15 Things I never did until I lived in The Netherlands

1. Called people a whore (to their face). Ja, hoor!” “Nee, hoor!” “Momentje, hoor!” 3 months in, it still makes me chuckle every time.

2. Arrived at a party at 2pm and left at 6pm. It’s not strange at all to set a time when everyone has to leave your birthday party. (Could it have something to do with the fact that it’s the birthday boy or girl’s job to buy all of the food & drinks for the occasion?) Work in an office? You’ll also need to buy cake for the whole workforce.

3. Electrical work. Most rented Dutch houses/apartments come without light fittings… so you call an electrician, right? Wrong. You save money and risk your life by doing it yourself… no biggie 😉

4. Looked into other people’s houses… curtains are a rarity here, let alone net curtains! Nose away!

5. Cycled, everywhere! Just do it.

20140603-163158-59518771.jpg

6. Accepted ice cream topping as a breakfast food. Hagelslag (chocolate or sugar sprinkles) on bread (normally with lashings of butter). I still don’t do that shit… I’ll stick to my marmite, thanks!

7. Ate FrikandelNever again.

8. Ate hot food from a vending machine. The Dutch love all things deep-fried and hate queuing. A chain of fast food restaurants called FEBO solves these two problems in one, with their vending machine walls! More about Dutch deep-fried snacks.

Febo, Utrecht

Febo, Utrecht

9. Understood the difference between Holland and The Netherlands (but still say Holland). Hup Holland Hup. Case closed.

10. Called Boxing day “second Christmas Day” and Easter Monday “second Easter Day”. (Tweede Kerstdag and Tweede Paasdag.) Hell, why make up words when you can be super efficient and just add a 2 on the end? Similarly, the word for animals = dieren, pet = huisdieren (house animals). Is it actually super efficient though, or could someone not be bothered to come up with more words?

11. The lekker hand sign. Eaten something delicious? Frantically wave your hand at your own face. Read more about the Lekker hand sign.

12. Owned orange clothing. King’s Day, football matches, other sporting events… it’s a must. Dress head-to-toe in orange. The sillier the better.

Our King's Day accessories box.

Our King’s Day accessories box. Every proud Dutchie has their own orange collection.

13. Said kunt  without getting a bar of soap down my throat. (This actually happened, circa 1992. Bite marks in the soap after I used my “new-swear-word-of-choice” very loudly at my annoying younger brother. Of course, my Mum was standing behind me. Fail.) Anyway, here you can say… Je kunt  (You can) Kunt u?  (Can you? formal) and my personal favourite Kies mijn kant  (Choose my side) without so much as a bat of the eyelid.

14. Heard “fuck” on the radio at 9am. Swearing just doesn’t have the same power here. Motherfucker, Fuck You, Fuck Off: unlikely to cause any offence. Similarly, songs with swearing aren’t “bleeped” out like in the UK… There’s no Cee Lo Green – Forget You, it’s Fuck You. Same goes for Lily Allen. Really want to insult a Dutch person? Tell them they have cancer… horrible… but that’s Dutch profanity for you.

15. Had a calendar in my BATHROOM. Weird, freaky or just super-sensible? Where else in the house do you have time to sit and “do nothing”? Read more about Bathroom Calendars.

What have I missed? Anything else you’ve noticed about the freaky deaky Dutchies you’d like to add to this list?

Hayley x

You may also like:

25 Dutch Dingen – like Dutch bingo, but better! How many can you cross off the list?!

30 Amusing Dutch Words – do you know your boterham from your eekhoorntjesbrood?

Advertisements

328 comments

  1. Can’t help thinking of an old joke that relates to this post:

    Een Amerikaan vraagt aan een Nederlander: what do you do for a living? Hij antwoord: I fok horses. Waarop de Amerikaan zegt: Pardon? En de Nederlander zegt: yes, paarden….

    Flauw, maar in deze context wel aardig!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. ‘I’ll stick to my marmite’ – yuk! – In fifth grade my mum used to have this tiny jar of ‘appel stroop’ she kept for herself. One day while having lunch, she left the table to answer the phone – I remember looking at my younger sister who seemed to know already what I was about to do, and then I lifted the tiny jar and with the help of my butter knife emptied its contents onto my sandwich… VIES!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Geen wonder, je verwachtte Marmite en dat is een totaal andere smaakgewaarwording. Ik zou hetzelfde hebben als men mij wijs sou maken dat een zwartebruine olijf een soort bonbonnetje zou zijn; ik zou me ook rot schrikken en een vies gezicht trekken.

      Like

      1. No wonder you were expecting Marmite and that is a totally different taste sensation. I would have the same as you make me wise sou that a brownblack olive would be a kind of bonbon; I would also scare me rotten and pulling a face.

        Like

  3. I do not quite agree with some things that you appoint here. as the first frikandel is delicious so as a foreigner who comes to visit the Netherlands is worth trying! and then the topping if you have not tried it do it quickly it is delicious. And if you want to make it even better do your peanut butter under the sprinkles then you have a bite of a truly Dutch sandwich.

    Like

    1. Peanutbutter and sprinkles is not really Dutch. It’s Dutch to be zuinig. And 2 types of bread topping on 1 piece of bread is not zuinig at all!

      Like

      1. Peanutbutter and chocolate sprinkles are typical Dutch. The American chocolate toppings are just aweful, Dutch Venz chocolate sprinkles are just better quality chocolate. It’s just like the Americans don’t like to eat french fries with mayonaise, yet their mayonaise is like the Dutch slasaus…

        Like

        1. I am Dutch and I never ever had peanut butter and chocolate sprinkles, and I wouldn’t want to try it. Neither do I know people that do eat that. I am probably not typical Dutch then.

          Like

          1. I am dutch and I’ve had them. And pindakaas met jam…PBJ originally was a Dutch invention 🙂
            But pindakaas met sambal tastes better.

            Like

          2. Well, it is typically Dutch. And to be honest. It taste good too!
            And most Dutch people eat it at breakfast or lunch. Nothing better than a slice of white bread with real butter and dark chocolate sprinkles.

            Like

    2. Nou.. Over smaken valt niet te twisten 🙂
      “over taste you cant do the twist” Means like, every person has is own likes/dislikes/taste and you cant argue about taste.

      Funny book: i always get my sin.
      Bloemlezing van blunders van Nederlanders die (voor zaken) Engels spreken: ‘May I thank your cock for the lovely dinner?’ -> He wants to thank the cook for dinner.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That must have been the worst translation ever 😀 – “over taste you cant do the twist”

        I think that’s a typical Dutch trait as well: “transliterating Dutch words into English and vice versa” and still expecting others to understand what we are talking about.

        over smaak valt niet te twisten = you can’t argue about taste

        (for years I was convinced and never doubted that a pair of gloves were called ‘hand-shoes’)

        Like

        1. Nope, that’s definitely not the worst translation ever, this is;

          My neighbour from across the street came up to me, my mother had died a few days before and she could see i was grieving. So she walked to me asking: Bianca, how are you these days?
          I looked to her saying:” Oh wel, it goes..”

          Meaning: ” ach ja, het gaat”

          I had to walk away because i felt so embarrassed i couldnt stop laughing 🙂
          *still giggle writing this*

          But indeed, ““transliterating Dutch words into English and vice versa” and still expecting others to understand what we are talking about.” is typical Dutch

          Don’t know exact how to translate “it goes” though 🙂

          Like

        1. I live in a row of houses that the owners were trying to sell off as a job lot when I first moved here, there were only a couple of us left living in them and the rest were empty but in a very desirable location, lots of people used to knock on my door and ask if they were for sale as there were no boards, I said to one woman “nee, het is een hoor huis” she said “dank je wel” and shot off leaving a cloud of dust, my son who was killing himself laughing behind me said “huur huis” you just told her that this is a brothel instead of rented. I wondered why she left so fast.

          Like

    3. Even in Holland we all have are own choices of what we like as our toppings on bread! I guess if you’re a foreigner. You should slowely figure out the foods.. but please it’s almost new years.. eat a oliebol or an appelflap ♡
      Ik hou van Holland

      Like

  4. That was absolutely awesome. You can add drinking milk with your lunch, which I would never think in a million years that I’ll do it myself one day happily 😀 Also repairing your fucking bike’s chain since it’s an oldie and you don’t dare to get a new one cause a stolen bike is useless though it’s new 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And what do you think about the name of our former minister-president Wim Kok. I think he had to explain his last name everytime he introduced himself abroad. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The “fuck ye” is also used daily to mention something is in “het vakje” or pocket. My kids love to use that saying. Also back off “bekaf” which means very tired.

    Like

  7. I feel like you’ve got the wrong idea of The Netherlands. It’s not strange that you didn’t like food that’s laying around for the whole day (FEBO) and hagelslag on bread with a little bit more butter than usual is really nice, I like it alot better then chocolate paste.

    Like

  8. I think the profanity bit makes perfect sense. Apparently to you having sex (‘fuck’) is somehow worse than getting cancer? Weird…

    Like

  9. HMMMMMM i live in “Holland; 😉 sinds 30 years, i still miss ‘ bread’ ( ‘” chewing gum with colour”) , the “cheese”over here is boaring ! SORRY………..;)

    BUT…………. living here is relaxed and so wonderful! i think . still the safest and FREE country in Europe ! ( ,naturalized about 25 years and HAD to give up my german nationality ( my daughter was born in Amsterdam:D) THANK YOU NEDERLAND!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ehm deep fried food one or 2 snacks a week or in a month not like in the usa every day
    5 times a day.
    try that hagelslag please with fresh white tijgerbrood still warm and echte boter
    damn i have some in a minute hahahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hahaha 😛 I used to live in the UK for a year…. it’s even harder when ýou need to quit “our habbits” …. especially the F word in public 😛 i do have to say i rather have your country than mine …. people in the UK are way friendlier…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that about the Netherlands, we appreciate it when the weather is good and I love how most people seem so much happier in the sunny periods.

      Like

  12. Als ik het zo op een rijtje zie, zijn we maar rare mensen, wij Hollanders. Maar ik blijf toch lekker in dit landje wonen. Al mag de frikandel van mij wel verhuizen.

    Like

  13. Regarding point 10: Word combinations are not that uncommon in other languages. In Finnish, animal is “eläin” and pet is “kotieläin”. Think “house animal”. It is efficient and intuitive, because the vocabulary gives you a hint as to what is spoken of, even if you don’t know the every part of the word or the combination. Also, the combinations are mainly very logic, so that you can make the combinations yourself and still get the message across.

    Like

    1. It is indeed very convenient that neologisms are common in a language. In Dutch language it sometimes occurs that such a word is used only once in it’s entire existence.

      Like

  14. It’s all true. You are to be called perfectly ‘geïntegreerd’ (integrated) in Dutch society. You made only one little (actually not so little) mistake no real ‘geïntegreerde’ foreigner in Amsterdam would make.

    It concerns the picture of an Amsterdam canal (Prinsengracht, niiiiice) you used in order to show around our cycling culture, and the world famous Amsterdam street image.

    Perfect pic, except for ‘een dingetje’ (1 little thing): we Amsterdammers (you too, as Amsterdamse) NEVER USE STUPID TOURIST BIKES, we would rather walk in the rain and snow naked, then to be seen on that thing, We have our own ‘echte Amsterdamse fietsen’ to cycle around.

    They look like shit (keep’s ‘m not stolen) but drive great. So next time, use your own ‘opoefiets’, ‘damesding’ or ‘bakfiets’ in a pic as a bike that is driven everywhere, breaking all the rules, cause there aren’t any we recognize.

    Tourist are always trying to be so careful, driving so incredibly slow, that they create dangerous situations when we pass by speeding, holding the wheel with one hand, texting with the other, talking to the cycler next to us, and driving through red light as if it’s green when no one’s coming. We hate waiting cause it’s not ‘gezellig’. And were always in a hurry.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I have one better… When visiting the snackbar (do not know English translation, maybe something like snack-corner), ask for a French fries WAR… It’s french fries a peanut sauce, mayonaise and onion topping.. Mjam, sensational.

    Like

  16. Funny and mostly true. Us Dutchies are strange but friendly and tolerant. No other country in the world where you can joke with a police officer and he will laugh with you instead of giving you a ticket (most of the times, not if you really **** up of course).
    The comment on us being cheap hurts a little though. .. No other country in the world gives so much to charity and fund raising events. We know we are better of living here then a whole lot of people, so we share, even when we are not super rich. Simple as that.

    Like

  17. Talking about awkward dutch names: some years ago the dutch prime minister then, Mr Kok, travelled with the CEO of Dutch Telecom, mr. Dik to the US for a meeting onboard the dutch government Fokker airplane…. “And here, from Holland, mr…..”

    Like

  18. Hey.Oana, every nationality on this world has their strange habits….We Dutch from the Eastindies
    70 yesrs ago were kicked out of that beautiful tropical islands in southeast asia, now called Indonesia, after WWII
    and that was traumatically….Because we had a better life, huge houses and lots of servants around…….
    If you like to hear about this matter I like to tell you about this when we meet again….

    Like

    1. What about a ‘Rondvaart’? I giggled for ages at that one. I started playing Korfbal when I first moved here, I didn’t understand a word of Dutch but I stood in the middle of the field and somebody pointed at me and said fuck [vak] I thought blimey I haven’t even started playing and they are swearing at me! She was showing me where to stand!!!

      Like

  19. 6. Why would you put a breakfast food on top of ice cream?

    10. Not wanting to sound defensive, but if it is recognisably from the same category, why not use the category name? Why is a hound not a dog, or a monkey not an ape? (In case of an actual ape, just specify it’s a human-ape) Is there a reason to call cow-meat, beef? Should English really be proud of its total disregard of any logic?

    13. Works both ways actually, the name Bev springs to mind.

    14. Calling people a scrotum is pretty effective.

    Like

  20. Met betrekking tot punt 13, jaren geleden vloog ik met mijn 18 jarige zoon naar A’dam om mijn ouders te bezoeken. Voor de landing gingen de stweardessen opruimen en een van hen zei tegen de ander “Ik doe hier, neem jij maar de andere kant” waarop mijn zoon zei “What? Under a cunt? Under a cunt is an asshole”. (hoop dat dit de mogelijke censuur doorstaat)

    Like

  21. Haha I love this post. I’m Dutch myself and studying international hotelmanagement. We actually had class in intercultural differences with foreign students, it’s hilarious to hear about Dutch habits they see as odd, but which are normal to us. Someone commented that Dutch aren’t cheap, i’m sorry for you but the average Dutchie definitely is.. Same for the fact that foreigners often think we are rude, which we see as being honest and direct.

    Like

  22. What I miss is the word “gezellig”, meaning something like cosy. Everything is “gezellig”, like: come for a gezellig kopje koffie, Are you coming tonight? Ja, gezellig. How was the party? Very gezellig. Why don’t you stop smoking? I find it so gezelllig, een sigaretje.
    Like sigaretje we use a lot of dimunitives (verkleinwoorden) like “je”and “tje” behind a word. Een kopJE koffie, een bosJE bloemen, een boeketJE, dat vrouwTJE, een vestJE, een truiTJE. Even if we add “small”, like a small shop: een klein winkelTJE, een klein eiTJE.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I hate eating bread in the morning so I always take cornflakes 🙂 I also love to eat warm food like sausages in the morning. (I should have been born in the US I think XD)

    Liked by 1 person

  24. i find it kinda offensive, if you seem to
    HATE and find us so stupid why dont you go back to the u,k. and stuff your mouth with hamburgers from macdonalds full of shit you dont wanne know, or the cancer provoking fries,
    your country has a higher rate of FAT people so before you start wining about our food…
    ive been to the UK becouse my girlfriend lives there, i dont go about RANTING about the food at the restaurants they serve there with so much e-numbers in it that my mouth became paralized!. and yes we say fuck and we say things STRAIGHT, better than wining behind somebody’s back and than after that be nice to them 😉 oh and the fact that you guys drink alcohol at breakfast !, alcohol in the train, and crisps from walkers(lays) on your bread in the morning 😛

    Like

  25. I know it’s futile but I just can’t help myself – @niels: wel erg ‘simpel’ dat je het verschil niet kan zien tussen haat en de komische waarnemingen van een, met een nederlander getrouwde buitenlandse vrouw!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I am Dutch and I have lived in Germany an Spain. They used to laugh about it when there was a birthday and I went to congratulate everybody. Not only the birthday boy/girl is being congratulated by the Dutch but the rest of the family and friends as well.
    Maybe it is done in other countries as well but not in Spain and Germany.

    Like

  27. Honestly, I am Dutch and that first thing about ‘whore’ and ‘hoor’ has been happening to me since a couple of months. I think it’s because I hear so much English around me. It is kind of funny though.

    Like

  28. Didn’t read all the comments above/below so maybe somebody allready pointed you out the defference between Holland & The Netherlands. If not, this might be helpful:

    😉

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.