How to live like a local in the Netherlands

“Small frog country” is what us Dutchies call The Netherlands. Land of cheese, windmills, and Amsterdam… but that’s just an outsider’s perspective. Once you become a local, you won’t notice the tulips or the windmills anymore, but you will notice what us natives see. And who better to tell you than me?

Rule #1

Let me just start off by saying that it’s ‘The Netherlands’. Not Holland. And we don’t speak German, although I will admit the languages might sound similar (to an outsider, so not to you, local-to-be!).

Everything is ‘gezellig

‘Do you want to go out tonight?’ ‘Yes, gezellig!’. ‘Do you want to come for dinner?’ “Oh, gezellig!”.

Translating ‘gezellig‘ into English, it’s a combination of ‘cosy’, ‘snug’ and a little bit of ‘nice and atmospheric’. We use it all the time to indicate that we are having, or will be having, a cosy and snug time!

Fun and games

Boardgames. Cardgames. Computer games. Outside games. Games when you’re travelling. There are few Dutchies who don’t have a shelf filled with games at home, if not a whole closet. Everybody loves to play games together, because it’s ‘gezellig, of course’.

Biscuit with mice

Peanut butter with chocolate sprinkles. Chocolate flakes. Cheese with curry sauce. Applesirop. Think of something strange to put on your bread for breakfast, and we probably have it. ‘Biscuits with mice’ is actually a tradition to celebrate the birth of a baby. We treat our colleagues or friends and family to pink mice when it’s a girl and blue mice when it’s a boy.



source: Amin

Mashed everything

A winter tradition is to mash potatoes with almost anything. You can mash it with kale, onions, carrots, endive and many more kinds of vegetables to make one tasty hotchpot. Host your own dinner making a hotchpot and you are one step closer to your integration.t


Orange above

source: Jeroen

The Dutch national colour is orange and so is everything else on the 27th of April when it’s Kingsday. From fingernails to dress code: everything is either orange or red-white-and-blue. The festivities start early and for the whole day you’re guaranteed to hear nothing but Dutch songs. This is the perfect celebration to show that you’re one of the locals!


Amsterdamnit, there’s more!

Don’t just set your eyes on Amsterdam, there are plenty other cities that are just as lovely and with less tourists on every corner. Like Utrecht with its many canals similar to Amsterdam, or Rotterdam which is said to be the new Amsterdam. You can be a part of that!
You will have become a true Dutchie once you’ve mastered these traits, and when you start using diminutives for words you never thought could be made any smaller, no one can tell you apart from a native!

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