Xenophobe's® Guides: Why the Dutch are thrifty

Xenophobe's® Guides: Why the Dutch are thrifty

Comments0 comments

Saving money is a favourite Dutch pastime, but flash your worldly goods and you'll be labelled as ostentatious.

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

The pursuit of wealth is a favourite Dutch pastime, and accumulating money is a virtue. Spending it is a vice. The Dutch word schuld means both ‘debt’ and ‘guilt’. A healthy bank balance may be proof that you are shouldering your earthly burden of hard work, but it’s a private assurance.

Just as discussing one’s salary is frowned upon, the Dutch consider a flashy display of worldly goods as extreme bad taste. When one national magazine published a list of the Netherlands’ top ten richest people, they had to follow it the next week with an apology to one of the millionaires for placing him too high on the list.

Wariness of showy excess extends to many levels. A leading Dutch executive was quoted as saying that he found the catering in Business Class of the national airline disagreeably over-the-top. He would be quite satisfied with a cheese roll and a glass of buttermilk.

This is not to say that the Dutch deny themselves material comfort. It is perfectly acceptable to surround yourself with degelijke spullen - good, sound objects that work efficiently. They may even be stylish, but never ostentatious. A modest Mercedes might pass muster; a Rolls Royce would raise a disapproving eyebrow. Even the grandest Dutch homes present a narrow, low-key façade to the street, but, in private behind it, stretch out into spacious rooms and secluded gardens.

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.

Comment here on the article, or if you have a suggestion to improve this article, please click here.

If you believe any of the information on this page is incorrect or out-of-date, please let us know. Expatica makes every effort to ensure its articles are as comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date as possible, but we're also grateful for any help! (If you want to contact Expatica for any other reason, please follow the instructions on this website's contact page.)


Captcha Note: Characters are case sensitive
The details you provide on this page will not be used to send any unsolicited e-mail, and will not be sold to a third party. Privacy policy .

0 Comments To This Article