Dutch Quirk #28: Not tip (and not need to)

HomeUltimate List of Dutch QuirksDutch Quirk #28: Not tip (and not need to)

Picture this: you’re out enjoying an ice cold biertje with some vrienden, it’s time to pay, and then you pause: should you leave a tip? Well, the Dutch probably won’t.

If you’re an international who’s been living in the Netherlands for a few years now, you’ve most likely searched the web at least once to know how Dutch people tip.

The result? “Ik geef geen fooi,” meaning “I don’t tip.”

What is it?

It’s true that tipping is a pretty rare occurrence in the Netherlands.

So, how do Dutch people really tip? Well, they usually just stick to what tips were originally created for: a gesture of gratitude for the service provided.

READ MORE | Tipping in Amsterdam: all you need to know [UPDATED 2022]

And when we’re talking about a service, we don’t mean simply doing one’s job. We mean the little things on top of a service.

Like the warm smile servers give while taking your order.

If you tip at all, it normally consists of leaving behind a euro or two at a restaurant for good service — but when it comes to bars and cafés, you most likely tip a big fat wad of nothing.

Why do they do it?

Truth be told, unlike the American way, tipping culture is almost non-existent in the Netherlands.

Why? Because staff usually earn a good enough wage, they don’t have to rely on tips!

READ MORE | 10,000 Tikkie payments for under two euro made each day in the Netherlands

As out-of-towners, we have had the occasional experience of getting into tiny arguments when dining out with friends because we always stood on tipping at least 10 to 15%, whereas Dutchies hardly pay for more than 5%.

Why is it quirky? 

Many of us internationals are used to coming from countries where hospitality staff are underpaid.

In fact, sometimes it doesn’t just feel quirky; we often feel guilty for not leaving a little something behind.

READ MORE | ‘Going Dutch’ and 4 other phrases that commemorate the Dutch in all their glory

You might experience a bit of a cultural shock if you do tip here — the staff even get surprised by the gesture!

Should you join in? 

Tipping isn’t expected of you.

However, when you’re waiting for the Thuisbezorgd delivery person to bring you your usual Indonesisch dinner special in the pouring rain, you might want to consider giving them a little compensation for their efforts (struggles).

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

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Gaelle Salem
Gaelle Salem
Born and raised on the island of Sint Maarten, Gaelle moved to the Netherlands in 2018 to attend university. Still trying to survive the erratic Dutch wind and rain, she has taken up the hobby of buying a new umbrella every month. You can probably find her in the centre of The Hague appreciating the Dutch architecture with a coffee in one hand and a slice of appeltaart in the other.


  1. They have now introduced a “prearranged” tip, with options that appear on the screen of the POS machine before you pin… small amounts, yes, but still a bit weird for the sort of peer pressure that it brings when you’re paying.

    • Don’t fall for this scam. When you tip, give the server cash money. Otherwise your tip will flow right into the bank account of the owner. Guess what the chance is that they will voluntary give the free money that you deposited into their pockets, to their staff?
      They’ll even justify it by saying that the tax bureau considers those tips income, so they’ll pay taxes over money that they have to give to their staff.

  2. As a server who’s been working in the Dutch restaurant business for over 10 years: This article is giving the wrong impression. Almost all the Dutch guests tip. It’s generally rounding up or leaving a few euros, but unless the service or food was really bad, it’s definitely customary to leave at least a small tip. The Dutch will generally ask the server to round up the check on the pin machine before they pay, so it’s still all cashless 😉 I was wondering why the expats and tourists weren’t tipping, they’re being taught the wrong customs!

  3. This article is wrong and very oudated in thinking. Most Dutch do tip, no necessary like Americans but there is a rounding up or couple euros here and there. There has been a sea change in tipping culture that this site is not changing with and falling behind with the times. This is determential way of teaching expats how to integrate into Dutch society since it is wrong.

    Yes there is a subclass of Dutch who do not tip:
    1. Young (late teens and early 20s)
    2. Overall lower quality/service restaurants
    3. Tightwads
    4. Old boomers

  4. Tipping is an American disease that should be stopped. In most countries tipping is not the norm. Don’t act it is only the Dutch not to tip. If you cannot pay your employees, don’t start a business! In the USA it is now a 30% ( moral obligated) tip, despite the service.

  5. I have been working in hospitality for years in The Netherlands, and this article is completely untrue. Tipping is very common in The Netherlands, at least in the Randstad, and not just a few euros. Not tipping is seen as an insult by the waiters, believe me. The most common, still, is around 10%. So please, do tip the staff. They do actually need it.


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