After living in a certain place for long enough, you often start catching yourself becoming one with the people and the culture.
How do I know this? Because I’ve come to the point where I started considering plain bread with a slice of cheese a decent meal — a lekker broodje met kaas!
Okay, let me paraphrase: after living in the Netherlands for almost four years, I’ve become a little Dutch — maybe even more Dutch than some Dutchies themselves.
Or, as my roommate likes to call it, I’ve been “Dutchified”.
Many things have changed over the years, including me, but my soft spot for this charming country has stayed the same (despite its questionable food culture, extremely moody weather and high taxes).
How do I know that I have been Dutchified? There are some telltale signs, and today, we’ll be going through them all. 👇
How to tell if you’ve been Dutchified
Living in the Netherlands is an adventure on its own, and sometimes, without even realising it, you start embracing the Dutch way of life.
I have been collecting these 14 signs of Dutchness for some time now, to ensure that both quality and accuracy are on point — and whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned expat, I am sure this article will make you giggle.
You can thank me later. 😉
1. You’ve given up on umbrellas
It’s no secret that the Netherlands is a wet country — so naturally, how you handle rain is a dead giveaway on your degree of Dutchness.
If you’ve successfully been Dutchified, you have ditched the umbrella and started accepting the defeat by wind and rain.
READ MORE | Why does it rain so much in the Netherlands?
You’re now rocking the natural look, with raindrops gently (and sometimes not so gently) rolling down your face and taking care of your daily hairstyle.
Does it look good? Not really. But do you care? Nah.
2. You’re zen with Dutch directness
Okay, let’s be real: we have all faced the infamous Dutch directness at some point in the Netherlands.
But as you become Dutchified, you just get used to it at some point, and you stop taking everything your Dutch friends say personally. It’s not just liberating, but it also marks the exact moment you unlock a new level of Dutchness. Gefeliciteerd! 🇳🇱
Coming from Bulgaria, where people tend to be quite upfront too, yet in a more polite way — I also needed some time to get used to the direct ways of the Dutch.
That being said, I still agree that sometimes Dutch directness is quite unfiltered and lacks some general social manners. 👀 But, to my lovely Dutchies, I still like you — alles goed.
3. You’ve become used to the fact that churches and prisons don’t always serve their intended purpose
For whatever reason, the Dutch just seem to love doing some not-so-holy things in holy places.
If you have lived in the Netherlands long enough, you might have noticed that churches are used in some creative ways here.
From student halls to gyms, party places and art galleries: you name it, the Dutch have done it. Fun fact: my current workplace is actually located inside a church.
Oh, and let’s not forget the prisons turned into escape rooms and student dorms!
Those are the moments in which you get reminded about the ingenuity and practicality of Dutch people.
4. You’re lost without your planner
Another rite of passage in your Dutchification is buying your first physical planner or agenda. (Bonus points if you got it from HEMA.)
Once you notice yourself falling into a routine, be it at work or home, you’ll find yourself sticking to a strict schedule and noting everything down in your handy-dandy agenda.
Catchups with friends? You now plan it a week or two in advance. Spontaneity? It’s dead.
5. You know (and secretly love) your Dutch music
This one is quite specific, but it’s certainly true. You might even have a dedicated playlist with your favourite Dutch songs on your Spotify.
And yes, your knowledge of Nederlandse muziek goes beyond the basics like Drank and Drugs.
Instead, your playlist features questionable (but catchy!) Dutch bops like Broodje van Kootje and Guus Meeuwis’ Het is Een Nacht. And, not to forget, you can sing along to all of them. 🎤
6. You would sell your soul for a 1+1 deal
I may have gone too far with this one, but let me put it another way: you get heel excited when you see signs that say actie, korting, or op = op.
… Maybe a bit too excited, but hey, that just means you’re being smart with your money.
Shoutout to the Dutchies for that!
7. Sun’s up, and so is your mood
Have you ever seen a Dutch person sit on a park bench, head tilted back up, and soaking up the sun rays? Yup, if you’ve been Dutchified, you’ve caught yourself doing that too.
It doesn’t matter if it’s only 14 degrees Celsius outside; the sun is out, and you know that means: buns out.
Okay, not literally, but you put on a T-shirt and tend to forget about the existence of a jacket. Oh, and you feel happy for the first time in weeks.
8. You want your bike to look as ugly as possible
I’m speaking from experience on this one.
As someone whose bike has been stolen multiple times — which may or may not have had to do with the fact that it was parked in front of a student house — I have quickly learned that the less appealing to the eye, the better the bike.
9. You get used to seeing people carrying fridges on their bikes
I will leave this as it is.
The first time you see a Dutchie transport outrageously big things on their bike you’re impressed. After a few years, you’re still very impressed — but also used to it.
They could certainly find an easier way of transporting furniture and large appliances, yet I’m fascinated by their creativity.
10. You have acquired some questionable but decent Dutch language proficiency
Once you’ve been in the Netherlands long enough, you’ll find that you have reached that Dutch level that can’t be labelled with a particular proficiency level.
It’s good enough to jump into conversations and make people nervous, but not quite enough to be considered fluent.
That being said, it’s a great way to soften Dutchies’ hearts (a very hard task)! Just spill some Dutch phrases into the conversation, greet them, wish them a nice day, complain about the weather, add -je to the end of words — you know the drill.
Another thing you find yourself doing is including random Dutch words in your sentences, just like the Dutchies tend to do with English.
And last but not least, you have acquired enough curse words to be able to tell when a stranger is, well, mad. I may or may not have crossed a motorbike’s path some time ago, and I definitely got to expand my curse word dictionary, so um, thank you, random guy.
11. You know how to scare a Dutchie
Alright, now we’re entering the spicy area.
From my experience, there are few ways to freak out a Dutch person. I’m not sure when or how you will need to know about them, but see it as a friendly gesture that I’m telling you.
For example, you could tell them you like Brinta (a brand of porridge) with feta cheese, or better, yoghurt with hagelslag. Dutchies will be shocked, but let me tell you: both taste great and have even been approved by my Dutch friends!
Some other ways to scare a Dutch person include:
- Using a credit card
- Being as direct as they are
- Closing your curtains
- Mentioning the existence of mountains
- Jumping into a conversation that you only half-understand
- Paying them a surprise visit
12. You have written a poem for Sinterklaas at least once
As a Dutchified international, you now get excited about pepernoten and Sinterklaas, even more than the Dutch themselves sometimes (apparently, they think it’s not that cool if you’re not a kid?).
You have written a poem for Sinterklaas once or twice, and yes, you know the debate around Zwarte Piet.
13. You start to differentiate between provinces’ accents
You know you have been Dutchified when you start being able to tell the difference between different Dutch accents.
You can tell by the softness or the lack thereof, the emphasis on the ‘g’ sound and more.
From Limburg to Friesland, even Noord Brabant, you always know who you’re talking to. The first time I noticed this, I felt that weird feeling of accomplishment, accompanied by an odd sense of power.
14. Your food choices become questionable
Coming from a family with an appreciation for international cuisine and a (dare I say) exquisite taste in food, I have now earned my family’s medal of the black sheep.
Somehow in between plain boterhammen and bitterballen, salt and pepper became the go-to spices in my menu. Is that bad? Not necessarily, but it’s bland — especially considering the Dutch’s trading history.
Also, bread with cheese and nothing else doesn’t sound too bad to me any more. Lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise? Ah, who needs those? Not me, apparently — not anymore.
Oh, and the fried snacks culture! There was a time when I was already familiar with bitterballen, yet never did I expect noodles in my fried ball — and that, ladies and gentlemen, is a bamischijf.
So those were just a few moments that have shown me I have been Dutchified, all taken from my modest experience. Thank me later when (or if) they come into practice in your life.
So, what’s the verdict: have you successfully been Dutchified? Let us know in the comments!