How to become an Undutchable

When abroad ask locals about the Netherlands and people will often mention the country being a multicultural society. Here at Undutchables we work with people from all over the world and different walks of life. It is one of the greatest aspects of working in such an international organization as it broadens ones perspective of the world. However, we also like to share our experiences of working in the Netherlands and adapting to a new culture. We have created a very tongue in cheek quiz so that you can find out how much of an Undutchable you are. There are different interpretations of being an Undutchable but in this blog we would like to explain some Dutch traditions and help you create your own Undutchable identity which might include some of these Dutch traditions.

Breakfast will often include a large glass of milk and due to the dairy addiction amongst the Dutch the glass of milk will often be accompanied with either cheese on bread or yoghurt. Then comes the commute to work, as a true Undutchable you will get on your bike and cycle to the office. Rain, snow, hail or sleet it does not matter, the bicycle is the main form of transportation. If you really do not want to cycle there is always the public transport system in the Netherlands. If you are ever looking for a topic to talk about with a group of Dutch people, start talking about the NS. The Dutch train systems are sure to get a discussion going amongst Dutch people. Getting a train from Utrecht central during rush hour, to, for example, Amsterdam is an experience in itself. It is not uncommon to see a Dutch man nudge  a woman aside to get into the train before her, nor is it uncommon to stand tightly packed like a can of sardines for the 40 minute journey. All of this can be experienced for an extortionate amount of money.

Working in the Netherlands is a combination of being five minutes early for a meeting, eating drop (licorice) from the candy jar and discussing the weather with everyone you meet. When work is over and it is the first day of spring you will most likely be invited to join your colleagues to sit outside on a terrace ‘’soaking’’ in the first rays of sunshine after a long winter. This usually means that it is still around 12 degrees but because the sun is shining half of the people on the terrace will be in shorts and t-shirt and the other half will still be wearing their winter gear. When it comes to the bill it is normal practice to pay exactly what you consumed before going home.

The final piece of advise we have on becoming an Undutchable has to do with birthdays. It is easy to forget someone’s birthday, especially when you have a large group of friends, however, the Dutch have come up with a brilliant solution to this. All you need to do is hang up a birthday calendar in your toilet. That way when you are sitting down you will always have a friendly reminder of an upcoming birthday!

We hope that you enjoyed taking our quiz and that this article gives you some ideas on what it means to be an Undutchable. Do keep in mind that there are so many ways of interpreting it and this is just one. We hope you share some of the cultural experience you have had in the Netherlands on our social media pages and we look forward to seeing you at one of our events.  

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