Dutch people are stereotyped as blunt or slightly rude, uppity, but cordial, helpful, clean or hygienic, gifted language skills, intellectual (some are smart alecs), and very pleasurable personalities.
Many Dutch are careless. If they accidentally step on your shoes, bump their bags or elbows onto you, they mostly won't ask for pardon or showing any sincere regret.
Dutch are proud of their bluntness. They even regard it as a virtue.
A culture shock may hit a foreign girl/woman when the Dutch boy/man asks to split the bill when on the first date.
Dutch take their work and studies seriously, but they know how to enjoy their free time and live to enjoy life, and they don´t let age get in the way of that.
People are very egalitarian, the distance between the lowest and highest employee is minimal, people are very informal.
Women are free to behave and dress as they want and are generally safe out on their own.
“On the bike path, if you don't move over to the right side and someone wants to overtake you, they will start ringing the bell immediately. The Dutch ride fast – once, for instance, I was overtaken by two boys riding side by side and chatting. However, if there’s an accident, they immediately rush to help. Their straightforwardness can be seen as aggressiveness by foreigners. If they don’t like the food, they don’t force a smile and say it’s interesting, or similar evasions. Euphemism as a concept is unknown to them, so they find it a hard phenomenon to grasp. There were some stories about the Dutch character in our Dutch class. The teacher told us some stories she had heard from an ex-tram driver.
As an example: it is said that tram drivers like to deliberately send new residents and tourists in the wrong direction as a joke if they ask for a street or place. But it’s not usually personal, it’s just meant as a joke. The tram was at the stop when a female student started banging wildly on several doors before finding a place to board – only the first and one middle door are for boarding, the others are only for getting off – then, still in a fluster, showed her pass to the conductor. The conductor saw it was a student pass, and asked what she was learning. "I'm a medical student," came the even more exciting answer. The conductor: “Then those doors would be long dead.”
I’ve heard from several people that they don’t understand irony. Well, in that case, if that’s true, then they have a whole different concept of humor. Even in our Dutch class, the teacher had a bigger laugh than anyone else in the group. We just smiled, but we couldn't laugh as much as her.
“The Dutch zealously preserve their traditions and are proud of their past. For example, by working hard to push back the sea, they brilliantly created their dam system. They are also proud of what trade has created over the centuries, not only in material but also in intellectual goods. there is a national awareness in the Netherlands that the tradition of the peasant way of life and respect for farming can coexist without rivalry with urban and scientific society. Many Dutch people are lovers of boating, and something recently occurred to me in connection with this: the stereotype of the Dutch on land – a bit distant, not too spontaneous, and happiest plowing their own furrow – is no longer the case on the water. In the harbors, people help to pull each other up from their boats, and picnic together on piers. If a small boat or a huge yacht passes by, people wave at each other.
They don’t tell white lies, so if they don’t like the coffee you brewed, they’ll say so quite directly. They’re happy to express their opinions in different areas of life, and if they mean no they’ll say no. At first, I took this a bit personally, but then I changed my mind: it’s better to hear an opinion clearly now than to find out later. That way, if the criticism is constructive, I have time to make some changes. Many people hunt for “aanbiedings,” that is, products on sale. Because of this, they are able to visit up to 4-5 different stores in one morning. In the Netherlands, it is not a shame to buy and save on discounted products, and thrift is a popular habit even among the wealthy. I found the attitude that fiscal prudence is a moral virtue very easy to like. They also sell chocolate chips in all quantities, colors, and shapes on buttered bread, often eating it for lunch, and some caregivers even think it’s healthy… Many of the kids ride their bikes even in winter, lightly dressed in the rain and snow, or worse, just sit on their bikes and freeze. They usually don’t just invite you to lunch or dinner if it wasn’t arranged well in advance, even if you’ve traveled a long way to meet them.”
“Dutch women are tall, thin, usually blonde, and very beautiful. Dutch women can be divided into a few basic types on the basis of their appearance, but within them, they are very similar. For example, for a long time, I kept mixing up several of my classmates. Their names are usually unpronounceable. They are extremely determined and full of self-confidence. They always know exactly what they want. They are very honest and quite open. They wear quite a lot of make-up, but their dress suggests that they prioritize comfort over uncomfortable but pretty clothes.”
“According to my observations so far, Dutch women are tough, independent, strong, determined, but also laid-back. They are tough because they are raised in the spirit of equality between men and women, so they cannot play the weak woman, cannot expect doors to be held open for them, are not necessarily offered a seat on public transport (even if they are heavily pregnant) and strong, because surely you have to be when you’re taking several children to school by bike at the same time. They are independent, go to work early to make their own money, do not like to be supported, an if a child comes, they put them in a crèche three months after giving birth so that they can return to work. They are determined, because when they have to stand up for themselves, no matter what the delicate situation, they are sure to know their rights and are not afraid to voice them either in the workplace or in public, while queuing. In addition, they are straightforward and practical, start working with wet hair in winter and summer since it saves time, just like applying makeup on the train or tram instead of at home. Nail polish is often worn, but while they like to apply it, they’re not so keen to remove it. Why bother, since it will be worn off sooner or later anyway?”
“Dutch fathers spend a lot of time with their children, taking them to school in the morning and putting them to bed in the evening. In fact, it is not uncommon for them to work four days a week and dedicate the fifth to their children. Mothers manage to find a good work-family balance by working part-time. That way, they get back into the world of work, but they also have enough energy and time left for the family. Their children are treated as individuals who can express their own opinions. They respect their personality and individuality, making them more independent and autonomous. Happiness is the measure of success, not school results. It’s also important for them to have the family together. They start the day with breakfast together regularly, and the kids can get a chocolate sprinkle on their buttered bread (really!) The point is to be together, of course, which increases their school performance and reduces behavioral problems. Grandparents are also an integral part of family life, regularly taking care of their grandchildren, which helps them develop attachments and enriches the emotional world of their children. It is also a relief for parents, allowing them to work or recharge.
School ends relatively quickly, and the whole afternoon is spent outside in free play, not homework. The Dutch saying is “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes." And yes, free play has an amazingly good effect on a child’s personality, intelligence, and healthy development in general. There’s not much competition for college admissions either; they teach kids to enjoy learning, to find an area they’re passionate about, and which they’d love to deal with in the future. They put a lot of emphasis on cooperation and empathy, not on individual results. Nor is it typical of mothers that they want to outdo each other; it doesn’t matter which one arranges the coolest birthday party.” (2017)
“In the Netherlands, you can always be sure that there will be a total stranger around to remind you of the importance of following the rules. Over the past 24 hours, I’ve been warned to turn off the lights on my bike (it was half-past nine in the morning, well after sunrise), take off my coat in a cafe (I had just entered), and park my bike at the designated spot, not leaning against a lamppost.
Just as the Dutch created their own country, so they wrote their own beloved laws and unwritten commandments. They seem to want nothing more than to give everyone instructions.
The first commandment of the Dutch is that Gij zult niet klagen (Mustn’t grumble!). That's why the answer to the question how are you? (Hoe gaat het met jou?) is: I can’t complain (Ik mag niet klagen).
The Dutch strenuously deny that they are patriotic, but cannot tolerate negative feedback. If you criticize either the country or their behavior, all you hear is: Als je het hier niet leuk vindt, rot dan toch op! (If you don't like it here, you can buzz off.)
The Dutch are quite individualistic and think straightforwardly. There are quite practical reasons behind the sometimes brutal sincerity of the Dutch. Straightforwardness means speed. Speed means efficiency. Efficiency means money.” (2019)