As one of the faithful readers of the blog remarked, the Dutch seem to have a word for everything.
Such as “paracetamolparadijs”, meaning the paracetamol paradise, which refers to an aspect which I noticed already since the beginning of my life in the Netherlands: every disease, every pain, every health problem whatsoever is being treated with the universal remedy: PARACETAMOL. Aspirines, Nurofenes, antibiotics, nothing can rise up to the superiority of the paracetamol.
Anyway, the Dutch are people who usually keep functioning normally when having colds or flus and are only prepared to go to the doctor’s in extreme cases, and if they are seen by a doctor often they get to hear what they already know so well: that they should take paracetamol. You only get as far as antibiotics or any alternative to paracetamol if your case is truly desperate.
If, being a foreigner and trying to appear integrated by showing the Dutch that you are aware of the fact that you are supposed to take paracetamol, don’t make the mistake of saying: “I took a paracetamol”. You won’t be asked which concentration it had, it’s not important, the rule is that you have to take 2! Your announcement: “I took a paracetamol”, will always be followed by the the decided Dutch reaction: “Onel? Ooooh no, you have to take 2, always 2, otherwise they don’t work!”. So one doesn’t work at all, but 2 work miracles and cure you of anything.
I don’t think there is a house in Holland which doesn’t hold at least one box of paracetamol. Also because in Holland paracetamol can be bought at any drugstore and supermarket, not necessarily at the pharmacy.
It appears that it is also much cheaper than in other countries, I found an article dated 2010 which states that Belgians living near the Dutch border come and buy masses of paracetamol, even 10 boxes at a time, because of the small price. I even find that chronic patients came from Belgium with several busses to stack up on cheap paracetamol, the trip being for free (organized by a political party). Also, I found that in Belgium a box cost 4,50 euro and in Holland 0,50 euro. The action was successful and the price of paracetamol was cut into half in Belgium.
From Germany so called “paracetamoltoeristen” are coming, tourists for paracetamol, because the German can buy only 20 pills without prescription.
In the Netherlands there has been a proposition to reduce the number of pills/box, because an average of 2.000 Dutch people get poisoned every year by using the pills too much and for a long time.
Although it wouldn’t be a solution, because you could still keep buying several small boxes.
Anyway, the proposition made in 2010 was not accepted, as it was considered that the consumers are also responsible for using the pills and they are well informed through the leaflets.
I cannot imagine the Dutch without their holy paracetamol, anyway.