Tikkie etiquette: the do’s and don’ts of asking for money in the Netherlands

When you think of the Netherlands, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? Is it windmills, cheese, or tulips? Or maybe it’s the infamous Tikkie — an online payment system where you can send people requests for absurdly small amounts of money.

There’s no official rule book for using Tikkie — but there really should be one. With their reputation for being both direct and stingy, Dutch people seem to have no problems navigating the unspoken rules of the payment platform.

READ MORE | What is Tikkie? How to use the Dutch’s favourite payment system

For internationals who come from less direct cultures, though, the art (or extreme sport, if you’re Dutch) of Tikkie-ing can be quite the minefield.

What’s an appropriate amount to request a Tikkie for?

Anyone who’s lived in the Netherlands for a while has probably realised that the idea of reciprocity, or doing rounds, doesn’t really exist here. Don’t get us wrong, this can have its advantages… But not that many. 😂

Instead of living by the rules of reciprocity, Dutchies prefer to settle the bill (no matter how big or small) as soon as possible, to make sure nobody is indebted to another.

Make sure to count every little cent! Image: Freepik

In other words, if you’ve ever interacted with Dutch people, you’ve probably received a Tikkie for €0,80 or an equally negligible amount.

You should not be surprised if you’ve received a Tikkie from a guy you went on a date with, who wants to be reimbursed for the €0,50 contribution he made so you could use the public toilet. 🚽 Or from a friend who covered the €1,50 you needed for a morning coffee. ☕

READ MORE | 14 downright stingy things Dutch people do

While having an easy way to request your money is great, we’d suggest holding off on those Tikkies for less than €4 at the cost of looking heel stingy. 💸

When is it socially acceptable to send a Tikkie?

We asked the DutchReview readers for their opinions, and the general consensus is that the sooner you send that Tikkie, the better. Maybe don’t send it while you’re still seated at the restaurant, having just put your forks down — that might come off as a little desperate. But, if you send it when you get home or the next morning, you’re generally good to go.

With Tikkies, timing is everything. Image: Depositphotos

When is it appropriate to send a Tikkie follow-up request?

If a week or more has passed and your money’s still conspicuously absent from your bank account, go ahead and send a follow-up request. But not the next day —people are busy, and sometimes international bank transfers take a bit of time.

What if you forget to send the Tikkie — how long do you have?

The amount of time permissible for a Tikkie request kind of depends on the amount of money that you’re asking for. There’s nothing less charming than bamboozling someone with a €2 Tikkie for a party you went to two months ago. Don’t do that. People won’t like you for it. 🙄

But say you’re going through your bank account, and remember that you paid €30 for a friend two months ago. Then you’re well within your rights to send a Tikkie, and everyone will respect you for it.

The jury is still out on sums between €10-€20 — but we think a safe rule of thumb is that if you haven’t sent that Tikkie within a month, you should see that round of drinks as being on you. 🍻

Where do you stand on the highly debated subject of Tikkies? Tell us in the comments below!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in October 2021, and was fully updated in November 2022, for your reading pleasure.

Feature Image:DutchReview
Jen Lorimer 🇿🇼
Jen Lorimer 🇿🇼
An avid tea drinker, Jen was born and raised in Zimbabwe. She moved to Utrecht in 2017 to pursue her history degree. She loves people-watching, canoeing the Utrecht canals, and observing how the Dutch come alive in summer. Having been traumatised by a Dutch circle party, Jen wants to help equip other internationals with tips and tricks to survive and thrive in this wonderful flat country.

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  1. As a Dutch person: a lot of us do not use ‘tikkies’ and regard this sytem as highly suspicious and potentially fraudulent. I think tikkies mean you are not really friends but just acquaintances, because among close friends it does not matter who pays a bit more or when you are getting your money (if they asked you to help out with something). You will ‘settle the score’ live, next time you see each other. The only person you send a tikkie to is the one that always ‘forgets’ to pay.

    • I think it’s more likely that people sending tikkies back and forth don’t really have the money to not do this.

      I can’t imagine bothering anyone over amounts less than ten euros unless they’re a consistent mooch.

  2. Hi fellow Zimbo in NL! 😉 Great article! I think Tikkie is so useful and convenient, wish we had something similar back home. Stay safe 🇿🇼💐

  3. Don t you even think of trying sending a Tikkie to this Italian. This is morbose : in what se s? It is a sickness to love money so much to forget kindness and etiquette : stinginess directness may be a “ quality” in the Nederlands but is highly inappropriate in any culture that prizes heartwarming relationships kindness and business with a flair of trust and generosity. You are warned!:)


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