Dutch Quirk #61: Joke openly about Germans

HomeUltimate List of Dutch QuirksDutch Quirk #61: Joke openly about Germans

Which nation gives the Dutchies even more opportunity to do some roasting than the Belgians? Natuurlijk! The Germans.

Germany is one of the Netherlands’ neighbouring countries, but still, somehow, the Dutch think of them as people from an entirely different planet.

What is it?

Anyone who ever spent more than a weekend in the Netherlands knows that Dutchies love to make a great joke — especially at the expense of the Germans! 👀🇩🇪

READ MORE | The 19 biggest differences between Germany and the Netherlands

It’s that good ol’ “big brother, little brother” complex found amongst many bordering nations, mixed with some lingering historical animosity and a healthy dose of sports-related rivalry.

Banter ranges from “Can I have my bike back?”, to jokes about Germans digging huge sand holes to claim their spot on the beach.

And of course, whenever Germany exits a football tournament, Dutch football fans sing “Schade Deutschland alles ist vorbei” (Sorry Germany, it’s all over”).

Why do they do it?

Now, this is just based on assumptions, there is no scientific proof whatsoever. But the history and proximity of these two countries might impact how they think of each other.

Also, let’s not forget that it’s not a single-player game. The Germans are also cracking jokes about their Dutch friends — specifically about how frugal and lazy they are.

Why is it quirky?

The Dutchies think of themselves as completely opposite to the Germans.

They are textbook examples of being easygoing, flexible, and innovative, while the Germans are strict, boring, and hierarchical (these are extreme generalisations, of course).

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Although Dutchies are all about being direct and never beating around the bush, Dutchies aren’t too happy when Germans “take it too far”, A.K.A. beating them at their own game.

Should you join in?

It definitely helps to know some background context when it comes to making fun of an entire population. But, it’s probably best to leave it at that.

READ MORE | A love/hate relationship: the Dutch-Belgian rivalry explained

You don’t need to join in to enjoy the friendly fire between the Dutchies and the Germans. Laugh along from an outsider’s perspective and enjoy the strange expressions of their allyship!

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

Feature Image:Depositphotos
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. Every Dutch person knows the story about the Germans setting up at the beach for the day. Coming back the next day finding Hollander occupying the same space they demand the Hollanders move because the Germans, having taken that space, it is now theirs. In my opinion it’s an ironic joke about Germans seizing possession. A not so gentle reference to the invasion.

  2. Mostly the Dutch jokes about Germans have teeth. Think WWII and the German occupation. The bicycle reference is bc the Germans stole everything they could find and when they retreated stole everything that moved. They were also responsible for the famine in the last part of the war when they refused food drops by the allies which resulted in the hunger winter. The honger winter has the dubious distinction of being the first scientificially recorded famine. So no, it is not about big/little brother things.

    • My family always tells the story of my mother demanding her bike back from a Nazi (at the end of the war of course) My uncles tells of lying in bed sucking on a turnip beet bc he had such hunger. So true, your comment!

    • I agree. The “joking” references are mostly based on jarring historical facts, not some Dutch “quirk”. For Americans not steeped in European history, this is extremely important to be aware of. It seems to me, as a previous long-time resident of Germany, that the strong sports rivalry between NL and DE may be a good way of handling deep-seated emotions.


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