Dating in the Netherlands

Updated 2022-08-17 13:01

In 2021, there were around 1.6 million single women and 1.5 million single men living on their own. This means that if you're trying to look for Mr. or Mrs. Right during your stay in the Netherlands, the dating pool isn't small at all.

However, there's some key information you should know before trying to land a life partner. Without it, you might flounder in your dating life. This is what you need to know about dating in the Netherlands.

Understanding Dutch culture

Before you jump into dating, you should first know a little bit about Dutch culture if you're interested in dating Dutchies.

One of the things Dutch people are known for is their directness. They're very straightforward and practical, so things might not be as romantic as you'd like, as least initially. Also, it can take a while for a serious relationship to develop, so you might need to be patient. And because you can enjoy many rights as a couple without having to get married (this is called a registered partnership, or geregistreerd partnerschap), marriage in the Netherlands has been on the decline.

Of course, this is just a generalization of the nation. You'll definitely meet people who don't fit the mold!

The dating etiquette in the Netherlands

If you don't like playing games when dating, then you'll enjoy dating in the Netherlands. Typically, you "go with the flow" rather than wait a certain amount of time to contact, kiss, etc., your date. It's much appreciated if you're not only honest but also assertive.

You shouldn't get dressed to the nines for a date, as the Dutch like to keep it casual. If you wear makeup, you'll want to either tone it down or go for a more natural look.

Subtle flirting probably won't go over well, as the Dutch are direct. And expect minimal small talk; you're likely to have some deep discussions about subjects you normally wouldn't discuss on dates in other countries. So don't get caught off-guard. And don't try to flatter your date with compliments, as it'll be a turn-off. They'll think you're being fake.

And, of course, there's a reason why they call it "going Dutch"; at the end of the night, you'll split the bill. Or you might take turns paying for things so it's not all on one person.

How to meet people in the Netherlands

It's always reliable to go to bars to meet people. But what if you don't like that scene?

Another way to meet your potential partner is to join social clubs. You'll find many in the Netherlands that cater to various interests (including sports), so even if you don't get anything romantic out of joining them, it's still very likely you'll make long-term friends.

Using apps and websites is popular for dating as well. Some popular ones in the country include Tinder, Bumble, Badoo, and Happn. Be aware that some may be on the apps for quick hookups, though, so if that's not what you're into, be very clear about what you want and set boundaries.

All the above methods allow you to meet not just Dutchies but other expats like yourself.

Good ideas for dates in the Netherlands

While fancy dinner dates sound nice, the Dutch much prefer to have casual dates in a brown cafe (the Dutch version of a pub). Another good idea is casual cycling to an outdoor picnic, if the weather permits, of course.

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