Me, Myself and the Dutch!

Cultural differences in the Netherlands

People of different nationalities talk about their experience while studying in the Netherlands. Read some highlights from MeMyselfandtheDutch.com here:

Canada

After your arrival, what surprised you about the Netherlands?
The weather, dealing with all the rain! The fact that the Dutch truly do ride their bikes everywhere. I think also the parties that cultural events that are so large here like queen’s day and carnival.

Mexico

What kind of differences in foods did you experience compared to your own country?
The food is very different in the Netherlands and in my country. For example the people here, they do not eat spicy food, they take the breakfast something very light like: bread with cheese,ham. They eat a lot of vegetables. In México we eat a lot of tortillas, beans, spicy food, tacos, burritos, carne con chile, sopes, barbacoa, carnitas, soup but most of the time we mix it with chile, tortilla and beans. I would like to say that here, in the Netherlands is very common to find fries, frinkandel, bolibaal, cold fish, these food are very typical from the Netherlands.

Austria

Did you experience any differences in rules about dating or relationships?
Haha yes!!! Dutch guys cannot flirt!! They are really cute but they cannot flirt sorry guys…. If you’re on a party or in a bar in Austria as a girl and standing there for just 5 min. alone then the men will stick on you like flies – in Breda that never happened. really strange. They seem to be really shy when it comes to showing attraction to the other gender. So far I did not see people making out with each other on parties. One exchange student took the chance to kiss a boy she got to know at a party and the day after everybody was giggling in school when she rushed by and they even assumed that she did that because she wanted to attract interest and being famous then. The Dutch students could not imagine she did that because she liked this guy… Moreover it is really difficult to notice if someone is attracted to you, because he/she would never tell you directly. Another friend, Dutch by the way, told me she is writing sms with this cute guy, but in school and also face-to-face they pretend to not knowing each other. This demonstrates the very difference to my home country where you really have to be “afraid” of a boy “falling in love” with you, because he will follow you, beg you and will not get his eyes (and hands) off of you anymore. But maybe these are just 2 examples which do not show reality. Anyway I got to know my boyfriend here – so there must be something Dutch guys do right. Maybe their shyness is calculation ;-)

USA

What do you think of the Dutch people?
I think that Dutch people are really nice I just do not like the fact that they are so straight forwarded. I have big problem with people judging people before you actually know them. I used to do this but I did not like it when someone did it to me so now I will get to know someone before I decided that I do not like them.

What kind of advice would you give to new exchange students?
The only advice that I can give to future students is come out your shell and get to know people. There are many people that are studying here right now that do want to take the time to get to know new people and would rather talk to the people that they know from their country. If you want to do this than it is not worth studying aboard, this is supposed to be a life changing experience and giving you a chance to get a idea of how things are outside of you own country.

France

If you had to make a choice again, would you choose to study in the Netherlands again? Why or why not?
For me Netherlands is a country where all nationalities are gathering. Most are German and you can see the differences in the work of a German, a Dutch or a French. But it is nice. If I had to make a choice, I preferred to go to Netherlands than France.

Bulgaria

After your arrival, what surprised you about the Netherlands?
It might sound strange, but what really surprised me was the fact that there are no curtains on the windows of the houses, so one can see everything inside. Moreover the fact that everybody is using bicycles as a mean of transport, even old people and parents with small children.

Latvia

What is the difference in communicating with teachers compared to your own culture?
Back home teachers dress formal, talk formal and for a student it is not that comfortable to communicate with them because you always have to think how to say thinks so it sounds polite and formal. In the end it makes a communication unnatural. Here you are at the same level as the teachers are, with that I mean you can talk with a teacher easily, they are open - minded, they dress informal and the atmosphere is more natural and free.

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Other comments

  • Mose, 12 April 2012 Reply

    Dutchmen — reticent but worth it!

    I've been talking to a number of expat women in Amsterdam about the changes they have to make if they want to bag a Dutch guy. Mostly it's about being more forward, being unafraid to make the first move — and being willing to tolerate their insanely lame attempts at flirting: http://www.tipsypilgrim.com/blog/you-should-be-banging-more-dutchmen-heres-how.html
    Hope this helps some folks!