7 things that the Dutch kind of suck at

We’ve brought you a list of what the Dutch are great at and why the Dutch are so happy. As a result, we decided to ask what our DutchReview readers think the Dutch suck at.

If you’re tempted to grab your pitchforks in anger, don’t shoot the messenger. πŸ˜‰ Here are 7 things the Dutch kind of suck at, with love from our readers.

1. Being polite (keeping in their opinion)

The Dutch don’t say sorry, and they can be incredibly direct in broadcasting their thoughts. So, do the Dutch suck at being polite by being too direct? Probably. Sometimes it can come across as rude and unnecessary.

However, this is coming from a Brit who wouldn’t dare even slightly imply criticism. But sometimes it would be good to tone it down a bit β€” some of us have delicate little feelings. πŸ˜‰

The Dutch are never subtle about their opinions. Image: Jelleke Vanooteghem/Unsplash 

2. Queuing

Some of us love a good queue β€” especially the Brits. It gets stuff done systematically and sometimes, even, swiftly. The Dutch, however, don’t always like to queue. Especially when things such as public transport come into play. Hell, no way are they queuing for that β€” it’s a free-for-all. You force your way in.

It could be worse though, we could be in Germany β€” where queues don’t seem to exist at all. (Sorry, no shade to Germany).

3. Birthday parties

If you’ve ever been to a Dutch birthday party, you’ll know why this one is on the list. The awkward circle of death that greets you as soon as you walk in the door… do I have to? Of course you do, and it’s bloody awful too.

Parties also tend to finish early and stick to a strict schedule. There’s no room for spontaneity in a Dutch birthday party and it would be rude to ruin their carefully planned schedule β€” lighten up Dutchies. πŸ˜‰

celebrating your child's birthday in the Netherlands
Imagine walking into a party where everyone is sitting in a circle staring at you? Image: AlainAudet/Pixabay

4. Having a variety of gourmet food

A lot of people complain that Dutch cuisine is almost non-existent. If you’re after a bite, there’s a lot of food is fried β€” especially if you go out for food.

Of course, gourmet food does exist, but it is few and far between in contrast to some other countries. Maybe it’s because the Dutch are renowned for not splashing the cash? Who knows… but it’s never a bad thing to gourmet! Maybe we should add more delicious delicacies to our lives.

FEBO_NL_Lars Plougmann_Flickr
That ever giving wall of delicious fried delicacies β€” but it’s not quite gourmet. Image: Lars Ploughmann/Flickr/CC2.0.

5. Supermarkets

Anyone who has ever lived in another country will know that most Dutch supermarkets are tiny! In some shops, the variety isn’t great, meaning what could easily be one shopping trip becomes three separate shops.

American’s, especially, are used to superstores: everything under one roof and cheap as chips. A lot of people also complain about the huge amounts of little shops (like Albert Heijn To-Go), which sell items at ridiculous prices. Thank the lord for Aldi and Lidl β€” even though they’re few and far between.

6. Driving and parking

Okay, so admittedly there are many countries out there that are far worse β€” but there are whole Reddit threads and Twitter accounts dedicated to the driving and parking skills of Dutchies.

The fact the car insurance prices rise so often β€” due to the number of claims, so they say β€” is a good indication too.

Parking is always a funny one because it’s almost as if people pull into a space and go “ah, that’ll do,” even though they’re somehow blocking two spaces.

At the gym, on a number of occasions, notices were given out to customers to tell them to park properly. The car parks were filling up because people were taking up two or more spaces and parking terribly. Not great when there is a shortage of parking overall.

7. Telling the world that the Netherlands is “not just Amsterdam”

The Netherlands has so much to shout about. It’s not all about Amsterdam and we should all embrace that and shout it from the rooftops! Naturally, Amsterdam is going to be the most heard of, and of course, it’s got a lot going for it. After all, it is the capital city. However, it is never spoken about enough.

We’re probably all guilty of talking too much about Amsterdam in the past. Heck, many foreigners think the Netherlands is Amsterdam.β€” but we’ve changed this now, don’t worry.

Okay, so Amsterdam is amazing, but the other places are pretty great too. Image: neshom/Pixabay

What do you think the Dutch suck at? Did we leave anything out? Let us know in the comments!

Feature Image: Shane Rounce/Unsplash

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in April 2018, and was fully updated in September 2021 for your reading pleasure.Β 

Emma Brown
A familiar face at DutchRevew. Emma arrived in Holland in 2016 for a few weeks, fell in love with the place and never left. Here she rekindled her love of writing and travelling. Now you'll find her eating stroopwafels in the DutchReview office since 2017.

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  1. Thanks for the interesting article

    I’d add that Dutch people are SO loud specially in the trains

    • Ever been on a train or bus in another country? Like, for instance, Spain?
      Not that loud in the Netherlands of compared…

      • LOL. Nope, I find trains in Spain much quieter than trains in NL. This one of the many reasons I finally left the country!!! It is so much more civilized in Spain. Pretty much everywhere else I’ve traveled on trains it’s been quieter than NL.

        I miss NL, but I’m glad I moved to Spain, life is more normal here. Everything in NL is affected by the lack of space/overcrowding: trains, supermarkets, etc.

    • You haven’t been on a plane with Swiss people. I think – before telephone – they had to shout from one valley to the other and they kept this habit…..

    • I have seen German tourists on several occasions in my country speaking aloud too. Apparently, it is epidemic everywhere in continental Europe! (Italians excluded?!)
      I am an stranger in the Strangerland but only Brits, I presume, do not yell when they talk to you or to each other! Is that so?

    • Totally agree, the Dutch are far more undisciplined, rude, loud and unruly compared to other European countries commonly considered more.. “chaotic”.
      The fact that everything is super tiny makes it even more horrible.

      • God you should hear the 4 different Dutch neighbors we have… their *normal* speaking voice is louder than my shouting… us expats in the ‘hood have discovered that it must be developed through the Dutch idea of “the louder it’s said the more right it must be” (corresponding to the Dutch philosophy of “I think therefore I’m right”).

        They’ll stand on their balcony until 4am or later at this high level and we’re unable to sleep… continuous asking them to quiet it to a normal speaking doesn’t do a thing (though for a Dutch person knowing they’re bringing you down lifts them up :/). Fortunately as an engineer I’m building a dB and voice recorder that will post their conversations (e.g. about how good their cocaine is) and the decibel level in our bedroom to a website. Then I’ll give the the link and let them know I’ll be complaining to the city with this evidence… oh and also building a narrow focus transmitter that’ll totally mess-up their Wifi in their house for the hell of it….

        • Yeah it looks like that the culture is the less you care about others the better in here..I feel your pain with your neighbors.. I have horrible ones too.. but at this point I think it’s unavoidable in the NL..

          • i think this has a looot to do with where you live in nl tho…. i lived in the south limburg and brabant for 5 years and never had any problems with my dutch neighbours!

  2. I must say, that I agree on certain things. but about the food that is totally ridiculous, there is a wide variety of foods, even at Albert Heyn. and there are Tokos everywhere, that sells delicious snacks.
    and I do not know what kind of people the writer of this article associate with, but when I was growing up my parents gave a lot of parties, my mom cooked for days, and the rug would be rolled up and my parents and their friends would dancing, and when I was teenager I had house parties and I went to house parties all the time, and we danced the night away on these parties. I guess, the Dutch have become boring people, in my absence from my country. No more swinging house parties, I live in California now, and we still have parties, with lots of food and live music and dancing, maybe because I am part Indonesian and I stick to the Indo culture, every party is with tons of food, and dancing on live music. And there are tons of snacks, just to name a few smoked eel, kroketten, loempia, pasteitjes etc etc.