Dutch traits: 5 things that make you realise you are becoming a bit Dutch

Often, even after living in the Netherlands for a while, you notice yourself adopting some Dutch traits. Sending Tikkies, eating Hagelslag, biking in a thunderstorm; just the classics. Here are five habits to tell you: you are truly becoming Dutch.

The Dutchies are admirable people: it’s not just anyone that can literally push the ocean aside to make space for a country. With all their quirks and weirdly cute habits, it’s hard not to become intrigued by them.

But what if you’re starting to become one of them? How can you know you’ve been hanging out in the Lowlands too long? Well, you’ve likely adopted these Dutch traits.

1. You hit the beach as soon as the thermometer registers 12 degrees

Even if it’s not springtime yet, you turn into a true sun-worshipper β€” and if you are not dependent on the school holidays, you probably leave for the sun during cold, dark February, like a migratory bird.

photo-purple-sunset-at-scheveningen-beach
Making the most of sun rays in Scheveningen. Image: Amanda Snorkels/Supplied

But hey, we get it. Anything to make you forget about the bleak midwinter in the Netherlands, right? ❄️

READ MORE | The guide to immigrating to the Netherlands: becoming Dutch in 12 steps

2. You start collecting coupons and studying catalogues

You have become obsessed with getting the best deals, buying everything at a discount or, better yet, second-hand. You may even collect, trade, and send coupons to friends.

photo-dutch-coupons-and-stamp-cards
Dutchies love a ‘korting’. Image: Amanda Snorkels/Supplied

It’s like a sport. There is a thrill that comes from buying stuff we normally buy anyway, like detergent, toothpaste, or bread at half price. (Side note: is this what being an adult is?)

READ MORE | Guide to furnishing your house in the Netherlands (cheaply)!

3. HEMA is your second home

Nothing is better than HEMA at 9 AM, often the only shop open on cold, windy mornings. They offer a more or less complete breakfast for two euros.

HEMA-storefront-in-the-Netherlands
You can always recognise the smell of HEMA. Image: Depositphotos

It’s always entertaining to see people from all walks of life getting in line to eat their breakfast while trying to see the city from one of the store’s big windows. There are the business people, the construction workers, the moms with their kids, the old Dutch, the new Dutch β€” everybody gathers there.

READ MORE | Dutch Quirk #85: Put all their national pride into HEMA

In fact, HEMA is so loved by the Dutchies that there are already two volumes of a book that gathers stories of Dutch citizens abroad called Ik mis nog steeds de Hema (“I still miss HEMA”).

4. You love your bike

If you live in the Netherlands, cycling will quickly become your main way of transport and a method to carry all your things, stay fit and relax β€” all packed in one (unless it’s raining, which is only like 90% of the time).

photo-of-old-dutch-people-biking
The quintessential Dutch transportation. Image: Depositphotos

But on a good day, there are few things more relaxing and grounding than grabbing your bike and heading in whatever direction you wish. Suddenly you end up in the countryside and realise you’ve been biking for two hours. And now, somehow, you have to find your way home.

READ MORE| How the Netherlands became a cycling country

5. You carry an agenda, and it is full of appointments

Maybe you still try to arrange spontaneous meetings with friends but have noticed that you have to double-check before making a date. You’ve started losing the ability to randomly leave your house to meet a friend without agreeing beforehand.

Woman-scheduling-an-event-in-her-agenda
A real sign of adulting! Image: Freepik

Geen probleem, That’s where the Dutch agenda comes in!

READ MORE | The Dutch agenda: plans to take over the world

Dutchies are famous for planning ahead, so you better get your agenda out. Keep track of your very exciting social life, complete with hanging out with the same person every other day and where. Your house or theirs today? Your agenda will know.

What Dutch traits have you adopted? Tell us in the comments!

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in March 2019 and was fully updated in June 2023 for your reading pleasure.

Feature Image:Pexels
Amanda Steck
Amanda Steck
I am a Mexican girl, born to a Swiss father and married to a Dutch guy, living in The Netherlands for 9 years (oh how time flies!). I have a background in Biology and Veterinary medicine and a passion for travel, writing, baking, reading, discovering bookshops jumping around like crazy and red dresses. I also blog at Poppies and Ice-cream.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Nice Amanda! When I first read coupons, I thought it wasn’t me, but then I remembered I’m always collecting something at AH! One trait I definitely adopted from Holland is a very strong appreciation (AKA addiction) to coffee. It’s such a social norm to drink coffee, and I happily obliged! Another trait I can thank Holland for is that I don’t go anywhere without my own shopping bag, and avoid plastic bags and straws at all costs.

    • OMG; how could I have forgotten the coffee? I enjoy it so much, though not quite as strong. And yeah you are right the canvas or cloth shopping bags are a super nice trait to adopt, I do the same as well.

  2. I’ve also adapted to the dutch society to a certain degree considering i ‘m canadian. Being broad minded at one time and my way of thinking has becomed more compact due to this immense country we call the Netherlands. I’m not being sarcastic but realistic for the dutch think on a smaller scale. Of course the Netherlands has much to offer considering its history just like any other country. I remain canadian with a touch of dutch ingenuity.

  3. I am half Dutch and half English. I have fond memories of sitting in a big shop with Opa drinking coffee and eating one of the amazing cream cakes you can buy in Holland

  4. On my list I have the following also:
    -I have a collection of bottles that need to be recycled;
    -I started to like every type of β€œtaart”
    -I have a pair of waterproof shoes that can be used for all seasons
    -I eat for lunch a sandwich while walking around the company

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