Topic 3 Social & cultural learning in the Netherlands: traditions, local values, linguistic specificities ​

The Netherlands is an amazing nation with an equally stunning culture. However, some of their common cultural tendencies may confuse you if you are not adequately prepared. Its northwestern Europe, bordered to the east by Germany and to the south by Belgium. The North Sea is on the country’s western and northern borders. The sea and water in general play a significant role in the history of the Netherlands and in the lives of its people. The Netherlands has 25% of its land below sea level. The nation would be much smaller without its dunes and dikes. The well-known polders are just one example of how much land has been won and lost on the water.

The Netherlands’ struggle against water, whether it be the sea or overflowing rivers, has been a defining factor throughout history.

The Netherlands has a population of 17,220,974 people as of October 2021. It is the 69th most populous nation in the world at the moment. The Netherlands has a population density of 508 people per km2 (1,316 people per mi2). In the Netherlands, the average age is 43.3 years old.

The Dutch language is spoken by the vast majority of people in the Netherlands, making it the country’s official language. It borrows terms from both French and English and has a close resemblance to German. About half a million people in the Dutch province of Friesland speak Friesian, which is the country’s secondary language.

The whole of Dutch society is very modern and independent. Despite their commitment to equality for all, many emphasize individuality over the community. They are regarded as a society of the middle class.

The economy of the Netherlands is one of the advanced free markets. The agriculture, trade, and service industries are the main employment sectors.

Respect from other Dutch citizens is earned through hard work and the acquisition of skills, not through age or association.

Christianity has been around for a long time in the Netherlands. It is currently declining, and many Christians do not regularly attend church. Christianity is more often than not associated with a religious faith for some people. Even though many Dutch people are less religious, religion is still very important to the small rural communities in the Dutch Bible Belt.

Secular. One of Western Europe’s most secularized nations is the Netherlands. Only about 39% of citizens claim to be religious, and only 6% of that 39% regularly attend church.

Principal faiths. At the moment, the dominant religions in Dutch society are Protestants and Catholics. Protestants make up about 15% of the Dutch population, while Roman Catholics make up about 25%.

Religious minorities: Five percent of the population is Muslim. Hindus and Buddhists make up 0.9 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

Photo by Kayla Ihrig:

Dutch greetings: Tradition and Value

Photo by Antoni Shkraba:

In the Netherlands, a head nod and a handshake are common ways to say hello. Typically, this type of address is brief. When greeting one another, friends and family frequently kiss three times on alternating cheeks. It is anormal tradition to take both hands out of the pockets If you want to shake someone’s hand. It is impolite to shake with your right hand while leaving your left hand in your pocket. When interacting with others, the Dutch make frequent eye contact.

It is common for people to say “Hoi” (‘Hi’) or “Hoe gaat het? or Hoe gaat het met u?’ when meeting someone casually.  (How are you?)

Greetings in the form of inquiries like “Alles goed?” Is everything alright? are typically only asked if the person genuinely wants to know the answer.

The phrases “Goedemorgen” (meaning “Good morning”), “Goedendag” (meaning “Good day”), “Goedenmiddag” (meaning “Good afternoon”), and “Goedenavond” (meaning “Good evening”) are also common greetings.


There isn’t much variety in traditional Dutch cuisine. It’s very straightforward and uncomplicated. A lot of vegetables and little meat make up the typical Dutch meal.

A slice of bread with various toppings like different cheeses, peanut butter, treacle, and chocolate spread typically makes up breakfast.

Even though lunch can include the same foods as breakfast, sandwiches with different cold cuts and cheeses like Gouda, Edam, and Leyden are frequently served.

In the Netherlands, dinners typically consist of two or three courses: soup for the starter, potatoes with a lot of vegetables and meat for the main course, and pastries or cookies for dessert. Snert, or pea soup, is frequently the soup of choice for dinner, and stamppot, also known as a stew, is a traditional winter dish.

Breakfast is typically served between 6 and 8 in the morning, lunch is typically served between 12 and 1 in the afternoon, and dinner typically begins around 6 in the evening.

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For many Dutch citizens, sports are an essential part of their lives. In the Netherlands, there are over 35,000 active sports clubs, and approximately 28% of the population is active in these clubs. In addition, a larger portion of the population is not a member but is nevertheless very active in sports.

football, speed skating, and cycling are the most popular sports in the Netherlands.

In the Netherlands, football is a way of life for many sports fans. One of FIFA’s founding members, the Royal Dutch Football Association is the nation’s most revered football federation. The Dutch have won a number of football awards over the years, including three Olympic bronze medals and appearances in three FIFA World Cup finals. The nation’s most revered football player is Johan Crujiff.

In the Netherlands, cycling is a popular sport that has remained so for many years. Cycling is still very popular, regardless of the terrain—open road, off-trail, or track.

Speed skating emerges as the undisputed king of sports come winter.It is common to hear conversations about speed skaters during the winter, and it is also common to see people putting on skates for a race.

Arts and Leisure

During the Golden Age, when Baroque-style buildings were the norm, Dutch architecture also gained prominence. A magnificent view of a variety of centuries-spanning historical styles is provided by the extensive collection of buildings. 

In addition to having an impressive collection of fine art, the Netherlands has numerous historical and art museums that have earned it international renown.

Simple melodies and rhymes characterize traditional Dutch music, which focuses on central emotional themes like loneliness, joy, and sadness.

The Netherlands is a popular destination for annual events in a wide range of niches and markets, and the locals enjoy attending. In the first half of March, there is the Maastricht Art Show for art. In June, the Amsterdam Roots Festival presents music from around the world and the Netherlands.

Do you wish to visit Madurodam?

Photo by Dennis van de Water: