Thursday, February 10, 2011

As I said earlier I've taken up the native custom of buying bread and toppings in the supermarket and eat that during lunch. As I was lunching today I noticed that the bread, I'd just bought, was brand new, not day old like in the Icelandic supermarkets. A side effect of that fact is that here the shelves are basically empty the last hour or so before closing. If you want fresh bread, or any bread at all, don't go to the supermarket just before it closes.

My coworkers here are really nice. Couple of them have been advising me on what bicycle (fiets) to buy. One of them told me, laughing, that the other one has a mountain bike. I didn't get the joke until he mentioned the flatness of The Netherlands. :)

Houses and apartments are expensive here. Real estate agents (Makelaars) here are, I've been told, devious characters. If a real estate agent here "finds" an apartment for me he can charge up to 2% of the purchase price for services. This is on top of what he gets from the seller. Since I'm looking at apartments at around 150.000 euros that means he can charge me 3000 Euros if he finds an apartment for me. If I come to an real estate agent and tell him I want this special apartment, that I've found on the internet or somewere, he can't charge me. But if he advices me to buy another apartment, and I do that, he can and will charge me. Then the seller has to pay 6% tax on the property he just sold. This is much worse than the Icelandic stampcharge (Stimpilgjald) and I thought that was bad enough.