5 things the Netherlands doesn’t have (but should)

At DutchReview, we like to celebrate a lot of the wonderful things that make the Netherlands great, but let’s be fair, there’s also a lot that the Netherlands doesn’t have, but should.

If you’ve lived in Holland your whole life you may not realize, for example, that there are real places in the world where the not-so-mythical sun actually shines. ☀️

However, we complain about the lack of good weather enough. Instead, let’s focus on some other vitally important things that the Netherlands doesn’t have either.

Space and housing

Ok, so this one is quite simple. The Netherlands is small and has a lot of people. It would be nice to have a bit more space to put all these people.

It’s not as if we don’t have the technology. We’ve been making land out of water for hundreds of years, why stop now?

A logical follow-up to the lack of space is the lack of houses, at least that’s certainly what it feels like.

Let’s all just move to the countryside. Image: nerdy.maps/Wikimedia Commons/CC4

Ever tried finding a reasonable place to live in Amsterdam? It’s really super easy, just accept homelessness or crippling debt. Ok, so that’s not everyone’s biggest issue, but it’s certainly a problem if you’re an international student.

Good curtains

I’ll never truly understand why the Dutch never have curtains, and it’s not just in the bedrooms that curtains cause problems. It’s on every window! 🪟

Have you ever tried one of those lovely summer evening strolls in the Netherlands? There you are, just strolling calmly along the sidewalk and suddenly your gaze drifts to the right.

Next thing you know, you’re staring at the neighbouring family gathered together to watch some evening television. So you turn back before you’re caught creeping on them. What would they think if they saw you? And you know the Dutch, not afraid to speak their minds. 📢

It wasn’t even your fault, you accidentally looked, you didn’t mean to look in. Good curtains are just something that the Netherlands doesn’t have.

Delicious Dutch cuisine

Yes, Dutch food does exist, but is a plethora of fried snacks and glorified mashed potatoes really worth celebrating? Wouldn’t it be nice if the Dutch had good food to call their own?

It’s not as though there is a lack of ingredients. The Dutch are some of the world’s most renowned experts when it comes to growing with greenhouse technology. Not to mention they have no issue producing high-quality meat and fish as well.

Why then have the Dutch settled for sticking a potato, a plain piece of meat, and some broccoli on a plate? Simply put, it seems the Dutch, on the whole, lack an appreciation for truly brilliant food. 🧆

Boerenkool: The pinnacle of Dutch cuisine. Image: M.Minderhoud/Wikimedia Commons/CC3

It’s not as though they hate it, of course, and there are plenty of exceptions, but the love for food just isn’t as ingrained in the Dutch.

It’s not too strange to see a Dutchie bring their own sandwich to work and eat it in 10 minutes before continuing work either. 🥪

Have you ever seen a Frenchman do that? Or an Italian? I haven’t, and that’s because they have an appreciation for taking the time to enjoy good food. That same appreciation is just something that the Netherlands doesn’t have.

A good men’s football team

At the moment, I am super happy with the state of Dutch football. Well… women’s football that is. I mean, we’re European champions! So nothing to complain about there. Let’s keep that up.

But when it comes to the men…well, let’s just say it seems that a good men’s football team is just another thing that the Netherlands doesn’t have. ⚽️

At least we still have the Dutch Orange Spirit. Image: Dmitrij Nejmyrok/WikimediaCommons/CC3

Even though they qualified for the European Football Championship (EC) in 2019, the Dutch football women are doing much better. Let’s not forget when a Dutch female player got named FIFA’s Best Women’s Goalkeeper for 2019.

Let’s stay optimistic though, at least the women are doing well in qualifying so far.

Toilets with leg space

Why can’t the Dutch just put the toilet in a room where you aren’t resting your knees halfway up the wall in order to fit your legs?

Why even bother putting a toilet if you end up squatting on top of it anyway? It’s not as though the Dutch are small people, they’re really tall folks!

READ MORE: Why are there no public toilets in the Netherlands?

I will never understand, but I’ve been complaining about this for years and it seems to make no difference. Maybe I just need to give up. It seems toilets in the Netherlands will just never have legroom.

Is there anything else you think the Netherlands doesn’t have, but should? Tell us in the comments below!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in January 2018 and was fully updated in May 2022 for your reading pleasure.

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Noah Bloem
Noah Bloemhttp://www.redelephantstories.com
Noah grew up in Dhaka, Jakarta, and New York City before finding his way to Rotterdam (and now back to New York again). Despite having recently snagged a bachelor’s degree at Erasmus University College, he is fully committed to postponing adulthood as long as possible.

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  1. Correction…Article starts off with: “What the Netherlands Doesn’t Have: Good Curtains” . I believe it should be “Don’t” have…..would like to take it a step further and say “What the DUTCH Don’t have” 🙂 🙂

  2. When I lived in the Netherlands as a young boy, we did have curtains and they were not transparent. We lived in a town house and the bathroom was small, yes, but, there was leg room while perched on the toilet. Lol. The bath tub was a little round thing that a child could fit in but an adult could not. Oh, and the voetbal team, I was scouted by both the Olympic and National teams and old have played with them had I not immigrated to Canada. Oranje over alles. ?

  3. I have a slightly different view of some of your points. Your issue with Dutch curtains brought a chuckle. You didn’t mention that not only do the Dutch not like curtains, they keep their windows sparkling clean (insult to injury, if your will). The flip side of that is that the Dutch really like to know what is happening out on the street. I only lived there 3 years, but that was my sense…seemed like a charming personality quirk at the time. As I recall, some households even install side mirrors outside their windows, so they can see what’s happening further down the street. If I somehow caught someone’s eye on the inside, since I was able to read their newspaper from the street, I would just wave and smile.
    The food photo you chose was a little disgusting, but I like Dutch food. It has a simplicity that I feel reflects the beauty of the Dutch people. They make delicious soups. Boerenkool (notwithstanding your photo) is quite delicious and definitely falls into the category of comfort food. Whenever I wanted something spicy, there was always an Indonesian restaurant to go to. So, really, Dutch food contains both ends of the spectrum. I still miss the fried egg on my Nasi Goreng~!

    • The mirrors outside the windows are to see who is ringing your door bell. Not to see who’s on the street.

  4. I find the issue of space flabbergasting. In the 1970’s when my family left for Canada, the government basically encouraged Dutch citizens to emigrate. You were given incentives to leave, and many of us did. Now when I visit the Netherlands I notice it has received a staggering influx of foreign settlers from 3rd world countries. If overpopulation was/is a problem, then why was this influx of immigration allowed to happen?

    • Oh gosh yes! Send all these “third world settlers” back to where they came from. Poverty, bad sanitation, low mortality rates – what’s not to like? Give us a break Sylvia, you were hardly pushed out of the country. Personally I think somewhere remote in Canada is probably the best place for you!

  5. NL is missing a good coffee culture. Just been to Prague where there’s great coffee everywhere, buzzy cafes even in obscure locations… back to Amsterdam where we have set up a great little place that’s largely being ignored by locals, who will all whinge when the tourists discover us!

  6. Amazon. Where do you get your stuff!? How do you function! And stationary shops where you buy boxes and envelopes for posting stuff.

  7. Ceiling fans. I can do without airco (truly unnecessary 98% of the time), but I really really wish ceiling fans were a thing here. Just think of how effective those little ventilation slots above the windows would be!!!

  8. Good customer service. Everybody here believes in work-life balance but if everyone has a life who tf is working?

    I have lived in India and have friends all across the world but trust customer service is the worst here.

  9. I always say if you don’t like it in Holland Leave!!!! But talk about the things you do like we have our way of living and we like it so why change for the ones who are criticizing?I lived all over the world and I came back for the medical part here is paid 100 % and in most places people can’t afford it . That’s very important


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