Recently I got an email asking if the Dutch are considered to be a friendly people. Of course it would be better to ask a foreigner this question as they really experience it, but as I have made many international friends and know of their opinions on The Netherlands and their people I feel confident in giving an answer on this question.
Basically we can indeed say that the Dutch are a friendly people. If you would ask a local resident for help finding your hotel or have questions on how to use public transportation (Does this train go to …?) you would most likely find that you would get the help you expected. Also addressing someone when you’re in a bar or club will most likely result in a polite and nice conversation. The Dutch are not easily offended by the way someone looks or his/her faith. You can discuss your faith and view on the world, however it is considered rude to try to convince someone of your faith, they won’t get mad but will most likely ridicule you or respond in a joking manner. A topic that is best avoided is directly asking a Dutch how much money he makes. This is considered to be very nosy and rude and most likely they will not answer the question or be vague about it. Another fun issue is that in many countries Holland is used as a synonym for The Netherlands… However Holland is a region of the The Netherlands and should therefore according to the Dutch not be used to refer to the country. Especially people who do not live in this region will point this out.
Although most Dutch people will be helpfull and kind sometimes the direct and frank attitude of the Dutch can be interpreted as unfriendly or insulting. This in fact is not intended to be insulting or hurtfull but rather a way of being honest/truthfull and to the point. It is an attitude you might need to get used too. A friend of mine once mentioned that he considered the Dutch more intimidating because of their length. I never thought of this before but it is true that measured by country the tallest people of the world live in The Neterlands.
If you’ve visited The Netherlands then please leave a comment about the experience you had with the Dutch people and think if they can be considered friendly.