Lovable as the Dutch are, it won’t come as a surprise to anyone that they have a bit of a reputation for being stingy. We’ve all received a Tikkie for 80 cents at some point — after all, the expression “going Dutch” had to come from somewhere.
Offering to carpool to work and then sending you a bill, not only for fuel (fair) but also asking you to chip in on yearly maintenance costs — say what!?
We know, we know, there are some generous Dutchies out there — but we’re sure you know at least a few of the below types too. 😉 Here are 14 of the stingiest things that Dutch people do!
1. Send a Tikkie for minuscule amounts of money
Ever heard of a little thing called Tikkie? Of course you have, this is the Netherlands, and we’re sure you’ve received one for a tiny amount of money. In fact, this whole article could be about absurd Tikkie tales. There are that many. But that’s for another day.
Dutch Tikkie-ing is an extreme sport. Ever been to someone’s house for dinner, and had them slap you with a Tikkie the next day? That’s how you know you’re in the Netherlands! Going Dutch, eh? 😉
2. Be masters of DIY
You know what they say: “Any accountant can be an electrician or a plumber!” What, you’ve never heard that before? Well, they say it in the Netherlands. Need to lay some laminate flooring? Does your house need to be rewired? Decided you want a new bathroom? That’s a DIY job.
It seems like every Dutchie has these skills in their arsenal because the other option is *GASP* to pay someone qualified to do it! It’s this practical side of the Dutch that gets them through mind-blowing home renovations on the cheap.
3. Own a flessenlikker (a what?!) and a kaasschaaf
That thing that looks a bit like a spatula, what did you say it was again? Oh yes, that’s a flessenlicker — a uniquely Dutch tool loved by many across the lowlands, used to scrape the hell out of empty bottles and jars.
If you’re anything like us, you’ve never heard of a flessenlicker before. But our extensive research found that the humble tool is a fan favourite in Dutch kitchens.
You might wonder why Dutchies would invest time and energy in scraping the hell out of a clearly empty ketchup bottle — but we’ve decided the only conclusion is that they get a thrill out of it. Scraper Olympics, anyone? 🥇
Another Dutch kitchen staple is the classical Norwegian kaasschaaf (cheese slicer). How else would you get the thinnest, finest slices off, and save your cheese for as long as possible? Thick slices are for the wasteful!
4. Remove the lightbulbs and laminate flooring before moving houses
We can’t understand why so many Dutch people take laminate flooring with them when they move houses. It sounds exhausting, unnecessary, and frankly a little rude.
Also, what are the chances of finding a new house that will fit your old laminate flooring? Or is that a criterion when people are house-hunting?
And don’t even get us started on lightbulbs. While Dutchies save their precious euro unscrewing each and every half-used lightbulb, the new residents will probably spend their first night huddled around the light of a smartphone — welcome home!
5. Eat bread with minimal condiments for breakfast and lunch every single day
Turns out, it’s actually a sneaky way to save money! Why spend €7 on lunch for a day, when you could spend that much, and have breakfast and lunch for a week? Smart with money — or downright stingy?
6. Refuse to spend money on public transport or taxis
It could be four in the morning, there could be a blizzard, they could be wearing a ball gown, or their wife could be giving birth. None of this matters to Dutchies, who believe their biking skills are far superior to any weather phenomenon or health event. They’re biking, or they’re not going anywhere.
While we’ve gotta admire their determination, there’s no denying that it’s usually far more comfortable to spend €10 on a taxi, or even take public transport.
But the Dutch would rather cycle five kilometres through a thunderstorm in a figure-hugging floor-length dress and heels. But, as the Dutch say, “Je bent niet van suiker!” (“You’re not made of sugar!”).
7. Retrieve half-eaten food and bottles of wine after dinner parties
Have you ever had someone over for dinner, and asked them to bring an ingredient? A cucumber, for example? It might come as a shock to you to realise that they’ve left, and taken that half-eaten cucumber with them. Goodbye to your hopes of making tzatziki the next day.
While in other places, this would be considered blasphemy, it isn’t unusual in the Netherlands. Perhaps the Dutch standard of living is so high because of all that money they’ve saved by retrieving half-eaten leftovers after dinner parties. Act broke to stay rich. right?
8. Not provide food at weddings
We all know the best part of a wedding isn’t the ceremony — it’s the food. 😋 But consider yourself warned: if you receive an invite to a Dutch wedding, make sure to read it carefully. Often, guests are only invited to the ceremony, and not the reception.
Of course, some people do go all out, but in general, the unions of Dutchies aren’t the big white wonderlands that you have in other countries.
Wednesday morning, 8 AM at the courtroom is more their style. Obviously, you can’t have a thrasher that early in the morning. So you see, there’s a method to their madness — or maybe it’s just a ruse to save some cash?
9. Take food to places that have catering
Yeah, going to the zoo can be a bit pricey, so why would you pay €5 for a snack at the on-site cafe when you could bring your own perfectly good broodje kaas (cheese sandwich) in a zip-lock bag from home?
If that wasn’t bad enough, we’ve all heard the infamous myth about Dutchies flocking en masse to the campsites of France each summer.
Great for French restaurants, you say? Wrong. See, it could be, but Dutchies are notorious for bringing all their food with them from home — pindakaas, jam, and macaroni. With all the culinary wonders that France prides itself on, we’ve just got to ask ourselves, “waarom?” (why?).
10. Plan a surprise or romantic getaway for their significant other — and expect them to pay half
Let’s just throw the social rule book out the window, why don’t we? While the Dutch are super pragmatic, romantic getaways are much less dreamy when you know you’ll be receiving your half of the bill for it in a couple of days’ time.
And that’s not even the worst of it. One of our readers told us about a time when her boyfriend bought her a gift…. and then sent her a Tikkie for it later. Can it even be called a present if you have to pay for it yourself?
11. Pick a travel destination based on a €3 price difference in the flight tickets
Ahh, Athens would’ve been so nice, and you’ve always wanted to go there — but Krakow is €3 cheaper. What an obvious choice! After all, are you even Dutch if you aren’t financially prudent?
P.S. Hey Dutchies, your flight departs at 6 AM from Eindhoven — have fun leaving home at one in the morning.
12. Prepare a single piece of meat per guest
Ever been to a friend’s house for dinner but gone home feeling kinda hungry? Yeah, it’s a Dutch thing. Dutchies are notorious for cooking for the exact number of people they’re expecting, and only preparing a single piece of meat each.
Even though refrigerators were invented a century ago, there’s no place for leftovers (or people with a bigger appetite) in this society, because the broodje kaas is king.
13. Expect people to provide their own birthday cake
It’s your birthday, gefeliciteerd! 🎉 But we’re in the Netherlands now, so there’ll be no fanfare. Don’t forget to bring your own birthday cake — yes, that’s right, it’s the only cake anyone will get.
Your friends and colleagues will be expecting it (because they’ve got your special day written down in their birthday calendar in the toilet). But remember, everyone only gets one piece each.
While we’re on the topic, you can be certain no one will be buying you a convertible for your birthday, but maybe your friends chip in and buy you something super useful, like a new pedal bin for your kitchen. Ahh, yes, they knew how much you wanted one of those… Well, not really, they just wanted to make sure the gift they got you wouldn’t go to waste.
14. Buy random things (in bulk) from the supermarket, because they’re on sale
We are convinced that many Dutch pantry staples make it onto the grocery list, not because Dutchies really like them, but because they’re always in the ‘bonus’ (or, in non-Dutch, on sale) at Albert Heijn.
Why else would people eat so many dubious-looking kipschnitzels (chicken schnitzels)? We can’t even prove that there’s actual chicken in there.
Dutchies will stop at nothing to get a discount, and really maximise on that saving. Even if it means changing their whole diet in the process.
While most aren’t that extreme, one group of friends, after hearing that their local supermarket was selling three crates of beer for €25, brought a tractor and loaded up on €6,000 worth of beer. Now, do you believe us?
If, in reading this, you had a shiver-inducing flashback to a time when you encountered a stingy Dutch person, try not to take it personally. Their parents and grandparents were like that, and their kids probably will be too. It’s just the Dutch way!
What’s the stingiest thing you’ve ever seen a Dutchie do? Tell us in the comments below!
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in July 2021, and was fully updated in June 2023 for your reading pleasure.