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6 things you absolutely need to know about Spaniards

After 9 months in Spain I get to know the Spaniards. You must definitely know this about them.


I have been living in Spain since November 2018. Born and raised in the Netherlands, this is my first 'living abroad' experience. And after 9 months as an 'extranjera', I start to get to know the Spaniards. 6 things you absolutely must know about them:

1. Spaniards share everything. They prefer to spend their house, their food and also their day with others. An example: when you go out to eat in the Netherlands, you order a starter, main course and dessert only for yourself. In Spain you order 5 dishes 'para compartir' with 4 people. They come in turns on the table and you eat this together. And an additional advantage, you will quickly get to know many different dishes. Even when you visit somewhere, it doesn't matter at what time, there is always something to eat. For everyone. Are you coming unexpectedly? No problem, you just sit down. The more the merrier.

2. Spaniards are the most social people I know. As said, they prefer to share and do a lot together. But apart from that, they give you a very warm and pleasant feeling. Also at a first meeting. And even if you don't speak their language completely yet, they do their best to listen to you and understand you and are very patient in that. They also do not tend to improve you continuously. Not at all. They only appreciate that you try to speak their language. That is greatly appreciated!

3. A meeting is always accompanied by 2 kisses. And not only when you meet, but also when you say goodbye again. Even if you only talk for 2 minutes. And yes, you also greet people that you see for the first time. First I held out my hand nicely, as I am used to. This sometimes resulted in very uncomfortable situations, because the other person wanted to kiss me and I held out a hand very 'remotely'. After a few weeks I realized how it worked and now I do the same. I do understand why they sometimes say that people from Northern Europe are 'cold'….

4. Spaniards live without the clock. Especially in the summer. Work the next day? Oh well, we'll think about that  tomorrow. We take another vino or a cerveza and enjoy the moment. During the week, dinners or parties do not usually end before 1:00 am. And no one really looks at his watch to see what time it is ... that's great!

5. Eating and preparing food is the most important thing of the day. And I say that with a wink, because I am not a kitchen princess and I always ate fairly sober. But there it is all about food. Healthy food. After breakfast to the kitchen to prepare lunch and after lunch prepare again for dinner. Everything is also freshly prepared. Even if you go out for a walk together for a day, the most important is where you eat. A lunch lasts also an average of 2 hours. That is different from the half hour that I am used to in the Netherlands. Small children also sit down and eat with them. Their grandmothers are in the kitchen and prepare the most delicious dishes. On a Saturday afternoon I was invited for lunch with a family and friends, because there was a party in the village. There were more than 40 people, yound and old, of all ages. 2 long tables in the living room that were filled with food and drink after a while. More than 3 hours later I rolled off the table with a full belly, along with the rest. A fantastic experience!

6. Always on the move. Now I am quite sporty, and I walk and cycle a lot. But whenever I go, I always meet others. Especially on Sunday morning the park is full of walkers. Couples, girlfriends or just with some music in your ears. There is also no cycling here, as in the Netherlands. Everyone does everything on foot. If you live a little outside the center, then on average you walk more than half an hour a day. You will also find everywhere, even in the smaller villages, those devices on which you can do exercises.

Is there nothing to criticize about Spaniards? Yes. Nobody's perfect right? Spaniards talk a lot, fast and loud. Especially when they are with many people. If you don't speak the language well, you really have to make an effort to concentrate.

As a semi-Spaniard, I notice that it is very easy to adapt to the culture of Spain. It is different, but you are quickly absorbed, involved and they undertake many activities, are active. It is useful if you speak a little Spanish. I experience less stress here than in the Netherlands, enjoy the hours of sunshine in the country (that vitamin D really makes you a happier person) and I have already built up a nice social network.

So... Viva España!

Annemiek Nefkens

Happy Holiday Manager