Dutch people are rude, right?

Dutch kissing

In a word, no. Dutch people aren’t rude, they’re direct – there’s a difference. 

And the difference is – other cultures perceive the Dutch to be rude. But here’s the thing: it isn’t intentional (most of the time anyway 🤣🤣). 

As a young, English child, my parents were quite strict and brought me up with a strong focus on manners. “Mind your manners”, “good manners cost nothing” and “mind your P’s and Q’s” were commonplace in my household. It was drilled into me from a young age that I must be polite at all times. 

“What’s the magic word?” was often fired back if I had forgotten that polite little word at the end of my request. If I was in a sassy mood I would reply “Abracadabra” which was met with sniggers from my parents, but obviously I wouldn’t get a Bourbon biscuit or custard cream until I’d said please. 

Fast forward to the present, I don’t eat at biscuits anymore. So instead I go into an English pub and I say brightly “Hello, can I have a white wine and a bag of scampi fries please”. When said drink, and king of (English) pub snacks are delivered – I graciously deliver my my most polite “thank you”, nod and smile. (Side note: if you have been to England and not ordered scampi fries you are SERIOUSLY missing out!) 

Cut to Dutch kroeg (pub). The Dutchie walks in: “Heb je voor mij een biertje?” (Literally: Do you have a beer for me?) 

Dundundun… and here’s the thing: there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just how you order a beer in Holland.

Another example, at the dinner table I might ask “can someone pass the pepper please?”. 

The Dutchie would say “mag ik de peper?” (Literally: may I have the pepper?) and in Dutch culture, that’s polite enough.

I’ve talked about directness before on my blog so I don’t think I have to hammer the point home anymore. But I have one thing to ask: next time you think a Dutch person is being rude, first question yourself and your perception of the situation rather than generalising “oh, Dutch people are rude”… pretty please 😉😉

There is of course, one EXCEPTION TO THIS RULE: Dutchies living in England.

Dan moet ik tegen jullie zeggen: je moet je P’s en Q’s leren. En als je weet niet wat dat is… you are soooooooo not inbuggered. Learn about our culture, please. It’s only polite 😉

Hayley x 

 

 

5 comments

  1. As an English teacher I can’t handle the rudeness of Dutch students speaking English. I must be getting old or something. I teach young adults and they tend to say just “yes” or “no” when I ask them something. My Dutch parents also taught me to use two words when responding to a question and I do the same with my kids. In general I think you’re right, but it does bother me a bit tbh.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hayley. Love your blog. Child Dutchie. Living in Engeland for decades. You bring back many happy memories.

    Your typo is hilarious – deliberate, or no. Particualry on a post about politeness. Did you mean “inbuggered” or “inburgered?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oof. You must be getting a lot of complaints if you feel like you have to bring the subject back up!

    Well: alsjeblieft write more, and dank je wel for this post! (And that’s how you know you have an American behind the keyboard. 😅)

    Like

  4. I do not completely agree with this, I know that a lot of my dutch peers are complaining about the increasing rudeness of the youth. They were always taught to say “mag ik asjeblieft…” or “ dank je wel” when they were younger. However the current youth do not tend to learn this anymore. It is a sign of respect which is unfortunately losing ground.

    Like

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