Comparisons of the Dutch with other Europeans

The Shallow Man is a well travelled old fossil. I’ve lived in a country or three and have been fortunate enough to have travelled to a few places during my long slow jog on planet earth.

I’ve written lots about various aspects of Dutch culture. A reader recently sent me the following message “Shallow Man, why don’t you write about the contrasts between the Netherlands and some of its neighbors?” As always, the Shallow Man exists only to fulfill the needs of his multikulti flock, so I’ll make a comparison of aspects of life in the Netherlands compared to other parts of Europe. Yes, I will generalise a little and no doubt my views might be upsetting to some, but these are just my observations.

Comparisons of the Dutch with other Europeans

Respect of law and order

The Dutch have an incredible disrespect for the law, individually they think it’s fine to ignore laws they don’t agree with, but expect everyone else to behave properly. Red traffic lights, zebra crossings, anti-smoking laws, all are flouted with a casual shrug of the shoulders. In this respect the Dutch are the polar opposites of the Germans, where for years now one of the best selling books remains Das Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch. This exciting and thrilling read lists every single German law. Germans keep copies at home and will quote sections of it at each other during disputes with the neighbors. One might say, typisch Deutsch.


In recent years there’s been a huge improvement in the Dutch culinary scene, however, lots of Dutch people are still happy to eat food out of containers. Dutch traditional food is all about having talent with a deep fat fryer. The motto seems to be, if you deep fry something long enough, it’s bound to taste good. Croquettes, Bitterballen, Stroopwafels, Stamppot, are the kind of food that I expect will be served in hell as a dire punishment for all eternity. During the second world war, if the Dutch suspected someone of being German they would ask, “do you own a deep fat fryer?” if the answer was no, they’d be shot as a German spy immediately. Dutch food is about texture, rather than flavor. Hot tasteless sludge (Croquettes, Bitterballen, Oliebollen) like the theme tune to the famous musical, grease is the word.

Febo kroket

Oh the complex layers of flavors


Culinary creativity at work, and the basis of the famous Rembrandt lost master, the stamppot.

Culinary creativity at work, and the basis of the famous Rembrandt lost master, the stamppot.


This is how food is meant to be served. Dutch innovation at its very worst.



So Dutch fashion week is taking place at the moment. The title is itself an oxymoron. Fashion and Dutch in the same sentence! Last Friday on my way back from the studio, I saw a typical looking “fashionable” lady in bright orange jeans, sandals and a fleece top. The motto here is “throw everything and anything on, be comfortable”. Yes there are some very stylish people, but overall…. the Dutch are one of the worst dressed people in Europe, another trait that they share with…. the UK. My countrymen know how to dress appropriately when attending weddings, funerals etc, but along with the love of fast food, sloppy, terrible casual clothes are becoming the norm.

Dutchmen however are the world leaders when it comes to…


It was recently reported (by me) that the number one argument between Dutch couples revolves around hair products. Dutch men use so much hair gel that their partners often have arguments with them about the percentage of household budgets being spent on feeding the Lion. The typical Dutch male spends 728 hours a year maintaining his Lion like mane, almost three times the amount of the Dutch female. The only other country where men are known to spend as much time on their hair is Italy, however as with the manufacture and distribution of MDMA (ecstasy), the Netherlands remain world leaders in this area.


Dutch women are highly sexed and liberated in the sense that if they waited around for Dutch men to make the first move, the Dutch race would have died out years ago. Due to this they are not afraid to take the initiative and boss the man of their liking all the way into the bedroom. The US Marshals always get their man, so do Dutch women. They are relentless. This is something that they have in common with…… Russian women.


There’s no stopping the Dutch Antelope once she has her sights set on a Lion


I recently wrote a post called are the Dutch rude or just direct? I posed the question without stating my own opinion, which is…. that the Dutch are rude! I’ve never seen such impolite behavior. The Dutch claim to be direct, but this is a one way street, try being just as direct back and they quickly take offense. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen people jumping places in queues, pushing their way out of trams, combing their hair on public transport, flinging cigarettes on the street and being just downright plain rude. I don’t know if it’s due to the exceptionally high population density here, that makes people act like farmers at a cattle auction. The Dutch are the polar opposites to the Germans, who will actually say ‘entschuldigung’ (excuse me) and little things like ‘bitte sehr’ or ‘danke schön’. Again, this kind of gruff general rudeness puts the Dutch in line with the Russians, who are also often incredibly rude and pushy.

Final words

All of the above are observations based on my own experiences.. and yes, before you say if you don’t like it here “rot op naar je eigen land” – I’ve heard that one before – but thanks anyway.

No hair gel manufacturers were hurt during the writing of this post.

The Shallow Man can be heard every Friday morning from 7am to 9am on English Breakfast Radio.


This article is previously published on Amsterdam Shallow Man.




Simon Woolcot
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4 replies
  1. Kasia K
    Kasia K says:

    Thank you for this article, 100% agree, but there is one more point in the ‘rudeness’ part. What I have been brainwashed here by some dutch coaches for expats is that one should always greet when entering to a store, specially small store. Having practised this advice I have heard only 1 out of 10 greets back and 9 out of 10 shop assistants were rude, careless and ignorant; so called here a ‘customer service’.

  2. Roxy
    Roxy says:

    This is great! All true by the way. Endorsed by an expat living in the netherlands 4 years (have also lived in spain, germany). No biased information

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