I had the opportunity to travel to The Netherlands after receiving an invitation from the Dutch Roots Foundation, which was hosting journalists from all over the world to an agricultural conference. This took place from July 10 to 15 basing on the theme, “Dutch Roots: Small Country big solutions.”
I left Entebbe International Airport on Monday night, July 9, and arrived at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam on Tuesday morning, July 10, after an almost eight-hour flight aboard KLM Airlines.
The airport experience
Although I was exhausted after the journey, I tried to stay alert, especially because this was my first time in a European country.
Schiphol is huge airport compared to Entebbe that at one point, I got lost and did not know where to find my luggage (a medium size suitcase). I chose to ask for help from some of the airport staff who kept guiding me on where to go until finally I found the suitcase. Thank God, I was also travelling with another Ugandan journalist who was helping me follow up.
Going through immigration check-point was at least stressfree. After the immigration officer checked my passport, he asked for the purpose of my visit and I presented my invitation letter. I was eventually permitted to go through the check-point. We decided to wait at one of the restaurants within the airport.
I could not help being fascinated by the sight of beehive activity as hordes of passengers rolled their travel bags, others picking up loved ones or preparing to embark on a journey.
About 30 minutes later, our host located us and got a cab driver to take us to our hotel. This was about an one- hour’s drive from the airport.
The fun packed week
Although the one-week conference involved workshops and presentations at Wageningen University and Research Institute as well as farm tours, it was mixed with pleasure.
Our hosts let us feed on various Dutch cuisines such as Hutspot, made with potatoes, carrots, and onions served with meats such as rookworst (smoked sausage), slow-cooked meat, or bacon, at our respective hotels and at the university where we had the workshops during day. Bread, meat, cheese and milk were always part of the menu at breakfast, lunch or dinner. and all was served in plenty.
I was amazed by the high sense of organisation. For instance, motorists are respectful and mindful of other road users. You may not believe this, but, I never heard any driver hooting during my one week stay here. Then, on the streets or packing lots, motorists pack their vehicles in an organised manner.
One of the most common modes of transport is cycling and there are special lanes designated for those with bicycles.
The towering Dutch
I’m almost six feet tall, and, many people home in Uganda are always perplexed by my height. Well, during my visit, I found my height mates. The Dutch are blessed with height. I remember at the airport bumping into several young beautiful women standing at about my shoulder height or slighter taller.
The men on the other hand are taller. Some stand above six feet ,five inches. One particularly very tall man told me he is about seven feet.
In fact, in 2016, BBC reported Dutchmen as the world’s tallest with an average height of six feet tall. And now you know the country where to find these people.