10 things you probably didn’t know about the Dutch and the Netherlands



Cheese market in AlkmaarI lived in the Netherlands for a couple of years, and had a Dutch boyfriend for almost 4 years, so I know quite a bit about this quirky country and its unusual inhabitants (and I mean that in a good way). I’m going to share some pearls of wisdom about the Dutch and their country that I gleaned during my stay, and limit it to 10 because I could easily write 100 and bore you to death. Hope you enjoy.

1. Holland and the Netherlands are not synonymous. Holland is just one section of the Netherlands, largely the western coastal region, including Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Haarlem, Leiden and the Hague. However, other famous Dutch cities like Utrecht, Groningen, Maastricht, Den Bosch and Leeuwarden are *not* in Holland.

2. The Dutch love sprinkles on toast. I’m talking the sprinkles kids put on ice cream, but Dutch adults put it on bread. For breakfast. It’s called “hagelslag”, and De Ruijter makes the best kinds. Another variant, “muisjes” – little mice – are candied anise seeds; also delicious on buttered toast. You can get either pink, female, or blue, male, varieties. I’m not joking.

3. The Dutch will only eat one hot meal a day. If you arrive at a Dutch friend’s house around dinnertime, they might ask, “Heb je al warm gegeten?” which means “Have you eaten something hot already?” If you had a hot lunch, your friend will prepare a (cold) sandwich for you for dinner. You can not eat 2 hot meals per day.

4. Dutch “g” “ch” and “r” are all pronounced more or less the same (although the Dutch insist they’re different) – a harsh, guttural “kh” sound (like you’re clearing phlegm from your throat). So the word “gracht” (canal) combines all three “kh” sounds in one word…that sounds really, really awful: “khkhakht.” This is why “Grolsch” (the beer) sounds like “Khkhols”, not “grolsh”.

5. The Dutch love speaking English. See #4. Seriously, they all speak perfect, although heavily-accented, English. They will pronounce “idea” eye-DEE, and they will resist pronouncing it with 3 syllables in English, no matter how many times you correct them. On a related note, “I have no idea” is “geen idee”, which sounds a little like “rainy day” when pronounced correctly.

6. The Dutch loathe the Germans. Some pretend they don’t, some are openly proud of it, but they all look down on them. An example: I was walking along a beach (Schevengingen) with a Dutch guy, and we saw a guy furiously digging a hole in the sand. My Dutch friend sneered. I asked him why the guy was digging a hole. He said, “Because he’s a dumb German.” I pressed, but what for? Is he building a castle or something? “No, he’s just a stupid German! He can’t help it! The morons just love digging holes for no reason!”
Another story. A Norwegian friend flew down to Germany, rented a car there and drove to Rotterdam. He had parked on the street, and a cop approached him while he was in his car, and told him, in German, that he wasn’t allowed to park there and began writing him a ticket. When he looked at his driver’s license and saw he was Norwegian, he tore up the ticket, said, “Park wherever you want” and “Welcome to Holland!”, all in English.

Rows of tulips7. The country is drenched with rain year round, but the Dutch never use umbrellas. They use raincoats and rain “suits”, but they never use umbrellas (too hard to ride your bicycle with one; plus, it’s *really* windy all the time). The Dutch will happily put up with wet faces and heads. The “wet look” is permanently “in” there.
Another oddity is no matter how much it rains and floods temporarily, all the water’s gone in about 20 minutes. I think it’s because the ground is mostly sand; the water just drains away. The cement blocks used as a road surface are taken out every few years, the sandy ground is pounded flat with this sand-pounding-machine (seriously) and then they replace the cement blocks.

8. The Dutch have strange snacking habits. They eat fries (what they’re famous for) but they’re often drenched in mayonnaise or pindasaus (basically spicy peanut butter). They also love frikandel (all the scary remnant parts of animals they can’t sell elsewhere, pressed into a vaguely hotdog shape, and then deep-fried until dark brown; yes, it looks like a piece of shit), kroketten (deep-fried lumps of dough wrapped around meat, that look like dried-up old turds), and cheese souffles, which are greasy but I have to admit, pretty damn tasty. The most famous purveyor of this junk is a chain called Febo; you buy everything out of an automat. They’re everywhere, especially inside train stations, and open late when you’re coming out of the clubs at 3am.

9. You heard about the Dutch using free bicycles provided by the government? Nope – that’s the Danish. The Dutch love using bicycles (called ‘fietsen’, pronounced FEETS-un), but in every city, theft is rife and you have to use 2-3 locks to prevent even a piece of shit bike from being stolen. This is why the average Dutch person doesn’t spend more than $50 for a bike – it’ll eventually get stolen. Junkies in the Amsterdam red light district will sell you a bike for 10 euros (25 guilders before the euro changeover), but be careful; if you buy one and a cop sees you, you go to jail.
There are specially-designated “fietspaden” (bike paths) all over the country, and pedestrians can not walk on them. If you hear a bell ringing–that’s how the Dutch tell people to get out of the way–then pay attention! You’re about to get mowed over.

10. The Dutch are not big potheads. Despite it being legal there (along with “magic mushrooms”), you almost never see a Dutch person getting high. You see TONS of foreigners – Brits, Americans, Germans, etc – smoking out in Dutch “coffee shops” (“coffee shop” means marijuana; “cafe” means coffee, so pay attention to what the establishment calls itself), but it’s pretty rare to see a Dutch person there. The legalization is tied to a very Dutch concept called “gedoogbeleid” which is difficult to translate but means permissiveness-because-there-are-bigger-fish-to-fry. The Dutch live below sea level, so they have plenty of dams & dikes keeping the water out. To relieve pressure on this system, a little water always trickles through – that’s okay as long as they can keep the floods out. This is often why the Dutch are said to not care about trivial drugs like marijuana and magic mushrooms – so they can focus on hard drugs like cocaine and meth (which are very much illegal).

There’s my list. Let me add something that I found in a tourist brochure given out at the Schiphol (SKHIP-hull, not Shiffol!) airport, which I think totally captures the Dutch attitude (I’m paraphrasing because I don’t have it here):

  • Please keep in mind that not all of the women you see in the windows in the Red Light District are really women.
  • If something bad happens to you, please find a policeman/policewoman and explain the situation to us. Please do not be embarrassed – we have really seen it all before. You couldn’t possibly shock us.
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582 Comments »

  1. I find it very offending that when people know one dutch person theyn think they know them all.
    Like how people don’t know the difference between Holland and the Netherlands, well I don’t know about the person they asked by obviously they weren’t too smart. Our educational system is one of the best in the world, but even that doesn’t mean someone’s intelligent, there’s a big difference between intelligent people and people who can learn well.
    As for fries (Patat), it’s true that this is originally from Belgium, and you never hea rus say it’s originally from our country, so yeah… don’t make it sound like we’re the ones to blame just because we like eating them.
    Also, I think that it’s pretty weird that this article says we eat ONLY one hot meal a day and ask someone if they’ve had a hot meal already. it’s true that we prefer to eat two cold meals and in the evening a hot meal, but that’s just a eating habit. We think it’s pretty odd that in other countries people eat warm every meal. Even so, we don’t shy away from a warm meal twice a day, like eggs or pancakes, those are warm, not a whole spagetti meal or something but relatively hot.

    We don’t particularly loathe germans, nor belgians (As some may claim), at least, I don’t and those who say hateful things are often corrected within my circle of friends/family/etc.

    Most of this post is quite overly generalized and quite offensive. It’s like calling someone from Texas the same as a New Yorker or something among those lines. Even if we’re a small country, there’s a big diversity in people. Like how people from Limburg are very different from people in Friesland and how the people living in Rotterdam are very different from the people in Amsterdam. Doesn’t mean we don’t get along by the way.

    Not to justify myself and my people or anything, but I think it’s quite weird to state that ALL dutch people act like this and basically, it sounds like a tourist has only seen the touristic parts of Amsterdam and decided he’s pinned everyone down.

    (By the way, the parts about potheads, rain and sprinkles IS mostly right ;D)

    DailyCandor: Did you miss that first sentence where I say I lived in NL for a few years? Trust me, I met more than a single Dutch person, and I never said everything applies to each and every citizen. I think you’re just being way too sensitive.

    Comment by Ann — February 5, 2015 @ 8:16 am

  2. The ”r” ”g” and ”ch”. aren’t spoken the same you can say that the g and ch are spoken the same but the r is spoken real different this is an fault al lot of foreigeners make

    Comment by Luc — February 7, 2015 @ 10:14 am

  3. Hi there!

    I am Dutch and I found this article because I was randomly reading articles on the internet.
    I wanted to say that this article amused me, eventhough some of it might not exactly be true (for example, not all Dutch people love the “frikandel” and I, for one, don’t eat fries drenched in mayonnaise.

    I never thought about it before, but after reading this, I realize we must seem like strange people to foreigners/tourists.

    One thing I do want to point out is that this post is rather stereotypical – I know loads of Dutch people who LOVE the Germans/Germany, for instance. I guess you just happened to run into the people who indeed don’t like German people. This, I think, has to do with the stories we are being fed in history class from an early stage in our lives. After all, in history class, we learn about the World Wars and the information usually isn’t really objective.

    Also, I guess the reason why some Dutch people don’t realize that Holland/The Netherlands aren’t synonyms is because we don’t learn this. Also, these are English words and “Holland” is often used as slang (perhaps only in Holland) for The Netherlands so it can sometimes refer to the country as a whole. If someone doesn’t know these two aren’t synonyms, it doesn’t mean our educational system is shit. I’d like to believe that we have pretty extraordinary education. After all, there are lots of colleges and universities and plenty of Dutch people speak many other languages and know a thing or two about a thing or two. Just wanted to clarify that to everyone in the comment section who said our education is bs.

    But well done. I guess some of our traditions are quite strange, but hey, it is what makes us unique, am I right? 😉
    Thank you for this entertaining and certainly thought-provoking article!

    Comment by Lisa — February 7, 2015 @ 1:19 pm

  4. I enjoyed this article very much. thanks for that.
    I have a youtube link of the famous rotterdam poet/writer Jules Deelder. Who is ‘roasting’ his amsterdam neighbour (and all amsterdammers in general)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srpMVYT5NBE
    obviously it is in dutch. hope you like it, i will translate a couple of sentences, so you get the idea..
    – She (Amsterdam lady) has a good heart, but it should be boiled and tossed on her back, so low, that the dogs can reach.
    – “When i was in Amsterdam…” yeah you still had a cunt running on natural gas (referring to old age)
    – You (Amsterdam lady) look like you were run over by a tank in WW1 and then gassed in WW2, the only reason you survived is that you would not burn.
    – When the Rotterdam Marines were biting off the throats of German soldiers at the battle for the Maasbruggen, at the same time the people stood in Amsterdam waiving there hands from excitement about these fancy german cars that were riding in to the city. And now there bragging about how all Amsterdammers bravely hide the Jews in there houses to avoid capture by Germans, well…were are they now? (not anti semitic, just to point out amsterdammers are braggers)

    I you can do a little dutch, i suggest you play the video. it is very cool and humoristic and also a bit rough, but that is also the Dutch approach i guess. Never ment to hurt anyone, just plane roasting amsterdam people for a laugh.

    Comment by willem — March 19, 2015 @ 6:51 am

  5. I would also like to add something about the Dutch not liking the Germans.
    The Germans have bombed the innecity of Rotterdam (purely for mental purpose, they should have hit the harbours)
    I worked do, right after the bombing, Netherlands gave up the fight.
    They have occupied us for 5 years. All dutch people have familymembers stories from these times. A lot of these horror stories never made the history books.
    Also they started a national tragedy called: Hongerwinter (Hungerwinter) were people starved to death and had to eat flowers and/or candles. When trying to steal food from the countryside, the Germans would shoot you on the spot.
    When you here these stories from your grandparents. You hate the germans as much as they do.

    Personally the hate has been in decline with the aging of the generations. Germans make good cars and some proper techno music. But they still have no humor and bad hair.

    The reason we still not like them is because we can not understand german language. maybe 10% makes sense, the rest of german words seems like they are shouting at us.
    A german could simply be ordering bread at the bakery, but for the baker it looks like they want to search the house for gold/silver/art/jews…
    There are stories about germans asking directions to the Innercity of Rotterdam, usually replied by: we do not have this anymore, you bombed this, remember? (not sure this is true 🙂 )

    When a german is digging a hole on the beach, it looks like the have again claimed our land and are digging a fox hole.
    So it makes sense we make fun on them. Small price to pay if your coutnry is responsible for 60 000 000 deaths.

    But to be fair, it looks like the hate is gone. it is only rough jokes/remaks that sometimes occur.
    With football it is different. We hate their guts.

    Comment by willem — March 19, 2015 @ 7:25 am

  6. I am full of shit. ALmost all of my thoughts are based on lies. We do loathe the Germans actually we think the most negative about them along with the US. ANd your story about pronouncation is also absolutely correct. I guess I should go fuck off and die.

    Comment by me — March 25, 2015 @ 1:08 pm

  7. Besides wanting to add some more useful Dutch (or Hagueish or Haags?) words I only need to mention that as far as I’m concerned any hate or dislike towards our neighbours in the East is really old fashioned, untrue, utter rubbish and outdated.
    It will have everything to do with soccer (that’s how you call it) matches and normal rivalry.
    I like Germans, and we should never misjudge them because of their less crazy sense of humor.

    Never heared these words on your stay over here??…why not?…you did visit Den HaaggggggggggggggggGGGGGGGGGGGG did you??

    1) Paardenbeffer (someone giving oral satisfaction to a female horse)
    2) Maaienbak (box with worms, compliment for a rude arrogant woman)
    3) Zweetsok (sweat sock, compliment for someone not working or doing what he promised)
    4) Kutlul (dick cunt, a dick head in extremis, biologically impossible though yes…)
    5) Grafwaus (retard from the grave)
    6) Halve tamme (retard but really retard, half tamed it means I believe)
    7) Mokkel (compliment to describe mention someone’s girlfriend)
    8) Zeiksnor (pissing moustache…I believe…someone complaining too much)
    9) De mazzel (very important, saying goodbye and good luck when going away) And I have to reach ten too so…
    10) Kuikennek (an underexperienced person in all kinds of situations meaning young bird’s neck…)

    The long list of words having mediaeval diseases I leave for what it is : )

    DailyCandor: Anti-German animosity is something I observed among relatively older people and it’s almost a couple of decades now, so maybe this sentiment is dying off. Had visited DH a couple of times, but I know for sure #4 and #9 were used elsewhere, too (at least in Amsterdam).

    Comment by Patrick, Den Haaggggggggggggg — March 30, 2015 @ 9:33 pm

  8. You forgot the fact that dutch peanut butter is really different than the american stuff, and the dutch translation is pindakaas which means peanut cheese, because “butter” wasn’t alloud

    DailyCandor: Just like there are countless American types of peanut butter, there were several I remember in NL. And I found the taste rather familiar since the only ingredients typically are ground peanuts and salt.

    Comment by yvar dietvorst — March 31, 2015 @ 7:42 am

  9. When you come to Holland everybody with or without an accent speak English, French,German or Spanish When we travelling to another country, people over there only speak their own language.Try english in Spain, France or Germany. Most of them only speak their own language. And they haven’t got a clue what you ask or say to them. Allright we have strange things but you as a foreigner can communicate here. Most of the Dutch are quit normal. And for you americans. Look at your history, the so called civilization started with the Dutch. And check your English language. There are too many words derived from the Dutch language.
    Most of the terms used on a boat for instance. In Newyork you have a place called the Kaatsbaan, Wallstreet . Now its English but it was …..Dutch. Brooklyn, Harlem, We had allready Breukelen en Haarlem. And I can keep going on with examples.
    Just keep saying the Dutch are nuts and have strange thing. Haven’t we all?Greets from Haarlem Holland

    Comment by Yankee (Jan Kaas) — May 2, 2015 @ 9:29 am

  10. You might want to update your storry.
    It almost sound like you are discribing the dutch a few years thebsecond world war seeimg the enormous hate for germans and the rasism against them. Its (mostly) gone. What i do hate is when you see an american trying tu talk dutch they always start talking german, and no the dutch and germans are not the same

    DailyCandor: I thought all Americans spoke nothing but English?

    Comment by mark — May 9, 2015 @ 4:17 pm

  11. This doesn’t make sense, you’ve probably only been in Amsterdam, it’s very different in other parts of the Netherlands.

    DailyCandor: I actually never lived in Amsterdam, but spent most weekends there so I saw lots of contrasts.

    Comment by Carolien — June 10, 2015 @ 7:44 am

  12. Let’s clear up something about the whole ‘Netherlands vs. Holland’ problem. Nederland is actually called The Netherlands in English, but as so many people call it Holland, we’ve accepted the fact that Holland is also a way of referring to our country. By the way, nothing is said about Brabant, which is obviously the best part of Holland.

    Comment by Rachel — June 13, 2015 @ 2:27 am

  13. Informative article but it’s surpising to see how the writer is comparing certain Dutch food items to poop! Seriously, would she do that to any American food items that are brownish in colour? Btw, I see that some people are commenting all kinds of nonsense about how the Dutch education system has ‘low’ standards, while all the Dutch exchange students I ever meet in my school are very well read and talk more sense than students from other countries. Also, I think we should know the difference between Holland and The Netherlands on our part, whether we are Dutch or not as that saves us from any kind of unnecessary confusion. And whoever says that Dutch customs are weird must think about the fact that their country’s customs may be equally weird to the Dutch. Never been to the Netherlands but all the Dutchies I ever met were really friendly and funny. Each country got its pros and cons so unnecessarily critisizing the NL makes no sense. I’m an Indian girl and I find Dutch culture to be pretty cool and I’m learning Dutch too. It sounds better than German and though some might say it sounds guttural, to me it sounds perfect. From their food to their music, football, culture and whatever, they’re awesome. Good going NL!

    Comment by Stardust&PizzaCrust1997 — June 17, 2015 @ 4:37 am

  14. Clearly this person has not lived long in the Netherlands – a couple of years I believe – and thinks she knows the Dutch because she ‘has had a Dutch boyfriend for four years’. This is probably why most of the remarks above are either very superficial or, and I think this more likely, cultural myths she has been told by her boyfriend and others and without think about them or checking it to see if they are accurate.

    For example, the statement that ‘the Dutch are not big potheads’ is bizarre. I think most of her observations were in Amsterdam which is not representative for the whole of the Netherlands because of the very high proportion of tourists and short-term visitors in that city but coffeeshops in the Netherlands are full of Dutch people. Perhaps the confusion comes from the fact that a high proportion of these smokers are not ethnic Dutch but naturalized Dutch who have a physical appearance which causes ethnic Dutch to view them as foreigners. How many times have I heard a coloured Dutch citizen of Surinamese origins complain that ethnic Dutch talk to them as if they are tourists or visitors to the country. If you tell an ethnic Dutch person that these people are also Dutch they just laugh as if you are joking.

    Having lived in the Netherlands for 36 years, I have long ago stopped asking Dutch people about Holland. Few Dutch people have any personal or culture insight into the Netherlands and just full of the many cultural myths about this country. They are also impervious to criticism which means that unless you want a very angry Dutchman plotting his revenge upon you, you can best just talk in cliques and pretensions just as they do, which are all designed to show that everything is wonderful in this country and the Dutch are wonderful people.

    DailyCandor: Well, it seems you have superior insights to both foreigners who have lived in the Netherlands for less than 36 years, and to the Dutch themselves. Maybe you can write your own blog post and share a link? BTW “coloured” isn’t a word that’s used outside apartheid-era South Africa anymore.

    Comment by Graham — July 6, 2015 @ 1:25 am

  15. Just to fill you in on the “Dutch people aren’t potheads” thing..
    They are..the majority of people below 45 that I know smoke,
    Even tho i do not smoke myself.
    Dutch people hardly ever smoke in a coffee shop..and if they do they don’t go to the same shop as the tourists.
    Why? Well for one..the shop’s the tourist go to ask ridiculous prices..second home growers are the cheapest and the best quality ..
    Plus if you smoke on a daily basis most people tend to not get out as much anymore..most of them hang on the couch infront of the TV..that is also why a lot of city’s/villages have home growers that dilevery..yeah..like a pizza on your door step..some cities also turn a blind eye to this because it isolates the issue and takes the problem of the street..

    Comment by Tess — July 9, 2015 @ 9:42 am

  16. I think part of the hate towards Germans might because of football (AKA soccer…). At least that’s the only thing that I would hate them for. Oh, and btw, it doesn’t mean every single Dutch person absolutely despises the Germans…

    Comment by Ben — July 15, 2015 @ 2:27 pm

  17. With the amount of stupid comments made about Holland I’ll try to clear something out;

    Holland has two meanings;
    1) It represents our whole country, the ‘Netherlands’.
    2) It represents North-Holland and South-Holland, the ‘larger’ version of ‘randstad’. Amsterdam, the Hague and Rotterdam being in North and South-Holland.
    Please do not get confused by this double meaning 😉

    The hate about German ppl isn’t really that big of a deal. It has nothing to do w/ soccer, I’d say it’s reason lays in the past. Most people aren’t really ‘fuzzed’ with the things Germany did in World War 2. Don’t take these comments about German hate too hard – Alot of Dutch people are able to speak German, and the trading between Germany and the Netherlands is great.

    Not sure where the comments about our education system being bad are coming from.. According to most list the Netherlands belong in the top 10 best educated countries in the world… (source: http://www.edudemic.com/learning-curve-report-education/ )

    Also you can’t really assume that you know the whole Netherlands by visiting Amsterdam a few times. Amsterdam is our city w/ most immigrants, most people in general, problary the most illigal activity, most usage of drugs and the most usage of ‘red light districts’.

    There are huge difference between the North, South and West. (East is generally split up between North and South ^^)

    Most of these corrections are towards stupid comments… Very nice post in general, good job =)

    Comment by Peter — August 5, 2015 @ 12:41 pm

  18. hahahaha, ik ben Nederlands maar ik vind het grappig om dit te lezen,
    maar dat van je fiets die gestolen wordt en de coffee shops… valt in sommige plaatsen wel mee.
    de ergste dingen en drukte vind je in Amsterdam maar hier in Nijkerk of in andere niet al te grote steden valt het best mee
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________hahahaha, i am Dutch but i think its funny to read this,
    but what they said about the locks you need to keep your bike from getting stolen… thats mostly in the big city’s…
    in smaler towns its not that bad… but watch out for the train station!
    the worst things like coffee shops and the red light district are in amsterdam.
    like here in nijkerk its not that bad.

    if you will ever go on holliday to ther Netherlands ill advise you to go to smaler towns and not to amsterdam.

    there also are farmers who have small houses on their ground which they rent, so you can go on holliday near a farm to enjoy nature…

    and yes, we like to speak english…. its easier than dutch… trust me…

    altough…. the way we speak dutch is not the same as we write dutch…
    the rules for writing dutch are…. there are a lot of rules…

    but speaking dutch… depends of who you are talking to.

    Comment by Bart — August 10, 2015 @ 6:37 am

  19. Hey guys! I just wanted to leave a comment, even though this is a very old post… I haven’t read all the previous comments though. I think this describes pretty much what others may think when visiting the Netherlands (and yes, it IS the Netherlands, not Holland! I don’t live there, haha) The thing is, you have made a truly nice list about “the dutchies” and how most people are in the larger cities. Where I’m from, it’s all a little different (I’m by the way really LMAO reading the comments of some people, who think some things are said in all of the Netherlands, while actually it’s only something they say in their region, haha).

    You should put people from all provinces in one room and just… watch them… The differences are huuuuuuuuuuuge!
    Actually, there are even many differences within one province.

    Also, I don’t really mind people judging us. A lot of countries get these weird looks when they show outsiders their traditions. It’s probably just something you won’t understand unless you participate in it.

    Comment by Dorien — August 15, 2015 @ 1:29 pm

  20. I´ve been to the Netherlands 3 times, once staying with a family. I know about the meatballs (I was helping with the rolling and I couldn´t believe how little they had to be made into), but the soup was lovely.
    I know they´re crazy about Carnaval celebrations in February too, at least in the South East, where I stayed the last time.
    I don´t know about flooding these days. 20 years ago, when I last visited, there were problems there but those were sorted out very quickly.
    Dankuwel for the post, I´ve really enjoyed reading it! Please keep adding, I want to know more!

    Comment by Miren — August 20, 2015 @ 11:45 am

  21. There is one more thing i miss: nieuwbouw wijken. Cutie where all houses look the same. Go white googlemaps to ‘Nieuwegein’ and see what i mean. Don’t go there, because you can get in but can’t get out.

    Comment by Joep — September 2, 2015 @ 5:53 am

  22. I’m from the Netherlands and i never heard someone talking bad about the germans…….
    And its not treu about that you can’t eat more warm meals on a day then ones. its more that one eats 1 time a day and that guy 2 times. its different.

    Comment by me — September 3, 2015 @ 7:34 am

  23. If you are walking in the Netherlands, do not walk on the red coloured surface on the road. You will promptly get a bell being rung from behind. You almost always have your own sidewalk to walk on. And if you are driving in Amsterdam, immediately go back to the rental place, drop it off and get your deposit back and get a rental bicycle. You can thank me later for saving you lots of money in parking fees and petrol tax and a lot of annoyance. Trust me, in Amsterdam, do not drive a car inside the ring road. This is a challenge only the locals can handle well. If you hit anyone, like a moped, bicycle, transit passenger or pedestrian, the police are going to accuse you. Claiming that the person ran the red light will still mean that you get at least half of the civil liability, if not more. And if you hit a child or an elderly person, the entire district if going to try to hit you back.

    Comment by Robert — September 24, 2015 @ 1:47 am

  24. We don’t hate Germans, they are our rivals in soccer, which is a big thing in the Netherlands.

    Holland and the Netherlands are the same… We have multiple provinces, North and South Holland are two of them. We have a lot of different “accents” in our country, this is why we say someone is foreign if they are from a different province, nothing is intended by this, it is just a joke. This also goes for the “kh” sound, only North and South Holland have these sounds very present in their accents.

    Lastly, I want to say that most of these forums about Dutch people are the impressions people get after visiting “De Randstad” (The Hague, Rotterdam, Amsterdam), the mentality of the people there is VERY different from the rest of our country.

    I hope this clears things up a bit, most foreign people get the wrong impression…

    Comment by Chris — October 15, 2015 @ 5:57 am

  25. don’t mean to be rude, but I am Dutch and not everyone hates German people.

    Comment by Naomi — October 23, 2015 @ 7:30 am

  26. Thanks for saying that there’s a difference between ‘Holland’ and ‘The Netherlands’! I’m Dutch and even some Dutch people don’t know it thereselfs! Even in the language itself there’s a difference between them, so why wouldn’t there be a difference in English?

    Also I would like to read more of this. It’s really funny and really true, but not that Dutch people hate German. Sure, sometimes we make some jokes about things like that, but not every Dutch person hates German persons. (Actually almost no one.) The most jokes that are made are about our own country by the way ;).

    Comment by Britt — November 18, 2015 @ 8:53 am

  27. Am I John Snow? ‘Cause I know nothing.

    Comment by Nadia — January 3, 2016 @ 1:06 pm

  28. I lived there for three years (originally, I’m from Alaska)… while this list is amusing, it is also incredibly inaccurate.

    1. True
    2. True
    3. Not really true… it’s nothing so strict as this.
    4. Not at all true, even as a native English speaker, I could tell the difference between g, ch and r. (R? Really?!?!? Not at all correct.)
    5. True, except it’s not heavily accented.
    6. Complete bull.
    7. Complete bull. The Dutch go through umbrellas so quickly it’s amusing, and I saw them using them on bicycles quite regularly.
    8. True. Febo is a company founded by the Devil.
    9. Mostly true, though you can walk on the bike trails if there’s no footpath.
    10. Complete bull. The Dutch would really like for you to believe this, but it’s a lie.

    DailyCandor: Amusing that you think the Dutch g and ch are pronounced differently. That might be news to native Dutch speakers. I also think it’s amusing that foreigners tell me I’m wrong-wrong-wrong, much more than actual Dutch people.

    Comment by cliff — January 4, 2016 @ 3:41 pm

  29. I was very amused reading this post. And a little angry.

    Coming from holland, I personally know that most of these things aren’t true.
    Firstly, we do NOT hate Germans. That is a popular myth and its fueled by our rivalry in soccer.
    Second, the thing about a German in a bakery, most Dutch people speak German. I don’t, but I’m 13. My Ma and Pa do, as well as my Omar and Opar.
    Thirdly, we do not, and I mean NOT! Focus on meth and cocaine. That is complete and utter rubbish. Im only 13 as I said before, but I don’t know- nor have I seen- another person even lighting a smoke. Personally, my family looks down on smoking, and so no-one has done it, starting from my great grandfather.
    Fourth, not all Dutch even speak English, little lone prefer it to the language we were born speaking. My whole family learnt fluent English, and we don’t speak any English except to English people.
    Fifth, This post is extremely hurtful. Just because you don’t understand some traditions, doesn’t mean you need to be racist and untrue. All you needed to do is say ‘ although I don’t understand it properly…’ And then state your opinion.
    Sixth. What did you expect? Posting this. Did you just assume that no Dutch people have computers? Or did you think that no Dutch people have time to use the Internet, because they’re too busy smoking crack and running people over with bikes?
    Seventh. Have you actually been anywhere that’s not a major city? Most towns/communities are WAY different.
    You are a low person. If you need to take out all your anger/rage on a whole country, take it out on America, or wherever you come from. Not somewhere you know nothing about. I think I might continue to rant about America. Just because you ranted about my country.

    1. American people oversize everything
    2. They are generally loud and/or obnoxious
    3. America has a WAY larger obesity rate than Holland. Gather 5 Americans and 5 Dutch and see whose total weight is more?
    4. If I set out a table of common American dishes and their ingredients, I would probably want to come home to the Netherlands.

    Yes we like sprinkles. And yes we ride bikes. And yes, our ch and g sound the same to anyone but a native tongue.
    But we are the Neterlands. And we are PROUD of it.

    DailyCandor: You’re 13 so I’ll be nice. Suffice it to say you completely misread my post and missed some essential parts if you think it’s insulting towards the Dutch. Maybe you can read it a bit less defensively and in the spirit in which I wrote it.

    Comment by Emmie — January 6, 2016 @ 11:56 am

  30. Tell me one thing: If the Dutch like speaking English so much, then why is it that whenever I speak English with them, they look at me with a ‘Oh God, not this again!’ -face, like I’m nagging them to do me a favor or something? Or is it only in certain cities that that happens? (Mind you, I am not from a country with English as its native language either, so I probably have my own accent respective to my language. So basically me and the Dutch person are on the same page when it comes to that regard.) I also speak perfectly understandable English fluently and by that I mean either British or U.S. English…so I don’t see where the problem is.

    Comment by Rose — January 8, 2016 @ 8:59 am

  31. im from Holland.. & some things are in fact true BUT.. that we loath the germans is bullshit, i didnt read all of it, i hate it when people write shit about us that isnt true.

    and how you say gracht is khkakht O.O Where the fuck did you learn dutch? no one says khkakht! its (G are hard)
    GraGt …..

    Comment by Nonofyou.. — January 14, 2016 @ 3:23 am

  32. First of all, thank you for your honest post. I like too read about how foreigners see my dear home country and it’s people. It’s mostly funny and sometimes it showes me someting I didn’t see myself about my fellow countrymen and women or even how I see Dutch traditions.
    Funny thing is my fellow dutchmen and women will always immediatly react, positive or negative, sometimes with unbelievable quotes.

    The first one is that everyone can speak perfect english. Maybe all people in big cities (which I seriously doubt) but on the countryside and smaller cities this won’t be the case. It’s true that everyone speaks and understands english (enough for an easy conversation), but perfect absolutely not. Because to speak perfect english one needs practice and in daily live we all speak dutch and not english.

    The second one is the quote that every dutchmen can speaks more than two languages (dutch and english). This is wrong. In school most dutchmen learn maybe german, french, spanish or chinese. But this doens’t mean that they can speak these languages. Let say, say more as how to order a bread in french or ask directions in german. And maybe when you were done with VWO (highest high school level), you could speak a little bit more french or german or pretty well. But when you don’t practice these languages (which means speaking with foreign people about more then just directions, watching foreign television, or reading foreign websites) you will forget all of it within two years and then you are only capable of speaking tourist french of german.

    This is mostly true for the german language. The only thing why dutchmen pretend to understand german or even speak it, is because the languages sound similar and when written look similar, has some words which mean the same (but there are a lot of false friends as well). But if you would have a full german conversation with them on a easy topic let say your latest facebook post they wouldn’t understand most of it, let alone conversations about the lastest news or even watching the news and don’t even start about writing german, something someone pretending to be able to speak german should be able to do.

    To all people who think they can speak more languages (not english): Are you capable to write these posts in for example german, with most of the grammar correct, without looking up half of the words? If so can you also have a conversation about this topic with someone in that language without saying ah eh…ehh al the time? I hope for all the people here who say such wonderful things about the netherlands they do, because then I will have an anwer why this myth still exists.

    I am sorry if I offended anyone, and although I generalize, this is something I noticed after I stayed 1 year in germany myself (still living there). It is also mentioned in german media. They say that most dutch don’t speak enough german to do business (in the german language) and they regret that, because it used to be better. There are even projects now to motivate young people to learn german or to choose it as a schoolsubject because young people don’t see the sense of learning more than english anymore. Which is a shame, learning more than one foreign language is great and it expands your boundaries in every way (and I don’t mean that it should be german). Young people should choose the language they like best.

    Comment by Gabie — January 16, 2016 @ 11:14 am

  33. An interesting article, and also one that showed considerable affection for the Dutch.

    I lived in Holland for 20 years and even now I earn my living by translating Dutch. Perhaps the Dutch don’t exactly HATE the Germans, on the whole, but when I lived there I often heard the running joke of ‘can I have my bike back now?’ (the Germans ‘borrowed’ them during the war). And there was the other joke about Germans asking directions: wherever they wanted to go, the answer was ‘head east and keep on going’. Draw your own conclusions.

    As to speaking English, well I lived in a small town about 20 kilometers south of Amsterdam and English did not get you very far there. I now live in Norway, where virtually everyone speaks (or at least understands) English.

    I agree that you have to make a distinction between the big cities and the rest of Holland. Amsterdam has always been tolerant but the rest of the country is less so. There is still a big Calvinist influence.

    If I had to point to a few negative aspects, one would certainly be the ‘but we’re just a small country’ comment that you hear over and over again – generally when the Dutch have failed to excel in some way on the international stage. Small, of course, refers to its geographical size; it actually has a population of close on 17 million – roughly 3 times that of Norway.

    But if I really had to identify something I dislike – and which most Dutch people would be very quick to deny – it’s their arrogance. They might not always speak perfect English yet they firmly believe they do (even to the point of ‘correcting’ a native speaker). Similarly you will rarely get an apology because the Dutch will always maintain that they are right, even when they are clearly wrong. This also manifests itself in rudeness. The Dutch have raised rudeness to the level of an art-form. They even consider being blunt and straightforward as a virtue. This also means that irony is frequently and regrettably lost on them (see above). And lastly – on the international stage – it also means that the Dutch love to wag their fingers at other nations in the smug confidence that they do it so much better.

    And as an inability to acknowledge when you are wrong and a belief in saying what you think even if it offends the other person often lead to conflict, the Dutch are by no means the non-aggressive, peace-loving people that they are generally thought to be.

    In short, they are no better or worse than other nations, but perhaps other nations are a little more self-critical.

    Comment by David — January 22, 2016 @ 5:31 pm

  34. Interesting article, ans so much more to say about the cheapness here and the sneezing like buffalos… 🙂
    I see many reactions from Dutch people. Sorry to say but it is all true. When everyone but you think the same, maybe it means that it can be true you know !

    Comment by Ju — February 10, 2016 @ 2:32 am

  35. Really, if I were to write a post about Americans, assuming the stereotypes and believing that the country only exists out of 1 city, this what it would be like:
    1. Americans eat ridiculously large meals, i mean really large, they’re about 3 times the size as we eat here in the Netherlands.
    2. Everyone in America is extremely fat, and they only eat Big Macs al the time.
    3. Americans are to lazy to walk anywhere, they always need a taxi to get somewhere.
    4. People in America give more money to people who need to get high than for homeless family’s…

    I could go on and on about stereotypes, but that’s barely ever thru, I mean we have bloody umbrellas, and cycling is actually quite good for the environment, Amsterdam (the worst city in the world, EINDHOVEN DE GEKSTE!!!!!!) may have a bunch of coffee shops, but it’s not like they’re everywhere. Yes we hate don’t particularly like Germans, but those people that say that out of the way they were brought up, by parents who were brought up in WWII, who don’t know any better. As for g, ch and r, in non-dialect we pronounce g: gh, ch: gh/tj/sj and r: èr, now, in dialect (Brabants) we pronounce the g softly, and before you’re gonna be al smart, I don’t think that someone who hasn’t learned it from a young age should be giving tips about how to pronounce stuf, and btw to anyone who thinks that it’s covered with windmills around here, their’s only two windmills that I can think of near my city.

    So I hope I won’t reply like a pussy and just say that you got some things wrong. I’m such a pussy. And that in the Netherlands is slang for someone who’s scared or afraid to do something. Hoedoe, een ga efuh Denien voordat Je ff heer wa opset.

    Viel groetes,
    En dirtein Jaarige uit Laampengaat (Ja this carneval hè)

    P.S. Try and translate my misspelled gibberish and we’ll see how well you can speak Dutch…

    Comment by I'mtheman — February 10, 2016 @ 7:27 am

  36. In 2006, my husband and I vacationed in Amsterdam for 3 weeks. We were impressed by the tall, often fair and exceptionally good looking Dutch with their friendliness and helpfulness. I can definitely state that we never encountered a single person like the snotty little 13-year-old, Emmie, who posted such rude comments on 6 January! It was generous of you to make concessions for her age but, here in Canada, we consider a person of that age to be old enough to know better. Emmie is a very poor representative of her country and should have her computer confiscated until she learns some manners. How ironic that she dares to refer to Americans as ‘obnoxious’!
    DailyCandor, thanks for an entertaining and enlightening article!

    Comment by Dale Mokrey — February 10, 2016 @ 1:42 pm

  37. Your ‘most popular posts’ window indicates that there are 485 posts for ’10 things you probably didn’t know about the Dutch and the Netherlands’ yet I only see 35 posts here. Are there more pages? If so, how does one connect to them? Please advise as I am really enjoying the comments!
    Thanks in advance,
    Dale

    DailyCandor: Hmm…you’re right. Never noticed that before. The template has been fixed so now you can view older comments as well. 🙂

    Comment by Dale Mokrey — February 10, 2016 @ 11:06 pm

  38. I left the Netherlands some 40 years ago and live in Spain. Everytime I come back, which is not too often, I am surprised how poorly their English pronunciation is. It is much more American English then the UK English. The absolute top annoying thing there is the begging for money in the evening at one’s door. They seem to need a licence from the local council for that. The councils should stop aiding these people harassing others, especially at night. If I want to make a donation to a good cause I will do so myself and I don’t need some stranger knocking at the door.

    DailyCandor: It seems those whose countries that don’t dub their imported TV/films will probably speak with, at least, a hybrid American/British accent. Those who dub seem to speak with a British accent since that’s what’s taught in school.
    As for the door-to-door campaigners, isn’t there a sticker with “Ja/Nee” that you can affix to your door/mailbox? I guess that concerns mail…

    Comment by Jacked Potato — March 8, 2016 @ 1:29 pm

  39. I have also lived in Netherlands for 1 year (after lived in several other European countries) and I can loudly affirm that Netherlands and dutch people are the most fucked up, distorted people and culture I ever encountered. After living there, I repeat like a mantra: Fuck Netherlands, Fuck the dutch, Fuck that land and everything is connected to them. In one year of living there I never ever met a normal, honest dutch person. All I met are depressed, liars, arrogant, yes, hating Germans and appreciating the Norwegians and Swedish, eating disgusting food, very poor materially; yes poor mentally but also materially, because only a poor would fight over 50 cents when sharing a bill.

    Comment by Caroline — March 10, 2016 @ 2:52 am

  40. Anglo-Saxon and USA persons still think that we are a couple of morons at the north sea which hate the Germans , eat rubbish, are not polite and rude. this is absolutely not true, we do not dislike the Germans. The fact is that the Person who wrote the dammned story never saw other cities as Amsterdam and this is not the average city in our great little rich country.
    I sometimes visit our capital and am always amazed of the number of drunk brittish idiots which struggle their way throuh the Amsterdam streets. The Germans, French, Italians ect. Visit cultural highlights in the city but the Brits only get drunk. Cheers.

    Comment by Jan — March 18, 2016 @ 12:17 pm

  41. Caroline , March 10
    How the hell could you live for a whole year in this fucking country, I suggest to commit suïcide because you must be insane. The Dutch are the happiest people in the world and you are the saddest Person in the world, I feel deeply sorry for you.

    Comment by Jan — March 18, 2016 @ 12:32 pm

  42. Michelle you are a stupid little girl, woman, who knows nothing about the Netherlands.

    Comment by Jan — March 19, 2016 @ 10:55 am

  43. Like many others have pointed out, so much of what you wrote is just wrong.

    DailyCandor: Like what, that Holland and The Netherlands aren’t synonymous? It’s easy to nitpick if you don’t have to provide any details and/or are terribly pedantic.

    Comment by Sally — March 19, 2016 @ 5:19 pm

  44. Of course Holland and the Netherlands are not the same if someone doesnt KNOW the difference I am prepared to explain but I Cannot understand that big fat americans think that our food is no good, and that we only use one hot meal per day. in our country we have problems wit obese etc also.. But a lot of our American friends eat SO much that this cannot be good for you.
    Furtheron we like our neighbours, German and Belgians and our British North Sea neighbours too, and the Scandinavians. For the rest of Europe They may kick them out of the EU including the French, Spanish, Portogese, greece, all countries of eastern Europe exept The most beautiful country of Europe: Italy, this country we Western Europeans is too beautiful and we can on hholliday.

    DailyCandor: Well, I’m not fat myself, but I suspect the obese Dutch became that way the same way obese Americans did: by eating too much. Granted, it’s easier to avoid overeating if your options for good food are limited.

    Comment by Jan — March 28, 2016 @ 10:44 am

  45. The author is this list has limited experience and has merely scratched the surface. It’s evident from the tourist-like observations. A few years is a mere holiday in terms of understanding a country.

    It’s not always raining (perhaps it feels that way if you come from a desert like Arizona or somewhere). I’m from Britain – another place where it’s not “always raining”, though desert dwellers seem to think it does – and I know that it rains about as much as anywhere in Northern Europe.

    G, ch, and r are the same? You need your ears syringing. G and ch are almost the same in some regions, but ‘r’ is completely different. especially the dental r.

    Pot/weed is not legalised, it is toleration zones..

    …like I said, tourist observations.

    DailyCandor: “You can’t truly comment on the Netherlands unless you’ve lived here for…how long has it been for me again?”

    Comment by roger — March 29, 2016 @ 2:26 pm

  46. I’m Dutch and I think this is just hilarious! Good job! And for all the people with the negative responses: please grow up!

    Comment by Arie-Willem — April 2, 2016 @ 12:52 pm

  47. hi DailyCandor,
    thank you for this highly amusing post 🙂
    I apologice for my fellow dutchwoman and-man that have reacted very rudely.
    There are two things I like to say something about:
    1) The difference between Holland and the Netherlands. I have lived for about 50 years in both the Hollands and about 10 years in the North ( Friesland). I have noticed that people born and living in North- and South-Holland don’t mind when the Netherlands are called Holland. But people born and living in one of the other 11 provincies ( parts of the country) do mind very much. They stipulate not being living in Holland but in the Netherlands (uhm except the Friesisans, because the Frysisan language is acepted as being a language and not a dialect many Friesisans do feel Friesian is not a part of the Netherlands either 😉 ).
    2) I think one of the most remarkable traditions we have is “Sinterklaas” on the 5th of Decembre. It is a long story and past 2 years there is a big controversity about it because the headperson in the story is a white (male) Bisshop and his helpers are very black men.
    Every dutchmen knows they are black from the soot in chimneys in which they go to deliver presents to children, but someone in the United Nations did think they were black because they were black slaves. And that by playing that story once a year we are cintinualy hurting the offspring of former slaves. Whatever, it is one of the nicest things in the year of a child. If you want to know more about Sinterklaas google it and add Zwarte Piet. :
    Thanks again for your blog 🙂

    Comment by Cecile — April 20, 2016 @ 3:41 am

  48. Indeed very funny some of the comments.
    I think the discussion on the g and ch is not a typical Dutch thing. If you say the sch (pronounced as sg) is hard to say for a foreigner even for a German. Try to say : Een Scheveningse schapenscheerder scheert zijn schapen schots en scheef
    meaning A shepard from Scheveningen shears his sheep in a very crazy random coup.I
    The Netherlands is part of the European continent, the EU, we have one currency and something simulair to a constitution.( forced upon us ). The idea of being called a European instead of Nederlander or Hollander is rediculous.
    I am Dutch and I’m proud of it.

    Comment by Thomas — April 24, 2016 @ 4:10 pm

  49. Your article is great!
    The typical idiosyncrasies that we Dutch people have appear to be ‘normal’, until you move overseas, or a foreigner points them out. I have lived in Australia now for decades and have several Dutch friends here. We laugh a lot about the things that are typically Dutch.
    OK, there is one important detail you may not have known about Febo. Not only are they the largest snack food franchiser in NL, the company that makes the food is actually called Felix-Bonzo. They are the biggest manufacturer of cat & dog food. Go figure.

    Comment by Steve — May 3, 2016 @ 1:11 pm

  50. Really enjoyed your article and just want to say that my husband and I love the Netherlands and all the Dutch people we’ve met -well, except for that one guy – he was a real jerk. But everyone else – cheerful, funny, family oriented, on-time – we have made lifelong friends in a short time here. And the everyone has been REALLY encouraging about my butchering of the Dutch language! I think learning Dutch is like joining a secret club…only 16 million people speak the language – you’re in on all the jokes!

    Comment by CC Stone — May 21, 2016 @ 11:51 am

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