This article is written by Isabelle, a culture expert of all thing Dutch. She hails from the tulip, Heineken, and cheese nation, a real Dutch. When she’s not busy with school, work and contemplate about what it’s like to be Dutch, she jumps on any adventures to places further East.
1. The Dutch are stoned all the time
This might be the most common stereotype about Dutch people, or at least something they are infamous for. However, the fact that soft drugs are more or less legalized in the Netherlands actually contributes to the lower numbers of addicts and users compared to the high percentage, almost twice as high, of soft drug users in the USA.
2. All Dutch are tall, have blond hair and blue eyes
This stereotype is indeed true only if you consider the people who are ethnically Dutch. Dutch people are the tallest people in the world with 1.84m on average for men and 1.70 for women. Dying your hair blond and putting on blue contact lenses won’t make you feel any special in the Netherlands. However, with the arrival of immigrants from all over the world, this once-a-fact can be just another stereotype.
3. At least half the population is gay
Most Dutch are very tolerant towards the gay community. Amsterdam is the unofficial Europe’s gay capital. The Netherlands was also the first country in the world to allow gay marriage in 2001. This has made it easier for gays to come out of the closet and for society to open them. But this doesn’t mean that most of the population is gay and that in 100 years there won’t be any heterosexual children.
4. The Dutch are greedy
There must be a reason why splitting the bill is called ‘Going Dutch.’ It’s true that many Dutch keep a tight watch over their money. Men are unlikely to pay for their dates. (Ladies, take a clue. If you like to be dined and wined while in Amsterdam, going Dutch is not going to be a solution.) I am no sociologist, but perhaps this explains why there are not many beggars on the streets in Amsterdam compared to other mega cities in Europe. You will find street artists in other European tourist destinations complain about greedy Dutch who won’t spare changes for their acts.
But as a collective whole, Netherlands is a very generous country with a high percentage of their GDP going to development aid, 0.82%, above the UN target of 0.7 and lower than only their richer neighbor from Luxembourg, Sweden, and the oil-loaded Norway.
5. The Dutch wear wooden shoes
Yeah only if they come with Oilily. They are quite popular with little kids and people in rural areas. We make them so you tourists can buy them. If you think we’re still wearing them, fine as long as you buy a lot of them.
6. All Dutch speak English
Dutch study English from an early age in a good education system and this combined with the similarities between the two languages ensures that you never have to bring a language guide to the Netherlands. You can ask for pretty much anything in Netherlands. Waitresses on the tourist squares are more likely to approach you in English than in Dutch and even if you try to speak Dutch, the Dutch will almost always switch to English in order to make it easier for you (or to brag their language skills).
7. Every Dutch shed keeps at least a dozen bicycles
There are more bicycles than people in the Netherlands. For short distances, people prefer biking over driving and walking. Dutch also take pride in decorating their bikes. Every morning thousands of Dutch school kids will take their bikes and ride distance up to 20km to get to school. Every season, rain or shine, summer or winter Dutch are seen on their bikes. There is probably nowhere else you will see many women in elegant dresses or skirts pedaling on their bikes