Dating the Dutch

Africanah Girl: 10 reasons to date or marry a Dutch man

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Forget what you've read in cyberspace about Dutch men being uncool, unromantic or underdressed; Caroline outlines 10 reasons why Dutch guys are worth it.

I was reading through a CNN travel report circa 2011 and wondering why the Dutch weren't mentioned as one of the coolest nationalities in the world. Because I think they are pretty cool. Well, at least in my experience of Dutch guys.

Forget all those complaints and concerns you read in cyberspace about Dutch guys being uncool, unromantic and underdressed. Ditch the ill feelings towards the Dutch guy who is rumoured to go Dutch, when you are sitting at a table across from him on a date. As a black female traveller who has graced a couple of continents with itchy feet, I dare say that Dutch guys are super cool.

1) They are tall

I came away from my country feeling giraffe-like. I towered over a lot of people and became pretty used to jabs about my height like, “How is the oxygen up there?” Or complaints about causing neck injuries each time I stooped to hug a friend. Here, even with 12-inch heels, I’m still quite average among dutch guys. It’s a comforting feeling being around them, and not feeling self-conscious about sticking out above everyone.

2) They are courteous and helpful

There’s always that bit of relief when transiting to a flight headed for the Netherlands. Not only do I unwittingly eavesdrop conversations spoken in a familiar tongue, but when I've had to go up stairs or put my bag in the overhead compartment and my luggage is heavy, I've always had random Dutch guys offer to help me. In years past, whenever I entered the train with a heavy baby pusher, Dutch guys would always be milling around ready to spring into action to help get it onto the train. This behaviour has been repeated countless times, as if ‘rescue the damsel’ is ingrained into the Dutch male psyche. The only other place outside of the Netherlands where I have experienced this kind of assistance from strangers has been on the train to Sarajevo.

3) They know that women run the world

Queens have held reign in the House of Orange for what seems like forever, well from 1890 to 2013 to be precise, so I find Dutch guys in some zany way quite respectful of womenfolk. A Dutch guy is likely not to be domineering, but surprise surprise, won’t mind if you are. He won’t mind you barking out orders or getting you a cup of tea. You would, however, steer clear of sado-masochistic ones that beg to be tied up and whipped (unless you are game), because they are out there. Raise your voice at an African man and it may be the beginning of a fight or the end of the relationship, otherwise he will let it be known that you’re a crazy dictator trying to rule over him.

4) They are egalitarian

I’ve had people in the Netherlands who I would consider high up – that boss in a foundation, the medical specialist, the brainy professor or even the pastor – address me like they were my equal, eyeball to eyeball; and I find myself thinking that back home in Kenya, unless he’s a relative or close friend, people with similar qualifications prefer to float on celestial clouds at a high unreachable pedestal, with some assistants scurrying around to transmit messages to us 'earthly mortals'. In my country, your protests would likely be met with a booming rebuttal, "Haiyaaa, si there’s a chain of command!"

5) They are not finicky over food

Ask a Dutch guy over for lunch and he will be perfectly fine with slices of bread served with cheese and ham followed by a cup of coffee. Otherwise, you both can pop out for some street food, bitterballen or some patat slathered in mayonnaise. Ask an African guy over for lunch and you’ll be sweating in the kitchen for more than an hour to deliver a very hot meal, preferably rice or chapati with a meaty stew.

6) They don’t whine

With a good portion of Dutch land below sea level, the Dutch have come up with innovative solutions to keep water out of their land for hundreds of years. They have over centuries built dykes, dams and windmills to reclaim land. This has had an effect on their people – that being, they are pragmatic. A Dutch guy will rarely if not ever whine. If something is amiss, they fix it. Like yesterday.

7) They don’t always go Dutch

The ‘let’s split this bill in half’ theory is designed to make girls steer clear of the Dutchies. It’s a crazy assumption, likely a stereotype steeped in history and wars. No Dutch guy I’ve ever dated has ever asked me to pay my half, rather the only thing that’s been said was, ‘Would you like some coffee or tea? Some dessert?”

Dutch customs and etiquette

8) They are blunt

Freedom and individuality is espoused in the Netherlands. A Dutch guy is likely to be a person of integrity, openly discussing issues and asking deeply personal questions. They will offer their opinion whether or not it is pleasing to you, and are direct almost to a fault. While this may be considered impolite, Dutch guys view it as being honest. You will know exactly where you stand with a Dutch guy, which is especially cool as there are many cons and tricksters out there who waste your time.

9) They are family oriented

Dutch guys have mastered the work-life balance. So serious are they about their kids that they have a day off work (papadag) just to kick back and spend time with their family. Dutch fathers are more involved in raising their kids, with seemingly good results as Dutch kids are often rated as the happiest in the world.

10) They are frugal

Which is not necessarily a bad thing, given that a Dutch guy will let you know where the best deals and sales are, where you can get five for the price of one, where you can test drive products and get them for free in exchange for reviews, and probably show you a few tips and tricks to save on your water, electricity, gas, and other life necessities. Dutch guys are not just frugal for the sake of frugality – I've known guys who will penny pinch on parking space and blow what they’ve saved on a business class trip or luxury cruise. It’s also notable that the Dutch are very generous offering huge donations to charity and development projects.

What are some positive quirky things you have observed about guys where you live?

(Disclaimer: This post is by no means a put-down on other nationalities, just a candid observation of guys in the country I’m based in.)

 

Reprinted with permission from Travelogues of an African Girl

Africanah Girl

Caroline Achieng Otieno is a Kenyan citizen currently residing in the Netherlands. She chose to combine her love of travel with her experience in writing. Travelogues of an African Girl is a blog highlighting her various experiences as a female black African traveller. She is currently involved in human rights activism, research and writing. She is deeply passionate about women’s rights and the protection of children especially in conflict zones.

Thumbnail credit: Garry Knight.

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3 Comments To This Article

  • Stef posted:

    on 28th September 2016, 23:23:46 - Reply

    This is so cool to read... Thank you for your kind words towards us, Dutch men. Regards; Stef
  • Christiane posted:

    on 16th July 2015, 21:07:50 - Reply

    very true. Just moved here a few months ago and feel so comfortable with the Dutch in general. As for the males, definitely a big plus!
  • Nessie posted:

    on 15th July 2015, 16:00:20 - Reply

    Thank you for your insight. I've been in NL for 40 years and you are 100% correct about Dutch guys!