Expat Life: The Unfriendly Dutch

What's wrong with these Dutch people?

by Miss Footloose

Dutch peopleIt’s upsetting to me, dear reader, to come across posts and articles about how unfriendly, rude and blunt the Dutch are. Blunt, I get. We are a down-to-earth, direct lot. But rude? Unfriendly? This judgment is offered up mostly considering behavior in social and public situations such as in shops and restaurants. People in shops are not friendly? Waiters are rude? All the time? Everywhere?

I am discombobulated, dear reader, shocked!

But then I am Dutch and we never see ourselves the way foreigners do, do we? Then again, I’ve not actually lived in the Netherlands for years, so I’m practically a foreigner myself, so why had I never noticed? In all the years of coming and going while visiting, why had I never been aware the country is awash in rudeness and unfriendliness? Yes, of course, on occasion I’d meet an obnoxious Dutch specimen, like you find them in every country. But in Holland unpleasantness is the prevailing attitude?

Stuff Dutch People Like is a site I enjoy reading because it shows off the quirky things about my country, even if rather over the top at times, but then a good laugh is a good laugh. The No. 31 Keeping It Real is the particular post that generated a storm of comments, more than 100 so far, many of them complaining about the awfulness of the Dutch. I needed a sedative after reading them all.

What to do?

Well, one summer, after having read another soul-scarring post, I was spending two weeks in Holland and I decided to pay special attention and see what happened while I was there. My American prince and our two daughters spent time visiting family and friends–in Amsterdam, in a couple of small towns up north, and in a village setting as well. We ate over half our meals in restaurants and had numerous cups of coffee and drinks in cafés, bars, and so forth. We had a rental car but also used public transportation (train, tram, bus and ferry).

Dutch village

Dutch village


Needless to say, I was very nervous about this experiment. What if I discovered I had been wrong and my people were a tribe of uncivil, ill-mannered jerks? Trust me, it took a lot of coffee and a lot of wine to fortify me for this research.

And guess what?

Courtesy and friendliness greeted us everywhere, I kid you not.

We chatted with friendly waitresses and waiters, talked to fun shop attendants and owners. We did this either with me talking Dutch, or with me posing as an American, which I can do real good, since I actually am one now (naturalized, if not born).

After paying for our drinks and food, we were invariable wished “nog een fijne dag” or a variant of it, which corresponds with “have a nice day.”

My man and I would look at each other and say, sheesh, I wonder why Dutch people are so unfriendly. It was becoming a joke.

Dutch terrace

National Dutch pastime: relaxing on a terrace.

How about this?

When asking a shop assistant for something in an Albert Heijn supermarket one day, the person walked me all the way over to the other side to show me where to find what I was looking for. In another store I couldn’t find what I needed and the assistant gave me directions to a place where I could, and he did it with a smile. All behavior apparently not normal according to what I had been reading. I visited two different government offices and dealt with civil servant clerks, a species much maligned in many countries. Both times the service was friendly and efficient.

I was getting really confused

Where were all these rude and unfriendly people I’d been reading about? Much as we tried, we couldn’t find anyone unhelpful or uncivil, whether I spoke Dutch or my husband spoke English. Whether right in Amsterdam, in other towns or in the country. We moved around a lot this trip, showing our American daughters around and visiting family and old friends.

On one of our last days there I had some business in a tax office in the town of Leeuwarden in the north. We parked our rental car, a black monster of a Volvo which we had to get at the Amsterdam airport in order to fit in the luggage of four people. Normally we get a small or medium size car to match our humble personalities, but this was all they had on offer that would fit all the stuff.

Lots of luggage

Okay, I’m kidding. This was not our luggage.


I had an appointment at 9 in the morning. After some initial paperwork, all done with a friendly civil servant (really), I needed to wait a bit more. My prince and I sat in the waiting area, along with several women.

Can you believe this?

A young man came striding in from the outside, glanced around and approached the two of us while holding out his phone, showing us a picture.

“Is this your car?” he asked in Dutch.

Indeed it was, a big black tank of a Volvo.

“The motor is running and it is unlocked,” he said. He had parked right next to it, he told us, and had noticed. He’d turned off the engine, and had gone in search of us.

My prince jumped to his feet. We were both flabbergasted. How had that happened?

The Volvo had a key system we’d not used before (at that time) where the key is a square thing you place in a slot and then you push a button above it to either start or stop the engine. We’d been in a bit of a hurry, and my man had taken the square thingamabob out but not pushed the button to stop the engine, which was probably the reason the car was not locked.

We thanked the guy profusely and my mate rushed out the door to lock the car.

“How did you find us?” I asked our Dutch hero. He explained it was his guess we were here in this office, and as he entered the waiting room he’d glanced around to see who might be the likely owner of the Volvo.

Oh, no . . .

And this is where it gets interesting, dear reader, because he picked me, profiling me. He gestured at the other women sitting on the other side of the room. All four of them wore sturdy sandals or walking shoes, practical Dutch foot wear. I’d worn the same sort of shoes for days as we’d cruised through Amsterdam. But not today. I was wearing strappy, low-heeled sandals adorned with frivolous beads and baubles, exposing my sexy blue toenails.

Unpractical shoes

Profiled! Volvo feet!

The man glanced down at my feet. “I saw your shoes, and I thought, that has to be the Volvo people.”

“It’s only a rental,” I said, somehow feeling I didn’t deserve to be profiled as a Volvo person.

We laughed, and as he turned to leave, I thanked him again for taking the time to find us.

My husband came back into the waiting room and sat down next to me. “I just can’t imagine why the Dutch are so rude and unfriendly,” he said.

* * *

What is your opinion of the Dutch? Or what surprises you about what foreigners say about your people?

Note: This is an updated post from several years ago. It got a good collection of comments.

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Hmmm, although I agree that there are plenty of friendly enough Dutch, after two and a half years of living here (again) I have a lot of rudeness examples. I think they are nice enough in general situations, but don’t dare to be different or awkward or they will tell you, out loud, (as no one here ever considers simply keeping their opinions to themselves), that you are wrong/ weird/ stupid/odd. You want to bring foreign x-ray photo’s into the hospital that are not compatible with their system – how dare you (imagine some very rude ‘uitlachen’ here). Your kids… Read more »

just to clarify, I don’t think the Dutch are necessarily more racist than others. It is just that they like to see themselves as very open minded and welcoming, and that, they are not. They are hard on anyone who doesn’t fit ‘in the box’ (hokjesgeest). Also, what might have influenced my views on Dutch racism has been our two+ years house renovation, and listening to builders complaining and making very racist remarks about ‘foreigners’ who take away their jobs. Dutch construction workers are right to worry about job security: in my experience foreign workers work harder, do better quality… Read more »


I go very often to the Netherlands. And my experience is pretty positief. In restaurant they are professional and friendly. I think it also depends a bit in what part of the country you are. The Netherlands is a small country bit there are big differences between the west part (de Randstad) or the east part. The east part is less populated and has a bit slower pace of life and I find people there are friendlier and more open to communicate.

An expat

I’ve moved to the Netherlands a few years ago. It started positive. Cute cities, people are nice and friendly, positive first encounters in Gemeente IND. But then almost from the day #1 strange things started to arise, especially with service companies: – internet, you have to wait for around 4 weeks (sic!) to get an internet in this country. I’ve also asked a few different questions via contact forms to get more information on tariffs and services provided. Still no answers. – plumbers, two guys came to fix a small issue and ripped us off for almost 400 euros (because… Read more »


I really enjoyed the few times I’ve been to Amsterdam. I’ve found the Dutch to be clear and mostly helpful. However, on several occasions there I encountered smart asses who talked to me like I was an idiot, at the airport and at my hotel. I also worked with Dutch people overseas. They were a mixed bunch. Like other people have experienced I found them somewhat reticent. A bit like the English. Nice enough when you get to know then, but quiet in the beginning. What I often noticed dealing with Dutch people was, how they talked to you as… Read more »


Dutch are cold, unfriendly and extremely rude. The are not direct, they talk behind your back without saying anything in your face. They are direct with each other but fully exclude foreigners while the country is filled with foreigners which due to the close nature of the culture have to form they own separate groups. The system is fully closed and they laugh at you if you want to enter it, Dutch have little patience even for their own language. This is the worst country anyone could ever choose to stay in longer than 3 days maximum. The Dutch are… Read more »


I have spent a good portion of the last seven years in The Netherlands, as my soon-to-be husband is Dutch and living here. I always found the people very pleasant and friendly. Interestingly, it wasn’t until I was permitted to stay here longer and started slowly building a life of my own in the past year that I began to feel like a complete outsider. When I’m with my fiancé, people tend to be much friendlier with me. When I’m on my own, I sometimes encounter friendly people, but more often than not, I get a cold reception. As an… Read more »


My husband got a job here in the Netherlands. We fell in love with Europe and everything it had to offer.. We had to navigate the ways of setting up a place to live. That was a challenge in itself. Then I started looking for a job. To this day I am being rejected as I can’t speak proper dutch. I have never felt this discriminated in my life. The funny part was dutch was not a requirement before for the job. I come from a country where racism and discrimination is in your face every living second. Moved to… Read more »

marcus kuhn

i am expat in netherlands and ive lived all over the world ..so far i find the dutch the most arrogant rude and small minded intolerant people i have encountered..you make rules about rules about rules and have no tolerance for individuality..you hate on each other by province and you have no culture ..in a few words i cant stand dutch people after a year and a half living with you word up


Thanks for the clarification! Sounds a bit like the Irish “feck” – which some folk mistake for a hibernicized form of the F-word expletive. Keep up the excellent work.


I’m very surprised at all the negative comments about Dutch people. I’d say they rank well above the European average in terms of friendliness. I agree with the contributor who says the women are generally much nicer than the men. I also agree that their queuing etiquette leaves a lot to be desired, and they are very, very aggressive cyclists – the cycle lanes are a joke, and might as well not exist. They’re also a bit jobsworthy – for instance the cops there make a big deal about jay-walking across empty streets – weird given the lawlessness of the… Read more »


Thanks for your very nice reply Miss Footloose – more proof of Dutch charm! In fairness I may have misconstrued a certain word I heard a lot in NL, that sounds very like the English F word – but may not be the equivalent.


We are expats living in Delft. My 12 years old daughter constantly complains that Dutch kids swear all the time, both in Dutch and English. To be clear that she got in VWO secondary school, as they call it “the cream top”, only after 6 months in group 8 basic school. My Dutch neighbor had party in the back yard on weekend from noon until 11:30pm. My children couldn’t fall asleep with excessive noise. Mhusband went outside asking them to quiet down a little as our 4 years old kept waking up. The first word came out of the man’s… Read more »


I find a lot of the Dutch that I meet in various parts of Europe to be cold, aloof people with a touch of superciliousness or arrogance – especially the women, who often appear to simply not give a sh*t – but not all, there are always exceptions. The men are better in general. But for sheer rudeness, nobody beats French tourists, especially Parisians. Germans on the other hand are often quite friendly, at least superficially.


I’m assuming your Germanic yourself, since that is a typical comment from your people.


My comment was probably too direct.
I thought dutch people like being direct and honest.


Dear anthocan I am a dutch and an expat In my guest country it took me quite a while to integrate, learn new ways and get the sort of job I was used to in my home country. I think many others have the same experience as they give the good jobs first to their own people. I don’t blame them We all accept, learn new ways of being and get on with it. Maybe it is the same in my home country. I don’t know but what I know is I lived there and there are a lot of… Read more »


Great comment, Anthocan. And you were lucky that it was published. These people minds are ruled by money. Hearts are cold….Souls empty.


@ missfootloose – where are you? What do you think about all this? @ marja – thanks for the politically correct answer!! Very funny! 🙂 @ Mario – All comments here will get published probably because of what I said: SEO purpose. That’s the whole point of this article in this blog. I wonder why missfootloose doesn’t reply. She would probably love to be rude with me (as most dutch people do when you think differently or confront them with facts that are tabu in NL) but she wont… it would only prove my point. She wont let that happen!… Read more »


Hi Miss Foot Loose, It’s a nice article. First of all it seems obvious to me that you’ve chosen to write an article about the subject after discovering how many hits and how many comments it already had on many other blogs and sites (SEO-strategic subject). The the question is: if dutch are really that friendly, why does so many people search for the keywords “unfriendly dutch” and related short and long term keywords? Why are all articles and posts related to this subject that hot? (I would appreciate your opinion about this) Maybe because they are all desperate and… Read more »


I loathe the Netherlands. Moving there was a huge mistake and I regret it but the situation is now very difficult to change in the short terms so I must suffer all the experiences that Jayne has talked about. The Dutch manner is cold, arrogant, lacking in empathy or any social niceties that turn a transactional/chance encounter into something pleasant. In fact I find myself having my days ruined by encounters in shops, with rudeness in the streets and in my Dutch colleagues who are unbending and inflexible, irrespective of the illogic of their actions. I find myself depressed by… Read more »


judging by the comments i’d say quite a few commentators think the Dutch are pretty unfriendly?


Where in The Netherlands do all you rich, upper-class, White people who are commenting that the Dutch are not rude, they are only direct, live? I am a Black (race) Highly-skilled immigrant who moved to The Netherlands on a Dutch-sponsored talent recruitment scheme, and have lived here for half a decade. I have 3 masters degrees and the NT2 Certificate in Dutch, and I have also lived in more than 5 other countries, 3 of which were not majority-English-speaking countries (English is my first language); and I have never met a breed of more snobbish, entitled, RUDE and XENOPHOBIC people… Read more »


You comment mimics my own experience. I absolutely agree with EVERYTHING you said. I havent even lived here as long as you have, but god… the things I have experienced so far! I am also a non white female, and let me tell you its true this society will never stop reminding you that (as if it was a crime to be non white). I am engaged to a Dutch man, recently we had to cut his family out of our lives, because of them being incredibly rude, insidious, controlling, demanding, plain crazy, dismissive, whinning, arrogant, disrespectful, entitled, boozy, racist… Read more »


I think the great misunderstanding is due to cultural differences. For instance, I am a Singaporean married to a Dutch man. Being very direct in my own culture, I found it easy to communicate with the Dutch and am also readily accepted in their circle. Conversely, now that we are both living in Canada, we are taken aback by the extreme friendliness of the North Americans. Although it’s nice to have smiley people asking you “how are you?” everywhere you go, we feel that it comes across as superficial because none of them are really interested in knowing how you… Read more »


Hello, 1st I would like to say that i appreciated your article… Well i came few months ago to the Netherlands (not Amsterdam) for work as a scientific researcher in the university (I’m a PhD holder in chemistry) and i can say that people in the street, shops etc where very friendly and for this point i totally agree with you and disagree with people who said the opposite. Beside, i generally don’t consider a single experience as a “rule” so if I’ll meet some one who’s “not nice” i don’t say that all the society is like this. But… Read more »


Good morning. I am an Australian living in Sydney and have never been to the Netherlands. My reason for visiting your lovely website is to try and understand why, in my many years of working and socializing with them, Dutch men are so extraordinarily obnoxious and Dutch women, the complete opposite. I notice that in most of the inputs above there is no gender differentiation which quite surprises me. I have seen a Dutch man being introduced to a lady at a school committee, slowly run his eyes from the top of her head to her feet then mumble a… Read more »


I think it really depends on the people. Some dutch are friendly, some aren’t, and in big cities like Amsterdam and The Hague there’re lots of foreigners living and working. Some dutch are also warm and gezellig, but I have to admit that they’re not really that warm or open of friendship especially with foreigners. It’s simply superficial and if you can’t get along with them then they won’t befriend you. However it also depends on where they’re from. At least in my case, the ‘city’ dutch are somehow more openminded than the ‘village’ dutch, who seem not to care… Read more »


Ohh to add, I’m also expat living in NL for over 5 years now, dutch husband, and speak fluent dutch. I really agree with comment regarding befriending with dutch. I too don’t have dutch friends, but have lots of expats friends, who apparently have the same opinion as mine that dutch people don’t befriend foreigners.


Totally unfriendly !! everywhere, shop, etc..
First country with this situation,


Kat M

Hi, I googled why are the Dutch so unfriendly, and this came up! We moved here for a better life than iin the UK. My husband is Dutch but we lived in the UK for 15 years. Here is better for the kids, safer, can play outside, more equal society. However I live in the suburb of Breda and without my club on international friends I would be without any contact at all! I find the mothers here very unfriendly at the school gates. My Dutch was minimal when we first came here, I tried to start conversation but not… Read more »

Neville (visitor from Downunder)

It is sad to say, but I have also found the Dutch to be one of the most unfriendly people that I have come across during my travels around Europe. There have been a very few exceptions to this, which is sad, as these people were very nice to us while we travelled in our motorhome. The feeling that you get while touring this pretty country, is that you are invading it and that they don’t really want visitors here. Our feelings now are that we can’t wait to leave here and go to a country that welcomes visitors. People… Read more »

colin shaw

I have lived in Holland most of my life but I’m still amazed at how rude the Dutch people are. Directness could be considered a virtue but the Dutch give their negative opinions without being asked ( gratuitously). Furthermore , the people are passively aggressive, walking , cycling driving towards you at high speed causing you to jump or veer to the side . They cycle walk drive directly across your path when they could easily go behind . When they see that you startled they have an ironic smile on their face. This is not a friendly trait! There… Read more »


Hi Karin, Of course I have a life here which I am perfectly satisfied with and do not think about the aforementioned things all the time, certainly not! However, hardly a day goes by here without something unpleasant happening: Thefts , Aggression ,Destruction of property . Crazy drivers trying to knock you down even on the sidewalk. I would have loved to return to Dubai where I was working in the 80’s but serious health issues prevented me from doing so. I also have most of my friends here. When I saw your blog I couldn’t contain myself and had… Read more »

I haven’t really been to Holland, but I have lived with and interacted with many Dutch people where I live. I also feel they can be quite rude, but I can see how a Dutch person wouldn’t notice it. It’s not about waiters not wishing you a nice day or people not saying thank you. It’s about this way the Dutch have of being very opinionated in a rather agressive manner. It’s fine to have opinions on stuff, I do too, but there are ways and ways of expressing them. Many Dutch people I have met have this way of… Read more »


The reason why they might perceive “niceness ” as being fake is because their own personalities are so unpleasant: hard , unfriendly having no empathy for anyone else’s problems . It is therefore beyond their understanding that there are other people in the world who are not cynical and self-centred. I am not a North American but if I had to choose between affable , easy-going, or truculent , self obsessed and bitchy, I know which I would rather have . Sometimes people’s lives cross for only a few minutes so why not make those few minutes pleasant? Constantly bleating… Read more »


I really have to agree with you, Colin. I am not North American either. Far from it. But I still have a general HUMAN radar for empathy. I don’t use many words when I speak, but I prefer for the few words I speak to build other people up rather than tear their sense of value and their inherent equality with myself – just as people – just for the sake of it. Somewhere along the way, the Dutch as a whole, missed this Memo.


Hey I’m Dutch so I try to make it clear for u all we aren’t very nice when Dutch people talk to Dutch people. And in stores and stuff work people who are lazy and rude we hate this too. If you go to Amsterdam there are not a lot Dutch people but a lot from other country’s, and I live in a village where everybudy know each other everybudy says goodmorning and yesterday I lost my phone a guy I haven’t spoken to in a year brought it back :). Everybudy I know is for the EU here and… Read more »


I am Greek and I have studied the Dutch language and currently I live in Belgium. I am fed up with the rude, blunt and uncivilised people who always call the service, they don’t know what the service is for and they are rude if they don’t hear that you are a native speaker. I am tired with the Dutch people at restaurants and shops in Holland asking “how do you come for holidays here? Do you have the money to afford it? Aren’t you supposed to bleed and have crisis? Direct does not mean rude and uncivilised. The Flemish… Read more »


Apparently you are the exception


I like the Dutch! Well I’ve been to Amsterdam and while at Schiphol Airport I’ve had people saying good morning to me even when I was not looking at them.


I’ve lived in several countries through profession and education but Netherlands would be one of the worst. People are unfriendly and rude. I saw it after living there about 7years. I felt so unwelcomed and had to leave. I returned to the Hague after almost 10years and I was surprised to see that nothing has changed. I took a tram to Scheveningen where my hotel was and the driver won’t accept my 50eur note and had to get down. I waited for the next tram and again a very unfriendly driver ask me to go to the bank to change… Read more »


miss footloose … when I was a tourist the service still stunk but people were very, very, friendly…. of course … tourists have pockets full of money… if they are American they tip nicely … the people you primarily deal with as a tourist LIVE FROM TOURISTS.
Two weeks vacation does not an expat make. You have tourists mixing with those who lived as expats, here. My expat experience was nothing like my treatment as a tourist. ❤


While not Dutch, My wife is Belgian from the north that speaks Dutch, so they share some traits w/the Dutch… She and her family are also very direct with their words. An American may say, “that’s an interesting idea, I understand where you are coming from, but have you considered how it could cause a problem?” but she would say, “your idea is stupid,” coldly and bluntly! We argue over my being offended by her words (or others being offended by her words) and she will say Americans use too many words and don’t say what they really want to… Read more »


I hate to be so blunt as to sound Dutch… but please tell your wife with all due respect that calling the ideas of others “stupid” is rude all over the globe. It’s very good way to find yourself marginalized. I suspect she’d very much dislike being fed a cookie of her own dough!


Well, I am an expat in the Netherlands. I think ppl are mixing 2 things together. What generated this argument is about the survey that ranked the Netherlands as least unfriendly to expats. Now that does not directly imply that the Dutch are rude ppl. But if the Dutch are not rude, it doesn’t mean that the survey is not true. For me I am very convinced that the Dutch are not rude on a general note but the form of the society is unfriendly to expats (that is the argument). The Dutch has to loosen up a little bit,… Read more »


Yep – witnessed and experienced myself that attitude (in the workplace) myself. However, I disagree with your comment about “the frustration with the system”. Compared to other countries the Dutch need a good dose of social etiquette and better taste for clothing. 😉


I lived in Holland for about 12 years. My dutch husband and I came to the USA in 2009. I’m sorry but yes, the service in resturaunts and cafes in Holland is absolutely horrible. How can you NOT notice your server never asking if the meal is to your liking, if they can get you anything. Or how about when you’d like another glass of wine and the server avoids your eye…. The Dutch are not rude per say … but you willingly accept a horrible level of service. I found this also in shops there, supermarkets the post office.… Read more »


I love the Dutch folk! Been loads in Holland (South), and can confidently say, the people there are polite and nice. Perfect Customer service, compared to the sour faced service by the Sour faced Belgians (they can learn loads from the Dutch on excellent customer service). Most Dutch are rather brash and straightforward(lacking the sharp, witty Asian sense of humour) and they won’t start chatting wt you if they don’t know you at a bar/cafe (like the Asians would), but they are still good, nice people. Heard, the Dutch in the North are kinda snobish and a little strange, but… Read more »

jean yves

i have been living in NL for a few years now, and i can say that the dutch are very friendly people in general, but being friends with them is nearly impossible(which is very different than just being friendly!) because they just don’t care about foreigners, even if you speak dutch you still be a foreigner.


this is very interesting and so are the comments. I think all commenters are right. It is a complicated matter. It’s not the best thing to judge another culture of communication negatively right away. As Carolyn commented, the rudeness factor is often compared to the service in America and if you do that, then it feels that everyone is rude. I lived in Brussels, Belgium for a while and I was comparing everything to America and soon I realized that was the wrong thing to do if I want any good relations. Being an anthropologist at heart, I knew that… Read more »

i suspect they mixed up the dutch and the danes. 🙂 this is an easy mistake, as both languages sound like a throat disease when spoken. 🙂 but also because i was once asked by an enterprise rental car customer service woman (in the US) whether i would be leaving the netherlands with the car i had just arranged to pick up in copenhagen.


Have never been to the Netherlands (although my father’s family came from there–I’m actually 1/2 Dutch!) but I also have never heard that they were rude. I’ve heard quite the opposite, in fact. Glad to hear that your experiences proved me right 🙂

[…] before I left for The Netherlands, Karen wrote a post about the famed bluntness of the Dutch being misconstrued as rudeness and unfriendliness. As a Nederlander, she was understandably […]

I told you I’d report back after my trip to The Netherlands, so here I am. I was a bit worried that maybe things had changed drastically since I was there last, but as usual, the Dutch were wonderful — kind, helpful, and polite. A full account (plus photos and video) is on my blog. NL rocks!


My boyfriend and I both have grown up in the United states and he studied in france last year and I had the fortune of going to visit him a few times. We visited Bruges, Belguim and he told me it was mostly Dutch. I felt that everyone there was absolutely pleasent, as well as everywhere else I have visited in Europe. I had heard before I went that people were rude in such and such place, but I think that comes with an attitude that you bring with and not learning about cultures before you go. My boyfriend knew… Read more »


Hmmm. I live here in NL and travel frequently around Europe. My experience is that Dutch people abroad are perceived as bad as Brits (my apologies if I offend anyone) in that they are bossy, rude, vociferous, demanding, cheap, and overall rude and annoying. As for here in NL is concerned, it’s how small personal space around oneself is as well as a lack of etiquette/manners that strikes me the most.


Um,I’m Italian and the vast majority of people here don’t think of neither if the Dutch nor the Brits. We find them polite and reserved and fun loving. Perhaps on the party islands like Ibiza is where you get the rude ones? Oersonay the country I find the most dislike for across Europe is France. I do find them abrasive and snooty.


I have witnessed their behavior first hand everywhere in Europe: Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy, to name a few. And of course not in “party places” but main stream tourist attractions/places. Just ask hotel or restaurant owners/bartenders etc. Of course they are not the vast majority of people in any given country. It’s the people who provide services to tourists that suffer the most.

I must admit that at times I will not acknowledge that I am Dutch if I see how they behave in other countries. Fortunately I have quite a strong British accent!

They also say the same thing of French police, but I have not had any problem at all. Perhaps because I speak French?

Wow, I’m genuinely shocked and amazed. I didn’t think people felt this way about the Dutch. Mind you, I naively thought the Brits were well thought of until we moved abroad. 😉 We know lots of Dutch people who holiday in Turkey and we sit with them all the time. Only a personal opinion but we always have a fab time and we always comment about how great the Dutch are. Well, any country that has great darts players is good in our book!! 🙂 We’re definitely members of the Dutch fan club.


Hello Karin, My Dutch hubby and I talk about this all the time, especially the customer service. We agree that the culture of customer service in Holland is just not the same as in America. American waiters live on their tips. American merchants also know that, in most cases, what they’re selling can be bought somewhere else, so the only thing that separates them from the competition is superior customer service. Dutch customer service is starting to go in that direction. I don’t think the Dutch are rude, unfriendly, etc. They’re not as warm as Italians or Americans but they… Read more »

An American (Latina) friend and I (American and white) spent a day and a half in Amsterdam on our way to Africa a few years ago. I really enjoyed Amsterdam because of how friendly and helpful all the locals were to us–although in the center of Amsterdam it seemed that many of the locals were recent immigrants from developing countries. And I’ve found generally, that people in many developing countries are friendly. In many passes through Schiopol (sp?) Airport, I’ve always found the Dutch employees to be so friendly and helpful. And when I fly on KLM out of Amsterdam,… Read more »

Great story. I think people mix up blunt for rude.

Another story that transports me back to Europe. You ask:
“Where were all these rude and unfriendly people I’d been reading about?”
Are they the ones we hear about in Paris perhaps?
When I return to Europe every summer, I think the people are becoming friendlier. The lady selling me a train ticket in Iver, Buckinghamshire, actually walked out of her booth to find me on the platform; she wanted to give me a train schedule for my trips to London and Reading. I thought that was so sweet of her.

Ok , but that was in England . Of course not all the English are friendly but they are brought up to be polite and don’t argue the toss with customers . It also has to be said that the customers are also generally politer than in the Netherlands so the silly discussions that occur in Dutch in shops and restaurants about who did what wrong etc) , are much rarer there. As are the endless discussions at the check out . With a huge line of people behind them, people here will debate for ages about whether something is… Read more »

I’ve never to Holland but I’ve met Dutch people who were extremely nice. Yes, they can be blunt and direct but that’s not rude.

I think there are rude individuals everywhere but one can’t label a whole country or culture because of them! In many cases, tourists are rude to locals and locals are rude back. Unfortunately, it’s them who get labelled as “rude”.

Joburg Expat

Perhaps they meant the Germans when talking about Dutch? Cause they can be rude (and Yes I’m allowed to say that being German myself). Like you, I sOmetimes pose as an American and invariably the service is more friendly. Don’t laugh, but I truly think it is the German language that’s to blame. Much harder to be rude in English. I haven’t been to Holland much so I can’t say, but I’ve come across tons of Dutch as they tend to be prolific travelers and I’ve always found them to be an outgoing and gregarious bunch, easy to joke with… Read more »

The dutch rude? What the… 😉 I hear that here sometines as well lol
I think the problem most of the time is that according to NZ people Dutch people are “confrontational” In my words “direct” Some people call that rude. I am direct at times but people here learned to accept that as they know it has nothing to do with rudeness.
So you were in Holland in July…..me too
So you went to Amsterdam in that time….me too
Maybe we passed each other lol

This is a blog I can relate to. My lens happens to be French by marriage and American South by birth & rearing. Over the years I’ve had many relations with Dutch people. I never found them to be rude. They are polite. They are very practical and helpful. The least attractive thing about of the Dutch (as I’ve known them) is a tendency to be cheap.

maggie myklebust

After living three years in the Netherlands, I have nothing but GOOD to say about the Dutch. I was always greeted kindly buy people in shops, neighbors and doctors…
If I had to complain about anything, it would be about the people on bicycles, who seem to own the roads. I never knew where they were coming from and always nervous I’d hit one.
I now live in Norway and people say they too are unfriendly. They really aren’t, they’re just a little reserved.

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