Bikes, Cycling, Dutch language, The Netherlands, Typically Dutch

5 Dutch Habits You Need to Adopt to Adapt

Living in the Netherlands means you’ll eventually take on Dutch habits. Here are five simple ways to adjust to Dutch life.

5 Dutch Habits You Need to Adopt to AdaptTalk Like the Dutch

The Dutch may have an excellent command of English, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attempt to speak Dutch. No one is saying it’s easy, but making an effort does count.

Muttering goedemorgen at your Dutch colleagues is a good start, although given the throat wrenching ‘g’ sound it may be safer to start with a simple dag.

Waving your hand next to your ear (comparable to Queen Elizabeth’s royal wave) and excitedly uttering lekker will get you through lunch (and any other food related appointment).

To close out the day, wave and say tot morgen to anyone you pass on your way out.

Travel Like the Dutch

When in the Netherlands one shall ride on two wheels. Get yourself a fiets (a bike) to step significantly closer to top level inburgering. Getting that bike stolen puts you yet another step closer.

Eat Like the Dutch

You may never have seen a frikandel, a bitterbal or a kipcorn before but it won’t be long before one of the three is placed before you. These are examples of Dutch snacks and really adapting involves sampling them. Don’t ask what they are made from.

You will also notice that the Dutch have a staple diet of potato (sometimes in the form of stamppot), veggies and some kind of meat. Go with it.

Pea soup, rookworst, stroopwafels, drop, raw herring, nasi or bami goreng, oliebollen: all things you should try at least once if you truly want to adapt. I confess I have skipped the raw herring. For more reasons than I can share here.

Further reading:

Weather it Like the Dutch

If you really want to get to grips with Dutch living then you need to become a bit of a weather buff. The Dutch love to talk about the weather (very similar to the Brits). It’s the koning topic of small talk.

I do actually know someone who talks of little else, but that’s thankfully not typical.

In the Netherlands you can witness every possible weather in one day so you have enough fodder to keep the conversation alive with any and every Dutch person you should happen upon.

Be Gezellig Like the Dutch

The Dutch like gezellig. They are good at gezellig; so good there isn’t really a way of translating it. It’s a feeling. It’s kind of cosy, but then warmer and cuddlier than that. Gezellig is as Dutch as it gets.

Note that there are Dutch people who wouldn’t know gezellig if it marched up to them and punched them in the neus. These people are strictly ongezellig. Don’t be like them. Don’t spend your time with these characters – look for the gezellig people and learn from them.

These are the people who know exactly how to spend a sunny day: gezellig on a terrace with friends and beverages.

These are the people who know that winter evenings are made gezellig by adding friends and candles.

These are the people who serve you coffee and cake when you visit for a gezellig chat.

Be that person.



4 thoughts on “5 Dutch Habits You Need to Adopt to Adapt”

  1. As a Dutchie living in foreign lands, I love reading your posts. I love things gezellig, which are not always easy to find in other countries (but Denmark does gezellig = hygge in spades). Today here in the south of France it’s a very ‘Dutch day’ with lots of rain and wind. So this morning I said to my (American) husband that we’d better make it gezellig in the house by turning on lamps, have something nice to go with coffee and stay at home, snuggle on the sofa, read books and enjoy a lazy day. Now if only I had some bitterballen to go with wine this evening…

    Liked by 1 person

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