Invader Stu: How to identify a Dutch circle party

Anyone who has lived in Holland long enough has been invited to the dreaded "Dutch Circle Party."

But what about the people who have hosted one themselves? Sometimes they are unaware that they are throwing a Dutch circle party or maybe they are actively trying to avoid their party turning into one.

Either way, here are some of the warning signs to look out for.

 Are there chairs?

This should be your first warning sign. Even if you have not arranged the chairs in to a circle yourself your Dutch guests will slowly re-arrange them into the "optimal party seating arrangement" as they arrive (it is part of their natural instinct).

A simple solution for this problem is to hide all available seating. However, be warned, Dutch guests have been known to re-arrange any furniture they can find which can be sat on and / or lean on in order to form their own circle.

 Are there drinks?

Tea does not count. If guests start turning down tea because they have reached their limit your party most likely turned into a circle party sometime ago (between the 2nd and 3rd cup). If you have been serving slices of cake with the tea the problem is even more serious.

Don’t be fooled by small presents of alcohol at your party. Two guys using the opportunity to drink beer responsibly while their wives are distracted by someone else’s baby does not make a wild party.

Spiking everyone’s tea will soon liven up your party.

 Is there music?

At a circle party there is often a lack of music so guests can hear each other "talk." If there is music it is often very quiet or worse... Dutch.

Turn on some loud music to drown out the sound of guests talking about their mortgages.

dutch circle party

 Is everyone congratulating each other?

If guests start congratulating each other for your achievement (as if they are saying: "Well done for putting up with him for another year") then your party could be a circle party (or simply very Dutch).

The best solution for this problem is to be as attention grabbing as possible and remind everyone that it is your day and it is you and only you they should be congratulating (However, this may lead to a real feeling of "Do we have to put up with him for another year?"). Plan a suitable entrance and party attire.

 Are there guests from three generations?

If someone’s grandmother is chatting with someone’s two year old second cousin, something went wrong with the party invites. It’s too late to do anything about it unless you hire a bouncer.

Still not sure? Then why don't you print out the handy flow chart 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.

Stuart B


Stuart B

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

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