Got a headache? Paracetamol. Sleepless nights? Paracetamol. Broken leg? Hm, maybe try a paracetamol. Or two, that’ll do it. 💊
This, ladies and gents, might as well be a recorded conversation between a Dutch doctor and their patient.
Why? Because the Dutch are known to rely on paracetamol as a cure-all to a ridiculous extent.
What is it?
So, there is this rumour that the Dutch prescribe paracetamol for everything. We might not have any statistics on it but isn’t there a grain of truth to every stereotype?
Speaking from lived experience, if you have a headache and ask any Dutchie if they have paracetamol, they will pull a pill package out of their pocket.
@dutchreview Paracetamol or nothing. #dutchreview #dutchdoctors #fyp #netherlands #dutchhealthcare ♬ original sound – Zoe
Instead of opting for hard drugs or intensive treatments, the Dutch just sort of tend to shrug it off, pop a paracetamol and wait until it passes.
A 2019 study even showed that the Dutch are turning away more and more from stronger medication. A side-effect of their love for the lighter paracetamol?
Why do they do it?
For one, while in other countries you can only get paracetamol in the pharmacy, the Dutch can buy the magic pills prescription-free in any supermarket, drug store or even gas station.
Naturally, this makes it an easy fix. Why go home because of a headache or a stomach ache if pain relief is a mere ten-minute supermarket trip away?
Another reason for the Dutch paracetamol affinity might be their healthcare system. Before being referred to any specialist, you’ll first have to visit your Dutch GP (huisarts).
And before you have convinced your general practitioner of the seriousness of your illness, you’ll have to penetrate the Dutch no-nonsense attitude.
Doe normaal, right?
Why is it quirky?
The Dutch just approach many things in life with a calm and levelled attitude.
Paracetamol does the trick for most of our everyday ills: headaches, fever, coughs or stomach aches.
Want to know just how much the Dutch like their paracetamol? This music video about two hungover guys singing how paracetamol will help them drink even more tonight might give you an idea.
🎶 Where, where, where, where
Where is the paracetamol?
I have a hangover
Because of the alcohol
Where is the paracetamol? 🎶
Should you join in?
This is really up to you! If your Dutch GP is giving you trouble, don’t be afraid to put your foot down and tell them that you’d rather be referred to a specialist than wait it out with a pack of paracetamols.
What do you think of this Dutch quirk? Have you experienced it? Tell us in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in March 2022, and was fully updated in September 2023 for your reading pleasure.