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Dutch Quirk #9: drink copious amounts of coffee at work

HomeCultureDutch Quirk #9: drink copious amounts of coffee at work

Ok, picture this. You’re at the office, the clock reads 12:42, and you’re fired up like one of Jeff Bezos’ rockets. Is this due to an undying passion for your work, an enthusiasm that can’t be tamed? No, love. It’s coffee.

Specifically, it’s the three cups of lukewarm, extremely bitter, black-as-your-soul office koffie that you’ve already consumed that day. ☕️

What is it?

The phenomenon is quite simple. You arrive in the office, take off your many layers, set up your laptop, and one of your colleagues gives you that look — coffee? No arguments there. 🙅🏼‍♀️

You guys head to the office’s most beloved and abused member of the team — no, it’s not you — it’s the coffee machine. A ’90s baby like you, this bad boy has been coughing out mediocre coffee for years now, the only thing that’s changed is its filter.

READ MORE | Dutch coffee culture — is there such a thing?

And your office makes sure to keep it busy. Once that first coffee is done, your boss will arrive and pull you for another one, and then, right after lunch, it’s time for another coffee to beat that post-food slump. Then, it’s 4 PM, someone switches out that filter and another pot is ready to be consumed.

By the time you’re packing up to leave, you are READY to take on your evening, and that coffee machine has been thoroughly used.

It is totally normal to take multiple coffee breaks in Dutch offices! Image: Freepik

Why do they do it?

Honestly, I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps multiple coffee breaks stem from the Dutch approach to work. With one of the best work-life balances in the world, it makes sense that the Dutch also make sure to take plenty of breaks whilst at the office too.

READ MORE | Dutch Quirk #116: Have a great work/life balance

And what better reason to excuse yourself from the desk than a good ol’ coffee break? Who cares if it tastes like pure rocket fuel, it’s free (great for the korting counting Dutchie) and you have a reason to bitch about the weather with your colleagues. 🤪

Coffee machines in Dutch offices are the norm! Image: Pexels

Why is it quirky? 

Listen, the concept of coffee is certainly not foreign to any office. What makes it quirky, and quite Dutch, is the commitment to the coffee breaks — and to that one god-damned machine. 🙏🏼

Coffee while working? Why not! We all need that energy to get through the day Image: Pexels

Should you join in? 

Absolutely. It’s a break from work, and it’s a key way to keep up with the office gossip. Forget the water cooler, it’s the coffee machine in the Netherlands.

Just make sure to cap yourself once the coffee jitters set in. 😉

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 December 2021, and was fully updated in July 2023 for your reading pleasure

Feature Image:Freepik
Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah originally arrived in the Netherlands due to an inability to make her own decisions — she was simply told by her mother to choose the Netherlands for Erasmus. Life here has been challenging (have you heard the language) but brilliant for Sarah, and she loves to write about it. When Sarah is not acting as a safety threat to herself and others (cycling), you can find her sitting in a corner of Leiden with a coffee, trying to sound witty.


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