Dutch Quirk #134: Rent apartments with no curtains or floors

Openness, take the floor 😉

HomeUltimate List of Dutch QuirksDutch Quirk #134: Rent apartments with no curtains or floors

It’s well-known that the Dutch traditionally opt for a curtain-less existence, but did you know about their floor-less lifestyle?

As an international renting in the Netherlands, you might be surprised by some vital missing furnishings. 

You can catch a glimpse of the lounge setup without stepping inside since it’ll be on full display in the open windows. But once you go inside, you’ll notice the floor has disappeared too.

What is it?

If you need a quick heads up when it comes to Dutch rental vocab, kaal (bald) means your new home will come complete (or incomplete, should we say) with no flooring, curtains, lights or furniture.

Many tourists have remarked on the voyeuristic nature of strolling through Dutch streets as they peer into people’s homes through curtain-less windows.

However, fewer onlookers may have noticed the total lack of flooring in some apartments, especially when moving in or out of a new place. 

Where has it disappeared to, you ask? The previous tenants packed it up with their belongings — but it’s not because they’re really clingy with their carpets.

Why do they do it?

The most popular explanation for Dutch openness stems from the Protestant religious tradition of Calvinism, believing that honest living means having nothing to hide.

Many also speculate that it’s an attitude thing: the Dutch desire to create gezelligheid (cosiness), or even a desire to show off possessions…

READ MORE | Pillarisation — or why do the Dutch have big windows

Others question whether the often-grey Dutch skies have something to do with it. Cutting out curtains certainly maximises your Vitamin D intake!

As a people-watcher myself, I think it’s more of a you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours approach to living. AKA, the Dutchies enjoy observing the observers!

@castellvicomedy The Dutch and their curtains #standup #dutch #curtains #comedy #netherlands #expats ♬ original sound – Matt Castellvi

When it comes to carpeting, the reason is much more straight-“floor”-ward.

Renters in the Netherlands are mostly long-term, so by the time tenants move in, most of the flooring is outdated.

Removing worn-out floors saves new tenants the trouble of removing them themselves and also gives them a clean slate for their interior design choices.

Starting from scratch might seem excessive, but at least you’re not stuck with the tastes of the previous owners (who could’ve lived there for decades!).

Why is it quirky? 

Wide open windows all day long don’t just attract nosy onlookers but confused ones, too. Concerns about privacy, anyone?!

The Dutch themselves don’t find curtain-less homes unusual. Openness, especially, is so engraved in their culture that you could say it’s part of the furniture. 😉

But the piled-up laminate outside their house is certainly unique. 

READ MORE | 9 kooky things about renting in the Netherlands

Perhaps the strangest part is the insistence: there are regulations in place when it comes to floor removals. 

Surely young renters or students would appreciate a nice free floor in perfectly good condition? No, it’ll be going with its owners by law.

Should you join in? 

Flexibility isn’t an option when it comes to floors in the Netherlands: when tenants move, they must—yes, must—take the flooring with them, even if they never use it again!

Meanwhile, going curtain-less is more of a personal choice, and you can still go for a more private lifestyle if you’d like.

In fact, there are noticeably more curtains and blinds popping up in Dutch windows. 

As more people opt to close the curtains on the openness of the past, locals suggest young people and expats might be responsible.

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

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Lottie Gale 🇬🇧
Lottie Gale 🇬🇧
Lottie joins DutchReview as an editorial intern after gaining a Bachelor’s in English from her native England. She continues to pursue all things literature in her MA Literature Today at Utrecht University. She is loving life here, and the ever-looming rainclouds often make it feel like a home from home. Lottie arrived to complete her studies and hone her writing skills — she’ll stay for the Dutch tranquility, tulips and tompouce.


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