Being an American expat married to a Dutch guy lends me the opportunity to have an “outsider” insider perspective on all things Dutch. I’ve come to realize that while stereotypes are only part of the story, there are unifying characteristics about the Dutch people. In fact, a lot of Dutch people embrace a certain degree of homogeneity, proudly standing by what they believe is quintessentially Dutch.
Here are, in my opinion, ten signs that you are Dutch at heart:
1. You are an avid sun-worshiper. Entire industries cater around your devotion to the sun, happily fulfilling your inclination to satisfy your soul’s need to feel the warmth of the sun across your face. The moment there are blue skies and the sun is out in all her glory, you will probably take a mental health day at the beach or leave work early to meet friends at the outdoor terraces.
2. Your bike is a natural extension of your body. You can ride a bike straddled with three kids and groceries and do internet banking on your cell phone on one hand while navigating the narrow streets of Amsterdam. And of course you laugh at the idea of bike helmets.
3. Cheese and other dairy products comprise your major food group. Bread of course is the second other essential food group. Thanks to the magical combination of the two food groups, the only real difference between your breakfast and your lunch is the three hours in between. A piece of cheese or meat on bread will suffice – save the fluff like additional spreads and garnishes for special occasions.
4. Speaking of food, you have a prerequisite of one hot meal a day. Traditionally this would have been lunch but due to the demands and logistics of modern life, you usually eat your one hot meal with your family between 5 and 6 o’clock in the evening. The idea of having two or three warm meals are a bit too extravagant for you.
5. You love going Dutch with everyone expected to pay their own equal, fair share. This philosophy can be seen in your famous polder model. Heads up (American) ladies – if a Dutch guy asks you out on a date keep in mind that also means that you’re probably responsible for your own meal.
6. You celebrate your royalty’s birthday with a certain finesse by throwing a nationwide flea market, wearing bright orange apparel, and engaging in state-sponsored public intoxication for a day a half.
7. You usually make appointments four weeks in advance. But chances are, if a friend calls you on a Thursday night to hang out at the local pub or join a last minute BBQ (weather permitting), you’ll absolutely love the spontaneity and are probably free to happily take up the offer. All for gezelligheid.
8. You feel entitled to an opinion on everything, even if you actually have no expertise on the matter or have a clue to what you are actually taking about.
9. You pride yourself on being thrifty. You’re not cheap as much as you love a good bargain and believe in the importance of living within your means.
10. You love being direct and straight to the point. The art of being subtle are for everyone else across the pond (British, Canadians and Americans). Perhaps it’s one of the reasons why the Netherlands continues to be a financial power house – they’re great at business.
I have to confess that I’m also becoming Dutch at heart. While I may never succumb to being satisfied eating sandwiches for breakfast and lunch, I do appreciate and embrace other aspects of my Dutched reality such as biking every where, being straight to the point, and loving the sun. And obviously, I’ve become incredibly opinionated – why else would I be blogging?
Here’s to Finding Dutchland, where ever you may be!
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