How to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the Netherlands (like a true Dutchie)

It’s V-Day, you’re dating a Dutchie and not sure what to do or to get for Valentine’s day? The answer is probably easier than you think: nothing. Or maybe a card. Here are some ideas to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the Netherlands like a true Dutchie.

From what I hear from people around me, there seems to be an old reputation that sticks to the Dutch as being romantic. Having a big heart and a sense of generosity is a great attribute in any relationship. Time to earn some brownie points so later you can say “yeah but remember Valentine’s day? Pretty great right?”

dating in the netherlands
The Dutch and dating, what’s it all about? Image: StockSnap/Pixabay.

Seeing couples walk their dogs in the park, kissing on a bridge over the canal — hey, the Dutch are generally the opposite of romantic. Although I have high hopes for this year, everyone has a chance to show their partner what they really mean.
If Valentine’s day isn’t your favourite day ever, you wouldn’t be the first to get it wrong.
Known fact: the Dutch are not the biggest fans of Valentine’s day. (Okay, no shame). Numbers don’t lie: one out of five Dutchies celebrates it. And 90 percent of them all consider it is a commercial thing, an obligation rather than a celebration.

How can you surprise your Dutch Valentine?

So let’s say you are dating one of those out of five that enjoy the celebration. You don’t want to do anything too major but you also don’t want it off your radar completely. What are you supposed to get? Can love be found in material things? Even the tiniest iota of thought makes the gift memorable.

 

Approximately 57 percent of Dutch partners offer cards on Valentine’s Day (if your lover gets you a card, hey relax, it’s just how they do it here!). Second to a card? Flowers, flowers from the market, flowers from the store, even the flower-shop itself (whatever, they’re all flowers and they’re all yours).
However, where the French or the English might give their Valentine red roses, the Dutch are more into mixed bouquets, keep it classy and colourful, just helping you set your expectations.
You can still go for chocolates or wine (you’d still be a great Valentine), but your gift should stay around 15 euros, the average that the Dutch spend on Valentine’s day. But you might be a part of the lucky two percent who get presents worth more, who knows?

Say it with flowers

If you’re a florist then this day is when you rake in all that sweet money. The amount of pre-orders for flowers in enormous leading up to V-day. According to Royal FloraHolland, they sell a ton more flowers in the early weeks in February than any other time.
Money jumps from 80 million euros to a whopping 125 million euros in flower sales across the Netherlands. A juicy business that makes a lot of valentines happy in Germany, the UK, and France, as they are the biggest export destinations.

Fun things to do on Valentine’s Day in the Netherlands

If you want to do something a little special for V-day, there’s a few things you could do. For something a little more extra, take a trip to the Dutch seaside, like Scheveningen, where we’ve compiled a whole list of activities that you could plan for your valentine.

You could also try going out. We have plenty of suggestions for you here on DutchReview. If you’re in the mood for something a little low-key, try cooking something. Maybe even go Dutch?;)

If you’re still on the look-out for your Valentine, there’s plenty of ways that you can find love in the Netherlands this year. And let’s not underestimate self-care; treat yo-self to a nice time instead of someone else.

If you are planning on going to the restaurant, I hope you thought of making a reservation: the Dutch might not spend the most on presents, but they sure enjoy a nice dinner date.

Coronavirus update: Of course, this year, all restaurants and cafés are closed. You can still order takeaway though!

Here are some other interesting articles to tug at your Dutch or expat heartstrings:

Neuken in de keuken – most Dutchies satisfied with their sex life

A Romantic Time in Scheveningen

Dating in the Netherlands: 6 things about dating the Dutch

What are your plans this Valentine’s day? Will you be celebrating at all? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below! 

Feature Image: sonming4/Pixabay.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in February 2019 and was fully updated in February 2021 for your reading pleasure! 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Yep. My dutch wife is not a fan of Valentines Day. Have you ever heard of Wed & Walk in Amsterdam? I did it a few years ago with a friend for a laugh (before I met my wife). You get married for 24 hours on Valentines day with a mini ceremony, plastic rings and costumes. It was a good laugh (but a bit awkward when I had to kiss the bride).

  2. I am enjoying your articles. I am a Brazilian woman dating with a Dutch man. Everything that you write it is true. About Valentine’s day I learned… Everything must be practical. So how in Brazil we celebrate Valentine’s day at June, I forget the day and he also… He’s said “Girl; I am Dutch Ok!” ??

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