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15 not-so-cute things Dutch people do

Strange as it sounds, the land of quaint canals, cosy cats, and colourful clogs isn’t always so cute.

In fact, the Dutch have some less-than-wonderful habits that are more popular than mice in the Randstad, and it’s time to shine a light on some of them.

Of course, these aren’t things ALL Dutch people do. That’d be like saying all Dutch people are as successful as Max Verstappen — and that isn’t true, is it? 😉

1. Leave dog poop lying about for people to step on

Wat leuk, a stinky surprise! 💩
In the Netherlands, getting somewhere in a hurry usually involves the latest in urban warfare: dodging squishy landmines.

Persuading some people to pick up after their dogs seems nearly as impossible as seeing a Dutchman buying every stranger at the bar a biertje (beer). It’s probably happened at some point, but don’t bet your money on it.

2. Preach do as I say, not as I do

If you’ve been around for long enough to voice your opinion on anything, you’ve probably come across the charmingly Dutch phrase: if you don’t like it here, go back to your own country.

It really warms the heart, doesn’t it? 🥰

Given how direct Dutch people can be, it’s often shocking to see that some of them have skin thinner than a peach. Consider it a rite of passage if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of this phrase!

3. Treat traffic road rules like suggestions

When you’re talking to a Dutchie about annoying people on bikes, they’re probably going to blurt out “TOURISTS IN AMSTERDAM!!” at some point. It’s inevitable. Don’t fight it.

Here’s some info that may shock Dutchies and tourists alike: biking on the pavement is largely not allowed. There’s a whole other section of the road (the fietspad) exclusively for that purpose.

But, nee — using the pavement saves Henk and Ingrid an oh-so precious two minutes of travel time. How dare you walk where they’re cycling, stomme (stupid) tourist?!

4. Celebrate Sinterklaas with Zwarte Piet

Regardless of where you stand in the debate, I think we can all agree that some opinions raised are as far away from the Dutch ideal of tolerance as can be.

For the lucky ones that have never stepped into the fiery flames of a Zwarte Piet debate, an explanation might be in order.

Some say that Piet is based on Northern European pagan traditions. Others clutch their pearls and are shocked — shocked, I tell you! — that people think prancing about in blackface is racist.

And the rest think that Piet is…errr, racist.

5. Have cultural heritage that explodes in the night

The overwhelming response to criticism of Dutch pyromania is “het is een traditie 😡” (it’s a tradition).

You better brace yourself (and cover your ears) if you speak ill of the beloved traditie of blowing up rubbish bins, vehicles, and cats on New Year’s Eve (or actually, any night). Yes, even the cats aren’t safe!

If, like the writer, you don’t enjoy the thought of it raining (bits of) cats and dogs…then you’ll agree this isn’t so cute!

6. Whine when foreigners don’t speak Dutch, yet switch to English all. The. Time.

Look, we get it — it’s annoying when internationals brag about not wanting to learn Dutch. Doubly so, if they’re planning on setting up shop in the country.

But switching to English when someone is attempting to learn your language is just adding to the problem…and actively looking for a reason to complain!

You can’t have your boterkoek and eat it too, you know!

7. Advertise accommodation as Dutch only — no internationals allowed here!

Geen internationals, maar (no internationals, but)… can we colonise you and holiday in your home country, please?
And don’t you dare complain about living in a park, international students! We’re offering you the privilege of spending six times the price Dutch students pay to get an education. 🙄

Don’t laugh at the hypocrisy as though it’s a “Bassie en Adriaan” sketch, ok?

8. Use the silent carriage for everything but silence

You’d definitely be forgiven for thinking the stiltecoupé (silent carriage) means “a great place to have a brawl, and finish things off with a drunken rendition of an André Hazes song.”

Be sure to pack your noise cancelling headphones if you have them. Your ears will thank you after you’ve sat through the tenth rendition of Concerto for Two Screeching Babies in B Flat.

9. Board trains with the attitude of every man, woman, and child for themselves!

And speaking of public transport, you’ll have to “train” the politeness out of you if you’re from a culture accustomed to queueing.

Translation: It’s super busy at Utrecht Centraaal.
The Dutch sit als haringen in een ton (like herrings in a barrel), and most often, you’ll notice this cultural phenomenon when you’re waiting for public transport. In the summertime, this smells about as pleasant as you’d expect. 👃

Handige tip (handy tip): familiarising yourself with a game of rugby will help give you the skills to survive your daily commute.

10. Use Dutch directness as an excuse for anything and everything

Well known for speaking their mind (irrespective of the content within), the Dutch optimistically frame this as “directness.”

So the next time Henk and Ingrid warn you about a dark man that looks like he’s probably in the mafia, they’re just being direct.

Never mind if the man in question is actually just a guy from Liverpool…

Not. Cute.

11. Let their children get away with blue murder


Unsatisfied with living in the shadow of Scheveningen’s glorious(ly crowded) beach, the Dutch city of Duindorp decided to put themselves on the map with a BANG.

And the chosen one to do the deed? A nine-year-old resident with a molotov cocktail.

The writer of this piece — whose German oma would’ve skinned her alive for being a pint-sized molotov mixer — finds this as sweet as a wasp sting.

12. Hate it when people stand out — doe maar normaal!

Rule number one of living in the Netherlands — don’t stand out. Don’t you dare.

You’ll get Dutchies flustered with your peculiar foreign customs like…*horror of horrors!* not wearing white trainers with every single outfit.

If you want to fit in with the nette mensen (the “good people”), then be sure to get yourself a pair of these beloved inburgering (civic integration) tools. And make sure they’re whiter than Zwarte Piet without the facepaint!

If you’re used to marching to the beat of your own drum, you’ll find this far less leuk.

13. Tikkie people for tiny amounts

Don’t worry, this isn’t another round of Tikkie-bashing.

Tikkie payment requests are honestly a blessing to those of us that like keeping track of our money and are hoping for some Dutch thriftiness to rub off on us. Or, well…most requests are.

Sending a €2 request for “oh well, you used my loo last night, so I guess you should pay me”, on the other hand? Ahem, rude. 👀

14. Be shamelessly loud


Ja hoor, you’ll be a witness to someone’s break-up, whether you like it or not. In many cases, you needn’t even leave your house! The street outside your window at 3 AM on a weekday usually provides the best acoustics for you to enjoy the conversation.

The cunning opportunists among you may even see this for what it is: free Dutch lessons and entertainment — grab the popcorn! 🍿

+10 points if you can guess where Famke said Koen can stick his frikandel!

15. Swear as if they’re talking to a real estate agent that only caters to internationals

Another easy way to learn Dutch is to be around an irritated Dutchie.

Your vocabulary will grow faster than a sea of “GEKOLONISEERD!!” comments under a YouTube video that barely mentions the Netherlands.

The Dutch swear like you’ve murdered their maiden aunt and then plundered her bank account. The sky’s the limit with what one could swear with: cancer, pancakes, and…even having sex with ants!

Maris Lopez
Maris Lopezhttp:////
Hey there! I'm Maris, an American girl who is passionate about adventure, the outdoors and all things travel!


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