I have never paid a lot of attention to sleeping arrangements until I got a Dutch boyfriend. I’m from Austria, and the first time he came to visit me in my homeland, I prepared an extra blanket for him on the bed (just being a good girlfriend).
What I didn’t prepare for is that that a few hours later this would lead to conflict as I learnt the first time that it is apparently not normal to sleep under two different blankets as a couple. To my horror, I learnt that the norm in the Netherlands is to share a two-by-two metre blanket with your significant other?
This clashing of cultures led to an ongoing discussion and encouraged me to write this article. Let’s call it: the blanket battle!
The blanket battle: cultural differences
The cosy season has started again, the weather is grey, it is raining most of the time and you can’t help it but cuddle up in bed; it just feels like the right thing to do all day.
A trip to Austria is around the corner, and that means we get to sleep the way I like: with two blankets on one bed.
The general system goes like this: two same-sized duvets are folded in half and placed side-by-side on the bed. We don’t use top sheets. Sometimes people drape the third blanket across the duvets to prettify the bed.
This sleeping system is not unique to Austria. Germany and parts of Scandinavia also use this system.
The blanket battle: why the Dutch should do as the Austrians do and get two blankets
People think sharing one big blanket is romantic, warm, cuddly and comprises all other lovey-dovey adjectives you can think of. If you’re going to use this system, then you need to make sure the one blanket is enormous and stretches comfortably across the two of you.
But let’s be honest, this system is massively flawed because one blanket always leaves you vulnerable to the covers being ripped from you in the middle of the night. Or perhaps your partner purposely steals the covers from you to feel extra cosy.
It’s too much of a risk, and all these possibilities can be solved with the Austrian system. Having two smaller separate blankets ensures everybody can sleep peacefully and all your worries can dissipate.
The Austrian system also lets you sleep at your desired temperature. Too hot? No worries! Too cold? Also not a problem! I am usually too cold and my boyfriend is usually too warm. Is this an issue for sleeping? Not with the two-blanket system! He can put push his blanket away from his torso while I have the freedom to tuck mine up around my neck.
Collision of cultures: one blanket in the Netherlands but always two blankets in Austria
When I moved to the Netherlands, the issue had to be addressed. Because along with all my other luggage, I brought with me my new, two-meter big, amazing, fluffy, romantic blanket for the two of us!
One could argue that I could have just bought another blanket, one for in the Netherlands and keep this one in Austria, but to be honest, a proper blanket is quite expensive and being under the influence of Dutch frugality for quite a few years now, I didn’t want to spend some extra money on something that wasn’t necessary).
But it seemed like it wasn’t that easy and the next time we are staying over together in the Netherlands, we shared one big blanket. However, every time we travel back to Austria, we sleep under two blankets again, which leads to regular chats about it.
Funnily enough, when my Austrian friends visited me in the Netherlands and I give them one big blanket to sleep under, they consider it quite odd. They think it is impractical and don’t understand how we could sleep under just one blanket, because that is just “komisch” (weird).
Further investigation into this topic led to the fact that more Austrian couples sleep with two separate blankets while Dutch couples sleep under one. The part I like the most is that also here we combine our two cultures — in the Netherlands, we share a blanket, while in Austria we have two.
So now that I shared some bedroom information, I would like to know how weird it really is to have two blankets and what is the norm in your culture? Have I convinced you that two blankets is the best system? Let us know in the comments below!
Feature Image: Pixabay/Pexels