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Dutch People Think They’re Rude

The Dutch seem to take pride in being rude, although they don’t seem to be very good at it.

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“But I’m rude because I’m Dutch.”

I heard multiple people say this to me within the span of just a few days here in the Netherlands. On every occasion the person who said this was treating me to something special, taking out time to talk with me, or in some other way being remarkably accommodating.

“Why do people here keep saying that?” I finally broke down. “You Dutch people are like the most polite people I’ve ever encountered in 16 years of travel across 61 countries.”

This is a country where people look you in the face when you pass in the streets and smile. They are generally open to random conversation. The check-out people in stores make small talk and are helpful. On the surface this is one of the most polite countries I’ve ever been in.

But what do I know? Down deep they may be cerebrally dismantling me.

Although ultimately, if Dutch people are trying to be rude then as a culture they terminally suck at it. Maybe they should go to some place like Vietnam to sit in on a few lessons.


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Filed under: Netherlands, Travel Diary

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3717 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

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