You Know You’re Becoming Dutch When…

© in pastel / Creative Commons / CC BY 2.0

© in pastel / Creative Commons / CC BY 2.0

If you have lived in the Netherlands for a certain amount of time, you may find yourself exhibiting some strange new habits. Be warned: You are becoming Dutch! Here are some signs to watch out for:

1. Air raid sirens. At midday on the first Monday of the month, you no longer jump out of your skin when the emergency alarms are tested.

2. Chocolate for breakfast. Chocolate sprinkles on bread, with butter is an acceptable (and preferred) breakfast option!!

3. Advanced cycling. You are able to ride your bike whilst doing one or more of the following: texting on your phone, rolling a cigarette, holding an umbrella, carrying 23 bags of shopping, a case of beer, an item larger than yourself, 3 children.

4. Pro cycling. You are also perfectly capable of cycling whilst stoned, inebriated, or both.

5. Windmills. There are no excited yelps or screams in the car when passing a windmill.

6. Calcium-rich lunch. You consider bread, cheese and a glass of milk a satisfying and well-balanced lunch.

7. Oranjegekte. You not only love the colour orange, you possess a box dedicated to orange clothing and accessories, used once a year in April and during major sporting events.

8. Net curtains. You don’t own them.

9. The Guttural Dutch G. You can confidently pronounce Gefeliciteerd without it hurting your throat or spraying people with saliva.

10. Birthday parties. It’s your male friend’s birthday. You congratulate his partner, son, daughter, his mother and father, plus his brothers and sisters. Oh, and his neighbour.

11. Doe normaal! You have unintentionally uttered one or more of the following phrases: Doe normaal! Ja, hoor! Het was gezellig! Helaas Pindakaas! Wat jammer! Wat een kutweer!!!

12. Lekker. When eating something delicious, you wave frantically at your own face.

13. Love for camping. When asked about your holiday plans, “I’m going to a camping” (note the countable noun) is the most commonly adopted answer.

14. Stamppot. For dinner, you are particularly fond of lumpy mashed potato, mashed vegetables and a U-shaped boiled sausage.

15. Pepernoten. In December, you enjoy having nuts thrown at you.

How Dutch are you? Anything else to add to the list?

Hayley x


  1. Years ago I got caught in a summer storm whilst cycling home from work. I was wet through, including my pants and bra. My husband said to me, “NOW you’re really Dutch! “.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. @13: We usually do not say ‘a’ camping but ‘the’ camping (de camping) meaning a particularly one as once we sailed all over the world but nowadays most Dutch are not that adventurous anymore and go to the same place for a holiday for years and years. (and bring their ‘sprinkles/hagelslag, coffee/koffie, chees/kaas, peanutbutter/pindakaas and even sometimes potatos/aardappels when this camping is somewhere abroad)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I disagree with point 9. I’m dutch born and raised but I still can’t pronounce the harsh guttural G. That is because I was born in the south of the Netherlands and lived most of my life in the “north of the south”, the city of Nijmegen. We don’t have the guttural g in these parts but a “zachte g”.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, because you mention the harsh G I suppose you live “above the rivers” i.e. north of the Waal/Rijn. Those ribbons of water form a dialect border. Above = north of those is Harsh G area, below = south of the Rijn/Waal is Soft G land.

        The way a dutch person pronounces his/her G’s and R’s are usually a first give away of his/her origins. There are a lot of different harsh and soft G’s. And the R’s vary from French R’s through Scottish flaps and trilles al the way to “American” type of R’s.

        Another indication is his/her word endings: open endings (lopehhh) is west, “swallowed” closed endings (“loop’n”) is north and east above the rivers. (Twente, Drente, Groningen etc).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Closed endings is not north and east above the rivers. I live in Arnhem, grown up in Rheden, and never have a close ending. My G is harsh, that’s correct, my R is a “kinderen voor kinderen R” also called “de bekakte R” and like every dutch person I shorten almost every word at the end, leaving letters out and putting words together in a sentence. But I think that is something common in every language.


          1. I was more refering to the “saxon” word endings where they swallow the (schwa) e (ə) at the end of words/verbs and produce some nasal stop sound instead of the ending -n (best way I can describe it. No idea how to write it properly. But usually written as I did in my previous comment). Groningen Drenthe, (north) Overijjssel, Twente etc. Think Herman Finkers, Daniël Lohues, Bennie Jolink.


  4. ..if you get served boiled potatoes, you use your fork to mash them on your plate, form a small mound of the mash, dig a hole in it and fill it up with gravy. The so- called “kuiltje voor de jus”.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. No. 3 – I would add, rolling a cigarette.
    No. 8 – After 14 years I could still not bring myself to dispose of my net curtains!
    No.11 – I would add. ‘Wet ik veel!?’. And to this day, when someone calls my name I respond with, ‘Ben ik!’ 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This is a great one.
    After only 4 months I no longer notice the ‘war sound’ as I put it. I panicked the first time I heard it, having only been here a few days. Oja…I forgot to tell you said my Boyfriend!
    And yes my arch nemesis in words is infact Gefeliciteerd. It is a ‘furball’ word in my eyes.
    I love stamppot! Heel lekker *waves at face*

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ahhh you forgot Zoethout (liquorice root) my fav Dutch sweet/lolly. I took my Australian born daughter to a Dutch shop in Sydney last year and they sold Zoethout. I purchased 6 sticks and started gnawing enthusiastically on the end of one of them to get the big kwast going. My daughter was mortified and replied “Mum, it’s a STICK!!!!”

    Liked by 2 people

  8. “Pro Cycling” so true!! I arrived in the UK yesterday and I want to go to the Gym here but you need to cycle like about 15-20 minutes and my host mom asked me if I was okay with that… Of course!!!! I need to cycle 50 min long if I want to see my boyfriend, lol! X

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “#12: Lekker. When eating something delicious, you wave frantically at your own face.” saw me frantically waving at my own face. Never before had I realised how weird that is… Subsequently I tapped my forehead with my index finger and asked: “Do you know what this means?” The bf didn’t have a clue and looked at me as if to say I’d gone mad – which is exactly what it means. Oh, how wonderfully weird we are 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “Anything else to add to the list?”

    … you know what “oh buurman, wat doet u nu?” refers to. You aren’t Dutch (enough) if you don’t know that. (Was the 1st thing that popped in my head…. 😛 )


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