Why on earth would you want to marry a Dutch woman if not for love? Well, for starters, we, the women of the Netherlands, all look like the Dutch supermodel Doutzen Kroes.
The Dutch are tall, blond and rich
The Dutch are blond, tall and relatively wealthy compared to other women. The money is obviously a plus. On the con side, our height might not be so attractive to most non-Europeans. Especially if you don’t like looking up to women, or worse, when you suffer from ‘small man syndrome.¹
Furthermore, we speak a quaint language that sounds like a German dialect. However, that should not be held against us as we speak at least one foreign language, mainly English, but you will find many fluent in French, German or Spanish.
All the above applies to Scandinavians too. Actually, they are taller, more affluent and blonder than us. So what sets us apart from the rest of the female world?
The independent career woman
We like to see ourselves as liberated, independent career women. In reality, we are not as emancipated as we like to think we are. Humour us anyway, even though the facts tell a different story. The gender gap is still very much an issue in our country:
- According to a recent study by the Tilburg University, only ninety-nine were female out of six hundred and fifty-eight directors in the Netherlands (source).
- The situation in the academic world is hardly any better. In 2015, only seventeen per cent of university professors were women (source).
- In politics, it is even worse; the most critical position – of the prime minister – has never been filled by a woman, unlike countries like Liberia, Bangladesh, Trinidad or Senegal. They currently have a woman as their president (source).
- Furthermore, less than twenty per cent of Dutch women have a full-time job, compared to less than twenty per cent of men who work part-time (source).
This is mainly because women want to be able to care for their children (source), which by the way, won’t let you off the hook. As a partner of a Dutch woman with young children, you will have at least one day a week a pappadag (daddy day). Meaning you will be expected to care for your children, do all the household chores, shopping and cooking on that day.
Yes, you should be able to cook. After all, the way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach. If you don’t know-how now is the time to learn. Talking about food, like women all over the world, we like chocolate. We have this thing called hagelslag, which are chocolate sprinkles that we eat on our bread for breakfast. You should try it, it is superb.
The other peculiar thing you should know as a prospective parent of a partial Dutch child is the beschuit met muisjes custom. At the birth of a baby, guests are invited to eat muisjes on top of a rusk. The anise in the muisjes was thought to stimulate lactation, and they symbolised fertility.
So if we insist on flying this into your country, show understanding, even if it costs you an arm and a leg. This is important, as it is part of our heritage. On birthdays we like to treat our friends and family to coffee with cake.
On most other occasions, we tend not to be so generous. After all, it is not unusual to pay separately when going out in the Netherlands, even when you are dating, hence the phrase going Dutch.
What is probably even worse, in most countries, as friends show up around dinner time, they will be invited to join the meal. Not so in the Netherlands. You will be asked to leave once the food is ready.
By the way, dinner is around six pm, occasionally at seven but not much later because the children should be in bed by eight. From the above, one might think differently, but we are fond of “gezelligheid“.
Gezelligheid with friends and family
The term gezelligheid encompasses the heart of Dutch culture, as the Dutch tend to love all things gezellig. It is a noun. Depending on the context, it can be translated as convivial, cosy, fun, or friendly atmosphere. But it can also connote belonging, time spent with loved ones, the fact of seeing a friend after a long absence, or general togetherness that gives a warm feeling. The family is important to us, even though it might not look that way for the outside world.
Women tend to leave home in their early twenties and sometimes as early as eighteen years old. Those who start university will often move to another city. After the women graduate, they will live close to their job and/or live together with their partners. As our parents grow older, we will most likely not be involved in day-to-day caring for them. Because we are too busy raising our own families, we will juggle a career and maintain something of social life. Our friends are a crucial part of our life.
A Dutch friend is loyal but also brutally honest. Everything’s straight to the point. The answer will always be a ‘yes or a ‘no’. Fifty shades of grey are meant for our weather or books, not when discussing something with a buddy. We take our friendships seriously, that is, our female and our male friends. Some guys will be gay, some not. That is okay. We can be friends with men without having a sexual relationship with them (or, so we think).
Cycling in the Netherlands
As part of our independent nature, we like to cycle everywhere. The Netherlands is the ultimate cycling nation. It is flat, the distances are short, and the infrastructure is excellent. It is cheap, efficient, environmentally friendly and good for one’s health. Whenever we can, we like to export this custom to other countries. So don’t be afraid when we go off with a baby on the steering wheel. Or a bag of shopping on our arms and a toddler on the rear end of the bicycle. We do this all the time. And no, we don’t wear a helmet.
As for our traditions, we no longer wear wooden shoes, but we still like cheese. So now you may think all is crystal clear. Sorry to disappoint you. The Netherlands is no longer a uniform society. Because of immigration and intercultural marriages, we are becoming more and more culturally diverse. I am a prime example of this; with a Dutch father and Italian mother, I look like a mix between Doutzen Kroes and Sofia Loren (age-wise, of course).
However, eighty per cent of our country is still of Dutch ethnicity (source). It is, therefore, safe to assume that, in many cases, you can apply the above to your future spouse. If you still want to marry her after all this, buy her a bouquet of tulips. I promise you, regardless of cultural background, she will appreciate it.¹
Although this has been written with traditional marriage in mind, most of this also applies to prospective female partners. Did you know that in the Netherlands, same-sex marriage has been legal since 1 April 2001?
The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage.
Continue reading about the Dutch
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