5 typical Dutch habits you want to experience

The Netherlands, Holland, Amsterdam. Nope, it’s not all the same. One is the country, the other one is actually a province and the third one is our capital. And no, not everyone from the Netherlands lives in Amsterdam. When we say we speak Dutch, it doesn’t mean we’re from Germany. The Dutch know it, though: it’s all a little complicated.

To enlighten you all a little more on this peculiar country in the west of Europe, please get acquainted with some typical Dutch traditions and habits. If you’ve ever lived in the Netherlands or you’ve spent a significant amount of time with ‘Dutchies’, you’ll probably recognise or know about the following five habits.

1 Celebrate the King’s birthday in orange

 
 

The Dutch like to celebrate. They take any opportunity to party and have fun. Maybe one of the reasons why the Dutch festivals are considered to be one of the best in the world. But the King’s birthday is something else. The whole country dresses up in orange, the official color of the Dutch royal family and of the national soccer team. There’s music and festivities and streets are decorated with Dutch red-white-blue flags.

It’s probably one of the biggest festive days in the country and you definitely want to put it on your bucket list. Don't be mistaken, though. Some of you show up on the 30th of April, completely dressed in orange, ready to celebrate this special day with the Dutchies. But that was the old version, Queen’s Day. From 2014 onwards the Dutch celebrate King’s Day on the official birthday of the king, the 27th of April.

2 Coffee with cookies

 
 

The British have their high tea with crustless sandwiches, scones and sweets. Apfelstrudel, Kaiserschmarrn or Germknödel is what the Austrian’s are known for. But the Dutch have something really special to go with their afternoon cup of coffee. A cookie. Literally, just one. In many Dutch households you’ll get one cookie with your coffee and after that they put the koekjestrommel (biscuit tin) out of sight.

3 Crazy cyclists?

 
 

Dutchies cycle. A lot. One the one hand because it’s virtually impossible to drive a car in city traffic in Amsterdam or Rotterdam, and you don’t want to queue up in traffic jams every single day. But also because the Netherlands is flat and distances are relatively small, it’s just easy - and healthy - to cycle a lot. Funny cycling habits you’ll see is people carrying a friend or their child on the back of the bike. Also Dutchies refuse to wear helmets. If you see someone cycling with a helmet, it’s probably a tourist.

4 Chocolate for breakfast

 
 

A typical Dutch breakfast consists of bread with cheese. The Dutch definitely love their cheese. But what they probably love even more than cheese is chocolate. In all forms and shapes. Chocolate paste, hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles) and yes, they even put chocolate paste on peanut butter.

5 Three kisses on the cheek

 

The Dutch have an interesting Three Kiss rule. Greeting people with three kisses on the cheek is a common practice. They do it again to say goodbye. Generally, this only applies to close friends and family. But yes, the Dutch like to kiss a lot. This habit can become a bit awkward and uncomfortable when the Dutch meet other cultures. Some only give hand shakes, some only kiss once on the cheek, and some prefer to give a hug. But the Dutch generally insist on the three kisses.

Enough reasons to discover this beautiful country. Which of these traditions would you like to experience up close and personal?

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