Dutch Quirk #88: Hang their school backpack on their house flagpole after graduating

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Have you ever noticed school bags dangling on flagpoles outside of Dutch homes? If yes, then someone in that house has recently found out that they’re going to graduate! 🎓

This cultural tradition of hanging your school bag means that a Dutch student has passed the final exams of their studies and can finally celebrate! 🎉

What is it?

Dutchies typically hang their school bags during the second week of June. 🎒 This is usually around the time the summer holidays begin after students receive their final exam results (eindexamenuitslag). 

Sometimes, Dutch families will not only hang school bags, but also notebooks 📚 or even a banner which says geslaagd (passed) to make it very clear to the public. 

Why do they do it?

Dutch families simply enjoy announcing the good news about their children’s successful education — trotse families (proud families). 

The Dutch put their school bags outside their window to show that these bags have served them well but now, their academic worries are also outside the window (unless they plan on going into third-level education of course.) 😉

Why is it quirky? 

This tradition of hanging school bags (and other academic supplies) on flagpoles only exists in the Netherlands! 

If you come across a dangling schoolbag in any other country, you may worry that some poor schoolchild has fallen out the window. Or that a very patriotic family has lost their flag and opted for an interesting alternative. 

Should you join in? 

Definitely! It’s a great way to announce that you’ve passed your exams to others without being too loud about it.

Of course, you are also very welcome to be loud about it. After all, it’s quite a big achievement. 🎓 Sling up that school bag and paint the town red, you smarty pants! 

What do you think of this Dutch quirk? Have you experienced it? Tell us in the comments below!

Image: DennisM2/Flickr/Public Domain

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in April 2022, and was fully updated in July 2023 for your reading pleasure.

Lea Shamaa 🇺🇸🇱🇧
Lea Shamaa 🇺🇸🇱🇧
Lea has a passion for writing and sharing new ideas with the world. She enjoys film photography, Wes Anderson movies, fictional books and jazz music. She came to the Netherlands in 2019 for her media studies and has fallen in love with the country and its culture ever since. She loves to ride her bicycle in the city but also feels the need to overtake everyone on the bike lane (she's working on it).


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