I’m Dutch, I was born in the beautiful town of Schiedam (close to Rotterdam) and I have lived all my life in the Netherlands. I traveled to many other countries in the world and explored other cultures. In my own country live many people that weren’t born here. I talked with them about what they think of us Dutch people. They told me they love it here in general, but there are strange Dutch habits too they can’t get used to.
A lovely idea to write about! At first I wanted to create a top 5 or so about the weird side of Holland, but soon I found out there are many more. I love 15, it is triple 5. We kiss people 3 times, and thus I decided to write the top 15 of strange Dutch habits.
After writing I was almost too scared to publish! When giving it a good thought the Netherlands is very weird if you only focus on our strange and sometimes rude behavior. Is my country ready for a visit to the global psychiatrist? Judge for yourself and enjoy. I had to laugh a lot while writing this somehow hilarious Lens!
1: Dutch Are Stingy and Frugal!
I think Mr Duck is Dutch 😉
Lots of jokes are being told about us by our Belgium neighbors about our stingy and frugal habits and I must admit they are so right!
Here are some examples:
-When we go on a vacation we load our cars full with food That’s because we don’t want to spend too much money.
-We don’t like to treat other people when going out for diner. But when others treat us we don’t complain…
-Lots of us “Dutchies” don’t easily buy others a drink when going to a cafe or so.
-Same thing goes for buying someone a present: The Dutch people tend to spend as less money as possible on gifts
-We are no great tippers when we eat out or have a drink. Lots of people I know don’t tip at all!
2: Dutch People Are Not Very Hospitable – We Will Never Win the Perfect Host Award
The Dutch hospitality is terrible. Planning to visit us at home? It is very usual for the average Dutch family to offer you only one cookie and then close the cookie jar! We really do, can you believe it? I never liked this habit, it won’t happen if your visit me. But in most Dutch households this is pretty normal. Even with their own family members!
Also don’t be surprised that you won’t be invited for dinner when it’s time to eat.
I even know people that politely tell their guest(s) they are going to eat and then make clear with their body language that the guest(s) should leave. Amazing! If you stay for dinner (or lunch) don’t expect most Dutch people to have plenty of food on the table. They cook just enough for the number of people present.
A traditional Dutch dinner doesn’t take long too:We hurry eating the food, usually it’s finished within half an hour if not earlier.To a lot of people who are not from my country this is unbelievable and shocking! Especially people from the Mediterranean countries spend much more time on eating their meals.
3: Mash Your Food Honey! – In Dutch We Call this “Eten Prakken”
Dutch people like to mash their food. From potatoes to pasta. I have even seen Dutch people mash their fries! When they mash their veggies, meat and potatoes together they love to put sauce on it too. Watch a demonstration on You Tube how we do that!
4: Strange Dutch Birthday “Parties”
How do you celebrate birthdays in your country?
In most countries Birthday Parties are great, with lots of drinks and food, good music and friends having fun. That might be at home or in a restaurant. It’s always a real party. But not in the Netherlands. We do it very different here!
One funny but also weird birthday habit we have is to congratulate all people present. No matter if it are the neighbors, the parents, friends or other people. You come in and shake hands or kiss and say congratulations to everybody.
Guests are usually welcomed to sit on a chair and they are not supposed to leave it till the party is over! When you got your chair to sit on you get coffee or tea and a piece of cake. Then you get another cup of tea or coffee and again cake if you’re lucky! After the coffee/tea/cake ritual other drinks are served and snacks are being served. It’s in this order. If you ask for something else when you’re supposed to drink tea or coffee you’ll probably see the host looking at you like you’re from Mars or so!
Usually there are no plates or so on the table filled with goodies, The host walks around with them. Pieces of Dutch cheese are very popular as well as potato chips and pieces of sausage, toast etc. That’s it. No dancing, maybe some music, but not too loud, otherwise people can’t have a conversation with each other… Does this sound like a party to you? Not to me!
5: Strange Dutch Toilet Habit
A typical Dutch toilet
Now, don’t be shocked. If you visit people the toilet is free. But if you want to use the toilet in a restaurant or other public places they make you pay. It will cost you 50 (euro)cent per visit!
The Dutch toilets are different than those in lots of other countries. On the photo you see a typical Dutch toilet.
6: Strange Dutch Eating Habits
Eating out of the wall, disgusting!
I already mentioned our strange habit to mash (almost) all of our food, but there are more! We eat our fries with mayonnaise for example. I love that habit, but in the eyes of people from other countries this might look weird. You should try it for yourself. I l personally wouldn’t want to eat my fries different. Sometimes I eat them with mayonnaise and peanut sauce which is a delicious combination!
When a baby is born a typical Dutch habit is to serve rusk with aniseed comfits.
If it’s a girl the comfits are pink, if it’s a boy they are blue. If you visit the parents of a newborn you must eat it, no matter if you like it or not. You’re supposed to act like you love it. The rusk with aniseed comfits is also served at work, usually by the father. So you can’t escape them.
Lots of Dutch people eat their Peanut butter sandwich with chocolate sprinkles or Chili Sauce.
Personally I love chocolate sprinkles on my peanut butter from time to time. It is so tasty!
Another strange Dutch tradition is eating their hot snacks “out of the wall”.
In the wall of most snack bars there are small windows. You put in a coin and get a hot snack (see photo). I think it’s the most disgusting tradition we have when it comes to eating fast food! Most of the times the snacks have been there for hours! I don’t recommend trying this yourself at all. You can get really sick from it and the snacks are not very tasty. Most of the times they are also not warm at all. So go for fresh snacks if you visit my country!
7: King’s Day Party in the Netherlands! – The entire Country Turns Orange!
April 27, Kingsday in the Netherlands: the entire country turns orange!
On April 27 the Netherlands gets crazy: it’s King’s Day! It is the birthday of our new King Willem Alexander. If you’re around you’ll see a LOT of orange on that day. People are dressed in orange, have painted their faces, dyed their hair orange, and a lot of foods and drinks are orange too.
It’s a funny sight! There are festivities everywhere on this day in the entire country. Music, games, people selling their old stuff on the streets, etc. I love Kings Day, but the orange thing is a bit weird. The Dutch people have the same habit by the way when our national football team is playing international competitions.
Orange is our national color, this is because of the family name of our royals in the past. We had a King many centuries back called “Willem van Oranje” (oranje is the Dutch word for orange). Now you know why we still have this color present when it’s party time!
8: Rude Dutch Habits
We are really nice people in general but we also have some really nasty and rude habits! Here is a small list:
We always tell you what is on our mind.
For people from other countries this often comes as a shock. Dutchies are very honest and prefer to tell you the bold truth (at least they think it’s true).
Dutch humor is often very sarcastic.
Our humor often scares of tourists and expats. Don’t be surprised if they boldly call someones baby an “ugly monster” or tell you you look like shit. They don’t mean it like that of course. It is typical Dutch humor. Don’t be shocked. Just laugh like you think it’s a great joke. It’s what we do among each other too!
We are awfully rude when we use the public transport system.
Lots of the Dutch people don’t let other passengers get out of the train or bus first. They want to get in themselves as soon as possible, no matter what. They even won’t mind to push people away who want to get out! It’s accepted here. It’s sort of “normal”.
I’m deeply ashamed for this rude behavior! Same goes when older people, or people with a disability or pregnant women step in the bus/train. You won’t see much people polite enough offer their seat when all seats have been taken.
Jumping the queue
Lots of Dutch folks are simply too impatient to wait in a line until it’s their turn. Especially in supermarkets. People rush to another checkout if the line there is shorter. Or they simply jump the queue, thinking that’s normal or so. Another strange habit of us I’m not very proud of. But it happens a lot so be prepared when you plan to go for grocery shopping in Holland.
Accept it or do the same. We don’t mind 😉
When we are asked a question lots of us Dutchies will answer this with: “Why do you ask that?”
Maybe we do this just because we are curious people. But in the eyes of a stranger this can be considered very rude!
Dutchies don’t like to make eye contact when talking to you!
We look you in the face or stare at something else. A lot of us are a bit afraid to look in the mirror of their soul. A sign of being shy?
Most of us have an opinion about almost everything!
And we are not afraid to share this with you… Even when you haven’t asked for it. And above all: We (often) think our opinion is the only right one… If you doubt that, Dutch people can get really annoyed or even angry so forget about it. You won’t win this game. Dutch people can be really stubborn.
Watching through windows of other people.
Most of us love to sneak inside through the windows of other peoples houses. Especially when it’s dark outside and the lights are on inside. I think this is a real rude and strange curiosity! But on the other hand most of the Dutch people don’t mind if others do that. Lots of people living here don’t even have their curtains closed at night. And people outside think that’s an invitation to watch through the windows when they pass by a house. Not that they really look at what’s going on or so. They “just” do this out of habit. I do it too… it’s in my Dutch DNA I guess…
9: Dutch Workers Are Lazy
Dutch people only work an average of 29 hours per week!
Dutch people are sort of lazy when it comes to working! Did you know that Dutch employees make world’s shortest work weeks? The average number of working hours per week in the Netherlands is only 29 hours. One of the reasons for this is that a lot of Dutch women work part time because of the care of their children.
Dutch workers also hate to work overtime, especially if they don’t get paid for it. Most Dutchies start cleaning their desks 5 minutes before their shift is over!
The most lazy workers in the Netherlands are the construction workers: in the summer they get a holiday that lasts for at least 3 weeks. Officially because it’s too hot to work. Then during the winter season Dutch construction workers also stop working for several weeks because it is too cold to work. I think the Netherlands is the only country that tolerates this!
10: Very Dirty Dutch Habbits – Eeksssss…..
Okay, do you still love the Netherlands? We are rude, lazy stingy, etc. and we also have some very dirty habits that are tolerated. Our top 3:
Nose Picking In private or in public doesn’t matter, lots of Dutch people do this without any shame!
Burping out loud The louder the better and some people even consider this funny!
Farting Yes really! Accidental or on purpose, Dutch people have no problem doing this and even laugh about it. Not about the smell though…
11: Child Benefit and Mortgage Interest Deduction
The Netherlands is the only country in the world that has this!
All parents in the Netherlands receive “Child Benefit”, which is unique in the world. Every 3 months parents get a certain amount from the government, how much depends on the age of the child, the number of children and you get even more if your child is in a clinique or so. The older the child, the more you get. You get it until the child reaches the age of 18 years. Want to know how much Dutch parents get? Click here to see it!
Another unique bonus in the Netherlands is the so called “Mortage Interest Deduction”. If you’re a house owner you can deduct a certain percentage from your yearly taxes. It’s a bonus invented in the last century to stimulate people to buy a house. There is also a monthly benefit for people with lower income, who rent a place.
I’m proud of these “strange habits”. But let’s admit it, we’re unique doing this. Lots of countries will laugh about it (or be jealous!)
12: The Dutch Are Not Proud of Their Country
We have no strong national pride in the Netherlands and that is a shame! On certain occasions like on Kings Day or the international football competitions of the Dutch football team we have some feeling of love for our country. But in general there is no Dutch identity at all! We don’t care if people speak our language when they live here or not. Even the government and local governments rather translate official letters in several language than teaching all citizens from abroad the Dutch language.
Even our national anthem is strange. You’d think there would be something in it like you have Dutch blood flowing through your veins. But it is not like this at all! Instead of that we sing we have German blood… and also that we honor the Spanish King… now that is VERY weird! Most of the Dutch don’t even know the lyrics of our anthem!
13: Dutch People Use Diminutives for Everything They Do!
Dutch People Use Diminutives for Everything They Do!
A typical strange Dutch habit is the use of diminutives. It must sound so funny if you understand the Dutch language! Actually I think it’s kind of cute! But I haven’t seen this anywhere else in the world.
Make an appointment to visit your Dutch friends!
14: Making an Appointment to Visit Your Friends
If you want to visit your friends, family or other people you know you must make an appointment! Most Dutch people are not very amused if you spontaneous ring on their doorbell!
There is an agenda for everything.
You can’t go to the hairdressers without an appointment, no way you can see a doctor without one and so on. I have no clue why! People also get mad at you when you’re too late, especially when you have an appointment to visit your friend(s). If you’re 5 minutes late you can expect a grumpy face.Coming earlier is no option either, Dutch people just don’t appreciate it, they are very punctual!
15: Sweet Dutch Kisses – Triple Kisses from me to you!
I don’t hope you have the impression the Dutch have gone mental or so, or that all is negative here. It isn’t. We have a beautiful country and the people here are not too bad once you know them and are prepared for the national habits of the Netherlands!
The best “strange” habit we have is that we kiss our friends, family members, etc. 3 times when we greet/meet them! Now isn’t that sweet! We beat all other countries that only give 1 or 2 kisses. Over here your lips get trained.