I can’t thank Weleda and you all for following this journey – it’s honestly life changing.

With the Weleda NL team in the Zoetermeer gardens

When has the Law of Attraction changed your life?