Exploring the Culture of the Netherlands

The Netherlands is an open-minded, tolerant, and progressive country with fertile farmlands, picturesque canals, charming seaside fishing villages, and bustling modern cities. Since much of the Netherlands is below sea level, it’s common to see lots of dikes holding back the icy waters of the North Sea. Counting almost 17 million inhabitants, the Netherlands is very densely populated. The Dutch Public transportation system is well developed, and bikes are commonly used to get around. From the canals of Amsterdam to the flat farmlands in the north of the country, the Netherlands has plenty to offer, including nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites!

Study abroad in the Netherlands Host a Dutch student in the U.S.


Dutch People and Community

Students in the Netherlands

Dutch people are usually very open, friendly and welcoming. In the Netherlands, only parents and children live together. In general, they do not live with grandparents, aunts, and uncles. During meals, Dutch families usually share their adventures of the day. In Dutch homes, all family members share chores.

In the culture of the Netherlands, parents are the heads of the family. They determine the rules. Dutch children, however, will often disagree and argue and discuss things with their parents. This is not considered rude or insolent, on the contrary: in the Netherlands many parents think it is good for young people to have their own opinions and encourage their speaking out.

Dutch families may seem very curious. They want to know everything. In general, this is because they are very interested in each other. Also, by talking freely and telling them details, children show their trust and confidence in their parents. It is something that is inseparable from being independent. When children share what is happening in their lives, parents have more confidence in allowing their children to be fully independent.

Dutch families like to do things together, especially on weekends. This includes sports, social clubs, visiting relatives, or attending social or cultural activities together. People in the Netherlands divide their time consciously between all sorts of activities. Simply sitting down doing nothing is considered a waste of time.

Language and Communication Styles

People in Amsterdam

Dutch is spoken throughout the Netherlands.

Food in the Netherlands

A classic Dutch meal

Dutch food is simple and nourishing and represents a mixture of European cooking styles. In the culture of the Netherlands, family members take breakfast individually during weekdays based on their schedules, but on Sundays, families will eat a special breakfast together. Dutch families customarily eat open-faced sandwiches for breakfast and lunch, and dinner is usually the only hot meal of the day.

A typical dinner consists of potatoes and gravy with vegetables in season and meat or fish. The soups and vegetables are excellent. For dessert, popular dishes are raisin rolls, chocolate spread, puddings, syrup-filled wafers, and especially Dutch licorice!

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