Dutch Guys Don’t Flirt, or Do They?

Yesterday I sat on the couch, was sipping my hot boiling green tea and just flipping through an old Dutch women magazine I bought like months ago. There were gossips about so-called Dutch celebrities (whatever..don’t know them don’t care), some fashion insights, skipped them right away, then a bunch of doubtfully shocking stories of a woman who cheated on her partner, etc etc. Totally useless.

But then, I ended up reading this fascinating article written by an American journalist who traded NYC for Deventer. Deventer is a city in the Netherlands, located in the Overijssel province. And it’s far from where I live. She wrote about, the art of flirting.

She wrote in her article, that ever since she came here she’s never been in a situation where men flirt with her. When she visits the local pubs, or just on the street, where things like these are most likely to happen, but it just does not happen here in the Netherlands. She feels that she is being unwanted and more lethal, unattractive.

Well, based on what I see and experience since I live here.. Dutchies are not the most romantic and seductive creatures on this Planet. Compare to men from neighboring countries, such as; the Italians and French, Dutch guys are more simple and pragmatic. Why? Well. It is just not in their dictionary. FLIRTING. I remembered, when I was in Germany I met a very nice young German lad who lived not so far from home where I stayed. We had a chat, I thought his mother was really a sweetheart. Then, one day he asked me to go with him up to the hills in his tiny German auto. He was really nice! I found it fascinating, but still in friendship term. Then, after that event we sometimes bumped into each other on the street. One evening we met up and he asked, let’s grab a dinner and you choose where. I chose Chinese. How unpredictable I was. At the end of the dinner, when the waitress did her chit chat ‘ how was the food ‘ bla bla bla, I was not preparing anything. But when he said, shall we “going dutch” ? I was frozen for a minute. Jeez. Did he ask me to go for a dinner or did I ask him ? Before I uttered my confusion, he put his part of the meal money on the table. I then reached my wallet and prayed hard in my heart, please God I hope I have some money in it! I did though :p (my last coins for that week).

It surprised me. No. Shocked. We don’t do that in Indonesia. Ladies are treated well by men. They consider women are fragile creatures. Women are spoiled in my country. Maybe not in a marriage, we sometimes are not very monogamous and committed as people think we are. But in a casual occasion and manner, men treat women gently. They offer us seats, they open doors for us, or sometimes just sometimes they open the car doors for us. And most importantly, most of the Indonesian men don’t allow women to pay their meals, especially if the men who asked it first. Never. They will share when they are friends and go for lunch but other than that, they may not say it blatantly, hey here is my money where’s yours? Conclusion: Germans are stingy and not flirtatious or smooth. I learned my lessons. Then I went to the west, to the Netherlands.

Landed in Amsterdam. The origin of this phrase of “going Dutch”. A truly melting pot, charming men are everywhere. Eclectic types were in every corner of the streets. Various foreign languages were spoken everywhere. Beautiful people with their own styles were scattered on the streets, it was fun to see. I was so mesmerized by the feeling and how psychedelic it was during summertime. But soon to learn that men here were just the same like in Germany. They didn’t make eye contacts though you know you had been eye-ed by someone in the tram. They didn’t make a move first, they didn’t come out of the blue and asked your phone numbers.

Maybe it happens somewhere at parties where people get stoned. But based on my experience, never. And based on many foreigners/expats’ experiences too, bytheway.


The reason being is, Dutch men are not accustomed to this kind of spontaneous action and are afraid for rejections. Dutch women are very emancipated and empowered. They can say out loud what they don’t like. And men respect this very much. So, when they say NO, it means really NO and not well maybe yes. So, in a scenario I had in my mind, when a Dutch guy asks, “Hey love, I think you are beautiful and I fancy to have a drink with you, will you give me your number?” Most likely the girls would say, “No you pig fat face, I am not interested in having a drink with you. You are being so disrespectful” It means no go. It does not have other meaning, like in another countries like, try a little harder , i might say OK and we go for a drink. Women here are very straight forward and clear in what they want.

So, where did I meet my soon to -be- husband? He is Dutch anyway, in case you don’t notice 🙂 I met him in Vondelpark. A huge oasis in the center of the city, an English style park in downtown of Amsterdam (2 minutes from my current office). We were at a “farewell” get together of a friend who was going back to her hometown in Namibia, and he came with a friend we knew. After a chat at the park, a quick grab at Burger King, and a late after party downtown with a bunch of friends, we exchanged numbers. I knew he was into me but I kept it cool .. and he was too. He really tried to flirt though, but to my standard it was not too subtle too conscientious. But after a couple of weeks of dating (that includes; going to a concert of a German indie rock band, cafe dating, and casual city sightseeing) we were inseparable. That was summer 2006 and we were madly in love, fast forward to now..we have been together for almost 6 years! How time flies..

This blog post was actually for a Valentine’s Day edition. But, I forgot to publish it, blimey! Bottom line is, though Dutch guys can’t flirt, I can tell how open-minded, sweet and supportive they are.. It is another style of romance you will discover with Dutch guys. And although they are not very Shakespeare romantic, my boo still could pull it off when he proposed me 🙂 .. He is my schatje pataatje :p Ik hou van je! x

              {Mexican dinner 2007}

            {Picture 1; 3rd anniversary in Maastricht in 2009, pic 2: in 2011}


6 thoughts on “Dutch Guys Don’t Flirt, or Do They?

  1. I think Dutch men have a way of looking at you straight in the eye which can seem a bit intense compared to men from other European countries. If a Dutch guy shows obvious interest in me, I think he would be like eyes on me, smiling at me, catching my eye and then smiling again. Talking to me. Etc.. But not forward at all verbally – verbally he would still be extremely platonic sounding. No pick up lines. No romantic stuff.

    To me, it’s very different from say, how a French or Italian man does it. A bit awkward and clumsy maybe. But I think it can be sweet IF I feel the same towards him, because he doesn’t then come across like a sleazebag … which unfortunately many Italians or Frenchies do come across as, because they might be too touchy feely and sweet talking. If I don’t feel similarly attracted to a Dutch guy who I can sense is attracted to me and trying to make advances, I worry he will get so embarrassed about his advances getting rejected… because it obviously comes at a high price for him. Romantic advances are not in their everyday dictionary.

    In short I think Dutch guys can be really sweet. Oh yes about the “going Dutch” thing… haha.. I think it’s maybe from their Calvinist history or something – where they value being as unindulgent as possible.

    I married a South African guy in the end. One of the Dutch characteristics his family has retained is certainly the “stingy” aspect. But I guess it complements me well because I am a horrible spendthrift lol…

  2. Hello from fellow Indonesian! Xoxo
    Well this is very interesting I came across this article when I was browsing on the net about European guys… Lol. Well I agree the Go Dutch system is quite endearing as I am used to not pay for a date (although having a door opened and chair pulled out is overrated for me) and the notion that the women are so empowered to the point the men flirt less..is baffling, really. But I somehow feel drawn to the culture where a woman is considered equal to the core. I am curious how that would play out since being a Chinese still does mean girls are still second to boys! Esp to older generations. Cant believe how many times I scoff inwardly when an elder questions me when I am going to marry or whether I have found a breadwinner (which Is surprising since I do earn my bread) and sometimes when an elder questions my cousins whether they would consider giving more birth to boys and not end up like my mum who gave birth to 2 daughters. Lol

  3. Pingback: Liebster Award | Bucket of Cherries

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