All humans have a tendency to be quite revolting sometimes — but we’re only here to point out some of the common gross things you’ve probably witnessed (or done yourself) in the Netherlands.
This article is not an attempt to call EVERY Dutchie or to generalise Dutch culture as gross, but we’ve witnessed these actions often enough for them to earn a solid place on this comedic list. 💁
Fair warning ⚠️— we highly recommend reading this list after your stamppot. 🤢
1. Spit everywhere
Oh, all the spitting I’ve seen. It happens quickly and when you least expect it. During a stroll along a beautiful Amsterdam canal, at a train station where a group of jongeren practice their aim on the tracks, or as soon as the person in front of you gets off the bus.
In short: check for mucus before you decide to romanticise your life and sit on a picturesque Dutch street.
2. Eat drop
Ever heard of drop? Well, how about liquorice? I’ve been warned by children on the internet who hate it and noticed that the Dutch have a variety of drops sold in the market, but isn’t the idea of salty black liquorice alone scary enough?
Well, Dutchies love drop — as a matter of fact, they love it so much that we’ve made a whole guide to Dutch drop, so it’s as important as it is odd.
3. Pick their nose in public
A Dutch sport practised by royals while attending the Olympics — ahem — King Willem-Alexander. A hygiene survey on the popularity of this habit in the Netherlands showed that 90% of Dutch people pick their noses from time to time, and 10% eat what they’ve found! 🤮
4. Swallow live goldfish
The 1939 trend of gulping down live goldfish took many forms over the years in the Netherlands. From winning bets to simply pulling stunts in public, it’s a gross thing, either way, so please don’t harm any goldfish for €€. 🐠
5. Place urinals on the streets
If you’ve never seen a Dutch public urinal, let me paint you a picture of the situation: they’re curled in shape, made of iron or stone, and are raised just enough for you to make shameful eye contact with the user while seeing their pee splash on the floor below — enough said but here’s a photo anyway.
6. Inspect their poep
Speaking of Dutch bathrooms, have you noticed a shelf in your toilet? This is called an inspection shelf, an examination shelf, or a plateau toilet — it goes by different names.
The design dates back to many moons ago where, in theory, the short shelf in the bowl allows for the examination of any (ahem) abnormalities in your💩 before flushing.
7. Eat herring
It’s a daring tourists’ favourite, a 15th-century Dutch tradition, and is on the list of Dutch foods to try. Aside from the fish being eaten raw with liver and pancreas untouched, the method itself contributes to the speciality of this one.
Traditionally, after being salted and dipped in onion, the herring is held by the tail, hung over the mouth, and munched from below. FYI, there’s also a herring ice-cream flavour in the Netherlands — we felt you should know. 🍨
8. Lick their fingers and utensils
Even KFC dropped their Finger-Lickin’ Good cheer due to a hygiene-related pandemic, but the Dutchies sure haven’t. Finger licking, followed by a spoon lick, then back into the family-sized pindakaas jar. Shared saliva, lekker. 😍
9. Eat filet Americain
Ironically, it’s one way to die in the Netherlands. This Dutch delicacy, in a nutshell, is an unappealing raw meat spread that goes on bread, crackers, or can be combined with some uncooked onions and/or boiled egg.
You may encounter this monstrosity of a dish at a Dutch lunch or as a party appetiser. 🍞
10. Wash your hands? Never heard of it
Goes hand in hand with the finger-licking — no pun intended. Dutchies not washing their hands is, unfortunately, tied to the visitation of a certain room or space. 🚾
11. Wear outside shoes inside the house
Clogs or no-clogs, I think we can all agree on the foul things that can hang from the bottom of outside shoes — yet the Dutch don’t really differentiate between outside and inside shoes at all.
Concepts such as taking off your shoes when visiting a guest or switching to inside slippers when coming back home are simply non-existent in the Dutch cultural dictionary. 👞
There you have it! All the gooey, green, and gross habits the Dutch do. 🤢 At least we hope that’s all…
Got any other gross Dutch habits? Tell us in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in October 2021 and was fully updated in September 2023 for your reading pleasure.