Would you offer your guests dinner? Dutchies don’t, and the internet is mad (!)

'Doei', it's dinnertime! 👋

How likely are people in the Netherlands to serve food to their guests? This simple map took Twitter by storm, and people. are. not. happy.

From friendly competition in Eurovision, to some of the worst wars in the history of humanity — Europe is a continent well-known for its rivalry. 

So of course the Internet blew up after an amateur historian tried explaining European hospitality norms! 

The map of truth 

The map, accompanied by a long-ass thread of semi-well-informed historical analysis of hospitality norms, supposedly shows that northern Europeans are wayy less likely to offer their guests food than southerners.

The scale, going from “almost always” to “very unlikely” has offended many a Scandinavian, shocked many an Italian, and provoked many a historian. 

The Netherlands is steadily grounded on the “very unlikely” end of the scale, and lots of Tweeters recognised the trend: 

Some even offering their own interpretations of the weird behaviour, suggesting that the inhospitable Dutch habits stem from their obsession with being efficient and organised:

That being said, there’s enough people disagreeing too: 

From hospitality to violence, and other interesting ideas 

Look, I’m from Norway, and I’ve been living in the Netherlands for almost three years now, and I can tell you that the map is at least a little bit true. 

I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve visited a Dutchie (or a Norwegian for that matter), and seen them slap their thighs with that characteristic “*sigh* well…”, before standing up and indirectly ushering me out of the door.

It typically happens sometime between 16:30 and 18:30 — the Dutch like to eat early

READ MORE | This expat’s TikToks about weird Dutch habits went viral (because they’re relatable AF!)

But why? Isn’t it just nice and gezellig to eat together with your guests?

Well, first of all, not always. Northerners are very private people. Second of all, there miiiight be a historical reason explaining the behaviour. 

According to the amateur historian on Twitter, people from Northern Germanic cultures (used to) consider serving someone food a sign of superiority, or in other words; if you’re being served food, you’re indebted to whoever serves you. 

Debt (used to) bring about violence and force, which the Protestant church didn’t like.

READ MORE | 7 reasons the Dutch don’t do debt

So, in their attempt to make society more egalitarian, more individualistic, less debt and status focused, and most importantly; less violent, northern societies supposedly stopped offering their guests food when they came over. 

True or false? 

I agree, it sounds like quite a stretch. I’ve always just assumed the habit was a random northern quirk that found steady footing in the fact that it’s pretty convenient. 

After all, the Dutch are known for being extremely stingy, sending Tikkies for virtually nothing, and being very honest and direct

It’s believable on its own just to say that they like kicking guests out before dinner, without dragging out a whole semi-correct historical explanation to prove it. 🤷‍♀️

What do you think of the viral hospitality map? Funny, shocking, or offensive? Tell us in the comments!

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Juni Moltubak
Juni Moltubak
Juni moved to the Netherlands after realizing how expensive tuition fees in the UK are, and never regretted her choice of studying in The Hague. After three years of Political Science, she is ready for a new adventure — an internship at DutchReview! When you don’t see her typing on her laptop she can be found strolling around Haagse Bos or sitting in her lovely garden scrolling through interior design TikToks.

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What do you think?

11 COMMENTS

  1. I disagree strongly. I’m Dutch and in our house our friends are always welcome any time ! We share all food and drinks that we have. That’s is what I was taught. So my friends never ever leave hungry or thirsty for that matter, I feed them until I’m sure that no one is hungry anymore.

  2. Its not only with the Dutch, I do know Asian people in the Netherlands who make you pay for food and drinks consumed in their house even when you are formally invited! Both partners have very good jobs so I think its simply the stinginess .

  3. I don’t believe this to be a true representation of Dutch people and their culture. It wasn’t like that in my family.

  4. I disagree also. It’s kind of rude to walk-in just before dinner time and think you can just pull up a chair. If anyone wants to come over around dinner time just let them know on time so they can plan. It makes a big difference to cook for 2 or more people. People are always welcome at my table as I know they are coming and then I will make a extra effort too.

  5. Older Dutch folks, now at aged 65 onwards, as I observed are extremely strict in following this – yes, if you are their visitor, and it’s nearly dinner time, you are sure to be kicked-out!
    Younger generations aren’t so anymore.
    The infamous practice is dying out.

  6. What utter crap! Really I feel very VERY offended. The Dutch people are probably experienced as “rude” in their non stop direct unasked aired views on things and yes they probably always want to have the last word, but really they are not stingy or as described, un -inviting. The saying: ” eet je een hapje mee” of ” Blijf je eten” of “zullen we een bordje bij schuiven” are deeply enbedded in dutch culture. It ‘s probably aomeone’s own attitude that makes the gastvrouw push someone over the threshold away from her gezellige eettafel. It is a thing of the day, that people love to criticize other country’s traditions. Just feel welcome, than you are always welcome. Nevwr expect we say in Holland, but always be hopefull.
    I hope you have a most wonderfull time in the Netherlands, whenever you are visiting. And if you are lucky enough to be living here, feel welcome, because you are.

  7. I’m Dutch, born and raised, and I recognize this from my childhood in the 70s and 80s. It was never stingyness through. As we were a meat-potato-veg country then, there were exactly 4 sausages for a family of 4. It’s a planning issue I guess.
    But a lot has changed since then. In our diet and in our culture. But dropping by unannounced around dinner time is still very uncommon.

  8. Not always. My father, like so many Dutch, was born and raised in Indonesia. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, went without food in our house. The first question asked when people visited was “Have you eaten?”. And that is still the first question I ask.

    • That’s the thing you ask people if they have eaten to bring them something! In other cultures people automatically bring something for their guests. I mean when someone comes to our home we ask what do you want to drink instead of have you eaten!!

  9. They don’t invite, cos food means spending money. Local culture, nothing to comment about it. They don’t have to offer food just as much as a foreigner doesn’t have to integrate. Different views which should not be an issue.
    But yeah, it’s cheap 😀

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