When I decided to pack my things and trade Paris for Amsterdam last October, 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.

 

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.

Okay maybe not all of them are as hot as Doutzen Kroes and Candice Swanepoel but you get the picture

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. 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.

The Netherlands and sprinkels are in a long and sugarcoated relationship

 

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)

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.

That day is scheduled for love

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, leaving 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..

Disclaimer: this piece is based on personal observations and in no way claims to be universal truth

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  • Johny Lupertazzi

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

  • Kevin

    There’s one big problem here. You’re dating men in Amsterdam.

  • Luca Valerio

    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.

    • Tom

      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 😉

      • Tom

        Ok, ignore the spelling mistakes 😉

    • Marianne Beikes

      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.

  • Nice article, very well written

  • Irene Sour

    Hear hear!

  • DutchSenators

    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;)

  • Harald Stoll

    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?

  • Mike

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

  • Polly

    I’m Dutch and even I don’t understand how to date Dutch men haha

    • Marianne Beikes

      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. 🙂

  • Mia Lafontaine

    Super article.. moi qui venait à Amsterdam pour les hollandais, je ferais mieux de bien y réfléchir!

  • MvD

    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.

    • Marianne Beikes

      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.

      • Donna Roberts

        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

        • Marianne Beikes

          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?

  • Denhaag

    Candice Swanepoel is South African , not Dutch

  • Lip Lip

    “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…