Dutch Quirk #105: Always be on time for every meeting and appointment

HomeUltimate List of Dutch QuirksDutch Quirk #105: Always be on time for every meeting and appointment

Did you know that the Dutchies are ALWAYS on time? No? Well, get used to it. 

Without being overdramatic, let us give you a pro trip to survive life in the Netherlands: if you want to have an appointment, a job, or any human relationship with a Dutch person, you need to learn to be on time. 

What is it?

There is a concept behind everything in the Netherlands. The Dutch infrastructure, architecture, and services are always well-planned and organized (and typically overly bureaucratic). 

So it probably won’t surprise you that the Dutchies themselves are no exception. In fact, their calendar is almost as well planned as their train syst… life under the sea level. 

Why do they do it?

Well, why not? That’s also a valid question, right? Being late to a personal meeting is simply disrespectful, and you can never give back the time for those waiting for you. 

READ MORE: The Dutch and time: how their language shows they are planning maniacs

While the Dutch probably won’t think bad things about you if it happens occasionally (or if you say that you got stuck waiting for an open bridge), it’s better to try not to be late.  

Why is it quirky? 

The unwritten rule of being able to late 10 minutes without any bad looks when you arrive is simply not a thing here (yes, we’re sorry Southern Europeans).

In fact, if you’re five minutes late to a doctor’s appointment there’s a good chance that they’ll just…cancel your appointment.

It’s a fact of life that in the Netherlands, you always need to be on time. The only legitimate excuse to be late is to have a flat tire. 

repairman fixing bike
If it’s about bikes, you can always find a helping hand. Image: Depositphotos

For some reason, having a non-functioning bike immediately makes it completely fine to late from anywhere. You can be late for your own funeral; the Dutchies will still give you their own DIY tips on how to fix your fiets without any tool

But, credit where credit is due: the Dutch approach to timeliness has nothing on the Germans. 

Should you join in? 

Jaa! While at first, it might feel like overplanning your days can kill all the spontaneity, it won’t. In fact, it can be quite relaxing to organise your schedule and simply be on time.

If you are one of those people (🙋🏻‍♂️) who can be late even if you have all the time in the world, then I suggest turning your clock a bit forward to make sure to have functioning human relationships while living in the Netherlands. 

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

Feature Image:Freepik
Mihály Droppa
Mihály Droppa
Mihály fell in love with (and in) Amsterdam, so he quit his NGO job in Budapest and moved to Amsterdam to become a journalist. His apartment is full of plants and books, two dogs, and a random mouse in the kitchen. You might find him in Vondelpark, where he spends most of his life throwing tennis balls for his vizslas and listening to podcasts. His nickname is Mex — ask him why!
  1. Thats not Dutch, thats German my friend!
    Have you ever been to a dutch dentist/GP or work meeting when a Dutch person being On Time?
    Well, for me it ONLY happened a few times in past couple of years!!


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