As with every culture, there are all kinds of stereotypes floating around about the Dutch and about our traditions. You may well have heard of most of these stereotypes about the Dutch, but it’s always fun to go through them and maybe debunk a few.
What comes to your mind when you think of Dutch people? Exactly. Stereotypes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, indeed they give us a vision – a more or less accurate one – of what to expect when visiting or moving to The Netherlands.
But… which of these clichés are accurate and which ones are not exactly like that? Here we give you some examples of stereotypes that Dutch people have to face day in day out:
All Dutch are blonde, tall and have blue eyes
When foreigners think about Dutch people, they imagine all Dutch people to be tall, have blonde hair and blue eyes. So, for the majority of people that are ethnically Dutch, this stereotype might actually be kind of true. However, the Dutch culture is very mixed, because of the arrival of immigrants from all over the world for the past decades. A fun fact about the Dutch is that they are officially the tallest people in the world, with 1.84m on average for men and 1.70 for women.
All Dutch have clomps
Yes and they all live in wind mills, grow tulips and all they eat is Cheese – NOPE! This is the image what has been shaped by tourism in the Netherlands but nothing could be farther away from the truth. Clogs are made so tourists can buy them. They are only still worn by some people in rural areas, like when they do gardening or something.
For the wind mills, yes there are a lot of them in this small country, but they were much needed as well. Since most of the Netherlands is situated below sea level, wind mills were necessary to pump sea water the correct side of the dykes in the past. This allowed the Dutch to actually live in the country back in the days.
As for the cheese – well it’s actually true that Dutch people quite fancy cheese. In fact, it’s estimated that the Dutch eat 21 kilograms of cheese per year per person. They are even called `kaaskoppen` (cheese heads) by their Southern neighbours.
All Dutch have a dozen bicycles
This is probably one of the most true stereotypes about the Dutch: Dutch people and bikes are inseparable. People often prefer cycling over driving or walking. Of course, this is helped by the fact that the country is flat as a pancake. Dutch also take pride in decorating their bikes and it is a fact that there are actually more bikes than people in the Netherlands.
All Dutch smoke weed everyday
It might be true that the Dutch have a fairly relaxed policy on soft drugs compared to other countries, but the Dutch don’t tend to get high on their own supply. Facts show that in the Netherlands there are actually lower numbers of addicts and users compared to the high percentage, almost twice as high, of soft drug users in the USA. The percentage of the population who have consumed weed at least once the last year is said to be as little as 5% in the Netherlands. Despite it’s reputation, the Netherlands isn’t even in the Top 10 weed-consuming countries.
All Dutch are greedy
There must be a reason why splitting the bill is called “going Dutch”. When going on dates with Dutch guys it is actually fairly common to split the bill and even pay only what was consumed, as opposed to splitting evenly. However, this can actually be explained by the fact that most Dutch people just try to be fair. In any country there are cheap and generous people everywhere. And as a matter of fact, Netherlands is a very generous country with a high percentage of their GDP going to development aid. They are even above the UN target and they tend to be spending more on development aid then many of their neighbour countries. Looks like the Dutch aren’t that greedy after all!
All Dutch people are rude
Dutch people are not rude, or at least they don’t mean to be anyway. The Dutch are frank, blunt, no-nonsense people. They are very direct and won’t pretend to like something just because they think it might offend you if they give their honest opinion. This can be very refreshing, but for some people it might come a bit as a shock, especially if you come from a culture where people try to be very polite (to the point of almost being passive aggressive even).