Dutch Language Blog

Rounding Up and Rounding Down Posted by on Jul 5, 2011 in Culture

Last Friday I had to make a trip to Flevoland.  From where I live in Rotterdam to where I was going in Flevoland was, according to Google Maps, going to take me about an hour and fifteen minutes and would be just over 100kms each way.  That meant I needed to stop and get some petrol.  Not planning to fill the tank completely, I thought I would stick €20 worth of petrol in.  As I unscrewed the tank cap and stuck the nozzle in, I changed my mind.  I’d put €25 in, no..no..I’d put in €27, since I knew I had a two Euro coin.

In the Netherlands, they do not use one or two Euro cent coins.  They just aren’t given out, so the smallest cent value coin you will receive is five cents.  This can take a little getting used to, especially if you have recently been in one of the countries that does give them out and extra especially if you forgot to clear out your wallet after that trip.  I also imagine there are a fair few number of tourists who wander around the Netherlands wondering why they were skimped on their change.  But in general it is no issue and the space it frees up in the change part of the wallet can be handy.

So, there I stood watching the numbers go up and trying to time it just right so that I wouldn’t go over the amount I wanted.  Despite my efforts, the dial stopped at €27.01.  Blast!

So, what happens if you are over or under a five cent amount?  The practice is that the amount is rounded up or rounded down accordingly.  Had it been in the afternoon and had I not been functioning (or attempting to function) in the early morning, something I don’t do well since I am not a morning person, I would have realized that the original €27.01 would have gone to my advantage.  Might as well get 4 more cents worth of petrol, I figured as I squeezed the handle just a small amount but enough to make the numbers flip to €27.06.  Double blast!

Now not only was I tired but I was also convinced that the machines were rigged.  I decided to admit defeat and began to walk towards the cashier when I woke up a bit and realized that in fact, I had been fine on both occasions and the amount would be rounded down in my favour.  I laughed at my foolishness, paid the bill and went on my way.

Are you in favour of the rounding system or would you rather have the smaller coins?

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  1. bas:

    hey heather ! love reading all your discoveries in holland! funny to read how a non native speaker and raised person enjoys just daily life and the weird stuff the dutch do (and yes im one of em currently on an internship in canada). what i wanted to say : you should check out den bosch (‘s-hertogenbosch) great little city with some really cool touristy stuff !

    love the stories !


    • heather:

      @bas Thanks for the compliment Bas and for the trip idea. I’ll have to check it out. Are you writing about your experiences in Canada? Anything you miss a lot from the Netherlands while you are there?

  2. bas:

    nah im not much of a writer. i write some stuff for my family and friends but thats pretty much it !
    and i thought i wouldnt miss a whole lot but i found out that i am missing some stuff.. being a student i miss the cheap and really good bear in holland and overall i think i miss the short distances the most. so easy to just take your bike and go wherever you want to go instead of getting a car or a taxi or something like that haha
    and easy traintravel 2 ! canada’s train system is not nearly as fast as the dutch.

    thanks !


  3. margaret:

    Hi Heather I am writing from Australia and we have the same rounding system as the Dutch with no one and two cent coins. I love reading your blog. I visited the netherland in 2010 and 2009 but won’t be back until 2013. I am now married to a Dutchman and what I miss the most when it comes to food is geveldekoek fresh from the bakery. The packaged version shipped right around the world is just not the same!

    • heather:

      @margaret I’ve learned something new today, Margaret. Thanks for sharing! My boyfriend loves gevulde koek. Have you tried a recipe for them? I wonder how they would compare to the packaged version.

  4. bas:

    heya heather and margaret
    thought i would join in for the gevulde koek thing 🙂
    the thing you want to look at when comparing different packaged and probably bakery versions aswell is which kind of filling it has (the squishy stuff in the middle). it will either be made from beans (cheaper little less taste) or almonds (more expansive and better taste. why do i know this ? my sis has a nut allergy so cant eat the higher priced ones.

    hope this piece of info is useful !


  5. heather:

    Okay, now I have learned two things today! 🙂 Hope your sister didn’t learn this piece of info the hard way Bas! (now I am going to look at gevulde koek packages)