The Dutch culture is a very direct and efficient culture. This also shows in the way that Dutch people date. Saying the wrong things or not being aware of the dating culture might cause awkward situations.
For people who already have a Dutch partner and are searching for a way to keep the romance alive, it might be a good idea to learn some Dutch phrases to impress their significant other.
This article focuses on what to say and what not to say when in a romantic relationship with a Dutch person.
The Dutch dating culture is as direct as it can be. It can therefore be quite intimidating for people from other cultures to ask a Dutch person out on a date.
Do not be afraid. Even though Dutch people will tell you exactly how they feel, they mean well.
The most important thing to know is that in Dutch culture, men and women are equal. Therefore, they need to be treated the same.
Regarding dating, this means that the following things are important to keep in mind:
Because of Dutch practicality, they spend little time playing hard-to-get. Time is money and dating in Dutch should be efficient and effortless.
Unlike other European and American cultures, the Dutch dating etiquette is much less strict. There are no (unwritten) rules about how long a person should wait to call or text, or when to kiss someone.
Dutch people go with the flow and do whatever feels right. They waste little time on small talk and jump straight to the important questions.
On the other hand, Dutch people like to keep it casual and take it slow. It might take weeks or months before officially becoming a couple.
When it comes down to dressing for a date, It is a good idea to dress down a little. Dutch people are very practical and might show up in sneakers and jeans to the restaurant.
Most Dutch people appreciate a partner who is confident and assertive. They do not like to be misled and are not likely to do so themselves.
A person should not be afraid to ask someone for a date, or kiss their date, for example. Of course, a rejection might follow, but at least no time was wasted.
As in many other cultures, finding a date in the Netherlands has shifted mainly to mobile apps. Different apps have different goals.
For finding a serious relationship, the most common dating platforms are Lexa and Parship. Both of these have paid subscriptions. For young adults and people looking for a one-night-stand it is more common to use Tinder, Bumble or Happn.
Besides dating apps, it is regularly easy to find a date in the Dutch community. Many couples meet at school, social clubs or bars or other public places, but most Dutch people do like to play it safe and find a potential partner through mutual friendships.
There’s many ways to ask a person out on a date. Just be polite, respectful and leave the cheesy pick-up lines at home. Sweet and respectful pick-up lines are acceptable. Here are some respectful ways to ask someone out:
Since Dutch people usually like to keep it casual, it is not common practice to take a date to a fancy restaurant.
Instead, they might opt for a drink and a night of playing pool in a bar. When the weather is good, they love to spend time outside and choose a terrace or park.
An important thing to know is that flirting is not always appreciated. As mentioned before, Dutch people do not really have time for small talk.
Sugar coating things and half-baked compliments should be left at home. It will be regarded as fake and insincere. Dutch people will certainly be straight forward and ask things like:
Things to say when seeing someone for the first time and trying to get in contact are, for example:
Laughter is a good way to start a relationship. In Dutch culture this translates to funny pick up lines.
Just be considerate and remember that not every Dutch person might appreciate it. Some pick-up lines that are funny and respectful are, for example:
Refrain from using phrases such as “Jij bent heet/lekker” (You are hot). Talking to someone about their appearance is very disrespectful in Dutch culture and might result in a slap in the face.
It is polite to let a date know that you appreciate their coming. This could be achieved by saying things such as:
After this, it is okay to ask personal questions, like:
Dutch people very much like to talk about the weather, but keep the small talk to a minimum. The Dutch culture is very efficient and this means that little time will be wasted on small talk.
Asking many personal questions to get to know the person you’re dating is common practice. Dutch people just want to get an opinion and see if they match theirs in order to find a suitable partner.
There are several ways to say goodbye to a date, depending on if the person that initiates the goodbye is a physical person or not.
Since most Dutch people do not really like touching, they might say thank you, goodbye and walk away. If the person is a physical person, they might give three kisses, while alternating cheeks.
Phrases to use while saying goodbye in Dutch are for example:
After a successful date (or two), it might be time to invite a Dutch date home. In order to avoid any awkward situations, it is often best to be honest and direct so that intentions are clear.
Since Dutch people are direct as well, they will not have a problem with openly asking you to go home with them. Things a Dutch person might say to invite a date to go with them, are:
Another option is to be direct and just ask:
However, success is not guaranteed. Only ask these questions if the intentions of the other are clear. If a Dutch person asks this, and you would like to decline, then one of the following sentences can be used:
“Going Dutch” - in the sense of splitting a bill - is a common expression in the English language, and it is not called going Dutch for nothing.
It comes from the fact that Dutch people are very frugal. They will go out of their ways to save money and get discounts.
That includes splitting bills at the end of a date. The bill will either be split in equal parts, or people might pay for whatever they had.
Things that Dutch people might say when the bill comes are:
That last example needs a bit more explanation. In the Netherlands, there is a phone application called “Tikkie” that is directly linked to your bank account.
Do not feel offended when you receive a “Tikkie”-message asking to pay back part of the costs. This is common practice in Dutch dating culture, although it is still not appreciated by everyone.
After spending significant time together, expressing love is expected. Phrases to say “I love you” for the first time in Dutch are:
You can find more useful Dutch phrases in the article on how to compliment someone in Dutch.
We hope that this guide on flirting in Dutch was helpful. For more on the Dutch language, you might enjoy the following articles:
Best wishes on your language learning journey!
Editor's note: You can use our free language tool to make your own vocabulary lists, and record your own phrases.