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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  1. How could you not have included oliebollen…..as homer simpson would say mmmmmmm doughnuts.

    Comment by Adriaan van den Broek — August 30, 2008 @ 11:08 pm

  2. I really enjoyed reading the post and comments. I am actually an American but I am of Dutch and German background. I guess that I am proof that at least once a Dutch and a German liked each other enough to get it on!

    What is bothering me though is that I really don’t understand the Germans digging big holes at the beach? Can anyone please explain this for me, other than just being stupid Germans? My yard looks like swiss cheese.

    Comment by van hoose — August 31, 2008 @ 12:00 am

  3. I don’t even think the Germans dig holes that often, I think it is just a myth started by a comedian or something. But when we see holes in a beach, we would always say: “oh, those Germans….”.

    O, and the best way to keep your “fiets” from getting stolen is to paint it in a bright color and make it recognizable. And your “stadsfiets”, the bicycle you use in the city, has to be pretty much worthless.

    Comment by Steak — August 31, 2008 @ 4:09 am

  4. well, how do I emigrate to the Netherlands?

    Comment by romeo — August 31, 2008 @ 6:16 am

  5. Interesting observations. I heard if you try anything related to drugs in Rotterdam you will find the almost opposite as perceived by the public, partly results from it being a huge shipping port. I live in New York City and work in archaeology and we have had Dutch visitors (too few) who work dig cisterns, privies, etc., to compare the social history with the records that are written about later. I live on Holland Ave. in the Bronx, but it was named after a Mr. Holland, thought too built on landfill in the former Bear Swamp where Regis Philbin grew up. The next street over is Rhinelander, another family, and we try to live in peace.

    Comment by George Myers — August 31, 2008 @ 7:15 am

  6. Steak – funny, what you say about everyone hating the Germans… when I’ve traveled in Europe everyone has said the same about the Dutch.

    Some Australian friends of mine were traveling in France in a rented Dutch vehicle and they were harassed mercilessly until people spoke to them and realized they were actually Australian. From that point on it was all smiles and hospitality… I’ve heard a lot of people complain about A) lunatic Dutch drivers (and I have to say I saw a LOT of them in Germany and France) and B) the fact that the Dutch (much like what you’ve said about the Germans) refuse to speak anything but their own language and bring all their own stuff from home, contributing very little to the local economy.

    As for myself, I’ve traveled a little bit in Holland (yes, Holland, not the Netherlands ;D) and I loved it. It was beautiful (very rainy though) and the people were great.

    Comment by Isa — August 31, 2008 @ 8:58 am

  7. I worked in the Netherlands for six years,in a small town on the west coast called Noordwijk. I started as a bulb monkey on the processing line and ended up as forklift driver and floor manager. My Bosses,Corne and Ingrid Hogervorst, became two of my best friends and epitomised the dutch attitude.Work hard and we’ll let you play hard.
    The area I lived and worked in was over run with ittinerant workers every summer,Irish,Spanish,Ozzies and English, but the local Dutch population took it in their stride and put up with our antics year after year with no real complaint.As long as you turned up for work reasonably straight and sober they had no worries.
    To sum up,I f*****g love the Dutch,their country,their attitude,their weed and their vast range of good munchies.
    Signed , A Disgruntled Brit.

    Comment by Vertigo — August 31, 2008 @ 11:06 am

  8. Great post, and very informative! I really want to go to the Netherlands now.

    Comment by Joanne — August 31, 2008 @ 11:49 am

  9. Very funny and reveiling story from a foreigner about us. I agree with you on the Dutch speeking english with a heavy accent. This is true and I have no idea why they (we) do this (`dis`as we say, haha). There is one thing, though, I must disagree with you on and that is when you say that we hate the Germans. I would like to differentiate that a bit. There are at least as much Dutch people who love them as there are Dutch people who do not like them. Only in soccer we all hate them! But it is true that they love to dig holes in the sand!

    Comment by Ruud — August 31, 2008 @ 12:25 pm

  10. “B) the fact that the Dutch (much like what you’ve said about the Germans) refuse to speak anything but their own language”

    Definitely not true

    “bring all their own stuff from home”

    True πŸ˜›

    French drivers are insane go to Paris and try to find a car without a dent/ Furthermore, last summer those Frenchmen tried to plow in my motorcycle three times. Never happened to me in the Netherlands.

    Although Germans and Belgians are generally looked down upon by the Dutch, this is purely prejudice. Belgians and Germans are great people if you ask me.

    Saying that dutch is halfway between English and German is about the same as saying English is halfway between Frisian and German. http://www.danshort.com/ie/iecentum.htm

    PS yes I am Dutch (and therefore biased off course)

    Comment by klaassmeerkaas — August 31, 2008 @ 1:21 pm

  11. I deeply enjoyed this article, JM. And, I did give it a thumbs up on Stumble Upon. Very interesting. Thanks. πŸ™‚

    Comment by JD from Hoeno — August 31, 2008 @ 1:22 pm

  12. The Germans dig holes at the beach to mark their spot. They then lay in it and act as though they own it. Now if we could just go ahead and cover them up while they are in there we would have a lot less Germans to worry about!

    Comment by ogden — August 31, 2008 @ 1:35 pm

  13. Interesting Article! As a fluent German speaker I consider it easy to understand Dutch. I just imagine them trying to speak proper German with a piece of cardboard stuck under their tongues.

    Comment by Razzle Dazzle — August 31, 2008 @ 2:24 pm

  14. I’m a german girl who lives in Aachen (Germany) and commutes to College in Maastricht (Netherlands), where all lessons are given in Dutch every day – so I guess I’m living the intercultural dream. I’d like to throw in the fact that we have a German quota of about 40% at our Dutch college, and apart from a few idiots who have their heads firmly jammed up their arse, we all get along just fine.

    Granted, in the beginning there are prejudices on both sides, but in a mentally healthy person, those prejudices are reduced to mere joke-material pretty quickly.

    Comment by Jiggs — August 31, 2008 @ 4:47 pm

  15. Hewloow,

    I like to ramble, so here I go!

    You’re right about number 1: Holland isn’t the same thing as The Netherlands. ‘Holland’ used to be a duchy: Holland. There was another ‘Holland’ nearby, so they called them North and South Holland. Then there were many wars with the French, the Spanish, the Germans, etc, and all the duchies surrounding Holland (like Utrecht, Brabant, Limburg, Drenthe, Overijssel, etc) became part of the Low Lands (Nether Lands). ‘Low’, because our land is flat and low, and because there were many ‘polders’ with levies to protect them. Later, the southern part of The Netherlands seperated and became Belgium. There are some provinces in Belgium that bare the same names as in The Netherlands (Limburg, Brabant). North and South Holland occupy most of the west coast, but not all.

    Number 2: aahh.. you’re absolutely right on that one.

    Number 3 about the Dutch having only one hot meal a day is just bullocks. Where did you get your info from?! Some people eat two or even three hot meals a day, some eat no hot meals at all. It’s just how you were raised and how you choose to live your life I guess. The Dutch are generally used to having a hot meal around 6 or 7pm. The French have theirs at around 8pm, but that’s because otherwise it would be too hot. The French and other ‘hot’ countries have a siesta, the Dutch don’t (they work from 9 to 5), so they get hungry earlier. What you meant to say was: when the Dutch ask: ‘have you had a hot meal yet?’ and you say ‘yes’, the people asking you assume you already had your hot meal at dinnertime. So then they want to be hospitable and ask you if you are still or again hungry. Many people will just ask you if you’d like to join them for dinner. Others will just grab some sandwiches and hangout in front of the tv because they’re too lazy to cook! πŸ˜‰

    On to number 4: the ‘g’ and ‘r’ sounds ARE different. The ‘g’ comes with no ‘tone’; no sound (using your voice), the ‘r’ does and both are pronounced using different parts of the mouth. It’s like the English ‘g’ (gee) and ‘r’ (ar) are also pronounced using different parts of the mouth. Our ‘normal, hard g’ comes from the back of the throat, like you’re scraping it. Then we also have southern parts of The Netherlands that have a ‘soft g’, which doesn’t take as much ‘muscle’ to produce it. Also, the latter comes with a slight vocal sound.

    Just to make it easy on y’all, we have three kinds of ‘r’s, believe it or not. It’s kinda hard to explain, but generally speaking, there are two kinds of ‘tongues’ in The Netherlands. One kind uses ‘r’-sounds that seem harder than the rest of us. Also, the Dutch will often use two types of ‘r’s. One hard, one soft. The hard one we use for words starting with an ‘r’; the softer one we use for the ‘r’s in the rest of the word. People who use the ‘rolling r’ often also use that for all ‘r’s in every frickin’ word, some ‘rolling r’ speakers will use the softer ‘r’ sound for ‘r’s in the rest of the word. One ‘r’ sounds exactly as the English one, softly. The second comes from the back of the throat, yet uses a slight different part than the ‘hard g’. The third ‘r’-type is the rolling are and comes from the front of the mouth, using the tongue.

    Number 5: it’s true many Dutch speak English with a typical Dutch accent. But those are generally older people (40+). Younger people speak English very well, mostly with an American accent.

    6: Then our hate for the Germans.. I really don’t know where that comes from. Where did you get that weird idea???!!!

    No, just kidding: we do hate them very, very much. But the story about the Norwegian guy just can’t be true. Our cops are the most stubborn in the whole entire world and will never waive a ticket.

    7: you say we never use umbrellas.. Why wouldn’t we use umbrellas?! That’s just a myth. If it rains, and I’m in reach of one, OF COURSE I’ll use it!
    And what’s this about cement blocks???? What did your friend tell you? Of course, we know the concept of asphalt (d’oh!!!!). We don’t have cement blocks for roads, except in some rare places on ‘De Veluwe’ where some old German roads from the war are sill used. And they don’t get lifted up to flatten the sand hahaha! (you’re hilareous!)

    8: we don’t eat fries, frikandel and kroket all the time. Again: only in the big cities do you see more people eating them, just because they’re visiting that city, just like you and all other tourists. If you go to a country and visit a McDonalds, would you write a piece about the people of the country you’ve been through, eating nothing but McDonalds just because that was the only thing you saw? Also: fries do NOT have their origins in Belgium. Believe it or not; the Chinese had them first. Always the Chinese… Potatoes, where fries are made of, also come from China.

    9: we don’t ride bikes all the time. In fact, many roads in The Netherlands are the busiest roads in Europe, filled with cars. Not bikes. It’s true that we have many ‘bike roads’, and so do the Belgians, the French, the Germans, the Italians, the Spanish, and so on.. In fact, I’ve cycled from The Netherlands all the way to the south of France this summer and often we were riding on these ‘fietspaden’. Before my ‘bike holiday’, I didn’t even own a bike for like 15 years or so. You write that if you buy a stolen bike, you go to jail. As you do in pretty much all civilized countries. Then you write about our bikes being stolen all the time. Again: only in the bigger cities, just like in the rest of the world. I can’t remember how often I left my bike in the streets when I was young, unlocked, afraid that it might be stolen, only to find it neatly parked where I left it hours later. And if cyclists ring their bell and you don’t get out of the way, we just slow down and pass you carefully.

    10: Finally, you get one thing right where most Americans f*** up. We are NOT high all the time! w00t! Some people do, but again: just like in the rest of the world. They’re called junkies.
    But then I read on about our ‘dikes’ (levvies). Wrong, wrong, wrong, missy. What do you think? That we build our dikes just to be strong enough when there is water running through?? We have a huge water-management-system here. For instance, water is running through to prevent the water from standing still, collecting germs and diseases. Running water is cleaner than stale water, everybody knows that. Also, there is no chance any dikes breaching, except in the ‘old’ country, because they were all built keeping in mind that the waterlevel might rise.

    OMG what a ramble this turned out to be! My text might even be longer than your original! haha!

    Nice post though, you have been Stumbled! πŸ˜‰

    Comment by Icarus (Dutch guy) — August 31, 2008 @ 6:11 pm

  16. Good article. Although there is one BIG notable abscence in both the thread and the comments; dutch Christmas traditions. Not that american christmas traditions make any sort of rational or religious sense, but i find the history of christmas in the the Netherlands (Holland?) truly bizzare.

    My take, and someone please correct me if Im wrong, is that for some time leading up to St. Nicholas Eve (Dec.5) children are encourged to fill their shoes with food for St. Nick’s horse, in return for which they receive trinkets from his small cadre of black slave children. They do this, not just in hopes of getting stuff but also in order to have their names recorded by the big Nick in his Golden Book, rather than his Black book. Those lucky children noted in the Golden book will wake up the morning after St. Nicholas Eve to find “surprises” or presents left for them by the above mentioned slave children. If they were bad boys and girls, landing them a spot in the Black book, instead of presents and gifts they receive a surprise of a different sort. Zwarte-Piet or Black Peter, who is either the captain of the child slaves or just the head clone(?), comes through the chimney while the child is asleep and tosses the errant youth into the same sack normally full of presents and proceeds to kidnap him back to Spain. I have read other versions where before the kidnapping, but after the kids is thrown in the sack, 8 grown black men under the orders of Zwarte Piet beat the crap out of him/her.

    As an American, whose christmas traditions were largely created by Macy’s and Coca-Cola (research Haddon Sundblom and J.C. Leyendecker for starts if curious), i will admit that what I grew up with makes just about as much sense your average television commercial. However, about the worse thing I ever had to deal with was the idea of being called naughty by a fat bearded stranger in his bath robe (my honest-to-god childhood interpretation of Santa) and maybe some coal in my socks.
    But seriously… A black child (or a child in black-face covered in soot, whatever) coming with a religious mandate to kidnap in my sleep me if I was bad…

    Anyway, I’ve had several good laughs about this with some friends I have in Rotterdam, and thought it deserved an honorable mention at the very least.

    Comment by Sanjian — August 31, 2008 @ 10:19 pm

  17. Looking forward to visiting NL soon.

    To Esteban: the word ‘superfluous’ doesn’t mean ‘super.’ It means “unnecessary, esp. through being more than enough.”

    I believe the term you were looking for was ‘super-duper.’

    : )

    Comment by ELBSeattle — August 31, 2008 @ 10:48 pm


    Absolutely fabulous.

    it’s rot to say the Dutch don’t like a toke though, I’ve seen many people have a coffee and a joint before going to work.

    Which I think is admirable.

    But you won’t find many European countries where a large section of the populace remember what the Germans did in the second world war, so underestimate it at your peril πŸ™‚

    You see the same thing in Thailand with the Japanese.

    Comment by Harry Barracuda — September 1, 2008 @ 1:06 am

  19. A very enjoyable read and VERY informative! And I love those little pancake things – they sell them at market stalls here in Sydney. But I have to know – that comment about going to Dutch birthday parties and their being the most awkward thing in the world if you don’t know β€˜the rules’? Tell me more!

    Comment by Lindarama — September 1, 2008 @ 3:36 am

  20. Interesting tidbit about the Krauts and their constant digging of holes.

    I live near the beach here in Canada, and one day I saw a tour bus nearby with its passengers on the beach digging holes with whatever implements they could find.

    Intrigued by this curious behavior, I wandered over to where the excavations were taking place, and sure enough – it was a bunch of Germans. I told my dog to go over and dig, which he loves doing anyway, and the Germans were delighted by this, clapping their hands and babbling away in that curious language of theirs.

    Comment by Wogblaster — September 1, 2008 @ 6:43 am

  21. Well I love Holland/the Netherlands and the Dutch. I have worked there a few times and they are a very friendly bunch and, unlike the Welsh, are certainly not hated by the rest of Europe.

    Just don’t say that Dutch is a bit like German and you will get along fine.

    Comment by Rob — September 1, 2008 @ 8:00 am

  22. Thanks for the informative post. Cheers from sunny Turkey.

    Love and Peace.


    Comment by Ali — September 1, 2008 @ 8:32 am

  23. Nice article!
    I’m dutch myself, and the things you say, are really true. There are little dutch people in coffeshops, totally true!!

    And the snacks, they may sound strange, but in fact, they are delicious IMO, especcially frikandel speciaal. πŸ˜›

    Comment by reindeer47 — September 1, 2008 @ 11:17 am

  24. […] Daily Candor Β» 10 things you probably didn’t know about the Dutch and the Netherlands (tags: amsterdam dutch vacation jessica) […]

    Pingback by links for 2008-09-01 at ..geek.. — September 1, 2008 @ 12:00 pm

  25. @Lindarama: the little pancakes you?e referring to are called ‘Poffertjes’ and are made of somewhat the same stuff that go into their bigger brothers. I have no idea where they came from or who invented them, but I’m sure that if you Google them up, you’ll find them. Perhaps Wikipedia knows them.

    We eat them mostly at kids parties and on Queensday. They are most delicious if you eat them with butter and powdered sugar. Don’t eat too much of those, though! πŸ˜‰


    Comment by Icarus (Dutch guy) — September 1, 2008 @ 12:26 pm

  26. About Dutch birthday parties :

    I’m Dutch myself and have been to parties that went exactly like this !
    But when me or one of my friends has a birthdayparty we just crank the stereo get horribly stoned and drunk “stronken” and dance the night away.

    Comment by Sil — September 1, 2008 @ 1:41 pm

  27. Nice story there. You’re right about Holland and the Netherlands, but most Dutch people also use it interchangably. The ‘g’ ‘ch’ and R sounds(especially the latter) are very different.

    About the Germans: I’m not sure who you’ve met(yes, I also know quite a few people who hate germans) but honestly, that’s just not everyone. Far from it actually.

    Comment by Roelof — September 1, 2008 @ 1:50 pm

  28. Hey,
    First of all I want to say that I agree on most of the things in your article and as a someone who is Dutch liked reading your point of view.

    Next I would like to comment on the christmas or sinterklaas (as we call it) item.

    In fact, there is Sint Nikolaas (sinterklaas) which is kinda like santa, white and old man who gives away presents. Sinterklaas arrives a few days before Dec. 5th every year from Spain every year on his boat (although Sint Nikolaas is actually from Turkey) and leaves Dec. 6th.
    In stead of visiting families (children) with a sled, he uses a horse. Sinterklaas has a (large, unknown) number of assistants (or slaves, if you will) which are all black and are all called Piet (or Zwarte (=black) Piet (pronounce Pete)). I know this sounds kind of racist (actually is, really) but its tradition.
    Also, Christmas like it is know to the rest of the world is becoming increasingly popular as well.

    Comment by Gijs — September 1, 2008 @ 4:26 pm

  29. Very nice article, and yes this is all true πŸ˜€ I’m 100% Dutch, and I live in Zuid-Holland and lovin’ it πŸ™‚ The only part not totally true is that dutch people don’t smoke that much. It’s just that so many foreigners live here that it’s hard to tell who has a Dutch ID and who doesn’t πŸ˜‰

    Comment by Jasper — September 2, 2008 @ 9:03 pm

  30. i have to say, i am fascinated by the german hole digging thing.

    i stumbled on to this website randomly, and though the above list is very good, i am riveted by the mental image of germans digging meaningless holes in the sand while sneering dutchmen and women walk by with their noses in the air.

    wtf is the deal with holes?

    Comment by joel — September 2, 2008 @ 10:19 pm

  31. I must say that the whole hatred towards the “Duitsers” (and the other way around) is mostly for shits and giggles. I think the Germans are great people! And I love speaking German even though I suck balls at it πŸ˜€

    Some people said on here that the education is very poor but I beg to differ. The Netherlands and Germany offer the best education in Europe! They teach us French, German, English in school and sometimes even Spanish and arabic languages.

    And the reason why so many Dutch people are confused about the whole Holland vs The Netherlands thing is purely because foreigners insist that the Netherlands is called Holland. If you ask anyone in Dutch if they know the difference they’ll give you the correct answer (I hope) just not in English.

    Greetings from Amsterdam!

    Comment by Ayla — September 3, 2008 @ 7:35 am

  32. Well, I think the whole hole digging thing exactly has to do with the weather: it’s quite windy on our beaches. So the holes are to be able to lie on the beacht wind-free. I guess you could say it’s smart thinking.. πŸ˜‰

    Why we (dutch people) make fun of it is because most dutch people take a ‘windscherm’ (wind-shield) to the beach which does the same thing. And secondly the german are very protective about their holes: if you arrive at the beach and spread your towel in a hole, there is a big chance you wil end up arguing with the german who dugg the hole the day before and considers it his hole… πŸ™‚

    The hol digging also could be a leftover of WWII. They did dig in on the beaches to defend themselves against the allied invasion ofcourse… πŸ˜‰

    And most of the ‘hatred’ against the germans these days is football (or soccer as the americans say) related: they always win (mostly in the last couple of minutes of teh match) and we really hate that!

    Comment by robert — September 3, 2008 @ 1:00 pm

  33. I LOVE FEBO!!! Went to Amsterdam this past summer and there was one right down the street from my hostel. I had an egg burger there.

    Comment by Brittany — September 4, 2008 @ 12:14 pm

  34. i stumbled this page, and i think it’s really nice!
    i’m dutch myself and i love too read this from someone who’s not from the Netherlands.
    and dutch people do smoke loads of weed and stuff, but maybe not in the shops πŸ˜‰
    and the rest is already discussed over here i guess :p

    so thumbs up!

    Comment by Laila — September 4, 2008 @ 1:20 pm

  35. I’m almost-half Dutch and almost-half German, so I guess I’m all kinds of screwed.

    Comment by Seth — September 4, 2008 @ 5:05 pm

  36. This was total shit. It’s cute when people take the things we Dutch tell them and think they’re true. Next time, maybe, talk to some people who aren’t fucking with you.

    Comment by OMG — September 5, 2008 @ 3:48 pm

  37. OMG – take issue with the dozens of Dutch who’ve commented above you that it’s all true. Man, don’t be so sensitive – not your style.

    Comment by JM — September 5, 2008 @ 4:17 pm

  38. I lived most of my life in Albufeira, in the Algarve (south Portugal). My house overlooked the beach which was filled with Germans from March to October, and I must say I never, ever saw a German adult dig a hole in the sand. Children, yes, but not adults.
    Maybe they only do it in the Netherlands?

    Comment by sofia — September 5, 2008 @ 7:49 pm

  39. Hehe, liked this post very much πŸ˜‰

    I`m from Germany and i just want to say that the “hate” the dutch have against us is mutual. It has many reasons, one of them is they cant drive cars. I live in the border region of the Netherlands and maybe u know that u can drive as fast as u want on German Autobahn. Somehow the Dutch dont get this. There is ALWAYS, yes ALWAYS one damn dutch truck or car overtaking some other truck while driving exactly 1km/h faster than the vehicle to be overtaken. We hate this soo much u cant even realize. I think they do it on purpose coz they hate us. But we never spit on their soccer coach, if u know what i mean. Well i personally dont hate them, except when im driving car πŸ˜‰ I think they got a great political system, especially their drug politics is really intelligent, not like ours. Im no pothead, but how can a plant be a crime ?
    I like u, Netherlands, but please, for the fun of it, try to get ur car to the limit or at least to 160 km/h or so next time u overtake someone in Germany πŸ˜‰

    Comment by Steinschmetzer — September 6, 2008 @ 1:39 am

  40. this is one of the best websites i have ever seen response wise. i initially wanted to leave a comment which is rare for me because i’m from the other side of the planet and found the home grown advice interesting enough for me to want to detour in the middle of a very expense trip and see the sites…thanks for inspiring me to see that corner of our amazing planet.

    Comment by kat — September 6, 2008 @ 3:37 am

  41. the food sounds nasty

    Comment by mark — September 6, 2008 @ 9:05 am

  42. Seems pretty accurate to me, as a Dutchman living in the US its an interesting analysis to read. I only think number 3 (about the warm meal) is a bit of a generalization. People wouldnt mind eating multiple warm meals (it is just very uncommon though). 6 is perhaps a bit exagerated, I would describe it as a playful animosity πŸ˜‰

    Comment by Hylke Buisman — September 6, 2008 @ 1:35 pm

  43. This was very entertaining – the article and the replies.
    I am an American of Irish and Dutch descent from Boston.
    There are very many Irish Americans and very few Dutch Americans in Boston so I hear plenty about the Irish and very little about the Dutch.
    I was very fortunate the my Dutch Great-Grandmother and my Grandmother lived very long lives and loved to talk about the Netherlands.
    They both loved to cook what they claimed were traditional Dutch food that they made back in s’Hertogenbosch – olie-cook (fried dough with raisins), soep met balletjes (noodle soup with meatballs). I am sure I misspelled them but that’s how they sounded to me.
    I especially miss their Dutch Apple Pies!
    I would love to visit the Netherlands some day!

    Comment by John — September 6, 2008 @ 5:08 pm

  44. Interesting read, thanks! I look forward to a visit to the Netherlands one day,

    Comment by DragonOak — September 6, 2008 @ 9:38 pm

  45. My dutch cousins have a phrase they like to yell at Germans:

    “You still have my grandmothers bike” *shakes fist in air*

    Comment by Oma's bike — September 6, 2008 @ 9:50 pm

  46. Awesome post and comments to follow. I love that there was so many contributions from Dutch people. Very informative and humorous.

    Also THANK YOU robert! That was going to drive me crazy if someone didn’t explain the Germans digging holes in the beach thing. I think i would be tempted to start filling the holes in with them in it though, if I ever seen one.

    I personally am Canadian born and raised, with German, Dutch, Danish, and a few others in there, so interesting to get some knowledge on my heritage.

    Also spent a while planning on moving to Belgium for a year with my wife, and in my research I think the Belgians backed up what I read about them after reading their posts.

    Cheers all and thanks for the good read!

    Comment by ragehead — September 6, 2008 @ 11:31 pm

  47. Numbers 5,6,7 and not entirely true.
    I also lived in the Netherlands (but for 2 years).
    I lived close to the German border, and i can tell you that they dont all hate the Germans (Not even close), they dont all speak english (I met 3 people that didnt!)
    It is not drenched with rain (Not compared to Ireland)
    And they do use umbellas, as every person i have seen can ride there bike with 0+ hands.
    Also, i have never come across the 1 hot meal thing. Maybe these coustoms are limited to a small part of the netherlands?

    Comment by `Peter — September 7, 2008 @ 6:03 am

  48. “And the Dutch are notoriously anal” My ex sure was! Good point.

    Comment by Stephanie — September 7, 2008 @ 7:52 am

  49. Stroopwafels . . . yummy.

    Been to tha’ Dam and the Hague several times and once for an extended 8 month stay. Beautiful country/cities – the rain is not so bad really and the people are amazing for the most part . . .

    Ever notice how EVERYTHING is well designed there – whether its the street signs or soap at the grocery or the PTT phone cards . . . And it all so seamlessly integrates with the old world europe thang . . .

    Queens day is crazy – definitely the time to be in Amsterdam though.

    Also, fellow Americans, notice how the whole country HAS NOT degraded into chaos from decriminalization. I personally am not into weed, but it seems that the Netherlands are fairly ahead of the world in regards to social policy . . . wish the US would pull its head out of its ass already . . .

    Comment by vince — September 8, 2008 @ 4:55 am

  50. To all those confused, Holland IS NOT the same as the netherlands. North Holland and South Holland are two provinces in the Netherlands.

    Comment by Eric — September 8, 2008 @ 5:37 pm

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