Invader Stu: Warning signs that you are becoming Dutch

01 October 2012, by

Spend any amount of time in Holland and you are bound to pick up a few habits from the locals. It’s good to become integrated but there are some warning signs that you might be becoming "too" Dutch. You have been warned.

You no longer freak out when someone reminds you that the entire country is below sea level.

You’ve forgotten what hills and mountains look like.

You’ve discovered a way of using the friendly greeting "hello" as a sarcastic insult.

You’ve developed a natural instinct to sit in a circle at any party or social gathering that you are invited to.

You’ve continued to ride the same bike for the past two years despite the rather unhealthy and painful squeaking sound it has developed (which causes nearby pedestrians to bleed from their ears).

You’ve shouted at tourists while cycling past on a bike.

You’ve "pimped" your bike with fake flowers.

You own either: a large pair of novelty orange glasses, a large novelty orange inflatable crown, an orange feather boa and / or a pair of orange dungarees that you wear at any event that requires a display of Dutch pride (Queen's/King's Day, Football matches, etc).

You’ve developed an unhealthy obsession with mixing random vegetables with mashed potatoes.

You actually understood the above joke.

You now consider mayonnaise to be its own food group.

You think standing on the fragile ice over the city’s polluted (and often peed in) canals in large numbers is a good idea.

turning dutch

You get excited about "Pepernoten Season."

You now say "half a year" instead of "six months."

You’ve eaten raw herring without it being part of a bet you lost.

You’ve stuck up for Sinterklaas in the annual Sinterklaas vs. Santa argument (and Zwarte Piet has started to seem less offensive).

You’ve considered red trousers a "fashionable option."

Any signs that you are becoming "too" Dutch? Feel free to comment below!

Invader Stu is an accident prone Englishman who has been suffering from Dutch culture shock for the last ten years. Enjoy his stories, more of which can be found on Invading Holland.

Also, check out:
- Part 2 with more warning signs that you are becoming Dutch!
- Part 3 with even more warning signs!


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Comments arranged by date (Total 55 comments)  
October 01 2012, 09:54AM

Very funny and true at the same time!
Also don't forget the "agenda", how flexible to go out for a beer are we all lately??

October 01 2012, 12:02PM

Oh god yes. I don't think I had seen anyone use an agenda in real life until I moved to Holland.

October 01 2012, 12:57PM

And would you mind if I used that one in a follow up post sometime?

October 01 2012, 10:01AM

So true about the mayo!

October 01 2012, 12:03PM

You should see the amount of the stuff my wife uses.

October 01 2012, 10:42AM

If only more Dutch people would mix veggies with mashed potatoes. Instead, most of them seem to eat meat, fish, and cheese all the time.

October 01 2012, 12:04PM

I will never understand the fish thing. Especially raw fish... Ewww...

October 01 2012, 10:55AM

You know you're becoming dutch when Kapsalon is a normal choice for breakfast...

October 04 2012, 09:11AM

So it's not Turkish?

October 05 2012, 04:02PM

This is not normal at any time of the day!

June 26 2015, 04:55PM

Kapsalon is something from Rotterdam,

There used to be a barber shop next to the el-aviv (Rotterdam) and they always order shoarma.

So being a barber shop eating shoarma is not always convenient and you have to use your hands. so the barber shop tells the shoarma guy to put everything together from the fries to the shoarma and salad/cheese, put in a fork.

And that my friend is how the Kapsalon (Barbershop) came to existence.

October 01 2012, 11:06AM

...When 100's & 1000's on toast is perfectly acceptable...

October 01 2012, 12:04PM

Hehehe. Good one.

October 01 2012, 12:59PM

On another note, would you mind if I used that one sometime in a follow up post?

October 01 2012, 12:28PM

Your definition of "good weather" changes from "sunshine" to "no rain". When it comes to buildings, your sense of size suddenly changes- what you would consider "tiny" in your country becomes "normal" size in the Netherlands (houses, gardens, etc). You stop going to the doctor for every possible illness (I don't need prescription for Paracetamol).

October 01 2012, 12:56PM

Hehe. Good ones. I might have to start asking if people they don't mind me using some of the ones they have come up with for a follow up post. Would you be ok with me using some of these?

October 01 2012, 01:14PM

Sure, go ahead! Looking forward to your follow-up post.

October 01 2012, 02:25PM

Sure Stu, by all means use it!

October 01 2012, 03:19PM

You no longer care if anyone calls it Holland…you stopped correcting them that it's the Netherlands. Couldn't be bothered anymore. : )

October 04 2012, 09:30AM

Haha. It's true. No one corrects me any more.

October 02 2012, 10:24AM

-I would say "agenda" thing is more Frenchy. They already start when they go to school.
-Raw fish...what about sushi? and also in Poland people eat a lot of raw herring
-red pants??? so fashion, you can find them in every H&M, C&A...
-mushed potatoes mixed with everything- Norwegians seem to be experts, they mixed them with Brunost- sweat "cheese"
-again Norwegians: doctors will advise water and orange juice for any flu symptoms
- more sarcastic as french "ca va" I don't believe it exists
-if Belgians or northern Frenchs read you about mayonnaise they want agree, its "their invention"
-also seen in France: every month "bomb" alarm- good time for terrorist attack

Really Dutch:
-complaining about weather: rain is not good but also sun is not better, always windy or not enough, too hot or too cold..
-shopping Thursday evening
-going out for a beer only weekends and week evenings spending on sports
-biking slowly, not being in hurry and slow down everybody around

October 04 2012, 09:34AM

I've never understood mush peas. I remember them being big when I was a kid but I never liked them.

October 11 2012, 11:55AM

Funny, this doesn't fit with my experience of Norway and Norwegians at all!

October 02 2012, 10:33AM

1) Your throat stopped hurting from trying to pronounce the Dutch "G".
2) When you speak Dutch, the Dutch answer in Dutch (as opposed to English)
3) You get excited about Sinterclaas (oh God, please don't let it happen to me!)

October 04 2012, 09:35AM

Hhhmmm... I've got two out of three :p Do you mind if I maybe use some of these for a follow up post?

October 04 2012, 09:27AM

Having a Red Bull + Croissant/Bread for breakfast

October 04 2012, 09:36AM

Yeah... I might have kind of done that.

October 04 2012, 09:28AM

1. You open the orange or green and white blind outside if there's any possibility of sun (in row houses that is).
2. You get in people's way at every opportunity.
3. You say 'impossible' to any request if you work in customer service.
4. You become cold and avoid eye contact, and if anyone smiles at you in the street, you mutter 'niet normaal' and give them a stern look so they feel weird.
5. You are superficially polite to foreigners, but secretly despise them. (may not apply here!)
6. You speak Dutch to foreigners who speak English to you, and English to foreigners who speak Dutch to you.
7. If you see any Dutchy speaking English with a foreigner, you interrupt by telling the Dutchy they should not be speaking English to a foreigner (under the pretense that you want to help the foreigner learn Dutch (lol) and start speaking in Dutch, so the foreigner is blocked out of the conversation and made to feel unwelcome in Holland.
8. You constantly peep through your windows at your neighbours, ask them personal questions, and rudely interfere at any opportunity.
9. You don't want to be friends with foreigners, but feel the need to find out everything personal about them so you can gossip with Dutchies about how strange the foreigners are.
10. You never say 'sorry' if you or your employees or company cause a problem for someone. Just say 'it wasn't me'.
11. You never say 'thanks' if someone opens the door for you, picks up something you dropped, or for any other little favour whatsoever.
12. You've mastered the 'how dare you?!' look, which you freely dispense when you see anyone who is wearing anything slightly different to the standard 'Grey Dutch'.
13. You get to work at exactly 8 or 9 or whatever and leave exactly 8 hours later, and you take exactly half an hour for lunch. In between you do as little work as humanly possible.

October 04 2012, 09:38AM

I'm happy to say I have never met these Dutch people

December 05 2012, 10:34AM

hahahaha i would say a bit harsh, however i have unfortunately more than once ran into pple like this, especially 7, 10, 11 & 13

October 04 2012, 09:34AM

swithe44, this is not my impression at all! On the contrary, I found the Dutch incredibly warm people, and they smile at me a lot! Also, the Dutch now speak Dutch with me, and they seem kind of nicer because of that-they see I'm making an effort. Also, I found that peeping through the window is not a Ducth thing at all-on the contrary, they seem to like their privacy even with the limited space they have. They also say "thanks". As for clothing, I found that the Dutch dress themselves in a much more creative way than I had expected. But maybe everybody's impression is different!

October 04 2012, 09:40AM

My experiences with the Dutch has been the same. Occasional I might meet an unfriendly one but you can meet the occasional unfriendly person in any country or culture.

October 04 2012, 09:40AM

Same as yours I mean, with nice Dutch people.

October 04 2012, 12:02PM

You've abandoned net curtains and actually wave when people stare through your windows as they are passing by.....
You no longer pause to consider what's in it before eating a frikandel...
Fried eggs on chinese meals and pizzas are no longer weird....
You no longer utter the words "Oh look there's a windmill"....
Shopping on a Sunday just seems wrong....

October 06 2012, 01:27PM

It's so funny. My Dutch wife is always saying how strange she finds net curtains when ever we go to England.

October 07 2012, 09:35AM

You stop correcting your kids asking "How late is it?" in English instead of "What time is it?"

October 08 2012, 06:51PM

Oh so true... And in London two weeks ago I missed having lunch twice a day and was confronted with a breakfast! And then the damned yoghurt was an eggcup sized pot of solid stuff, where was my litre of near water for my cereal!!!! (Could be ten exclamation marks to be true Dutch)

October 09 2012, 04:28PM


October 09 2012, 10:14PM

14. You mutter 'Bye' when you leave a lift.
15. You stand with your hands on hips and loudly proclaim 'Soooo' when you've got nothing intelligent to say.

October 10 2012, 01:29PM


October 17 2012, 09:09AM


October 17 2012, 09:10AM

Ah I worked it out, roll on the floor... jeez

October 09 2012, 10:15PM

Aged One the CAPSLOCK key is on the left. Click it off.

October 10 2012, 01:06PM

you drink milk for breakfast, lunch and dinner ;)

October 12 2012, 04:45PM

what about the birthday calendar in the toilet :)

October 12 2012, 05:21PM

You tell people that your village is by a city.

October 17 2012, 09:13AM

16. You say 'GoedaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAA' while you ponderously contemplate whether to add on 'middag' or 'morgen', because you don't even know what day it is, let alone whether it's morning or afternoon.

October 19 2012, 03:37PM

Excellent post, Stuart. I really enjoy your blog. I've missed the last two Queen's Days, so for the next I'm going all the way with an orange feather boa.

Oh, and what about the two-toned Dutch sigh? That "heeea-hea" sigh - know what I mean?

November 05 2012, 11:11AM

:) Very funny Stu!
Not freaking out every first Monday of the month when they test the war/emergency sirens.
Looking forward to November because of oliebollen (slurp!).
Using the hand wave next to your ear when you find something tasty instead of your own country's meaning for the gesture (in my case, it means you're going to get punched)
Actually wanting to return to the Netherlands when you're visiting your own country.
What MandieRose said :-) heh-heh.

November 12 2012, 05:29PM

the albert heijn layout makes sense.

December 04 2012, 06:18AM

When 15 C is warm weather :)

January 23 2013, 07:39PM

oh dear - going by this list it may already be too late for me! I would add another though which thankfully I've manage to avoid adopting until now - making the sound 'hay hay' regularly and for no apparent reason.

February 14 2013, 12:59PM

Guys, I cant believe that nobody said that you are completely ducht when you eat Hagelslag for lunch hahaha how crazy is that?

July 08 2014, 02:16PM

Oh, man I relate to so much of these! Including some of the things pointed out in the comments. But the day I surrender to agendas and raw eel is the day I become oranje!
Another one is that I now use toothpicks anytime anywhere with no shame! My parents would be appalled!
Congrats on the list, Stuart! :D

June 26 2015, 01:34PM

Chocolate sprinkles on bread is a normal condiment.

You say "goeiedag" when you enter the waiting room at the doctors office.

About the Author
Stuart B

An accident prone Englishman living in Holland since 2001. Still not great with the language but fin...



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