Dutch Quirk #64: Act like it’s the Randstad versus everyone else 

HomeUltimate List of Dutch QuirksDutch Quirk #64: Act like it’s the Randstad versus everyone else 

When people think of the Netherlands, cities like The Hague and Utrecht come to mind — but your average Dutchie will definitely be ticked off if you act like these are the only cities around.

Rarely do you hear about the beautiful city of Hilversum or the historical city of Nijmegen. It’s always “Amsterdam this, Rotterdam that” and never “actually, I really like Maastricht“.

What is it?

The Randstad is a megalopolis (a collection of large cities that are close to each other), made up of Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, and Utrecht.

Over 8.3 million people live within the Randstad compared to the country’s total population of 17.4 million. So chances are, if you’re in the Netherlands, you’re reading from the Randstad.

But of course, the remaining 9.1 million people who live in the Netherlands live perfectly happy and fulfilling lives without having to be in this cluster of cities…right? 🤨

Why do they do it?

Some Dutchies may feel that everything outside the Randstad is boring and dull. There’s this notion that everything worth seeing in the Netherlands is in the Randstad and that it’s not worth going to other cities.

Obviously, this isn’t true, but Dutchies from outside the Randstad probably feel a little attacked when someone comes here and acts like there’s nothing except Amsterdam.

And so what happens? An unspoken rivalry between the Randstad and everyone else — even when there’s nothing really to be fighting about. 🤷🏻

Why is it quirky?

Well, it seems like this attitude is mostly self-imposed. No, people who live in the Randstad don’t actually think they’re better than everyone else. No, non-Randstaders don’t have an inferiority complex.

But we do notice this little feud every now and then when you ask a Dutchie what the best city in the Netherlands is — you’ll find they are more divided over whether it’s a Randstad city or not.

Should you join in? 

Unless you want to contribute to this weird rivalry, we suggest you not join in fuelling the fire. 🍵 Maybe it’s better to sit on the sidelines and just enjoy all the Dutch cities for what they have to offer.

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

Feature Image:DutchReview/Supplied
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.


  1. Not true at all. Dutchies usually do not like Randstad indeed but not because of the reasons you have gave. It is because Randstand feels home of inmigrants and expats and some of them cause trouble and do not know how to behave, plus they write articles like this like if they knew dutch society at all!. The other cities feel more dutch still with some expats but way less.


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