Dating Netherlands
Dating in the Netherlands

Dating Etiquettes in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a country with a multicultural society. And therefore dating in the Netherlands does not mean you will automatically date this tall blond, blue-eyed guy that loves to eat cheese and knows all about mills and clogs.

In the Netherlands, you will find a blend of cultures to choose from and when you use Dutch Dating sites you will have a hard time finding that tall blond.

Dating Etiquettes in The Netherlands

Dating in the Netherlands is like in every country a matter of finding the right match, a man that will make you a better version of you and that will stick longer than one night. that keeps promises and treats you like his best mate, but then with the air of a princess around you.

And we all know how hard it is to find a person that makes us feel butterflies and that is on the same page as you are.

Looking for your prince charming in the Netherlands is very straightforward. You are dating in a country where women strive for equal rights and people are bluntly open about their intentions. And that gives you the right to act the same way.

When you meet a person it is not at all strange to ask what their intentions are. And you just listen to your gut feeling and scan their attitude to see if they speak the truth. That gives you a huge advantage over dating in other countries in for example Asia or Latin America where the woman has a lesser role to play in the dating game.

Dutch are open-minded and talk about any subject during dating. The courtship is straightforward and there seem to be fewer rules and games to play. If you like a person you tell them if you don’t like a person you tell them you don’t want to continue seeing them.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rules, but in a bigger perspective, this is how it is. The open-minded attitude makes one night stand also a possibility and everything in between that and marriage or living together in some sort of (legal) form. Dutch are generous in Friends with benefits, same-sex relationships, open relationships, and Living Together Apart relationship forms.

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How about going Dutch?

it is a common joke for neighboring countries the “going Dutch”. In other countries, they love to emphasize that dutch people can be stingy. But when a man really likes you he will offer to pay the bill. It is nice if you offer to split, but a gentleman will refuse, even if he does not want to continue seeing you. For younger people, in their 20-30’s it is more common to split the bill, mostly one person pays and sends the other a “tikkie” a Dutch informal payment method through a smartphone app.

Dating in a multicultural society

When you date Dutch people that are originally not from the Netherlands dating is a mix of all of the above and the cultural habits of the person’s upbringing. That can be a pleasant surprise or make it even more complicated. Not all women and men in the Netherlands follow the Dutch open ways of relaxed dating and sexual behavior. There are groups of people that are more fundamentalistic. For example, the Dutch bible belt has different rules for premarital sex and birth control and the immigrants have their own rules and cultural habits.

Make sure that when you are a free thinker and you love the open approach of the Dutch regarding relationships and sex that you know upfront what the cultural background of your date is. Just so you do not have wrong expectations or offend a person.

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How to dress for a date in the Netherlands?

Actually, depending on where you are going, you can wear anything you like. Dutch people like to dress up but in an informal way. Be clean and representative and you do great. Everything overdone is not done. That means make-up, evening gowns, and suits. For men, usually, jeans and a jacket will do, no tie. For women a nice dress or pants and light make-up. 

It all depends on the activity, since dating in the Netherlands is very informal, you probably go on a fun date. And believe me, it is no fun to go to a cooking class in high heels or a three-piece suit.

Most first dates are a quick coffee or lunch, a beer or cocktail on a terrace with Dutch ‘Bitterballen” (deep-fried meat ragu balls).

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PDA when dating in the Netherlands

I have created a lot of confusion when I started dating after my divorce. I am the kind of person that always touches another person, a light hand on the upper arm, a hand on a shoulder, a gentle push when making a joke. I have learned not to do that anymore. I was an exception to the rule and many men I dated felt lead on. Or thought I was flirting, which I was not. It comes from my work-field where it is good to keep people attentive by a light touch. When dating in the Netherland, or anywhere else in the world now, I keep my hands in my pockets or I sit on them when I feel the urge to touch.

Dutch do not touch much on a first date. You might get the 3 welcoming kisses on the cheek, but that is about it. There is no touching. No kissing. Not at the start. Once the date goes well, the man might try to steal a kiss. But you can feel that coming, believe me, it will not take you by surprise. He probably has made a lot of long eye contact during the date, showing that he “is into you”. It is up to you to accept the kiss and the phone number.

Women do not play any tricks, like twisting their hair around a finger, making kiss lips, and glancing from underneath her eyelashes, stuff like that. It will not impress the native Dutch men, and they are not used to it so they probably not even notice.

Typical Dutch

Cultural barriers when dating in the Netherlands

I already mentioned the straightforward and down-to-earth attitude of the Dutch people. They can be very blunt in their honesty. But they also have reservations about opening their hearts to others.

I dated in other countries and I must say I have learned a lot about flirting and respect, about romance and pursuing since I left the Netherlands. The Dutch are cold and not creative when it comes to dating.

It takes time to win a partner’s heart, and it can be very frustrating when they keep you at a distance a long time.
Try not to take it personally when your date is still seeing others, even after you have dated for several weeks, and is not opening up to you. It is in the character. I felt very overwhelmed for example dating in Mexico by the behavior of Mexican men, it felt pushy and I felt rushed into things. Being used to the slow almost cool way the Dutch date I had to adjust and embrace the Mexican way of dating like you have to embrace the Dutch way.


Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher, and iPhone photographer. Always horizon bound preferably on a motorcycle. Currently, she lives in a desert village in Baja California Sur in Mexico. She is an emigration coach and works online.