Dutch, Family, Netherlands, Work life balance

Papa Day and Quashing A Myth About Dutch Workers

Play Day
Photo: (c) The Writing Well 

Today is ‘papa day’ in our house. Every other Wednesday my husband doesn’t go to work. Instead he stays home to spend time with the kids and we make it a family day. We try not to let errands and obligations take over this day (which tends to happen at the weekend) and concentrate on playing with the kids, or taking them out for the day. Today has just been about spending time with them. Lots of creating with Duplo, playing ‘shops’ and spending some time in the local library.

This is quite a common thing in the Netherlands – I regularly hear ‘papa dag’ and it seems to work. The Dutch are masters at balancing work and family life. I have seen recent criticism from expats here that the Dutch are bordering on lazy and are barely in work. Fact is many Dutch breadwinners are in work before most of us have been woken by the irritating tones of the alarm clock. By lunchtime they have put it the bulk of their daily hours so when they leave the office at 4pm laziness and work shy don’t come in to the equation.

In fact, the Dutch must be doing something right because in terms of work productivity they rate as one of the highest in the EU. And this whilst working fewer hours per week than most other countries. In happiness studies and surveys the Dutch tend to come out rather well, be it in the home or in the workplace. Yes, I think the Dutch really are doing something right.

So, maybe somewhere in there there is a lesson for employees in other countries…….

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