Dutch Quirk #6: Live by their agendas when making plans

HomeUltimate List of Dutch QuirksDutch Quirk #6: Live by their agendas when making plans

If you consider yourself a spontaneous, adventurous person, then maybe the Netherlands isn’t the place for you.

Dutchies don’t like surprises — in fact, they LOVE to plan. Call the Dutch old-fashioned or technophobic, but you can pry their agendas out of their cold, dead hands. 😵‍💫

What is it?

Whether you’re inviting someone to a wedding or just want to grab an afternoon coffee, Dutch people will whip out their agendas to schedule in the precious five minutes or five hours you intend to keep them busy. ⌚️

Dutchies will plan absolutely everything in their agendas. Image: Depositphotos

They will bring out the agenda for EVERYTHING. As expected, these agendas are used to schedule holiday dates and birthdays (well, they actually have an equally weird tradition for this) — but they’ll also use it for the smallest things.

Football training? In the agenda. Need to go out a pick up a cake from HEMA? In the agenda. Walk the dog and do groceries? In the agenda! ✍🏼

Why do they do it?

While you can call Dutch people stingy with money, you could also call them stingy when it comes to time too. That is to say, they take their personal and leisure time very seriously. 🧐

They won’t be late to dinner with their friends because they value and respect each other’s commitments and boundaries. And they expect other people to do the same for them.

Why is it quirky? 

For many people, the act of making plans doesn’t usually involve a pause to whip out an agenda and see if they can schedule you in.

You might find it uptight, but it’s actually quite a compassionate way to think of making plans, especially in contrast with typical Dutch directness.

Rest assured, if you make plans with a Dutchie, they’ll turn up on time and you’ll have their undivided attention for the allocated time you spend together.

Should you join in? 

Absolutely! One thing we can learn from Dutchies is their mindset for organisation and planning — with an agenda, you’ll rarely miss an appointment or be late for a social function again! Lekker, hé? 😉

Be warned, however! Dutch agenda culture is not for those who want to use their highlighters, washi tape, and expect to have beautiful handwriting with calligraphy brushes. Just because they’re organised, doesn’t mean they’re neat. 😬

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 January 2024 for your reading pleasure.

Feature Image:Freepik
Katrien Nivera 🇵🇭
Katrien Nivera 🇵🇭
Third culture kid Katrien has been working as a writer and editor at DutchReview for over two years, originally moving to the Netherlands as a tween. Equipped with a Bachelor’s in communication and media and a Master’s in political communication, she’s here to stay for her passion for writing, whether it’s current Dutch affairs, the energy market, or universities. Just like the Dutch, Katrien lives by her agenda and enjoys the occasional frietje met mayo — she just wishes she could grow tall, too.


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