4 reasons why expats kinda suck now (according to some Dutchies)

5 Reasons why expats* aren't that popular nowadays in the Netherlands

So, expats – let’s talk about it. So, they’re are a bunch of expats – they tend to make housing hyper-competitive and they can be rather awkward to interact with. They come here, smoke the wacky tobaccy and often have no idea how to speak Dutch. Just for context, I myself am an expat living in Amsterdam. 

The irony is that even tourists complain that there are too many tourists in Amsterdam. I myself am an expat from Australia. It’s no secret the Netherlands is widely loved and beautiful, I’d encourage you to branch out to other Dutch towns even if it’s just to see somewhere new. Even Leiden looks as if it’s been torn off of Rembrandt’s canvas to me.

Do expats* and tourist kinda suck?

You could say that expats are like those guests that you invited over but then they just linger. If you’re Dutch and you want to go out and have a good time, odds are you’ll go out on a Sunday (Zondag) to avoid the hordes of tourists that party on a Friday or a Saturday. This is just one of many ways the Dutch have learned to avoid interaction with tourists. There’s just so many of us.

Can the Dutch and foreign visitors get along? Well, in some cases yes. In a lot of instances (not really) expats and tourists especially are getting viewed less favourable in the Netherlands for a number of reasons. Amsterdam even launched a campaign against troublesome tourists. Foreigners have discovered how awesome it is here and take advantage of it.

*Disclaimer: opted for expats, but kind of talking about migrants, international students, Brexit-refugees and all those other ‘fluxing’ in

The rental market is the hunger games

The rent is too damn high, expats are pricing Dutch citizens out of Amsterdam

Amsterdam has almost over a million inhabitants and welcomes more than 6 million foreign tourists a year. They spend a lot of money in the city but they also drive the rent up, way up. Recently Amsterdam clamped down on Airbnb with similar restrictions to cities like Paris. If you’re Dutch and you’re proud of where you live, the first question that comes to mind is probably “I live here, shouldn’t I be able to get a place”? and it’s a reasonable expectation. In recent years the expat surge has complicated the housing market in the Netherlands.


Dit bericht bekijken op Instagram


Blame the expats! #netherlands?? #amsterdam #amsterdampropertymarket #realestate #rentinamsterdam

Een bericht gedeeld door Simon Woolcot (@the_shallow_man) op

More and more people are making their nest in Rotterdam because it’s cheaper and pretty nice. Finding a place below $1,500 per month is a struggle the closer you get to the heart of the city. Dutchies and expats both suffer from the housing crisis in the Netherlands, price gouging is increasingly common and some landlords require “Dutch only”, “girls only” or “must be working full time”. Even then it’s no guarantee they will allow you to register at the apartment.

Damn expats work in shops in Amsterdam

Some cafes and small businesses keep fluent English speakers employed to serve English-speaking tourists. Imagine how you would feel if you approached a shop-worker and they couldn’t help you because they don’t understand your native language? It would feel hopeless and almost make you want to leave the store.

Hearing expats repeat themselves in English *cringe*

Coming to the Netherlands without learning any common Dutch phrases is insulting, tourists and expats are the worst offenders. Expats and tourists tend to freeze up if they’re not understood in English the first time they ask a question. If you’re an expat you were probably told: “oh, it’s fine, they all speak English anyway or they’ll just switch when you speak in English”. Do the locals a solid and check out leardutch.org on YouTube, it would just be less cringe if more of us knew some Dutch.

Tourists and Expats are less favourable in the Netherlands

The Dutch could be more empathetic toward expats. People that leave their homes in search of greener Dutch pastures love the Netherlands and probably want Dutch friends. Sure, they might need to learn Dutch to make friends but if you’re Dutch and you speak some English, reach out to them. Tourists are really easy to spot, just ask them “how are you liking it here?” or “where have you been in the Netherlands so far?” is a great gesture. Help a nice expat out Dutchies!

The Dutch only see tourists, what are “expats”?

Even if they work in Amsterdam it’s not that big a deal. If you own a business in one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe you might want to take an English speaker onboard. If you cringe every time you hear English, or maybe just need to feel a little less touristy, simply don’t shop in central Amsterdam.

Can’t tell if tourist or expat… or what that even means… but please disperse immediately

If they’re just here to party and do crazy shit it can really lower Amsterdam’s street-cred, although if the city got less popular it would probably be a Dutch miracle.

How to spot a tourist in the Netherlands

It used to be somewhat difficult to identify a tourist in the Netherlands, especially Amsterdam.

  • They’re taking photos of things even if they’re of no real significance.
  • They fan out like they’re the beach boys and take up the whole footpath
  • They’ve worn the strongest cologne known to man because they’re on holiday *spritz*
  • “Sorry, I don’t speak much Dutch” and you can just tell they’re a tourist
  • If they’re on a canal boat they’re “tourists” – that came to do all the touristy things
    (not that there’s anything wrong with boat outings)

Wait, what were we talking about?

In closing, the more dedicated you are to adapting to the Dutch landscape and their customs, the less annoying you will appear to Dutch people. But Dutchies can make more of an effort too. Now sorry for ranting, I’m a happy international and I don’t want go terug naar mijn eigen land.

Why do you think expats suck? Or, are they a great addition to Dutch society? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!


Jesse Rintoul
Jesse Rintoulhttps://textmood.co/
I'm a 24-year-old writer living in Amsterdam, pursuing videography and media. The coffee I am drinking in my profile picture is a black coffee.


  1. When the expats didn’t suck? In 80’s? 90’s? Plus complaining on expats who speak English instead of Dutch? Come on! At least the Dutch commonly understand English. What about those Expats who live here and use only Turkish, Polish, Arabic, Italian… instead of Dutch? Is it easier to get friends with them? (Btw. Do Dutch complain only when they hear English language or do other languages also get on their nerves? Or is it just after hearing English with an accent when they think “It could have been Dutch instead!”)

  2. We’re expat’ing all wrong! Learning the language.Kid in public not international school. following dutch custom and culture. Didn’t settle in Amsterdam.

    It just takes effort. I meet with some expats who seem to not want to put any effort in at all. We moved here with the mind to fit in, so I don’t automatically demand someone speak english. ( until i get lost and ask them to repeat slowly, alstublieft.)

  3. Commenting on your own article? C’mon.

    Why did you write this article? It’s lame, poorly written, and just fishing for a reaction. You can do better.

  4. We come to The Netherlands almost yearly, now that we’re on fixed income. Having worked in Appeldoorn and Cuijk in the early 2000’s off and on I abhor when we visit hear “fellow” americans for the most part deriding the bicycles ans over here they are all state of the art. We dress as close to European as possible and when we hear americans, we avoid them like the plague. I do not believe in the exceptionalism that we have been brainwashed to think is ours alone. Harsh, but true, I can count on 2 hands the amount of americans that I have conversed with in some 25-30 visits there.

  5. Who was brainwashed what? State of the art bicycles? Despise Americans, ok.. Maybe that sounded better in your head. Try a little editing in your life. Reread what you write and see if it still makes sense. If it doesn’t just delete it.

  6. Expats sort of annoy me because I also feel like they are highly priviliged and many think you are beneath them. I think it is because the rent is too damn high, many expats have moved in through high income jobs. They do not sigh at paying 2000 a month and earning four times as much. Many give me the vibe especially the white folk do not only not speak dutch but refuse it, even after living here for ten years. They get pissy and paranoid if the fruit is out of the plastic and rant at you if you havent spritzed yourself in disinfectant. Refusing eyecontact is a thing too. Many dutch folk actually try for eyecontact and ‘the few’ expats who are trying to make up for the nasty spoiled karens.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related posts

Latest posts

Road trips from the Netherlands to Luxembourg

Looking to plan a road trip from the Netherlands this summer? Luxembourg isn’t too far, and it’s so worth it! When speaking of Luxembourg,...

13 intriguing things to do in Kinderdijk in 2024

A recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, there are so many things to do in Kinderdijk, a small village in the south of...

Wadlopen in 2024: your guide to mudflat walking in the Netherlands

Have you ever heard of mudflat walking in the Netherlands and thought: "What the heck is that!?" You're not alone. It's an activity that...

It's happening

Upcoming events

The latest Dutch news.
In your inbox.