Is it only me having ears this sensitive or are the Dutch really way louder than the rest of the world?
Being so private-space concerned with putting the bag at the seat next to them in public transport, how about the noise interfering your space? It’s definitely more difficult to define the norm , but not less disturbing when it’s off the limits.
You read a book, or listen to the music, do your work, or just think about something and that’s when a horrible sound reaches you.. first you think it might be a scream of a wounded animal… look around- ah no, just someone laughing at a joke.. what did I think about/work on/read again? The iPhone headphones are no help- unless you make it so loud that it hurts.
Restaurants are another “weak” spot. Forget about having the conversation while having a diner- you will be hardly able to over scream the background noise. That’s why I prefer more expensive places- maybe the public there is older but at least I can enjoy the dinner! 🙂
P.S. nothing personal, but being an expat and observing a different culture I have to make some generalizations (aka “why aren’t you drinking vodka?!” )