11 Interesting Things The Dutch Are Known For (Find Out)

March 3, 2021

Even though the Netherlands is a relatively small country, the Dutch are known and famous for many things. The people who keep this progressive and blissful country going are the Dutch, who are known for their unique characteristics. So, if you do not know much about the Dutch, you may wonder, “What are the Dutch known for?”.

The Dutch are known for being the tallest and the most tolerant people in the world. They are also well known for their love for cycling, football, art, and eating cheese. Besides, they are known for their honesty, speaking English, and being straightforward.

In this article, I will talk about the things the Dutch are famous for. There are a lot of interesting things you should know about the Dutch before you visit the Netherlands. Hopefully, you will enjoy this article and find out a lot of interesting facts about the Dutch people.

What Are The Dutch Famous For?

The Dutch are world-famous for many things. In a previous article, I explained what the Netherlands as a country is best at, but in this article, I'm going to talk mostly about the Dutch themselves, some of their habits, and what they are worldwide known for.

Although the Netherlands is only a small country, it has had a significant impact on several countries in the world over the centuries. The Dutch themselves have also spread over many different countries and can often be recognized by certain physical or characteristic features.

So are you planning to go on holiday to the Netherlands, or are you interested in the Dutch people and the country itself? Then read on quickly to find out what the Dutch are known for and famous for.

The Dutch are known for being the tallest people in the world

When you walk in the streets of the Netherlands, you will be amazed to see how tall the people are. Dutchmen are so tall that a few inches below six feet are considered to be the average height in the country. Not only men, but even Dutch women are also comparatively taller than most other women in the world.

Now, you may wonder why the Dutch people are so tall. One of the reasons for the Dutch being so tall is maintaining good health. For that, they eat healthy and nutritious food. Besides, the Dutch people love to drink milk and dairy food, which are a great source of calcium. 

The height of an average Dutch male is around 1.82 meters (5.97 feet)

The height of an average Dutch female is 1.68 meters (5.51 feet)

Apart from eating healthy food, the Dutch also have excellent health care service. They have great health care programs and provide vaccinations better than most other countries. Hence, they can eradicate widespread diseases like Tuberculosis and Polio.

Good health care, a good diet, and good sleep are all factors that have made the Dutch so tall. However, all these things would have been less obvious if the Netherlands were not as prosperous a country as it is. Therefore, the fact that the Netherlands is a rich and wealthy country is also one of the important factors why the Dutch are so tall.

Moreover, there are genetic reasons why the Dutch are tall. People are attracted to tall people because their brains think they are healthy and more fertile. The following generations of people are therefore likely to grow taller than their own parents were.

Why Are Dutch People So Tall? This Is The Reason Why - Pic #1

The Dutch are known for their cycling

One of the most iconic things that characterize the Dutch are of course bicycles. Bicycles are therefore very popular in the Netherlands, not only for pleasure, but bicycles are also a frequently used means of transport to go to work or school, for example.

According to some reports, the number of bicycles is higher than the number of people in the Netherlands. City or the countryside, you will find people riding bicycles. These vehicles are more important to the Dutch than any other motor vehicle. 

The Dutch are punctual people, so they do not want to be late for anything. If you live in a big city, it is, therefore, wise to take a bicycle instead of a car. As a result, you do not suffer from traffic jams and you can use special cycle paths. In addition, parking your car in large cities in the Netherlands is often a problem. It is extremely expensive and finding a parking space is difficult enough.

In The Netherlands, there are approximately 1,3 bikes per inhabitant

And over 35.000km (21.748 miles) of bike lanes throughout the whole country

The above reasons together with very good infrastructure, a flat country with few hills, low costs, have made cycling one of the most popular means of transport in the Netherlands.

Cycling is another reason why the Dutch people are so healthy and physically fit. They use bikes and encourage others to ride bikes too. They even keep extra bikes in their garage for guests in case they need one. So, if you are planning to visit the Netherlands, make sure to buy or rent a bicycle to travel around with your Dutch friends.  

The Dutch love cycling

Dutch people are known for being straightforward

People who have a conversation with a Dutch person for the first time may find them rude. The Dutch are very straightforward, and they will express their honest opinion to anyone. You can be a relative, a friend, or a stranger, they do not think twice to be honest with you. 

For example, you got a new haircut which does not suit you. Then, you visit one of your Dutch friends. He or she will directly point out that your new haircut does not suit you! They say things like this bluntly, not to embarrass you, but because the Dutch tend to say what comes to mind, and often talk before thinking about whether anyone thinks it is rude.

The Dutch are very straightforward

But they don't do this to offend anyone

You may think they are rude or too blunt to talk like that, but it is their culture. They are used from a young age to give their honest opinion and it is purely about honesty and not about offending anyone. As they are straightforward, they also expect others to be straightforward too. Hence, the Dutch are known as the bluntest people.

The Dutch are famous for their love of cheese

As mentioned earlier, the Dutch love dairy products. Cheese is therefore one of the most popular dairy products in the Netherlands. It is not surprising that the Dutch love cheese because the two have a long history together.

If we are to believe the ancient literature, cheese was already made and eaten in the Netherlands in 75 BC. It is therefore not surprising that cheese has become part of Dutch culture.

Today, the Netherlands is known worldwide for its cheese. The famous cheeses from the Netherlands are for sale in supermarkets all over the world. The most famous cheeses from the Netherlands are Gouda cheese and Edam cheese. This makes the Netherlands one of the largest cheese exporters in Europe. Besides cheese, the Netherlands exports a lot more foods.

On average a Dutch person eats 20 kilos of cheese per year

The Dutch cheese also ensures that many tourists come to the Dutch cheese cities. Here tourists can see how cheese was made in the past, there are museums to visit and of course you can buy and taste a lot of cheese.

The Dutch not only export a lot of cheese but also eat a lot of it themselves. There are many different types of cheese available in the Netherlands, you have young cheese and aged cheese, but also sheep or goat cheese.

Most cheese is eaten on bread for breakfast or lunch. But the Dutch also have a talent for incorporating cheese into dishes for dinner. Due to the great popularity of cheese, a Dutch person eats on average 20 kilos of cheese per year.

It is therefore not surprising that the Dutch have been nicknamed "kaaskoppen", which means "cheese heads".

Would you like to know more about Dutch eating habits? Then please check out our article about that topic.

What Is the netherlands Known For - Dutch cheese

The Dutch are known for their tolerance and freedom of expression

Freedom of expression is very important in the Netherlands and is even anchored in article 7 of the constitution. It could be a cause of their directness and being straightforward.

In some countries, you’re not allowed to say what you think, and you could even face prison for certain statements. This is totally not the case in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, everyone says what they think.

Of course, there are rules attached to this constitution. For instance, you’re not allowed to discriminate, inciting violence, encourage hatred, or insult the king.

In 2001, The Netherlands was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage

So, there are several frameworks between which you must remain within the law of freedom of expression. That’s a good thing because in recent years the problems in the Netherlands regarding inciting hatred or discrimination have increased.

Tolerance is also absolutely something that’s linked to the Dutch culture, and also relates to our freedom of expression.

When I say freedom, I mean to say that in the Netherlands people can be who they want to be. For instance, you’re free to choose any religion, and you can come out for your sexual orientation. This in contrast to many other countries in the world.

On April 1st, 2001, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to allow marriage between people of the same sex. With this, the Netherlands made a statement, and soon other countries followed.

The Dutch are famous for their football teams and soccer players

The most popular sport in the Netherlands is football. The sport is practiced by young and old, male or female. And when the national team has to play, suddenly there are 17 million coaches in the Netherlands, who all know better than the real coach.

It is therefore not surprising that the Dutch are known for producing good football players. The Netherlands has had great success in football over the years. Major prizes have been won by both dutch soccer clubs as the national team of the Netherlands.

Over the years, the Netherlands has produced some of the best football players ever.

Famous Dutch football players:

  • Johan Cruyff
  • Marco van Basten
  • Frank Rijkaard
  • Patrick Kluivert
  • Clarence Seedorf
  • Edgar Davids
  • Edwin van der Sar
  • Marc Overmars
  • Matthijs de Ligt
  • Frenkie de Jong

Unfortunately, the international successes of the national team and Dutch clubs have been some time ago. Ajax, the most successful soccer club from the Netherlands, managed to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2019, and the last success of the National team of the Netherlands was the 3rd place at the 2014 World Championship.

Most known Dutch soccer clubs:

  • AFC Ajax Amsterdam
  • Feyenoord Rotterdam
  • PSV Eindhoven

The Dutch are known for their love of licorice 

One of the most commonly eaten sweets in the Netherlands is licorice. Probably many of you have never eaten or even heard of licorice. This is different in the Netherlands because licorice is known as the typical Dutch candy.

Licorice is for sale in every candy store or supermarket in the Netherlands and is offered in various shapes and sizes. The two most popular flavors are sweet or salty licorice, but many other varieties are also available.

In the Netherlands, 32 million kilos of licorice are eaten every year

This is an average of 2 kilos of licorice per person

Since licorice is so popular in the Netherlands, it will not surprise you that they also produce it a lot. For example, the Netherlands is the largest licorice producer in Europe with a third of the European market.

That the Dutch are known for their licorice will not surprise you when you hear how many kilos of licorice are eaten annually in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, 32 million kilos of licorice are eaten annually, which equates to an average of 2 kilos of licorice per person.

What are the Dutch known for - They love licorice

The Dutch are known for speaking English so well

The Dutch are non-native English speakers meaning English is their second or third language like many other countries. But you will be amazed to see that about 90% of the Dutch know fluent English. Although the English accent of the Dutch may seem a little bit off to you, it is still understandable. 

In fact, the Netherlands has been ranked as the best at speaking English worldwide, natively English countries excluded. This has to do with several factors.

First of all, both Dutch and English descend from the Germanic language. As a result, there are quite a few similarities between the two languages, so that the Dutch can generally learn English quite easily.

In the Netherlands, children are also taught English at school from an early age, this way children get to know the English language at an early age and benefit greatly from it later on in their lives.

In addition, quite a few English terms are used in the Netherlands, and films and series only have Dutch subtitles, in contrast to Germany and France where they are dubbed.

The Dutch are known as the best non-native English speaking country

All these reasons contribute enormously to learning to speak the English language well, and this is also evident from the fact that the Dutch are known worldwide as the best non-native English speakers.

The fact that the Dutch are known as good speakers of the English language also makes it easy for tourists to make themselves understood in the Netherlands.

But this is also an advantage for foreigners living in the Netherlands. In large cities such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam, it is even possible to work in a cafe or lunchroom, for example, if you only speak English.

So if you are planning to visit the Netherlands, don't worry that the Dutch will not understand you.

Learn more about the Netherlands!

Also, check out our extensive article about "why the Dutch speak English so well"

The Dutch are known for being one of the happiest people in the world

The Dutch are known as one of the happiest people in the world. A research was conducted on the people of 156 countries including the Netherlands. The research asked various questions on factors like lifestyle, health, life expectancy, freedom of speech, corruption, education, and social support.

According to, 2021 World Happiness Report, the Netherlands ranked number 5. Hence, it proves how happy the Dutch are with all the benefits they get in the country. The country has always been regarded as one of the peace-loving countries in the world. 

5th Happiest country in the world

In 2021 the Netherlands was ranked the 6th happiest country in the world

Another study on Dutch children shows that about 93% of Dutch children are happy with their life and the research also shows that Dutch children are the healthiest and happiest children among many European countries.

The Dutch are famous because of their coffeeshops

Coffeeshops are of course one of the most famous things that the Dutch are known for. For some foreigners, it may be the first thing to think of when they think of the Dutch.

The fact that there are coffeeshops (Dutch coffeeshops, so don't try to get a coffee here) in the Netherlands is for many tourists a reason to visit the Netherlands. For many people, it is impossible to imagine that you can smoke weed without punishment.

However, the system of how this works in the Netherlands can be deemed as quite strange, which has led to the necessary political discussions.

In the Netherlands, for instance, you’re not actually allowed to have soft drugs in your possession, and the government does not take action against the trade in soft drugs by coffee shops. However, growing cannabis is strictly prohibited.  You could then ask yourself, how do those coffee shops get their weed? They buy exactly that from illegal nurseries.

All of this comes together under the so-called “tolerance policy”. This means that in some cases the Dutch government turns a blind eye, making this possible in the Netherlands.

Are you in the Netherlands and do you want to smoke some weed? Then make sure you never carry more than 5 grams of weed in your pocket. This is the maximum amount that the government “tolerates”.

Smoking weed is also prohibited in public areas such as parks and shopping streets. Therefore, be sensible and smoke your joint in a coffee shop, as it is allowed here.

Coffeeshops in the Netherlands

The Dutch are famous for their great painters

The Dutch are unique when it comes to art. They appreciate art, and so you can find a lot of museums and art galleries in the big cities of the Netherlands. Among these museums, one of the most famous and largest ones is the Van Gogh Museum located in Amsterdam. 

This Museum has been established in memories of the famous Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh. He is famous for his masterpieces like “Starry Night" and “The Sunflower”. The Dutch and people from all over the world are big fans of his art. This is probably why about 2.1 million art lovers visited the Van Gogh Museum in 2019. 

Besides Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer, and Jan Steen had been the pioneer of the art culture of the Netherlands. They are all well-known for their innovative and beautiful paintings.

Most famous Dutch art painters:

  • Piet Mondriaan
  • Rembrandt van Rhijn
  • Johannes Vermeer
  • Vincent van Gogh
  • Jan Steen
  • Karel Appel
  • Frans Hals
  • Ferdinand Bol

Learn more about the Netherlands!

Are you a true art lover and do you want to know what the best art museums in the Netherlands are? Then check out our "top 5 best art museums in the Netherlands"

Conclusion

I hope that through this article you have learned more about the Dutch and what the Dutch are known for. Even though the Netherlands is a small country, it has a lot to offer, both for residents and tourists.

From my own experience, I can say that the Dutch are nice people, even though they can sometimes come across as blunt. Don't let this stop you from visiting the Netherlands, because you will have a great time there.

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Written by

Leo van den Berg
As a Dutchman I am extremely proud of the beautiful country in which I live. My goal is to convey my passion and love for the Netherlands to as many people as possible.

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