One of Mama Kat’s writing prompts this week is to share seven things you love about your hometown. When filling out my Facebook profile some years back, I was made aware that my “hometown” was supposed to be the place I was born in. That would be Rotterdam. Then my current city would be the place I now live. That is Raalte now.
For the purposes of this Writer’s Workshop, I am writing about things I love about Raalte. After all, it’s been over 25 years since I left Rotterdam. I don’t really consider Raalte my “home” place at this point yet, but then again there’s no other place I call home.
Raalte is a town of about 20,000 residents in the middle of the province of Overijssel in the eastern Netherlands. It is midway between the cities of Deventer, Zwolle and Almelo, but each of these is about 25-30 km away. Raalte, for this reason, relies mostly upon itself. There are neighboring villages that also belong to the municipality of Raalte but are quite rural. Anyway, here are the things I love about Raalte.
1. Its nature. Raalte is a relatively green town with its parks and the canal. My care facility, too, is close to the countryside.
2. My neighborhood. I live in a quiet neighborhood where I love to go on walks. Like I said above, it’s close to the countryside too.
3. Its restaurants. I love that Raalte has quite a few restaurants. Of course, now they’re mostly closed due to the lockdown, but they still deliver food.
4. The other facilities in town. Raalte has its own train station, though I’ve never used it. It also has several supermarkets, one of which is in my neighborhood. The town center has lots of little and not-so-little shops.
5. The fact that it has its own healthcare facilities. Okay, it doesn’t have a hospital, but there is an outpatient clinic from Deventer Hospital in my neighborhood. We also have a GP surgery in my neighborhood and the mental health agency is downtown. When I lived in the tiny village with my husband, I had to travel about 7km to get to the GP. Compared to that, Raalte’s healthcare facilities are pretty good.
6. The government-funded taxi service for the disabled. Raalte’s public transportation system is practically nonexistent, but thankfully I was able to get a taxi pass to get around the area. It can take me to Deventer and Zwolle, as well as within Raalte and to the neighboring villages. Unfortunately, the default budget isn’t as large as it was in my old village. Then again, right now, I don’t use the taxi service at all due to the lockdown and the fact that my staff usually take me places.
7. The dialect. When I was about to move here, my husband warned me that people in Raalte talk even weirder than those in my old village did. Indeed, most have quite a rural accent, but I really like it.
Overall, if I had the choice, I’d like to live in a town closer to large cities. That being said, I don’t want to ever live in a large city like Rotterdam again. Besides, compared to my old village, Raalte has exactly the right mix of town and rural area.