Valentine’s Day in the Netherlands: Leveling Your Expectations


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 Dutch:

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?”.

This can either warm your heart or make you sick
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 favorite 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: 1 out of 5 Dutchies celebrates it. And 90% 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 5 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.

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57% 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 colorful, 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 the Dutch spend on Valentine’s day. But you might be a part of the lucky 2% 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. 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.


Plan your escape

So it’s almost Valentine’s day and you’re still in the general populace. This isn’t good, you need an exit strategy, even if it means hoisting yourself up into the air-vents and hopping from roof to roof. You’re single or had a bad break-up (Dutch Review still loves you) but you’re allergic to Valentine’s day and you’re checking out.


Just leave the greyness and cold of February behind us for a moment and let’s focus real love: cheese love! And the best place to gorge? Come over to Scheveningen, our fav Dutch beach town.

You can take a ride on the Ferris wheel, go to the Sea Life, end the day at a nice restaurant then head back home (we know you too well dear frugal Dutchie).

Whole point of the Valentine’s Day in the Netherlands: Love is in the cheese!

So tell us, what are your plans for tonight? Back to back movie marathon? Home cooked meal, or is it a big night out? Leave a comment!

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.

 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

The Netherlands and Dating: 6 things about dating the Dutch


  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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