Are the Dutch simply the rudest and least professional people in Europe?

(131 Posts)
dikkertjedap Wed 02-Jan-13 15:19:11

Just wondering ....

I find the treatment of customers in many shops simply shocking. Shop assistants seem to have to chew gum and are attached either to their mobile or chatting away with other cashiers or a friend and will let you wait quite happily. If you dare to say 'Excuse me ..' they will actually tell you 'I am busy, I will help you when I have time'. hmm

For many personal services you have to pay, even if you cannot make it or they cannot make it. For example, if swimming lessons fall on Christmas Day or New Year's Day, there won't be a lesson but you still have to pay. If you want to cancel because of Holidays, you still have to pay. This seems with all sports, at least where I am based. confused

If faulty goods (or no goods) are delivered then it is the customers' fault. BY DEFINITION. It is never the provider, NEVER EVER. angry

People seem to be full of themselves, think they know a lot, whereas in many cases it simply makes you cry or laugh. Many pretend to have qualifications and it turns out they don't. So you pay a premium and then find out they are fully unqualified. Clearly no inspections whatsoever. hmm

If a child falls of a climbing frame at school, it will take a considerable time for a staff member to come over, stroke the child over the head and tell it: 'So, now all okay, go and play'. No checks for bumps, no ice, no letter to parents. shock

Many parents to not seem to use car seats/booster seats (I thought it was EU law?). So at childrens' parties they are all bundled in a car, 8 on the rear seat, no seat belts, no seats. shock

Mind you, at my local Dutch Ikea store you can get tampons or sanitary towels, in case you need them, but don't forget they are called: female hygiene napkins. Don't dare to point out that this is slightly incorrect, because they will laugh in your face and tell you they are fluent English.

Not what I expected.

Rant over.

hygienequeen Wed 02-Jan-13 15:23:54

How long have you been here ? Are your kids in a Dutch school ?

Napkins is quite an international English description for sanitaryware.

Why would that wind you up? Why would you go to the trouble of correcting someone on that?

The Dutch are generally known for being direct, I work with a lot of companies/contacts from the Netherlands, and one of my managers is Dutch. However they do separate the person from the issue or the task, and for a Brit that does take some getting used to.

I take it from your post that you have recently moved there? and yes most Dutch people have excellent levels of English, but you may have to remember that it is likely to be American English.

I certainly don't critique any of there English, considering my level at other European languages. blush

there their

hygienequeen Wed 02-Jan-13 15:47:44

In all honesty, you'll get used to it ! seven years later and i'm noticing a change in Dutch customer services, in fact lately i have been smiled at and spoken to in shops ... sort of freaks me out grin
The Dutch see Brits ( or so i'm told) as ' sensitive' and sometimes 'entitled' but the majority of people i've met here have been nice and friendly and welcoming, you get some arseholes, but let's face it, you get them anywhere !
Dutch parents are 'freer' with their kids than some other nationalities, their children are allowed to pretty much do what they want, until a certain age (again, so i'm told) which explains 'rougher' children in the playground and children not being told off for rudeness/swearing ... however the teens here are politer and i've NEVER felt intimidated .... hope that helps in some way ?
Also the IKEA thing ... i don't get the issue to be honest ...

bruffin Wed 02-Jan-13 16:04:09

I have had regular holidays in the Netherland for years and have found them to be laid back but professional. Nothing has ever been a problem. Any problems usually sorted out promptly without any fuss.

Must admit some of the children do tend to run a riot sometimes, and their childrens clubs do tend to have a healthy lack of respect of H&S.
I have felt intimidated by teens on a couple of occasions when there has a been a crowd at centreparcs taken over the rapids or at Duinrell where they have descended in a crowd onto the bumpercars.

hygienequeen Wed 02-Jan-13 16:21:27

I live near Duinrell smile and yes can be bonkers there ( overexcited i guess ?) and i would say that happens anywhere ? I don't tend to feel like they are in a 'pack' in town, intimidating me, whereas i have felt that in the UK ..

Funnily enough, when we have been mistaken for tourists ( probably because of our hideous Dutch accents !) then service has been more professional, whereas when buying a car or service during non touristy months .... well, not great ! and it depends where you are Wassenaar ( very ex-pat) has really good service i find

notMarlene Wed 02-Jan-13 16:25:42

It depends a lot on if you're speaking Dutch or English to people I find.

CoteDAzur Wed 02-Jan-13 16:27:09

To answer thread title, I'd have to say: No, that award would have to go to the French. You have to live in France for a few years to see what I mean.

Dc (3 and 4) were assaulted twice by wild kids at centre parcs holland.

Never ever again.

(and I'm 1/8th Dutch?)

hygienequeen Wed 02-Jan-13 16:33:40

I agree Marlene, we always speak in Dutch until quite often they ask to do it in English as their English is better than our Nederlands grin but not usually an issue if you try i think ...

That's awful Thisisaeuphemism, really awful !

Oh being 1/8th Dutch is not so bad. Ho ho.

No it really was awful. The staff were ok - but the kids and the non existent parents were beyond terrible.

DolomitesDonkey Wed 02-Jan-13 16:38:23

I just dump my goods on the counter and walk out. Only food can't be sourced online.

HoobaubleDoobauble Wed 02-Jan-13 16:40:12

Sanitary protection in IKEA? Do you have to put it up yourself? grin

DolomitesDonkey Wed 02-Jan-13 16:42:59

You can usually pay extra and they'll send a man round to do it for you.

hygienequeen Wed 02-Jan-13 16:46:31

Thisisaeuphemism grin aww the Dutch are lovely, the kids i admit can be feral and their parents are NEVER about when something happens like that ... i've been told ( by Dutch colleagues) it's like a social experiment to have the younger children do as they will, learn by their own mistakes, etc and then when they get to big school, it gets stricter ... not sure how that'll work in the long run tbh !

arf HoobaubleDoobauble !!!

stickygingerbread Wed 02-Jan-13 16:47:06

At my sister's wedding reception I was introduced to her Dutch colleague who almost immediately said 'Your dad is very ill and going to die very soon. What do you think of that?' Then he laughed and laughed while watching me for my reaction, to add to his enjoyment.

What a charmer! What a sense of humour! Great first impression! He thought he was very clever and that I was very consternated by his surprise ambush.

Actually I only thought he was a loser not worth any time, which was the correct conclusion to draw.

So is that normal in Holland then?

Muminwestlondon Wed 02-Jan-13 16:52:10

I am half Dutch and I do agree about the rude shop assistants. The last time I visited, the one in HEMA couldn't even be arsed to take the stuff out of the basket herself. The one in Albert Hein however was more than helpful but she was of asian origin. On the other hand in small shops, people are generally chatty and friendly. When I was young we did find quite a few dishonest shop traders and there seemed to be little legal redress to ripping people off.

I do not agree about the health and safety stuff, I have always found them to be years ahead and they had rules about seatbelts and kids being restrained in the back seat long before we did.

Perhaps because I am a bit older (in my forties) I do not agree with parents being more laid back either - I always found them to be stricter than English parents - I think you get rude teenagers everywhere!

I do think Dutch people are more direct than English and sometimes that is interpreted as rude. I think they are trying to be honest and give out a lot of information which sometimes comes across as arrogant. I also find Dutch people in authority, especially males in uniform to be a bunch of arrogant tossers.

I do think English people are unusually polite - queuing for buses even in olden days was an alien concept to Dutch people. It also always seemed to be socially acceptable to make quite personal remarks about someone's appearance for example which would not generally be the case in England.

My sister thinks Dutch people communicate via criticism and while it seems odd to us, it is quite normal to them.

hygienequeen Wed 02-Jan-13 16:52:47

Not in my experience, he just sounds like a right wanker ... the Dutch are more 'forthright' but i've never had nastiness for the sake of it, and that's just plain nasty ! angry how did you not punch him in the bollocks ?

NaokHoHoHo Wed 02-Jan-13 16:55:40

Sticky I am Dutch and I assure you that is not normal shock! How horrible!

As for OP - I've typed a number of replies now and deleted them again. I've given up, I'm sorry you're not enjoying my country, but other than that I doubt I'll be able to persuade you otherwise.

hygienequeen Wed 02-Jan-13 16:56:19

MuminwestLondon, have you seen the Albert Heijn song on youtube ? hilarious !

I agree that the teens seem nice and the women are cool. But the under 7s? They are straight from lord of the flies.

stickygingerbread Wed 02-Jan-13 17:04:43

But hygienequeen he wanted to provoke a reaction from me and was so eager for it too. Was I supposed to let him destroy my enjoyment of the day for my sister? He was doomed to disappointment there.

Besides, he underestimated me. I was geared and armoured to withstand the much more serious threat our parents posed to a successfully enjoyable wedding, so he was completely inconsequential and seriously off the mark.

But I do give him all the credit his effort deserved. And it did make me wonder if he was at all typical.

crunchbag Wed 02-Jan-13 17:07:16

I am Dutch, I have never been called rude (as far as I know) but I have often been called direct and honest. But that might have been the English way of saying rude smile

The problem is that most Dutch people can speak English and are therefore expected to understand the nuances etc that English people take for granted. I have been living in England for 15 years and I still get it wrong at times.

Next time in Ikea, ask for 'maandverband'

sticky that guy was just a 'klootzak', nothing to do with being Dutch

hygienequeen Wed 02-Jan-13 17:09:36

Sounds a right charmer, well done for not letting him upset you, especially on such an important day ! I would have been furious ! ( and am a bit for you ) Hope your Dad is ok ? xx

specialknickers Wed 02-Jan-13 17:10:44

I lived in Amsterdam for 3 years and the service in shops / bars etc was great. Never had a problem, but then I always spoke English, maybe that had something to do with it? I really liked the infamous Dutch directness as well, in fact I really miss it. Now we're back home in blighty I don't really have the patience for British pussyfooting around and I probably come across as a but rude sometimes as a result... Horses for courses I suppose.

That said, people making out that they knew what they were talking about when they plainly knew nada? Infuriating.

I do prefer the Dutch style of parenting small children though - load em all up on the bakfiets and let em play.... Wish I was a bit like that (am health and safety bore). Can't help thinking ds would have a better, healthier life if we still lived there.

Sorry you're not enjoying it op. Are you in for the long haul.

notMarlene Wed 02-Jan-13 17:12:51

NaokHoHoHo - If it's any consolation I love your country!

I've been here 10 years, have 2 dutch DC (they're bilingual but it'd be idiocy to claim they were bi-cultural) and a dutch DP. I speak dutch and TBH people usually only twig that I'm foreign when I speak to the DC, even then there's often an 'hmm are you dutch or not' moment. That helps a lot when it comes to being treated normally I think.

Mind you, there is a bit of a dislike of exclusiveness of the expat community and if I'm honest I understand that. Quite a few of my friends are ^expats^, as opposed to people-from-other-countries-who-happen-to-live-here nice people in their own right but they can be cringemakingly demonstrative in their ex-patty-ness when they get together. My dutch freinds find the combo of extreme politeness and this pretty damn weird!

lottiegarbanzo Wed 02-Jan-13 17:15:14

What do you think nappy is short for? Napkin is an old-fashioned term for any sanitary pad.

hygienequeen Wed 02-Jan-13 17:21:22

btw i do love it here too, as do my 3 kids, youngest born here and never been ex-pt anywhere else and in it for the long haul ... but can i ask notMarlene ( not being arsey here, genuinely want to know) is it just Brit ex-pats that are cringemakingly demonstrative in your Dutch friends opinion or all nationalities ? I ask because i now have friends from all over the World ( who have always been super polite imo), we all get together because of the school and kids, etc ... but i tend to also have dinner with a Brit group and wondered which would be seen as more irritating ? If that makes sense ?

notMarlene Wed 02-Jan-13 17:28:02

Nah, the ex-pats I know (and have known) have been from all over the place, absolutely not just brits. It's just a part of the expat culture that can rub the natives up the wrong way (IME), but I don't think it's something that just happens here. Culture clashes are part of the human condition, surely?

hygienequeen Wed 02-Jan-13 17:40:33

agreed !

SentimentalKat Wed 02-Jan-13 17:47:12

How long have you been abroad, OP?
It sounds to me as if you are suffering from culture shock.
Does your work offer expat integration / culture shock awareness courses at all?

natation Wed 02-Jan-13 18:36:21

Someone has obviously had a bad day!
Sorry but I think Belgians can be equally rude. However, when we're in the Netherlands, the Dutch outshine the Belgians every single time in their rudeness in supermarket queues, ie no queuing, just push forward.

Mu1berryBush Wed 02-Jan-13 18:39:02

I can't believe they're worse than the french! I have friends who are french but when you GO to France they seem to hold foreigners in contempt.

Santastic Wed 02-Jan-13 18:48:07

I love the Dutch - met a delightful lady yesterday who told me why they love the English; the English are polite, funny and know how to queue! Might have that on my headstone!

LineRunner Wed 02-Jan-13 18:52:29

This not queuing business, just pushing your way in or forward.

I saw this when I worked in Israel. Even going to buy a stamp was like a visit to a wrestling match.

People in coffee shops chatting screaming their heads off at other over a piece of cake.

newgirl Wed 02-Jan-13 19:10:01

I have 2 Dutch friends who live in uk and are married to Brits. They are both very direct - makes them good fun in a pub but you've got to be in the mood for it!

natation Wed 02-Jan-13 19:20:19

Well where I used to work, every time we saw an Israeli coming, we knew we were in for a "how rude with they be" contest, it was very rare indeed to find a polite Israeli. And before anyone jumps on me, that's life, it's not being racist, it's simply an observation. To balance the comment, the stupidist nationality? = USA. The nationality most likely to lie? = bit of competition between Somalia, Albania (usually pretending to be Kosovan) and the odd Nigerian. The nationality most likely to be drunk? = UK or Netherlands. The nationality most likely to be surprised to have to show their proof of identity ? = France (why is a driving licence not acceptable? well because it shows someone thought you worthy of driving, not worthy of being French). The nationality most likely to go on and on and on about the EU? UK.

dikkertjedap Wed 02-Jan-13 20:15:31

Thanks for all the replies, interesting to hear the different experiences. I have dual nationality. Children are trilingual so go to Dutch school. Have been on Holiday to the Netherlands many times, but that is very different from actually living here.

Just discussed the general rudeness with some of my Dutch friends. It seems they have the same bad experience with shop assistants and also had some bad experiences with faulty goods. It seems that there is virtually no consumer protection.

This afternoon I had another brilliant afternoon. I just bought a TV and paid for it to be installed. It does not work. The installation/delivery people told me that it was okay when it left the shop so there is nothing they can do and that in all likelihood it is my cable provider (my old TV connected to this cable works). Apparently I should now become a member of some consumer organisation in order to deal with this shoddy TV company.

I may well suffer from culture shock, I do think that service in the UK is 100 times better.

I live near a small shopping centre where the local youth gathers to drink before going on a proper drinking spree. They are loud, very loud, make a lot of mess and personally I find them quite threatening. Neighbours call the police virtually every night, but seem to have no effect at all.

Hopefully it will get better.

natation Wed 02-Jan-13 20:33:08

Oh loudest nationality when drunk were definitely the Dutch and I will never forget a coach of drunk Dutch who thought it fit to put their hands up my skirt and try and squeeze my breasts when I walked down the aisle, the most unpleasant coach I boarded out of 1000s over a 14 year period. Until that moment, I thought the Brits had a monopoly in out of order behaviour when drunk.

DolomitesDonkey Wed 02-Jan-13 20:46:08

This is not the NL I recognise.

Children not belted in? Feral? Where on earth are you?

Aggressive yoofs? We always joke we can walk home at 3 totally safe and that the teens are more likely to offer to carry my shopping than threaten or abuse.

Customer service leaves a lot to be desired otoh I am so over the Brits wanting Armani at primark prices and then whining about "consumer rights" when you get what you pay for.

I live on Limburg, or as some people call it - the 1950's.

digerd Wed 02-Jan-13 20:56:10

I remember a test of honesty by different nation groups on holiday on TV.
The groups were UK, French, german, japanese, and 2 or 3 others, can't remember now. The test was a set up at the bar in the hotel, when barman said he had to go away for 15 mins to do something.
A "plant" said, " let's help ourselves to free drinks while he is gone". Which nations declined as against their decent principles? In fact they were disgusted at the suggestion - the GERMANS and JAPANESE. All the others did steal a drink.

ripsishere Thu 03-Jan-13 04:33:07

I would have to take issue with the rudest people being Dutch. That accolade goes to the German speaking Swiss. Small minded, xenophobic, rule and money obsessed bigots IME.

higgyjig Thu 03-Jan-13 04:46:29

All German-speaking Swiss people are small-minded? Are you even aware of the irony?

Hmm let me read the relationship board. Wow...I conclude all British people are cheating, abusive pigs. Oh, it doesn't work like that? You can't take a tiny sample and conclude about a whole nationality based on what some people of those nationality have done? Well blow me down.

ripsishere Thu 03-Jan-13 05:39:20

Absolutely ever single one of them. Except the nice ones we met. I did say in my experience. That is just what my post was based on my experience.

sleepywombat Thu 03-Jan-13 05:54:25

The nicest men I know are Dutch (apart from dh). So polite, charming, gentlemanly...

My Swiss-German neighbour has just been round with a bottle to wish us a Happy New Year, and to invite us onto their Carnival wagon for Fasnacht this year. We had anonymous Christmas cookies in our mailbox, obviously from another Swiss German neighbour last week.

I will place it next to my beautiful poinsettia given to me on my birthday last week by my lovely Swiss German team at work.

What was that post about Swiss Germans again???

This has made me laugh…loooong forgotten memories!
Have to say its a close call between the dutch and french.
At least the dutch have the honesty to look at you in the eye.
I still much prefer the bluntness of the dutch to the contempt of the french.

kakapo Thu 03-Jan-13 15:06:56

I'm in German speaking Switzerland, in a small village. Nothing but politeness here either.

Interesting OP. I went to Amsterdam on holiday a few weeks ago and two shop assistants, in different shops, were extremely rude to us. Both times I left without buying anything. But they were unquestionably rude, not just direct, and I assumed it was bad luck!

GetorfsaMotherfuckingMorrisMan Thu 03-Jan-13 15:11:34

I really like the Dutch directness. It's preferable to the english dancing round the issue (then stab in you in the back) approach.

HelpOneAnother Thu 03-Jan-13 15:19:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Grüezi Kakapo! grin

kakapo Thu 03-Jan-13 15:25:41

Gruezi Bin smile where are you? We're close(ish) to Zurich.

whistlestopcafe Thu 03-Jan-13 15:29:25

Jenvysadlip v.

Just outside Basel!

envy of your single figure tax percent though!!!

scrablet Thu 03-Jan-13 15:42:49

Wish I was in a small German speaking village in Switzerland right now. Sounds lovely.

Gruezi! Grew up in the berner oberland.
It is all "Heidi" in the prairie in my memory.

whistlestopcafe Thu 03-Jan-13 15:54:50

I didn't post on this thread. hmm

And don't forget all the Emmental Laptop!

Berne is so breathtaking. I really wanted to live there but the commute was too much.

Why? You been deleted for some harmless comment elsewhere?

I'm glad I'm not the only one hating living in the Netherlands, some things I like but I think the Dutch are the rudest people I have come across. I nearly had my ds at 2 month knocked out of my arms by a father and his sons taking my dd to school luckily I caught him as they pushed past me and then thanked me for allowing me to let them push past while I nearly dropped my baby.

The kids in my dd's school push past me all the time when going into the school which I have to in the morning, the bash into you, hit you or your baby, no apology from either them or their parent who only cares about their child.

I was told if a person knows you they will be polite but if they don't they will be rude, this is my experience and this includes children.

I don't know how many times I have given up on being served waiting 20 minutes for the two people in front of you to be served is absurd.

I try to speak Dutch but as soon as people hear my accent they change to English, this I think is due to the part of the Netherlands I live in but it certainly does not help you learn the language.

whistlestopcafe Thu 03-Jan-13 16:08:56

Is that to me laptop?

This thread is showing as threads I'm on and there is a comment by me, but I didn't post it. confused

suburbophobe Thu 03-Jan-13 16:14:23

Only food can't be sourced online.

What do you mean by this? Albert Heijn delivers.

I did wonder what the strange comment meant, whistle?

suburbophobe Thu 03-Jan-13 16:21:44

If faulty goods (or no goods) are delivered then it is the customers' fault. BY DEFINITION. It is never the provider, NEVER EVER.

This is rubbish of course.

Maybe you just need to brush up on your Dutch.

dikkertjedap Thu 03-Jan-13 16:46:01

Thanks suburbophobe, the consumentenbond - you actually have to become a member (approx 7 euros per month) to get advice. I don't need anyone to tell me how to write a complaint to a company, I am perfectly capable of doing that. The problem is companies don't respond unless you take them to Court which is a costly business. There is nothing like the UK small claims court system as far as I am aware of.

I am fluent Dutch BTW, does not make a shred of difference. Again, checked with my Dutch friends who seem to have similar problems, goods not turning up (Dutch postal services have been fully privatised and since then seem to have stopped working more or less, lots of stuff gets stolen by the part-time untrained posties (apparently many of them are students, every time I see somebody else delivering my/my neighbours' mail - they seem to outsource the last bit of delivery to me as I have now received mail for nearly all my neighbours) or simply thrown away in the rubbish) or goods damaged/not working.

From now on, I intend to just buy stuff from Amazon and other non Dutch retailers. Likely to be cheaper and better service.

All of you in the UK who think that the UK can be bad, well, think again.

DolomitesDonkey Thu 03-Jan-13 16:50:46

Ally heijn doesn't deliver south of Utrecht (where civilisation ends). I'm waaaay zuid Limburg!

DolomitesDonkey Thu 03-Jan-13 16:51:36

There is a small claims court.

dikkertjedap Thu 03-Jan-13 17:02:20

Thanks DolomitesDonkey, I have just discovered that I can start a procedure through the 'kantonrechter'.

All this definitely makes shopping a less than pleasurable experience!

ethelb Thu 03-Jan-13 17:09:45

I quite enjoy the directness of the Belgian and Dutch.

However, the hyper freemarketism (word?) in the Netherlands is really hard work. I just feel I am being ripped off the whole time I am there and probably am.

You realise the nice, socialist 'european' image we all have with regards to the continent doesn't really exist north of Alsace. It's like being in the States imo.

ethelb Thu 03-Jan-13 17:13:35

Oh yes and the only nationality I have ever seen behave worse than the Brits when drunk were Belgian. TBF beer, chips and rowdy behaviour makes me feel like I am home blush

natation Thu 03-Jan-13 17:19:53

People can call it directness or rudeness, but for me it's plain wrong to say things to someone you wouldn't like someone saying to you. Do they not have a conscience? How can they sleep at night knowing they have deliberately humiliated or angered someone else.?

One of my colleagues used to tell me to dye my hair, yes I know my roots were white but it only takes 2-3 weeks and I am not dying my hair that often. Plus I kept getting told to get a tan, go out the sun, your too pale. I don't want skin cancer thanks.

MordionAgenos Thu 03-Jan-13 17:59:41

I frequently travel to the Netherlands for work. I have spent a lot of time there over the years. I love the Dutch. My Dutch colleagues are, by far, my favourite colleagues. They are not rude. They are honest, they are also generous, kind, helpful, have a sense of humour.....I have never had a problem with language in the Netherlands, so many people speak such perfect English. It's a beautiful country, the people are lovely and compared to the shitholes that are France and Belgium it's paradise.

splintersinmebum Thu 03-Jan-13 18:30:40

I thought the Dutch liked us Brits cos we liberated them from Nazis occupation. Please say they do; everyone else in Europe hates us sad

Naoko Thu 03-Jan-13 19:03:37

We do like the Brits! Our weather is terrible so we don't tend to get the worst of your drunken holiday antics, your tv shows are funny, and you love football as much as we do wink

There is a difference between directness and rudeness. There are rude Dutch people and direct ones; these things don't necessarily overlap. Some of the directness might be taken for rudeness by British people as it's not what they expect; similarly when I first came here I found the British inability to say 'yes' or 'no' without twenty minutes of beating around the bush incredibly rude (and it still drives me nuts but I have at least realised these people are not trying to insult me and thus I no longer assume them to be rude). There's arseholes everywhere. There's also cultural differences. Goodie - your colleague was rude. I'd never tell a colleague to dye their hair, unless they asked if I thought they should - then I might say yes, if I thought it'd look better, because I assume they want an honest answer. And even then I'd say 'yes, I think that would look nice' rather than 'yes, if you don't dye it you will look ten years older than you are and frighten small children'.

crunchbag Thu 03-Jan-13 21:18:11

Oh Naoko, I do so agree with you on the British inabilitiy to say just yes or no without going round in circles.

splinters we do like the Brits! (DH is English and I live here in the UK) Not sure if it has anything to do with the war though. British tv series are hugely popular in Holland and we are united in our 'hatred' for the German football team wink

Internet shopping in Holland is rubbish as is trying to use a credit card or trying to buy a bus/train ticket these days. And don't start me on the bureaucracy

dikkertjedap Thu 03-Jan-13 21:23:51

crunchbag - why is internet shopping rubbish? Would like to know, because I think that is the way forward (avoiding rude shop assistants and bad service/bad products). So far I have ordered a few things from the UK which all arrived speedily and in good condition. Only problem was with Monsoon where on top of the UK price they put something like 20% BTW. None of the others have done that so far.

Dromedary Thu 03-Jan-13 21:34:30

I've noticed that "direct and honest" thing in Germans and Scandinavians too.
I tend to think of the English being quite rude and unhelpful. But a trip to Germany can be a real eye-opener.

MordionAgenos Thu 03-Jan-13 21:43:25

The Dutch definitely like me. grin

MordionAgenos Thu 03-Jan-13 21:44:21

Hup Hup!

natation Thu 03-Jan-13 21:45:55

Aside the direct/rude debate,

who finds it acceptable for anyone to push into a queue you've been waiting in at the supermarket to pay and decided they are in front of you?

who finds it acceptable for children to push past strangers with an "I'm the only important one" attitude?

Naoko Thu 03-Jan-13 21:48:37

Well, it isn't but that happens to me in Britain all the time too...

garlicbaubles Thu 03-Jan-13 21:48:54

All of you in the UK who think that the UK can be bad, well, think again.

I agree with this, at least grin Some Western Europeans go a good line in rudeness, but some of their Eastern neighbours take it to a whoooole new level. On the up side, you can sometimes achieve something approaching the service you're paying for by shouting, loudly and as rudely as possible, in German.

It's a fascinating world, innit wink

splintersinmebum Thu 03-Jan-13 21:51:17

Glad to hear the Dutch like us smile.

natation Thu 03-Jan-13 22:09:28

I have NEVER had anyone push in front of me in a supermarket queue in the UK, or Germany, or even France. I've had it happen to me several times in Netherlands and maybe once a year in Belgium.

Our children have friends which I'd say are 50/50 Belgian / International, they are all fluent francophones. There is a big difference in their behaviour when they stay over to play and sometimes sleepovers. The Belgian kids seem to go crazy, like they have such a strict time combined at home and school that outside these constraints, they go mad. We took a group of 12 out before Christmas, 6 Belgian, 6 international, I was quite embarassed at their behaviour and some cow in the crowds said (so everyone could hear) "what savages those girls". I had to agree with her.

crunchbag Thu 03-Jan-13 22:40:06

dikkertjedap for me living in the UK, there are only a few shops I can use that accept credit cards. With the ones I have used, delivery and service have been great. But if you live in Holland you can use iDEAL so it shouldn't be a problem

I am stingy and like to avoid the delivery costs that UK shops charge for shipping abroad.

Muminwestlondon Thu 03-Jan-13 22:55:03


As far as I am aware Dutch people regard Canadians and US soldiers as having liberated them from the Nazis (at least my family). When I was growing up in the late sixties and seventies, the British were objects of ridicule because of a perceived obsession with previous glories and empire. My Mum's generation who were children during WW2, survived the hunger winter etc are now all elderly and many must have died by now. My Mum was psychologically scarred by her experiences and still has an almost pathological hatred of Germans, but it is a different world now. We often went to the beach at Schevenigen when we visited Holland when I was a child, a German guy drowned and people were saying so what it was a bloody German.

Of course the Dutch think of themselves as the best country in the world wink.

HeyHoHereWeGo Fri 04-Jan-13 10:33:32

natation, any comments on the Irish? Are they the best/worst at anything?
Yes I know its just a stereotype but I thought your list above ^ was funny.

Bluestocking Fri 04-Jan-13 10:44:05

I went to a conference in Copenhagen earlier this year and found the service in restaurants etc unbelievably, ahem direct. The first instance was a bit of a shock but after that it was just funny! Might be a bit wearing if you actually had to live there though.

LookBehindYou Fri 04-Jan-13 10:56:27

Swings and roundabouts. I'm a Brit living overseas and without exception the rude and loud child acting inappropriately is ALWAYS a Brit.

The Dutch guy who 'joked' about a posters dad dying was just very very odd. I don't think that 'joke' can be attributed to a nation.

The colleague sitting nearest to me is Dutch and she's a great girl. Intelligent and funny.

I generally find the Dutch confident which the British translate as being arrogant. I don't know Holland very well but have never had bad customer service whereas where I live it's rife. The pushing in front, not noticing that you were the first in the bus queue even though you're the 7th to get on the bus is just how it seems to be in most European countries. We are obsessed with our queues though aren't we?

MordionAgenos Fri 04-Jan-13 11:10:16

The Danes can be direct to the point of rudeness but personally I love them. grin

garlicbaubles Fri 04-Jan-13 13:50:58

natation's list was funny and fairly accurate, ime. It's not actually wrong to describe a cultural propensity in brief, you know, and certainly not racist.

I'm another one who loves Belgium for being just like home, with better food!

LookBehindYou Fri 04-Jan-13 14:00:17

Naoko your post reminded me of my German colleague's complaint that it's really hard to spot a polite English 'no'

garlicbaubles Fri 04-Jan-13 14:17:04

I fell foul of polite 'No's in Brazil - they require even more bush-beating than Brits do! "Sorry, but it's not what I wanted" is rude. You have to go a bundle on how it would be what I wanted under other circumstances, possibly define what those circumstances might be, then solemnly undertake to come back for that very thing as soon as the circumstance arises.

Leaving a group takes at least 20 minutes - it's best to start about 40 mins before you actually want to leave, to allow for the lengthy rituals of everyone begging you to stay, acting as though your loss is a tragedy for the others, your similar despair at having to leave, sitting back down and having a last few minutes, turning the conversation back to how you must go, then fulsome good wishes for everyone's continued stay and your journey away, effusive thanks and multiple promises to meet again soon.

I LOVE it!!! grin

Mu1berryBush Fri 04-Jan-13 17:57:14

@ heyhoherewego, boring for the rest of them, but here goes. Friend in the hotel industry told me that dubliners have a reputation amongst belfast hotel staff for sending things back. Really? i thought being a dubliner.... i would have thought standards in belfast similar to dublin. We went to the culloden on a break, the same friend had a great deal and the hotel itself was gorgeous. But we had to send back cold food, bland food, INSTANT COFFEE, I'M NOT KIDDING. And the belfastonians were raising their eyes to heaven at us saying 'are yuh frum dublan?'

Mu1berryBush Fri 04-Jan-13 17:58:25

ps, not in the culloden itself, i mean we sent food bac in various cafes and restaurants in belfast.

HeyHoHereWeGo Fri 04-Jan-13 19:21:40

Thats funny, I hadn't heard that.

Emmis Sat 05-Jan-13 12:05:07

This post made me laugh!! This is my fourth time living in the Netherlands and I have to be honest, they are getting a bit better, smiling more and actually looking at you in the eye, but they are most definitely prize winners when it comes to refusing to accept any responsibility, and finding it impossible to ever admit they are wrong. I haven't lived in every country on planet Earth but I've lived in a good few across Europe (North and South) as well as Down Under, and they definitely win, hands down, for irresponsibility. "Not possible", and a general air of ambivalence, drives them. However, they're not mean. They just don't seem to give a toss! It can be a good experience in letting go, not overly worrying, especially when raising kids, and is a complete extreme to the child worship that is experienced in more Southern European countries. I just think it depends on your own personality as to whether it gets under your skin. Personally, I'm not very thick skinned, so it does get to me. Yes, for a Dutch person, I would be too sensitive. But hey ho, I'm moving to Spain!

If you can laugh it off with other foreigners or more understanding locals then I find that helps!

drjohnsonscat Sat 05-Jan-13 12:29:18

There's a lot of 'not possible' across N Europe. When I lived in Belgium we used to keep a daily tally in the office of the number of 'alors ca, non, ce n'est pas possible' complete with a finger wagging and a slight tut that we had encountered that day. For example when collecting 5 shirts from a dry cleaners :

Can I have a bag please?

< tutting and finger wagging> Alors ca non. This is not a shop, Madame. <finger wagging>

lottiegarbanzo Sat 05-Jan-13 12:41:43

That's interesting. A Canadian relative lived in the Netherlands and commented on how so very many things were apparently 'not possible' that were clearly entirely possible if the person could be bothered. I put this down to a contrast with North American service culture, where the customer is always right and every effort will be made, even if they are crazily, unreasonably wrong. Sounds like six of one, half a dozen of the other, interesting to read it wasn't just his perception!

dikkertjedap Sat 05-Jan-13 13:26:30

Yes, things not being possible .... I so recognise that.

I have the feeling that many Dutch people indeed don't give a toss whether they do a good job or not. If I see any Asian people I tend to seek them out as they are much more keen to sort things out and find a solution if necessary.

No, Cote is right, it's the French.

Here in France, there is only one way of doing anything. If you don't abide by that, prepare to be corrected.

I love so many things about living here but sometimes this really ruins it all for me sad

Mu1berryBush Sat 05-Jan-13 14:29:20

and further south too.

I had a spanish finger waggled at me sternly while its owner said "eso no se hace" at me in fierce tones when I asked for something a little bit outside of the box.

LineRunner Sat 05-Jan-13 15:39:23

Oh wow, the 'not possible' gambit.

I saw two English girls win out against a hotel barman (in Israel) who said it 'wasn't possible' for them to have milk in their coffee (complete with shrug).

They went on and on at him about how it was a four star hotel and they wanted milk and he could flipping well walk to the kitchen and get some if he'd run out, and what kind of four star hotel didn't have any flipping milk anyway next to a coffee machine, they were paying a lot of money to stay in a four start hotel and he'd already charged them for the coffees they now wouldn't even want to drink, and in the end he went to the kitchen.

I felt like applauding.

ethelb Sat 05-Jan-13 16:18:17

@linerunner it was probably not available due to kosher laws. They weren't very culturally aware.

ZZZenAgain Sat 05-Jan-13 16:21:40

sounds like Brazil is more my kind of thing. Netherlands sounds tough. Have only been there on holiday and I didn't pick up on any of this

Mu1berryBush Sat 05-Jan-13 16:27:43

in a four star hotel though, it's kind of exempt or separate from the local culture. if they have won those stars they should give non kosher people milk in their coffee.

Bonsoir Sat 05-Jan-13 16:29:28

dreamingbohemian - "Here in France, there is only one way of doing anything. If you don't abide by that, prepare to be corrected."

Indeed. France, the country where every new idea is a bad idea.

bemybebe Sat 05-Jan-13 16:34:15

lol at klootzak smile
service is dreadful in most shops/services, that i agree with. don't even mention estate agents, what is shocking here is norm over there
but I do like the dutch, hey I am married to one

lljkk Sat 05-Jan-13 16:39:07

I have been living in England for 15 years and I still get it wrong at times.

ditto, only I am American, and it's 22 years for me. We are the favourite target for foreigners bashing anyway.

As an American, must say I find customer service in a lot of British shops to be appalling. Kinda amusing.

Takver Sat 05-Jan-13 17:25:12

"I had a spanish finger waggled at me sternly while its owner said "eso no se hace" at me in fierce tones when I asked for something a little bit outside of the box."

Where were you in Spain? Because my experience of living in the south is that people will never, ever, ever say "No" to you directly - they beat the British hands down at politeness.

You just have to figure out then when they mean "yes" as in 'yes, I'll do x y or z, you'll have a quote tomorrow' and when they mean "yes" as in 'no, actually I'm booked up for the next 6 months, and I really don't have time to do your job at all, but I couldn't possibly be so rude as to turn you down'

Similarly, in banks & similar I never ever had the "computer says NO' attitude you get here in the UK - it was always 'right, how do we work our way around the system to sort out what you need doing'

Apart from my family being here, I miss Spain!!!

LineRunner Sat 05-Jan-13 17:28:12

ethelb it wasn't a kosher situation. They'd just run out of milk and the barman didn't care. The bar and lobby was always dairy. The main dining room was meat.

LineRunner Sat 05-Jan-13 17:31:05

Mu1berrybush All hotels in Israel are kosher. Which is why when you are in the dairy section, you expect milk to be available. There weren't even non-dairy creamers offered (which there should have been, in case someone's recently eaten meat), just a nice big shrug for the guests.

lottiegarbanzo Sat 05-Jan-13 17:35:21

Oh yes, customer service here is really bad (i find the American 'friendly' style pushy and intrusive but at least an effort is made and help there if wanted). So if Brits think service is bad, it must be!

Mu1berryBush Sat 05-Jan-13 17:45:40

Takver, I was in Elche. I travelled between Elche where I worked and santa pola at the weekends.

Mu1berryBush Sat 05-Jan-13 17:47:01

and the one with the waggly finger was in Elche!

Takver Sat 05-Jan-13 20:25:37

I guess it varies, Mu1berry - I guess people in rural Devon aren't like those in Swindon

<<desperately trys to remember how far it is from Almería to Elche other than a long way down the motorway >>

Or maybe the good people of Sorbas (outs self) are just particularly charming and you should all take your holidays there grin

Exactly Bonsoir grin

I've even been corrected by the weed dealers at the train station. Imagine a country so uptight that even the stoners are pedants

I might be slowly losing my will to live here

DolomitesDonkey Sun 06-Jan-13 05:05:50

I'm still not gettingall your complaints - I think I've become assimilated.

Our estate agent (makelaar) went above and beyond - only slightly odd thing was when he pointed and said "that's my Mercedes" rather than just "I've parked over there". Ziggo, Tele2, Vodafone, you name it - when I talk to people they help. Any of you use Glossybox? Wow! I cannot tell you how helpful the owner/admin were when I ballsed up my credit cards.

Worse "service" I've seen here is the fulfillment of a basic prescription - all chemists in town are as lousy as each other - 5 people visible and not one can serve? Total inefficiency and times will change and they'll be bitten on the arse. Generally you're in the chemist to get something you need, not just a general passing time. You want it, you want out and to bed.

Mind you I got my own back when they tried to charge me 160 euros for a Mirena coil. I said I wasn't paying that much and that they could send it back. I think that's still being talked about in their staff room!

I think I'm pretty much used to the directness now, and I really do appreciate the lack of faff - the Brits (I find now) dance around the issue rather than just saying "no". I've gained a lot of professional confidence here, I've watched my colleagues tear up their proposed pay increases and throw them back at the boss - in the UK we'd never do that unless we wanted our P45!

I've had a few comments along the lines of "you've put on a lot of weight" - but like the "dead father" thing, rudeness I don''t think is an attribute of race, some people are just rude. The guy that said that to me is given a wide berth by many... I told him that his comments were inappropriate and give him his dues, he's not said anything since.

Salbertina Sun 06-Jan-13 18:53:28

I think you're in culture shock... Been there also but not V the Dutch. It gets better, best not to compare ti UK if possible

VBisme Sun 06-Jan-13 19:02:46

I am Dutch, I have never been called rude (as far as I know) but I have often been called direct and honest. But that might have been the English way of saying rude

Sorry Crunchbag, that is the English way of saying that you're rude.

In a business sense if someone calls you "brave" then they mean your idea is stupid and possibly career limiting.

Jessje Fri 11-Jan-13 11:21:50

Now I'm really laughing... I'm Dutch and just moved recently to UK from another European country. We have been here 5 months now and believe me I'm craving for some Dutch SINCERE kindness.. Yes, here in UK people in the shops say "Dear" to you and expressions as "Here you are love" etc. Sounds very nice.. but is it meant? I have lived in many different countries and have never felt so unwelcome. My children are both in local schools and I'm trying my best to make social contact with other mums. Even helping out at school etc. But still I keep being ignored! Please explain because I'm very home sick for a good cup of coffee with some kind people.

HelpOneAnother Fri 11-Jan-13 11:40:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

drjohnsonscat Fri 11-Jan-13 13:21:01

jessje all it means is that some people aren't very good at making friends. Honestly that is all it means. You have probably already spotted that the British version of politeness in a lift is to ignore everybody (so we can all preserve our illusion of personal space) whereas the French version is to say Bonjour to everybody in the lift! British people are naturally quite reserved on the whole but it doesn't "mean" anything.

I have Dutch relatives so am a little aware of the nature of Dutchness and it's not that different to the nature of Britishness (apart from the directness issue). Keep plugging away and you will find someone to break the ice with. I had this issue at the school my children go to for a few months - then something happened that forced me into close proximity with someone, we ended up laughing at each other's jokes and hey presto, ice broken. It turns out everyone thinks everyone else has loads of friends and is really cool when actually noone does or is.

robertasmith66 Wed 12-Feb-14 19:38:49

reanimating thread test

robertasmith66 Wed 12-Feb-14 19:48:04

Dear initial poster.

You are spot on. It not just being horrible . Its outright racism.
You will note the Dutch -- DO NOT speak to each other in such a way- If you aint Dutch - they despise you. Your neighbors will speak to you one day - blank you the next. And will nearly runaway if there are other Dutchies around. been here 4 years kids and I speak Dutch. So no its not in your head - its the whole country that are backward - reminds of Salem story to be honest - and about the posters here denying this and ''NEVER came across that behaviour before ''- that pure BS - and they know it - they are probably part of the Dutch government PR machine - u know we r all European together etc etc ... Here is a fact of all the people in the international organizations working here --from over 60 countries --not one says they ever want to come back [and these are some of the smartest people/nicest families in the world!!]

HavantGuard Wed 12-Feb-14 19:57:59

I found it difficult but after a while I got it. People are harder to get to know but once you do they are proper friends. The customer service takes some getting used to grin

Hoppinggreen Fri 14-Feb-14 20:57:48

Rudest shop assistants I have ever found were in Spanish supermarkets ( and yes I do speak pretty good Spanish).
We go to one area several times a year and there are 3 supermarkets n town and 1 hypermarket a few miles away. The checkout staff in all of them are always rude. The only exceptions are the male ones, really odd!!!!

Stevie77 Sat 15-Feb-14 16:51:33

As others mentioned, I don't mind the Dutch directness (probably because I'm from rude Israel ha ha) so much, and in a way find it better than the British way.

However, how has the Dutch extreme stinginess not come up yet? Friends tell me of shop and cafés not letting people use toilets, even if the person needing to use the toilet is a small child or pregnant woman and of some odd present-giving customs.

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