We like to admire the Dutch for being smart, innovative, and even cute. But let’s be real, nobody’s perfect, and even the Dutchies can, in fact, be quite annoying.
As an international in the Netherlands, there are probably at least a dozen things that came to your mind already. We put our heads together and asked for your help to compile the ultimate list of the most vervelende (annoying) things Dutch people do.
Disclaimer: Yes, we know — not EVERY Dutch person does these things. But we’ve seen them done more often than we would like, which is how they’ve all earned a well-deserved spot on this list. 😉
1. Always switch to English
As amazing as the Dutch’s ability to speak English is, it can sometimes make learning the local language an impossible endeavour. Why? As soon as a Dutchie hears a hint of a foreign accent, they will automatically switch to English.
Sometimes, you don’t even have to open your mouth — they just see your face (or height, in my case) and resort to English straight away.
There’s one thing we’ve gotta give them, though: if you explain to a Dutchie that you’d really like to master the guttural “g” and everything else that comes with speaking Dutch and ask them to practice with you, they will be more than happy to help out.
2. Split bills to the cent & send Tikkies for everything
The Dutch stinginess, ehm… thriftiness is probably not a new concept to most, and we could ramble on forever about the downright stingy things Dutch people do. However, this list of annoying things wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t mention the infamous Tikkie.
And what’s more Dutch than Tikkie itself? Being Tikkied for literally every cent — no joke. If you think we’re exaggerating, the stats don’t lie: 10,000 Tikkie payments for under €2 are made in the Netherlands every day!
3. Argue for discounts
If there’s one thing the Dutch love more than bicycles and bread for lunch, it’s discounts.
We’ve even heard stories of Dutchies asking for discounts because they didn’t use the mini sachet of mayo that came with their meals. 🤔 Now, THAT is frugality at its finest.
4. Use diseases for swearing
Has anyone ever called you “cancer”? You would think that it would be considered weird (not to mention extremely inappropriate) to swear with deadly diseases.
If you do find this odd, you probably haven’t been familiarised with Dutch swear words yet. A large percentage of these are, weirdly, made up of illnesses… cholera, typhus, plague, you name it.
Come on, folks, at least use a trigger warning (or get some less emotionally-charged bad language).
5. Plan everything in advance
If you love going on spontaneous adventures or showing up at your friends’ place unannounced just to say hi, we suggest you move to a different country.
See, the thing is, Dutch people don’t like surprises — and they love to plan stuff.
The omnipresent Dutch agenda dictate life in the lowlands. Want to grab a cup of coffee with a Dutch friend? Make sure you send a written inquiry a couple of weeks in advance so they can fit you into their tight schedule…just kidding.
6. Invade other countries with their caravans in the summer
Have you ever arrived at a beautiful campsite (in or outside the Netherlands) just to see all the spots occupied by massive white caravan trailers that ruin all the views? That’s Dutch people on vacation.
The stats show this too. In 2020 and 2021, a record number of caravan trailers and motorhomes were sold in the Netherlands. The country currently has 573,100 caravan trailers and camper vans — that’s basically one for every 30 Dutchies!!!
We suspect that the reason they love them so much is the fact that camping holidays are extra goedkoop (cheap). 🤔
7. Put condiments on chips — not next to them
Whether you order your friet with mayo, pindasaus, or something else, the sauce will inevitably be placed on your chips. The result?
One-third of your chips are squishy and soaked in a sauce before you even start eating, and the rest of your cone is dryer than a piece of a forgotten hunk of brood.
And no, it’s not the cone’s fault. Dutchies will squish a blob of sauce on top of your chips even when they serve them in a little tray with a separate compartment designated for the sauce.
8. Say leuk, lekker, and gezellig all the time
Got a new pair of shoes? Leuk! They’re your favourite colour? Also leuk! And you got them at a discount? Superleuk!
You probably got the point — Dutchies are not very creative when it comes to adjectives.
Whether it’s leuk, lekker, or gezellig, one of these words probably pops up in practically every Dutch conversation.
It could almost be an awesome drinking game — down a shot of tequila every time you hear leuk and a shot of vodka every time you hear gezellig at a Dutch party…or maybe not.
However, Dutch is a difficult language to master, so perhaps this lack of diversity is not at all that bad.
9. Talk loudly, especially on trains
As if the guttural “g”, harsh “sch”, and impossible-to-pronounce “ui” weren’t distressing enough about life in the Netherlands, the Dutch also love to make these sounds very loudly — for some reason, especially when they’re on a train.
While some say that this is a way for the Dutch to show that they’re not keeping secrets, others simply maintain that they love to talk — and more importantly, they love to hear themselves talk.
And the sanctity of the designated silent carriage? Well, it might as well not exist.
10. Turn streets into dumpsters on King’s Day, Carnival, or any other day, really
The Dutch sure know how to celebrate events such as King’s Day or Carnival.
What they apparently don’t know, though, is how to pick up the trash that they scatter around the streets during said events — and on the other 361 days of the year.
One particularly appalling habit that many of our readers hold in contempt is dropping cigarette butts.
Put that together with spitting in the streets and picking the nose in public, and you have the ultimate trifecta of some of the grossest things Dutch people do.
11. Not pick up their dogs’ poo
Let’s start this one with a leaderboard, shall we?
Sure, not picking up dog poo is just one of the possible fines included in these dog fines stats — but we’ve heard that the poo issue is still pretty high on the agenda of The Hague municipality.
No wonder — imagine you’re out for a picturesque picnic wearing a cute little dress and nice open summer sandals when suddenly you feel something warm and watery squish under your foot. Heel vervelend!
12. Go crazy with fireworks on New Year’s Eve
One of our readers called this phenomenon a “firework civil war”, and honestly, there’s probably no more appropriate name than this one.
The Dutch like to start the New Year with a bang — literally.
So it doesn’t really come as a surprise that fireworks — and the fireworks bans of 2020 and 2021 — are a hotly debated topic in the Netherlands.
This is especially annoying because, despite one such ban, the NYE of 2021 saw Є10 million in fireworks damages. Not a way to go, Dutchies. 🙃
13. Be terrible at queuing
The messy bundle of human beings you can observe when you’re trying to get on public transport, pay for your groceries at Albert Heijn, or just get on an escalator can’t even be described as a queue — it’s more of a hot mess.
A vivid scene from literally any Dutch train station perfectly captures the essence of this phenomenon.
Just watch as the desperate travellers form a number of clusters in places where they expect the train door to appear, and then let a group of even more desperate travellers exit the train through an ever-narrowing gap.
14. Give unsolicited comments and then hide behind “Dutch directness”
Are the Dutch direct, rude, or just emotionless? The answer probably depends on your personal cultural background.
However, the Dutch can definitely take their directness a step too far. As one of our readers sensibly stated, “What’s the benefit of calling someone fat?”
The line between directness and being passive-aggressive or giving unsolicited advice is a fine one to walk.
To a soul uninitiated into the intricacies of the local culture, we understand that it can sometimes feel like the Dutch are overstepping some serious boundaries — and being more than a little annoying.
15. Insist on bread for lunch (and breakfast, and sometimes dinner)
The Dutch are just as creative with their lunch as they are with their adjectives. This is exactly why you won’t find much more than boterhammen (sandwiches) — most likely with kaas (cheese) or hagelslag — in Dutch canteens.
Sandwiches are simply an integral part of Dutch society. 🤷
16. Have horrible cycling habits…
To be fair, there are two sides to this debate. I mean, how would you react if you were a seasoned almost-Nederlander cycling full speed on a path that is exclusively dedicated to fietsers having to manoeuvre around a group of five tourists with two big-ass suitcases each?
But then again, Fast & Furious-style cycling isn’t the only annoying thing about Dutchies and their bikes.
There’s also drunk cycling, cycling without lights, not indicating direction, or accidentally derailing other cyclists who are trying to overtake you because you’re looking at your phone instead of on the road (no, this one is unfortunately not a made-up example, just to be dramatic…).
And then you also have those people who cycle in the worst possible weather — rain, hail, snow, or all three — and then shove it in everyone’s face, making them feel bad about not wanting to sit on a wet bicycle when it feels like the world outside is ending.
We can also understand this one, though — cycling is just so much cheaper than using public transport!
17. …and even worse habits when it comes to parking bicycles
Bike parked where you need to walk on the street? Annoying. Is your bike parked in front of your front door? Annoying. Bike crammed in next to your bike in an official bike parking spot but making it a huge tangle of handlebars and pedals, so it’s practically impossible to unlock and use your beloved two-wheeler? Super annoying!
The unwritten and unspoken rule about parking bicycles in the Netherlands is this: if the gemeente doesn’t remove it, you can leave it pretty much anywhere.
There’s no such thing as “there’s no space to leave my bike here” — believe me, this mentality has really grown on us over the years.
The real badass people will even park their bikes right in front of a ‘Geen fietsen plaatsen’ (no bike parking) sign.
18. Complain about things — but then do nothing about it
Exhibit A: politics. Despite being one of the most politically stable countries in the world, we haven’t met a Dutchie, yet that doesn’t love to complain about their politicians.
Yet somehow, the Dutch have managed to reelect the very same prime minister that they like to complain about so much not once, not twice — but THREE times.
Mind you that this is also the very same prime minister that nearly two-thirds of Dutchies said should leave office.
19. Don’t take criticism very well
While the Dutch will happily criticise other people (or countries) under the pretence of directness, they aren’t always necessarily so open to receiving criticism themselves.
Just think of how adamantly some Dutch people still defend Zwarte Piet as a harmless, jovial “tradition.” Or how defensive they get when somebody else than a Dutchie (especially an American) dares criticise the Netherlands.
They also get offended when people point out some of the not-so-nice things they do. Disagree? Just scroll down to the bottom of this page (or this page) and look at the comments section a few weeks from now. 😉
We’ve all been annoyed by Dutchies, and they have certainly been annoyed by us.
So next time you find yourself in one of these situations, just laugh it off and find comfort in the knowledge that other internationals have probably been there too.
Or, if that doesn’t work — you’re welcome to vent in our comments section. 😉 After all, we always love to hear a good story from the lowlands.