Dutch Quirk #91: Live their lives for the borrel at the end of the week

HomeUltimate List of Dutch QuirksDutch Quirk #91: Live their lives for the borrel at the end...

A country where washing the stresses of a work week away with some drinks is a social event? 😳 Let’s just say Netherlands: 1 World: 0 

Ik maak geen grapje (I’m not kidding), the Dutch have mastered the art of winding down after work. In fact, there’s even a verb for it. 

What is it?

Borrelen is (possibly) one of THE greatest Dutch inventions ever. It even puts the mighty Tikkie, beloved of Dutch people young and old, to shame. No, we’re not having you on! 😂

Borrelen involves that well-deserved after-work time with your boss and colleagues, where you can all sit back and unwind with some drinks and a joke (or ten). Proost! 🍻

And no borrel is complete without a full complement of borrelhapjes (borrel snacks)!

READ MORE | Dutch Quirk #32: Eat a lot of very questionable snack food

There’s a little something for everyone. You can be a cheese fanatic that craves the tangy crispness of kaasstengels, or the molten core of kaassouflés

You can also savour the warmth of bitterballen dipped in spicy mustard, washed down with a cold beer.

Not into cheese or meat? Don’t worry — patatjes met mayo (chips with mayonnaise) is simple, but hard to beat.

Why do they do it?

Chalk it up to the Dutch work culture — one which dislikes work hierarchy.

They love equality, and nothing’s a better equaliser than having a pint or two after work. No brown-nosing required! 💩

Dutchies up and down the country look forward to een gezellige borrel (a nice, sociable borrel) at the end of a long work week.

READ MORE | Dutch Quirk #99: Drink beer like it’s a national sport

Like wearing enough orange to be spotted by the International Space Station during national holidays, it’s one of those stereotypically Dutch things — and we have to say, we love it.

Why is it quirky? 

If, like the writer, you come from a culture with a very rigid work hierarchy, then the sight of your boss cracking open a cold one and letting loose with you and your co-workers might seem rather odd.

In fact, it may take some getting used to — so there’s your excuse to try it over, and over, and over again! 😉

Should you join in? 

Definitely! If you’re in the Netherlands, then you absolutely can’t miss out on experiencing this Dutch quirk.

Crack open a cold one, grab some bitterballen, and tell your colleagues about that one time you really embarrassed yourself. It’ll break the ice, and give you guys something to laugh about!

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 September 2022, and was fully updated in August 2023 for your reading pleasure.

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Liana Pereira 🇱🇰
Liana Pereira 🇱🇰
Liana juggles her role as an Editor with wrapping up a degree in cognitive linguistics and assisting with DutchReview's affiliate portfolio. Since arriving in the Netherlands for her studies in 2018, she's thrilled to have the 'write' opportunity to help other internationals feel more at home here — whether that's by penning an article on the best SIMs to buy in NL, the latest banking features, or important things to know about Dutch health insurance.


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