zondag, juni 16, 2024
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15 Things you will NEVER hear a Dutch person say!

Michel Minnebreuker
Michel Minnebreuker
Onderwijzer, copywriter, webdesigner, digital nomad, maar vooral levensgenieter!


When you travel the world and get to know different cultures, you also learn more about your own country. For example, I noticed that in many countries, people marry at a very young age. Another thing I noticed is that people in other cultures visit each other without prior notice, which is absolutely NOT DONE in my own country.

In the time that I have been traveling, I got used to a lot of (for me) strange customs. It also got me thinking about how we do things in my own country, The Netherlands. So I made a small list of things that you may hear in other countries, but you will NEVER hear them when you are visiting the Netherlands.

For example……


#1 – “I wish I was that guy”

We may think it, but never say it out loud. 

We look and talk about others but we will never atmit we want to be like them.

Dutch people are happy with what they have and what they have achieved….well most Dutchies. We look at other peoples lives and belongings, and may wish to be like ’them”, but we definitely would NEVER say it out loud.

Hey Michael, how about you?

I am NO exception.I will never ever say something like “I wish I was him”, simply because I am happy just the way I am. ( and there’s not enough space in a Ferrari for my long Dutch legs).

#2 – “How much discount will you give me?

You are kidding, right?!

Sorry, I can’t hear you!

All products in The Netherlands have a price tag. In the supermarkets, in small shops, at the market…..everywhere. The prices are always fixed and asking for a discount is like asking if you can have the product for free: totally useless.

Hey Michael, how about you?

I am an exception: I like giving discounts to my customers, especially when they have been my customer for a long time. But then again: I don’t sell products, but services, so it’s a bit different.

#3 – “Never mind that one euro, I don’t want it back”

If you borrow, you pay it back! Even when it’s a very small amount.

Money is money. You borrow? You pay it back!

It doesn’t matter if you borrow 1 euro from a Dutch person or 10.000 euro, you HAVE to pay it back. Doesn’t really matter when, but it has be done. If it takes too long, a Dutch person WILL ask you to pay up, even if it’s ‘only’ 1 euro.

Hey Michael, how about you?

I am an exception. I will only ask loaned money back, when I absolutely need it and know the other person HAS the money to pay me back. If not, I will not bother asking it back.

#4 – “You forget your bicycle helmet”

We don’t need them!

Not needed in The Netherlands, except when you are a tourist, so we Dutchies can have a laugh.

In the Netherlands everyone has a bicycle and we even have special bicycle lanes. Dutch people don’t wear helmets when they are riding a bicycle, simple because there is no need to wear them.  Only very young children and very old people may wear a helmet when they are on a bicycle.

Hey Michael, how about you?

I am NO exception.I never wore a bicycle helmet in my life…. not even as a child. 

#5 – “I prefer a salad”

We hate salads (well most of us do)

Rabbit food

Although the trend seems to be changing, most Dutch people don’t like salads. If you offer a Dutch person a salad and he replies with “Nee dankjewel, sla is voor konijnen“, it means: “No thank you, salad is for rabbits”. 

Hey Michael, how about you?

I hate salads!

#6 – “I don’t want other people to see how we live”

WRONG: We DO want others to see how we live!

We master the skill of peeking through windows

Dutch people love to show others what they have, what they are doing and how they are doing it. When a Dutch person walks around, he probably will be very busy peeking through the windows of all the houses he passes.

Hey Michael, how about you?

I am NO exception.I love peeking through windows and see how other people live and what they are doing. Sometimes I even stop walking to have a better look.

#7 – “Fantastic, there is NO FOAM on the beer”

We need the foam!

This is how a perfectly drafted beer looks
Two fingers high and not above the glass.

A beer is a beer, right? WRONG!
In The Netherlands a good beer, has foam and if it’s a perfectly drafted beer, the foam is two fingers high and equal to the height of the glass.

Hey Michael, how about you?

I am the exception.I don’t care if there is foam on the beer or not. 

#8 – “Hello, how nice to drop by unannounced!”

Fuck off!!

Thank you for waking me up.... now piss-off!!
Thank you for waking me up…. now piss-off!

If you visit someone at their home or at work, you ALWAYS make an appointment, even when that person is a family member or your best friend. Dutchies HATE unannounced visitors.

Hey Michael, how about you?

I am NO exception.I hate surprise visits….and I also don’t like to make last-minute appointments. 

#9 – “Let’s not make fun of Belgians”

What?….but they are so eh…. funny??!

Jokes about Belgians are ALWAYS funny….even if they’re not.

Dutch people make jokes about our neigboring country Belgium. Being stupid is the main topic of each joke and making jokes about Belgians is a cultural thing. For example:

Why does a Belgian always brings a ruler in his bed, when he goes to sleep? 
So he can measure the time he has slept. 

I know, it’s not very funny, but just because it’s about a Belgian, we cry our eyes out while laughing. Oh and don’t worry, Belgiums make exactly the same jokes about Dutcth people.

Hey Michael, how about you?

I am the exception. As a child all these jokes make me actually think Belgians were not very clever people. So when I became older and understood that Belgians are just like everyone else, I changed the nationality into Germans. (visit Germany and you will find out why….)

#10 – “The law is the law”

Well, let’s see about that!

Honest, brave and emphatic. The Dutch law sucks, but the police are our heroes!

Dutch people don’t care what the law is! If there is way to do something in a more practical, more quicker and more efficient way, they will do it like that, regardless what the law says. Dutch people are masters in bending the law to their own benefit.

Hey Michael, how about you?

I am NO exception.I love bending the law and find gaps in whatever silly little rules the Dutch government has created. 

#11 – “We are together for 1 year, let’s get married!”

Hell no!

This is how Dutchies get married….after 5 or 10 years

Ducth people will stay together for 3, 5 or sometimes even 10 years until they decide to get married. Even when there are children in a relationship,  Is that even legal? Yes, it is! The Dutch law does not require parents to be married.

Hey Michael, how about you?

I am NO exception.I think marriage is the ultimate promise people make each other. One should think long and hard before committing to such a promise.

#12 – “I have to go, because I have church in the morning”

What’s a church? 

We have many churches, however, less and less people actually go to church.

Even though The Netherlands has a christian foundation, most people are not very involved with religion. More than 50% of people in The Netherlands don’t even have a religion. And if they do, they definitely will not use it as an excuses to leave a party, because, well, let’s be honest: it’s a lame excuse, don’t you think?!

Hey Michael, how about you?

I am NO exception.I don’t go to church.

#13 – “You’re the boss, so you are always right!”


Yes, you are the boss….. so WHAT?!!

Dutch people will speak their mind to everyone, even their boss. We don’t care if he pays our salary: if he behaves like a dick, he IS a dick and we will definitely make sure he hears it (in a gentle, polite and kind way of course)

Hey Michael, how about you?

I am NO exception.I will tell anyone what I think: customer, boss, friends, family….. I will do it as nicely as I can, but I will definitely NOT keep my thoughts to myself.

#14 – “Can you turn the sound of the music UP?”

Dutchies hate loud music!

Can’t hear us banging on your door? You will be in for a surprise!!!

Especially when we are at home. Home should be quiet, calm and no one else should disturb us when we are enjoying our meals, watching TV or play games with our kids. We will knock on your door when the music is loud and if you are unwilling to turn the sound down, we WILL call the police and they WILL come.

Hey Michael, how about you?

I am NO exception.I hate loud music, especially when I am at home.

#15 – “Sorry darling, I have a headache: no sex tonight!”

Say that again, if you dare!!!

The red-light district is nothing more than a HUGE pharmacy!

The best way to deal with a headache is to have good sex. Dutch people know this, so the first thing that comes to a Dutch mind with headache is: I need sex! The pharmacy can wait….sex probably can’t.

Hey Michael, how about you?

I am NO exception.I rarely visit the pharmacy……

And that’s it (for now)

Some expressions can be heard everywhere in the world. Other expressions are specific to a country or region. If you ever hear anyone say one of these things in this post, he or she is definitely NOT from The Netherlands.

This article was inspired and extended, based on a video made by Survival Guide to the Dutch 


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