Don’t be too extravagant

People in the Netherlands like to keep things casual. So if you turn up to date one with a trail of roses and an outfit that would fit in at a wedding, you’re doing it wrong.

Keep things simple and casual and opt for something low-key. When it comes to the date itself, that should also be intimate and not too fancy. Spend some time munching on bitterballen and drinking special beers at a local Bruin Cafe and save the fancy restaurant for your anniversary (okay, we know, we’re getting ahead of ourselves).

That goes for compliments too

If you’re trying to appeal to the Dutch heart, make sure that your compliments are sincere and not over the top.

If you compliment in a way that is flowery and dramatic, they may perceive you as being fake. It also works the other way around, don’t assume they aren’t interested because they aren’t showering you with compliments. Dutch people are often a little more reserved with strangers than can be the case in other countries.

But be confident in what you want

It’s a cliche as old as clogs that Dutch people are very straightforward. When it comes to dating, you should embrace this wholeheartedly.

Playing hard-to-get won’t get you too far in the Netherlands - so if you’d like to ask someone out, just do it! Be assertive and confident. You might get rejected, but that’s okay - there are plenty more fish in the canals after all.

And on the topic of Dutch openness…

Be prepared for awkward questions

In many other countries, there are topics that are considered to be a bit of a social taboo. If your date asks you something that sounds rude or too blunt, try not to take it the wrong way.

While it may take some getting used to, you can’t fault the fact that it’s a great way to figure out if you’re both compatible without wasting too much time.

Because honesty is the best policy

Dutch people often believe it’s better, to be honest with one another instead of giving out false hope. If someone isn’t into you, they may well tell you straight away. If you’ve got lipstick on your teeth, they’ll probably tell you that too.

In the long run, though, this works out much better. After all, who wants to walk around with lipstick on their teeth?!

Don’t be surprised about splitting the bill

In the Netherlands, splitting the bill (whether you’re a man or a woman) is a normal practice. It is fair and economical and means you won’t splash out loads on a date that ends up being a waste of time. The expression ‘going Dutch’ had to come from somewhere!

Another option might be that one person pays for drinks in the first bar and the other person pays in the next - fairness is key! Dutch people pride themselves on equality between the sexes and this is just one way it manifests.

That’s not to say that your date won’t appreciate you paying the bill - it’s all dependent on your unique situation. You only need to know that it won’t be expected.

Talk about travel

When it comes to finding common ground, sharing experiences of travel may win you some brownie points. While we don’t know your potential date personally, many Dutch people are well-seasoned when it comes to travelling to foreign countries. So bring this subject up if you’re worried conversation is coming to a halt.

And while we may be jumping the gun on this one…

Don’t expect a marriage proposal anytime soon

You haven’t even been on your first date yet, so this may be a little premature. But it’s worth bearing in mind that Dutch people often wait until they own house and even have a kid together before popping the big question.

This is very different from some other cultures where young people marry very fast. So while we’re not saying we thought you might propose on the first date, it might be worth noting that if you want to marry your Dutch love, you’re in it for the long haul.

At the end of the day, no one person fits the stereotype of their home country - we’re sure that you don’t either! So just relax, take the above humour with the pinch of salt it deserves and keep an open mind as you get to know this new person better.