The 21 weirdest things Dutchies don’t realise are only Dutch

The Dutch are truly global citizens, with top English, cities that attract people from all over the globe, and an innovative spirit that never ceases to surprise.

Yet, the Dutch have their own incredibly distinct culture. Some of it is great, like cycling, a fascination with pindakaas, and their attitude toward euthanasia. Other parts, like an underlying current of racism, are, well, not so good.

However, sometimes Dutchies are even surprised by what’s normal for them. In a Reddit thread, Dutchies shared what they were most shocked to find was truly a Dutch phenomenon.

Curious? So we were we! Grab your Dutch spectacles and let’s take a look through some Dutchies’ eyes.

1. The “flourish of approval” named the krul 💯

Image: E4uEkQfYwvoHH8ztjxnr/Wikimedia Commons/CC4.0 (Modified)

The krul is a symbol used on Dutch schoolwork. Got an answer right? Made a fantastic point? Here’s a krul to tell you that you did a great job. ✅

“Today I learned this is classic Dutch and all hours spent during class perfecting my drawing of this symbol have been in vain knowing this is only used in the Dutch culture.” – DnJealt

“Seriously wtf. I’m studying to become a teacher outside of the Netherlands and now I can’t use my krul-skills? I’m demanding a refund.” – Catorsomethingiguess

2. Broadcasting your new babies name on your window 🍼

Dutch people go all out decorating their houses for a newborn. Image: Depositphotos

“The signs on the yard or on the window with the name of the baby when one is born. And perhaps also the birth cards (geboortekaartjes) that we send when a baby is born.” – Alvheim

Let’s not talk about the storks bum plastered on the window too, hey Dutchies?

READ MORE | Dutch Quirk #87: Invest way too much in window decorations to announce a new baby

3. The inspection-shelf toilet 🚽

Say hello to your little friend. Image: DutchReview

“The Dutch toilet. The ones where you poop on a shelf instead of directly in the water.” – LowLandsLawyer

“It’s quite convenient though. As a kid my grandma was always the one to discover that I had a pinworm infection because she had a toilet with a little shelve on which the parasites where visible.” – Th3_Accountant

READ MORE | Dutch Quirk #81: Have toilets with an inspection shelf for their poo

4. He he, nou nou 🙃

If you can speak like this you’re basically a Dutchie. Image: DutchReview

“The noises y’all make. When reacting with confusion or shock you often hear a “heh!?”. Then there’s the explanatory “hah?” after someone explains something. There’s also like the “pwoooaaa” sound people make when admiring something.”

“The huge variety of tonal grunts and sounds you can make to say goodbye while walking away from someone starting at “dooo” and “jooo” and finishing somewhere around “joooojojojojo” etc. People say something like “wayooo” when reacting to something good like a pleasant surprise.” – lekkermooi_

5. The toilet birthday calendar 📆

photo of person on toilet and toilet calendar hanging on wall
Image: Gpointstudio/Depositphotos & michaklootwijk/Depositphotos

“It’s a big A3 /A2 poster on the inner side of the toilet door. It has all months without the year stated. You write in the days of the names and birth years of your friends and relatives. So whenever you take a dump, you can look at the calendar and see who’s birthday is next and how old they will be. Since you go to the bathroom daily, you’ll never forget anyone’s birthday ever again.” – MagickWitch

“Ugh, this. I’m American and my S.O. is Dutch. We live in Italy. We have a toilet calendar. I look at it in confusion every time, still after 4 years of living together and 8 years of being together lol.” – supermarketsushiroll

“Every time I get a birthday call, I know the person calling has just taken a shit.” – Firestorm83

READ MORE | Dutch Quirk #43: Hang a birthday calendar in their toilet

6. The doorzonwoning, a typical Dutch house layout 🏠

Echt typisch. Image: Arend041/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0 (Modified)

You enter a Dutch house and instinctively know: hallway, on your left a toilet, maybe some stairs. The door to the right will take you to a long living room, windows on either side. Somewhere hidden is a tiny kitchen.

Welcome to the doorzonwoning, or literally the “through-sun-residence”.

“I did not know 1. that such a house had a special name and 2. not that such a house is something typically Dutch. To me, that’s just a house, nothing special about it.” – Village_People_Cop (Translated).

To be honest, it’s quite genius. Sun comes through one window of the living room during the morning, then the other window during the afternoon. Delightful!

7. Taking white bread buns on a day trip 🥯

Just add some cheese and voila! A perfect Dutch lunch. Image: Depositphotos

“When my Dutch boyfriend and I went on a trip, he prepared half of dozen of ‘sandwiches’. They were zachte witte bolletjes with a slice of cheese. I was somewhat confused because I wouldn’t call them sandwiches and six identical ones seemed like the most boring meal ever.”

“I thought we would eat somewhere nice since we were on holiday lol. He later explained that he was just following what his mom does, which is to always take some food with them wherever they go :).” – worrywort__

8. Sharing teabags ☕️

Didn’t you know it’s a waste to only use a tea bag once? Image: Freepik

“Sharing teabags. As a student, I always shared teabags with my friends (since one bag is strong enough for 2-3 or more cups). Freaked the foreign students out.” – bobnplums

9. Doing the lekker wave when something tastes good 👋

Ever seen a Dutch person’s hand spasm near their cheek? Don’t call an ambulance, it’s likely that they just find something super lekker.

“Kinda moving/shaking your hand close to your face when you say lekker or heerlijk. I find it so weird when people do it.” – innerworldjoy

READ MORE | Dutch Quirk #23: Perform the “lekker wave” if something is delicious

10. Having a flessenlikker in their home 🍯

Despite flessenlikker sounding like something you might keep in your lingerie draw, its purpose is super innocent: it’s a device used to scrape all of the contents out of a jar. (Yep, those Dutchies sure are cheap).

“I like how the English article says, ‘there is an element of the technical and engineering community that sees the bottle scraper as a monument to a wrong type of technical solution. This group argues that the best solution to the problem of remaining vla in bottles was to put vla in different containers preventing the problem from ever occurring, rather than inventing another tool and then educating a population in its use.'” – Caelorum

11. Having to bring your own birthday cake on your birthday 🍰

Not-so-happy birthday. Image: Freepik

“The thing I found really strange was when it is my birthday, I had to bring cakes to work for everyone – baffled me. Happy birthday to me now minus 100 euro!” – Kakakakakakakakaaka

12. Getting a kroket out of a wall 🌭

And not just krokets either. Image: Depositphotos

What? You’ve never taken a delicious fried treat with a questionable filling out of a locked door to eat? Then you’ve never met a FEBO wall, a kind of vending machine for hot snacks (and thus, obviously never gotten pissed on too many Heinekens at your local brown pub).

For as little as a euro, that treat can be just what drunk you needs. We guess you can also eat them at other times too. 🤷‍♂️

Submitted by shoot-me-12-bucks.

READ MORE | 5 Reasons I Love FEBO (aka that ever-giving wall of fried delicacies)

13. Congratulating someone for having a birthday 👍

Congrats on making it through another year! Image: Depositphotos

Never had the joy of experiencing a Dutch person’s birthday? Here’s how it works. You congratulate the birthday person. Then you congratulate their friends and family. Then their friends and family also congratulate you. Congrats! 🎉

“When I visited a birthday in Holland, literally, everyone congratulates everyone. Even people I’ve never seen before said ‘congratulations’, but I thought they were going to introduce themselves, so I said my name while they congratulated me.” – _Steven_Seagal_

“Congratulating me, while my girlfriend had her birthday.” – uw_moeder

READ MORE | Dutch Quirk #39: Say happy birthday to everyone

14. Eating chocolate on bread for breakfast 🍫

Delicious and nutritious. Image: Amin/Wikimedia Commons/CC4.0

“Eating chocolate on bread and calling it ‘breakfast’. You don’t see me complaining about that, I love it!” – nomisfed

READ MORE | Dutch Quirk 11: Eat hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles) for breakfast

15. Having designated towels in the kitchen 👩‍🍳

But which one is the right one? You only know when it’s too late. Image: Depositphotos

“Having two types of towels in the kitchen: one for dishes and one for hands. Didn’t know about this until I made a mistake at somebody’s house and they let me know about it (in no uncertain terms I’ll tell you!)!” – WriteTurn

“One is called hand towel and one is called tea cloth (handdoek / theedoek) lol” – gasman147

16. Dutch ‘droppings’ 🌳

Child in forest with flashlight
Leave your kids in a dark forest and chill at home while they find their way out: Dutch parenting! Image: Pexels

“Dropping kids in the woods to let them find their way back on their own… Never thought that this was a weird thing until I told my non-Dutch friends about it! Edit; forgot to mention it’s at night.” – Interesting_Till1241

READ MORE | The Americans have learned of Dutch ‘Droppings’ and now they’re confused

17. Freezing bread for later 🍞

Even if you’ll eat it within two days. Image: Depositphotos

“The freezing of bread. As a Dutch person, it is completely normal for me and very convenient. According to my Lithuanian wife and kids, is it very, very strange…” – Le_raz

18. Not having a floor in a rental 💸

Getting your own floor is expensive, unnecessary, and wasteful. Image: Freepik

“Having to put your own floor (laminaat) in when moving into a rental… The last two apartments I moved into I was the first tenant so I had to put a floor in. Pain in the ass and kinda expensive for a house you don’t even own.” – Ok_Election7896

READ MORE | 9 kooky things about renting in the Netherlands

19. Putting everything into their agenda 🗓

The Dutch book of faith, the almighty agenda. Image: Freepik

“This is hilarious! My husband sent out invitations to his birthday like 6 weeks in advance and nobody could make it because their agendas were already booked. My kid’s birthday is in September and I’m already inviting people for it, cause otherwise they’re busy.” – Hannie123456789

READ MORE | The Dutch agenda: plans to take over the world

20. Taking a beer for the road 🍺

Why sit at home and drink when you can bike and drink? Image: Depositphotos

“The BVO when going to a party, especially as a student, blew my mind when I arrived here” – madInTheBox

“For the non-Dutch here: it means “beer for the road”. You take an entire beer with you to drink on the way home.” – kytheon

21. Sharing your identity (but also not) 🕵️‍♂️

What’s the point? Image: Rijksoverheid

“Sharing a copy of your identity card/passport for legal reasons (for instance when renting or buying a house) edited with a stripe covering your photo and signature.”

“For me as a non-Dutch this idea is just nonsense. How would an edited photo be a proof of identity? If I’m photoshopping my ID how can one guarantee that other details were not tampered with as well? 😅”

“There’s even a government app to do so, so obviously that’s something very rooted in Dutch culture that one must adapt to. I think it’s quite weird :)” – ArlindoPereira

Curious about those Dutchies and their habits? Check out the cutest activities from Dutch people and (if you dare) the grossest things Dutch people will never confess they do.

Were you surprised by anything on this list? Tell us in the comments below!

Reddit posts edited for spelling and clarity.

Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺
Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺
Sam has over six years experience writing about life in the Netherlands and leads the content team at DutchReview. She originally came to the Netherlands to study in 2016 and now holds a BA (Hons.) in Arts, a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and (almost) a Masters in Teaching. She loves to write about settling into life in the Netherlands, her city of Utrecht, learning Dutch, and jobs in the Netherlands — and she still can’t jump on the back of a moving bike (she's learning!).

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What do you think?

  1. I have designated kitchen towels and freeze bread. Mom had the birthday list in the bathroom. I have never been to the Netherlands. It must come with the DNA.


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