The blanket battle in bed: is it time to learn from the Austrians?

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 (I mean, that’s what a good girlfriend does, right?).

What I didn’t prepare for, is that a few hours later this would lead to a conflict. Apparently, it’s not normal to sleep under two different blankets as a couple in the Netherlands. To my horror, I learnt that the norm here 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

In the Netherlands, where the weather is grey and rainy most of the time, sometimes you can’t help but spend your day cuddled up in a blanket. It just feels like the right thing to do. Now, are you going to be cuddled up in one giant blanket or two separate blankets?

The way it works in Austria is 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 system is also used in Germany and parts of Scandinavia.

blanket battle
The blanket battle: Two blankets for two people. It just makes sense, right? Image: markusthomasde/Pixabay

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. However, if you’re going to share a blanket with your significant other, you need to make sure the one blanket is enormous and stretches comfortably across the two of you.

In my opinion, the one-blanket system is massively flawed. One blanket always leaves the chance that your covers will be ripped from you in the middle of the night or that your partner will purposely steal them from you to feel extra cosy.

That’s just too much of a risk and all these problems can be easily 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’m 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 was moving to the Netherlands, this issue had to be addressed. In the spirit of truly immersing myself in the Dutch culture, 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 in the Netherlands and kept the original one in Austria. But to be honest, a proper blanket is quite expensive, and being under the influence of Dutch frugality, I didn’t want to spend some extra money on something that wasn’t necessary.

Funnily enough, when my Austrian friends visit 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 it’s just “komisch” (weird).

Have we convinced you that the two-blanket system is better? What is the norm in your culture? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: Pixabay/Pexels
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in October 2019, and was fully updated in May 2021 for your reading pleasure.

Marion Boigner
Marion Boigner
I was born and raised in Vienna, Austria and moved to the Netherlands out of love. I am working as a "German as a foreign language" as well as "English" teacher. My passion for languages helped me to learn Dutch easily and at the moment I am speaking all three languages throughout my days. Furthermore, I am living and enjoying the wonderful but crazy life of having two homes in two countries. This goes along with seeing the beauty of two worlds and broadening my horizon and point of view.

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What do you think?

  1. Ha ha I am Dutch and my husband is American and we live in America. We each have our own comforter and our own mattress too! It fits in a King size frame, I do cover the bed with a Nice bedspread so iT looks Nice. No more fights over Blankets, I like to sleep on a medium firm mattress and my hubby on a medium soft One.

  2. I actually use 2 blankets in summer and 1 blanket in winter with my fiancé. Since we don’t heat the bedroom I just glue myself to him in winter? Living in Austria ??

  3. I’m born and raised in the Netherlands and I never share a blanket with my significant other. Not even as a ‘poor student’. (around which time one of my relationships actually became to an end because of this; me being put in the ‘heart of stone’-corner, he put by me in the ‘if this is a deal breaker you’re insane’-corner) I think my parents have 2 duvets as well as does my brother. My sister ‘shares’ I think… I think it depends on your sleeping style and how much weight you give your ‘sleeping-style’ to define your relationship….

  4. We have seperate mattrasses and seperate duvets in the same bed. Although having sex can be a bit chilly sometimes; for some reason the gap between the two duvets is alway where I am. How do Austrians do that?

  5. come in Italy, we use one large blanket, and nothing in the summer (at least in the South…)… and guys we are already in the summer <.9

  6. I’m born and raised in the Netherlands and I never share a blanket, nowadays a duvet with my significant other. For my guests I have the choice the ery wide 240 by 220 double on a 210 by 180 double bed or two singles.

  7. As a dutch guy I don’t mind either sleeping style. As long it’s not close face to face I’m fine.(otherwise I think I don’t get enjoy oxygen and cant sleep)
    No partner currently. And having a 2 x 2 is nice if your alone. Specialy sins I tend to turn the bother end up in my sleep. No clue why

    Most exes wanted a 2×2 for cuddling in sleep.

  8. Hmm… Not convinced… This whole thing with 2 tiny blankets is weird. I end up getting cold every night anyway cause they blanket is too small. I prefer sharing a normal sized blanket and cuddling with my partner. Normal sized blanket for the win.

  9. We are sold! Having just completed a stay in Austria attending our dear friends Tyrolean wedding, we are immediately going to toss our giant “Cal King” duvet in favor of two “twin” duvets!

    Thanks for your article. We are leaving future blanket battles behind!

  10. Spent a few nights in an Austrian B. & B and hated not having a top sheet. Older women often get too hot at night with a down comforter. Plus the single comforters fall off too easily if you’re restless. Sorry but for me it was the most uncomfortable night I’ve ever spent.


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