When I decided to pack my things and trade Paris for Amsterdam last Autumn, little did I know of the uphill battle ahead. Harsh weather? Expensive health insurance? Geen probleem. But the dating in the Netherlands and those habits are an endless struggle. Whatever, here I am, regardless of the red flags and myths concerning this overrated topic, jumping in.

Dating in the Netherlands…

If you are not familiar with the phenomenon, say hello to clueless, and if rollercoaster-ish romance is a taste you are keen on giving a try, be my guest and enjoy the ride. As much as I love exoticism and variety, I believe in eating local wherever I go, so Dutch men it is. Brace yourselves, girls, for two major obstacles shall inevitably pop up during dating in the Netherlands:

1:  There are tons of foreigners, expats and tourists, so forget about your supposedly sexy accent, looks and manners, these weapons are now part of the furniture.

2: Dutch women. Say no more. They’re amongst the hottest creatures on Earth.

dutch women
Okay maybe not all of them are Doutzen Kroes hot but you get the picture

 

Still looking to hunt for a red-pants-gel-haired viking ? Fair enough. Like their female counterparts, they’re quite exquisite. Dutch men are overall well-travelled, sporty and ambitious. Yet it seems they’ve skipped the essentials when flirting is involved. A vast majority of them act like picky slow burners, to the point where interacting with a nice guy starts to look like rocket science. And this is where the hagelslag crumbles.

dutch breakfast
The Netherlands and sprinkels are in a long and sugarcoated relationship

One genuinely wishes they would sell some dating lucky charms in all them souvenirs shops, because trust me, they would make a fortune by the time you’ve finished reading this article.

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But before you even consider dating in the Netherlands, you should first consider learning some Dutch pick-up lines. Here is a very useful video that will help you with that in no time.

En route for the Holy Grail

Anyway. Due to their strong background culture of gender equality and tolerance, think 21st century and ditch gallantry because there is none. Period. Get ready to sweat, swallow your pride and go the extra mile: just like in North America, it’s a no pain, no gain policy. If you want something, come out and play, and more importantly, ask for it.

 

Welcome to step 3: a proper twister mental game to somehow manage going on dates. Communication appears to be über clumsy and blurry, and it’s got nothing to do with the language barrier: Dutch boys are far from being open books. Picture trying walking on eggshells in a thick fog, attempting to read massive knots of mixed signals without a map. The thrill, passion and surprises are sadly not an option. Sure, it’s OK to split the bill (see deadly mistake n.3 here) and of course, we understand it takes time to get to know someone.

But come on… we’re not teens anymore and I refuse to turn into a machiavelic love soldier. Who hasn’t heard all sorts of “Dutch boys like it when you’re mean to them” or “it only took us seven months to be officially boyfriend and girlfriend”? I thought they were supposed to be very straightforward. Dutch lads are actually a very busy specimen that will plan everything in advance, and it seems like they had everything served on a silver plate when it comes to relationships. Which, remember, is a scary word to them. Do us a favor, do not use it. Do not.

Twister dial
Pictured: The Dutch Dating Game (“Twister dial” by BitchBuzz – The Twister Clock. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Twister_dial.jpg#/media/File:Twister_dial.jpg)

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We don’t mind not getting flowers, even after months of “seeing each other” and we’re not necessary big fans of PDA either. That being said, there are so many other simple ways to keep the boat floating in most countries. In the Netherlands, you’re landing onto several sorts of undefined layers referring to what’s going on between you two. Like the so called “probation period”, a traditional pattern screaming “try before you buy” and “I might switch to a better option as soon as I can”. A grey area you’re better off not mentioning under any circumstances.

Dating in the Netherlands: Chin up, ladies, and handle with care

Limbo definitely has to come from the Dutch language, implying a kind of stress many candidates have failed to comply with. The hardest part is not knowing when you’re going to see each other next (hmmm… how about January 2017?) or if you ever will again.

dating in the netherlands
That day is scheduled for love

Some go through the infamous “talk” just like in most English-speaking countries. In France, although it’s on its way to change, you’re either in or out of a relationship, simple as that. Smooth transitions to a naturally functional couple? Wrong country. And wait, how in hell am I supposed to keep my cool on the back of a bike with the rain and wind ruining my eyeliner and hairdo, considerably reducing my sexiness potential.

Summer in Holland is… #meme #poorkid #dutch #dutchsummer #viral #hit #expat #weather #dutchweather #netherlands

Een foto die is geplaatst door DutchReview (@dutchreview) op

The funniest thing is that whether you’re an expat or a native, you will come up with quite unusual anecdotes on your next girls’ night out. Be ready for some serious nodding, solidarity and advice flying all across the room. Who does in this day and age, have time for games and doubts anymore when for instance, Tinder became so popular and socially acceptable here? Dutch dating websites are booming as well. I met Marije, a young entrepreneur whose successful dating business ViaMarije brings back the good old-fashioned and trustworthy side in meeting someone. These trends prove how being in a relationship actually matters. Is the love game like Dutch cuisine, slightly blunt but with strong possibilities to spice it up a bit? One pattern stands out from the bumpy process: re-adjust your standards and adopt the laissez-faire attitude.

But there is an upside

Looking at the bright side, discovering new social ways is also intriguing. Turns out it can even be soothing – yes – to go with the flow. It leaves you some personal space and freedom Dutchies are so deeply attached to. Keep in mind that there are many boats on the canals and that lots of happy Dutch/foreigner couples assert that once you’ve won the key to their heart, you’ve successfully reached well-deserved romantic heavens. After all, Willem did marry Maxima..

I hope we helped you with dating in the Netherlands 😉

Disclaimer: this piece is based on personal observations. It in no way claims to be universal truth about dating in the Netherlands

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37 COMMENTS

  1. Hahaha nice article. And yeah I guess Dutch guys are something special both in a neg- and positive way

  2. Nice article. While as you correctly point out in the disclaimer it is extremely difficult to draw general conclusions on this topic (as too many factors play a role), there are some conclusions to be drawn. I could write a book on this, but my favourite and most repeatedly “proven” one is the following. Careful though – it is another generalization, not universally true. In Southern Europe, guys are accustomed to play relatively hard to get girls, and girls are accustomed to play relatively hard-to-get. In Northern Europe, the balance is somewhat slightly tilted, with guys still having responsibility to make moves (contrary to the myth that “In Northern Europe girls always make the first move”.. truish but not completely) but usually having to play less hard than in the South; while girls are accustomed to play harder than girls in the South, and making more moves. As a consequence, when guys move from Southern Europe to Northern Europe they are pleasantly surprised as they find they “have to do less” and “Northern girls are easier to do things with” (where things are anything from one-night stands to serious relationships), and Northern girls appreciate the guy doing more than the Northern guys they are accustomed to. In contrast, Southern girls moving to the North are often disappointed when they see that, here in Northern Europe, if they still play as hard to get as they did in the South, guys just will assume they are not interested. And, accustomed to guys showing more interest, are frustrated by what they perceive as low interest. That is one small aspect of a huge topic. I totally confirm the “appointment” thing and the atmosphere “I might get something better”. And one last point, beware: as somebody said, your experience is in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is very different from the rest of the Netherlands: it is a world in itself.

    • The difference is also that in the Southern System the Southern girls are supposed to take care for their looks, that raises the competition level and in this system they welcome attention by men, they appreciate being noticed and complimented about their looks. While in the Northern system, the level is much much lower, man and woman are more equal and compared to the past, women are more like men, which is good, but it kind of kills the ‘basic game’, women are taught it is ‘bad to be seen as an object’, so attention seems to be received as an insult instead of a compliment. While and the same time men can be address still as an object (like in commercials).
      Of course, the women overhere need to ride a bike in the rain and wind, that makes it harder to where nice clothes 😉

    • I don’t know, try being a shy Dutch woman. I don’t “play hard” because I simply can’t so I’d love for the guy to make a move, but that’s not IN the Dutch guy apparently. According to other articles on here they want what’s easy and it frustrates me, because by the time I’ve managed to stammer out a “Let’s go for a drink some time” (after WEEKS) they go “Oh I met someone else in the meantime”. Probably a more extroverted lady, no doubt. 🙂 I can’t compete with those.

  3. I’m a dutch guy from Amsterdam and I think you’re probably right. I only speak for myself (even though I think a lot of guys from Amsterdam are characterized by this) and recognize a lot of things which are written in this article, especially about seeing each other next and gifts. Hey ladies, I’m still young and can improve my dating skills;)

  4. Seeing that most dutch men (big cities) are very social and ambitious, i understand the need of keeping a tight schedule.

    The emancipation and equality movement has gotten somewhat out of hand here, the result is dutch pay and loss of the traditional man-woman roles in relationships.

    I would also add that ‘open-dating’ and lose morals, especially in the western part (randstad) have contributed to the rise of tinder and alike. considering that, it’s no surprise that men (and yes, women too) like to keep their options open for as long as possible before committing to a particular partner.

    I’m not sure where you are getting the “afraid of commitment” part from, is that because of what i said above about keeping their options open?

  5. LoL well lady I would like too see what you look like. That will clear up allot of things in regards to your expirience.

    • Ugh neither do I. It’s hell. I tried online dating but… so frustrating. Fortunately the guys I spoke to on there at least agreed on that part. 🙂

  6. Interesting article! However, I never get it why Dutch girls are always praised in such articles. I’ve been living in the Netherlands for a while and basing on my observations most Dutch girls are completely unattractive. They don’t take care of their looks at all, are loud and have zero sex appeal. Of course there are stunning girls here as well but they are a really small percentage.

    • The fashion we get here ain’t easy if you’re not stick-straight. I’m not even fat but I’m somewhat curvy around the butt/thighs and it’s impossible to buy good pants all of a sudden.
      As for looks, I’m not sure, I’ve lived here all my life and for most of it thought I was ugly because I didn’t look like the others. I’m not hearing any complaints about my looks currently though, other than from the voice in my head. 😉

      I myself do not understand the praise we get for being “predatorial”. It’s making it very hard for me to live up to whatever invisible standard Dutch men have of the opposite sex, because I’m far from predatorial and speak-my-mind-ish.

      • Marianne, I met a guy through a friend on FB. We are now communicating through WhatsApp. I am so confused. I am an American, he is from Amsterdam, but living in the US for the past 7 years. I could use some wisdom from a Dutch woman. If you would be so kind to contact me. Thank You

        • I can’t find your FB page or anything and I don’t know how to do a private message on this, but you can perhaps find my FB and contact me via messaging there? That way you can talk more freely. Also, fair warning: I have very little experience with men, let alone ones from Amsterdam, but if there’s Dutchisms to be translated I could probably try?

          • He just ask me for $750 with an excuse that he has a son that lost his debit card. He claims he is on an oil rig right now. I wonder how many women he is doing this two. He also told me he loves me. WHAT

          • I’m not sure how this would be a Dutch only thing. More a person thing.
            However, you’re already saying you just met him and you don’t trust him, so I think that is reason enough to tell him no.

          • I told him NO. So scary. He said all the right things. Said his wife died in an auto accident 7 years ago. I would ask him general things about his life. He would say I am asking too many questions and he has a headache and would never answer. Hitting the delete button.

          • Those things could be true, but I agree that something about this situation feels iffy. Go with your gut – if you don’t trust him already, that’s probably a good reason to delete him.

  7. “Dutch men are overall well-travelled, sporty and ambitious.” Prob I have met the wrong guys then. Most of the people I have met here are very provincial, never (or very seldom) been out of the NL – think going to Amsterdam is like the trip of the year already, don’t speak English well (at least not to a level that can sustain a relationship), not ambitious at all (very spontaneous, not really career-minded, maybe because of the relatively advanced social welfare system).. Well, sporty? That is if you count biking, which is the national transport here…

  8. Great article ! I so relate with this article.
    I don’t agree though that Dutch ladies are extremely attractive.
    And I was lucky enough that my guy paid everything everytime we saw each other, even with me offering to pay my part.

  9. I am dating a dutch man, the good thing about him is he says it everyday that he loves me and doesn’t do the half sharing thing, but he doesn’t appreciate anything I do. I don’t know whether it’s a short memory problem.. Hahaha haha… An example is when I do groceries and the fridge is filled, he is happy and can consume the stuffs in the fridge In less than a week. And when the fridge is finally empty he starts to angrily complain that I didn’t do groceries at all and he eat nothing…. Maybe it’s a mental problem Hahaha aaaaaa.. I have no idea

  10. Dating Dutch women is a total disaster for me. And this is not becuase of the above mentioned reasons. I truley love the fact that Dutch women are independent and unlike a lot of men ( i really dont understand why people have such fixed imaginations and expectations how being a male or female hast to be), I do not dislike the fact that Dutch women are “masculine”. It is actually much easier to handle, less drama, less bullshit and so on, so the attitude suits me perfectly.
    Of course there is a”but”, and it surprisingly doesn’t work for me AT ALL. I kind of struggle with their lack of enthsiasm, and temperament which is a general thing if you compare the north european girls with south european girls. But the biggest problem seems to be that i am not really attractive to them. I am an average looking guy, not super pretty and not ugly neither, and in countries like Germany or UK i have no big problems with women, but somehow the Dutch women do not seem to find me very attractive. I am not sure if it’s because i have dark hair and i look like a middle eastern guy, and i never thought about that as a problem until i was confronted with severalcomments from different type of women (you probably want women to cook in the kitchen, or do you force your girlfriend to wear a scarf on her head?) which really surprised me. I am not really offended by these comments, becuase i am not religious at all and i sincerley do not care, so i mostly can take them as joke (if they were meant like that) but somehow i cannot let it go so easily. In an exaggerated sense i am not welcome in this country (i am not generalizing, and i dont think like that at all, just painting an extreme picture so you can understand the feeling).
    Also i made the experience that Dutch women are kind not very well with guys who are more social and “warm”, in a sense that i have the feeling that a lot of emotions are being held back or reserved (or maybe they are not even there :D), which is in my opinion not really helpful to feel the other person’s desires or things she dislike and so on…, but i do not judge that at all. The problem with that, is that it is more difficult to read a person if he/she doesnt show emotions freely, so it is less easy to be responsive to the person during a conversation.
    So to cut it short, so far the Dutch women for me were rather easy to approach (perfect), down to earth and not too girly (perfect), independent and confident (tripple perfect, couldn’t be better), but somehow do not fancy me (look or behaviour, i cannot really tell) [not perfect at all] :)… Hope it will change at some point. I would be more than glad for comments on this 🙂 Thx

  11. Great article. I am sure the experiences described could be accurate for an expat woman. I have to say, though, it is also very difficult for me here as an expat guy. I’ve been here a year now and I’ve never been a place – living or travelling to – where I have felt more like “air” than here. There is never a smile to receive, never eye contact to receive, and a woman would obviously never approach you. My look is average, I think, though I am told I look good. But I am 170 cm and men here are obviously giants. So my best guess is that women here put height as their most important criteria. That shows in tinder profiles too as women state their height requirement very often (and I don’t think any men would state their weight requirement of a woman in their profile). I am a very social person, but I am not the one with confidence to chat up random woman at bars, and this has psychologically become a lot harder in this country. I’ve lived for many years in London, Los Angeles, New York, Copenhagen, Luxembourg, and Norway (my nationality), and I have to admit that this place is by far the hardest place I’ve ever been.

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