I don’t want to be too negative, but I admit there will be some things I won’t miss when we move from the Netherlands.
It seems sometimes that everyone is smoking everywhere I go. I won’t miss walking down a city street and being assaulted by someone’s cigarette smoke. It’s not allowed to smoke at train stations, except for designated areas, since January 2004. However almost every day there is someone smoking on the platform far away from the designated area. Annoyingly, it is allowed to smoke inside shopping malls, though not inside shops. Most restaurant non-smoking sections are a joke, although this should change in June when a law banning smoking in restaurants will become active. Whether the restaurant owners will comply with the law remains to be seen. They certainly have not been happy with the legislation, despite the fact that most other European countries have already banned smoking inside restaurants years ago.
Related to the smoking issue is the fact that some bans or laws rarely seem to be enforced. I have seen cops and train station personnel pass by smokers outside of the smoking zone and not say anything. I am not suggesting that they should be handcuffed and dragged to jail, but couldn’t the police officer kindly point out the no smoking sign? Don’t get me started on improperly parked bikes. Most bike garages have threatening signs everywhere warning that improperly parked bikes will be removed. Please, remove them! The garage in Leiden is overflowing with bikes but I don’t think they have cleared out the old bikes since the thing opened.
I won’t miss dog poop on sidewalks everywhere you turn. This morning I stepped out of the train and there was a big fresh pile right there on the platform. Lovely.
I won’t miss the restrictive opening times of retail shops. Most stores close at 5 or 6pm on weekdays, remaining open until 9pm one day of the week. Some grocery stores stay open longer during the week, but not all. Most stores are closed on Sundays. Our local grocery store has been open for the last few months on Sunday, but apparently since this is not allowed under the current law, they have been paying government fines. They have been closed the last three Sundays in a row, apparently the result of a new dispute.
I also won’t miss traffic jams, rude people, high gas prices, and bickering government officials that never get anything done… Just kidding!