Are you familiar with the so-called, ‘Dutch Reach’?

If you’re not familiar with this ‘Dutch reach’, join the rest of the Netherlands. But you’re living here now amigo and it’s high time you learned what it’s all about. Firstly though, I’d like to state (even if it’s only to set the record straight with a female Dutch friend) that it’s not a sexual position involving stroopwafel, a dimly lit room and Andres Hazes in the background. With a little imagination, perhaps it could be – but let’s not get distracted.

Dutch Reach sleazy man
One second into ‘Dutch Reach’ and he gives you this look….

What Is The ‘Dutch Reach’?

No, the original ‘Dutch Reach’ doesn’t at all allude to the act of creating life, but rather saving it. The ‘Dutch Reach’ is, in fact, the name for a technique in which opening one’s car door is performed so as not to maim passing cyclists. Essentially, you reach over with the hand furthest from the handle, which encourages you to twist your body and look over your shoulder to check for passing bike traffic. Rather considerate I think, taking into account that in the battle of rider versus metal door, metal door packs a Richel Hersisia-esque punch. What makes the ‘Dutch Reach’ even more important is that the Dutch aren’t massive fans of helmets. Hey, at least you can protect your delicate body from injury by softening the impact with your supple cranium… or not.


Why Haven’t My Dutch Friends Heard Of It?

Ask most people in the Netherlands however about the internationally renowned ‘Dutch Reach’ and you’ll probably get the same coy response I received from the aforementioned Dutch friend. Truth is, the ‘Dutch Reach’ isn’t that popular and is barely practiced. And even though it’s apparently compulsory to demonstrate the ‘Dutch Reach’ (once again, we talking about the car door opening technique) during your driver’s exam, I’m at a loss as to whether or not this is true.

Cyclists gets hit by door
Man down, MAN DOWN! If only the ‘Dutch Reach’ technique had of been employed…

Settling The ‘Dutch Reach’ Once And For All

So please, enlighten me. I know in the UK and USA, ‘Dooring’ as it’s called when you take someone out on a bicycle with your door, is a major problem. For the sake of mankind, let’s get to the bottom of this once and for all. Do you guys actually practice what you reach or are you venerable Dutchies getting credit for something you didn’t actually invent? Let’s settle this once and for all.


  1. Not sure whether we invented it… But it IS part of the driving exam. Not sure how many people actually use it though… I did not know what this was about until I had some vague recollection of having to do that during my driving exam.

  2. I took my driver’s lisence exam half a yearish ago and I had to do it during my exam. Technically the exam is already finished the moment you park the car so getting out of it with the proper way doesn’t technically count but if you were close to passing and you did it, you will pass (even though you technically shouldn’t). I also had to do it every time during my lessons and well, it is a habbit now 🙂

  3. Most people don’t do the Dutch reach, but they certainly have learned to look in their mirror and often over their shoulder too, so open the door. That part IS second nature, just not in this particular way.


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