Xenophobe's® Guides: The family

Xenophobe's® Guides: The Dutch family

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The Dutch family is the kernel of 'gezelligheidand' and an academy for independent learning, where 'Mummy knows best' is sometimes open to negotiation.

Xenophobe's® Guides: A book series that highlights the unique character and behaviour of different nations with insight and humour.

A glance at the entries in the Births column of a national newspaper reveals the Dutch veneration for their children: 'Born to Hans and Jiske, a new world citizen, Onno, ........[birth date].'

The Dutch family is the kernel of gezelligheidand an academy for learning the skills of negotiation and tolerance. The Dutch treat children with respect, and expect them swiftly to pick up the trappings of respectability. From an early age children learn to ‘keep it gezellig’ and conduct themselves in a way that doesn’t ruffle the feathers of those that surround them. ‘Behave normally, that’s mad enough’ they are often told – and in the Netherlands this is usually true.

The young are credited with the intelligence to make decisions about their lives. When planning changes to a local playground, a Dutch borough council will send questionnaires to children rather than to parents. Even situations where ‘Mummy knows best’ are open to negotiation. Complicated deals are struck in supermarket aisles as dinner options are discussed, spinach and broccoli being traded off against strawberry icecream and extra biscuits.

The Dutch allow families to take on some adventurous shapes, and do so with warmth and verve. Granny and grandpa, sitting down to Christmas lunch with their eldest son, his boyfriend, their unmarried daughter and her children, make a cosier gathering than many a family unit complete with one parent of each sex and 2.5 noisome brats. The Netherlands was the first country in the world completely to legalise gay and lesbian marriage, and to allow the families thus formed to expand by adopting children

For more, read The Xenophobe's Guide to the Dutch. 

Reproduced from Xenophobe's Guide to the Dutch by kind permission of Xenophobe's® Guides.

Photo credit: jurvetson


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8 Comments To This Article

  • Ping posted:

    on 25th December 2013, 15:54:25 - Reply

    @Agathe, a Dutch family does not even come -close- to Asian families!
    Asians keep their distance, but are gracious while warm towards visitors - as opposed to Dutch who keep distance while NOT being gracious (Dutch are 99% of the time blunt in anything that comes out of their mouth), and Dutch are far from being welcoming to anyone including their own family members. Additionally, Dutch are not even half as hardworking (tending to mostly work for a boss and call in sick often)
    Asians tend to defend a family honor and like to not 'lose face', while all the Dutch do is 'losing face' all the time!!! A Dutch wouldn't care if he defames all the other Dutch, while Asians do care about how they are perceived.
    Educate yourself and go read about the recent international (!) row between the 'Dutch' and Asians. Here is the Asian communities' rebuttal:

    The chinese in Holland in fact, called the Dutch a racist community. Not my words, their words! It gets worse if you read the chinese blogs (like gogodutch website) - I can assure you that.
  • agathe

    on 24th December 2013, 13:14:59 - Reply

    Dutch family is sometimes as conservative as Asian family in my country's origin. They are hardly willing to open their mind about other culture; very judgable towards my expat friends. There are more in this world beside their remote farms.
    Mother is usually super protective over her sons and take care all their needs as if they're handicapped.
  • Alex posted:

    on 24th December 2013, 09:51:55 - Reply

    Dutch actually dress like peasants would on a field -which is perfectly ok if you are a peasant and have a job to do- but totally off, if you live in a city.
    To sum it up, Dutch come across as a fairly backward 'tribe' with little taste for anything, from what comes out of their mouth like when they are being blunt to you (which they disguise as 'honesty'), to what comes out of their wardrobe!
  • anna posted:

    on 23rd December 2013, 09:28:33 - Reply

    Carrico is spot on! Also yes and no about the Dutch respecting children, from what I see children are not seen as individuals more so within the school system . It's not a gentle start to school life with state testing (cito) from age 4!! Social skills lack as a result and you see the lack of social skills in adults , the brashness I see is a result of not been confident contrary to the believe of confidence with the Dutch..and really all this craziness with playdates !
  • andy posted:

    on 21st December 2013, 09:58:30 - Reply

    The author forgot to mention that the dutch are so welcoming, they actually even welcome and legally allow pedophile foundations like their website 'martijn'. They must be pretty desperate to welcome gay russians by offering a asylum pass. You think the pass says ' welcome to our hell, where everything is allowed: blunt talk, racist talk on zwarte piet being like Mandela, racist listings like polenmeldpunt websites, positive job propaganda for gays, same for pedophiles and open encouragement of tax evasion by multinationals'. All that's missing is the fire?
  • Barry Ing posted:

    on 20th December 2013, 09:35:12 - Reply

    Doing so well before your propaganda in the last paragraph.
  • carrico posted:

    on 12th December 2013, 15:35:24 - Reply

    If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
  • WeirdoinHolland posted:

    on 11th December 2013, 14:28:00 - Reply

    Look there is good and bad where ever you go, and there are townie mentalities in Holland and all over the world, if your not with a worldly dutch guy then prepared to inherit a bevy of ignorant in-laws as they will be just as small town mentalitied as the rest [Edited by moderator]