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Dating & Romance

Holland strives to construct a truly egalitarian society in which a person’s ethnicity, religion and gender won’t affect their s chances in life. As a result some of the usual European gender rules have got a little blurred and the rules of romance are a little different in Holland.

For instance, whilst in most of the world it’s up to the man to swallow his fear and start up a conversation or ask someone to dance, in Holland the women tend to be a little more forthcoming. Some find this a little daunting whilst for others it’s a welcome break. Either way Dutch men tend to take a more passive approach to the love game.

For foreign women this can prove to be quite exasperating. The inviting body language and lingering gaze that earned them the attention of guys back home have limited effect on Dutch males. They look back apparently enjoying the eye contact but then mostly fail to take the logical next step – to approach and flirt a little.

The financial expectations in the gender game have also become far more modern in Holland where a guy is certainly not expected to try and pick up the bill. Part of women asserting themselves involves throwing out the old dependence on men to be financially strong and most Dutch seem to prefer a 50-50 approach.

Flirting might be defined as the delicate art of toying with assumed attractions, of trifling with desires, or as a fun and creative way of discovering just who the other person is and what they feel for you.

It might… but for the Dutch it’s another story. True to their pragmatic selves, the Dutch flirt in a way that resemble WTO negotiations. Little is left to the unknown. Once chemistry is confirmed both express their agendas and negotiations can begin. Location and time of next date, some go as far as stating what they expect and what the other should expect. After a few dates negotiations include the common question: “My house or your house?” But also include local specificities such as: Do you have a bike? Will you carry me in the back of yours?

In the end, the Dutch, like most others, meet, talk, date, fall in and out of love, fight, break up, marry, divorce and have kids. The difference is in the amount of negotiation each step requires.

Damien Leze