Dutch Language Blog

Going Dutch Posted by on Oct 7, 2008 in Dutch Language

The last couple of days I’ve been searching the internet, trying to find an interesting topic to write about. Since I usually write short fiction stories and not non-fictional articles, I find it takes a bit of readjusting, similar to some kind of cultural shock!

I stumbled across a website about non-Dutch people living in the Netherlands. I never knew what a negative image most people have about the Netherlands or the Dutch!

Overall the members of that website were really generalising the Dutch, as if we are all the same.

Now, I can tell you right now, that in the eyes of the Dutch, I’m an oddball as well.

An outsider. On the other hand, Urkers feel the same way about all the other various Dutch people. Outsiders. Not one of the group. It’s a battle between regions.

When I went to school in Emmeloord, it was a given that Urkers would not get along with Lemsters (people living in the village Lemmer) or other Frisians. True, most of the kids from the concerned regions acted that way, but there certainly were notable exceptions.

I could get along quite well with certain girls from Lemmer, there were also a few girls I could not get along with.

Look at the different states in America. Aren’t some people from one state biased about people in another state? Isn’t it really the same everywhere?

So, if people can be so different, even when living in the same country, why do so many people think we are al alike?


An American guy is usually pictured with big sunglasses, a cowboy hat, cowboy boots and a godawfull over the top accent.

English are pictured in immaculate suits, bowler hats and a stiff upper lip

The Japanese are almost always pictured with squinted eyes, yellow tan and a huge photo camera.

Think about the Netherlands and you immediately picture those grand mills, rustic farms, tulips, wooden shoes (clogs) and hashish. Yeah, you did, didn’t you!

I guess there’s just not really a way around stereotyping. I think it happens everywhere around the globe and to be honest, the Dutch really do have some quirky habits.

Some even I find strange, others seem just so normal to me I can’t understand why other people would find them strange.

One example?

Okay, how about the famous: Going Dutch?

You must have heard about it. Friends go to a restaurant and at the end of the evening, when it’s time to pay, each person pays their part of the total amount.

Call me a dumb or quirky Dutch person, but can someone explain to me why this is so strange, even frowned upon by so many people?

I mean, lets say you go to a restaurant with a bunch of friends (say, seven) and each friend orders at least a 50 euro plate and each friend orders for about 50 euro’s of drinks.

The bill would be 700 euro’s. I don’t know about you, but I don’t even have that kind of money sitting idly about in my bank account! At the end of my salary, there’s still a large portion of month to go.

So out of real and honest curiosity; at the end of the evening, who picks up the tab or should pick up the tab?

And yes, when I answer the phone, I don’t say ‘Hello’, I say my family name. If I received a nickel for every person who dialled the wrong number, or asked my name in the rare case I did say ‘Hello’, I’d be a very wealthy woman right now!

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