Culture shocks after moving to the Netherlands

Culture shocks after moving to The Netherlands

Every culture and every country are different. Once you move abroad, you will most likely experience some culture shocks, and it might take a while to get used to them. Here are some of the most common culture shocks in the Netherlands!

1. Every euro makes the difference

Once you move to the Netherlands, you will realize the Dutch attachment to money. Dutch people will do anything to get their money back. For example, if you buy a train ticket and you give it back after using it, you will get part of your money back. The same applies to beer bottles and a lot more. Moreover, if you go out with your friends, you better make sure you have downloaded the app Tikkie, because soon you will receive a payment request to pay back your drinks!

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2. Time is money

The Dutch attachment to money is also connected to their working habits. In the Netherlands people do not like to waste time. They are generally very organized, and do not expect to get a real lunch break. Most likely, you will only have some time for a quick snack between a meeting and the other.

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3. Always be ready for some rain.

The Netherlands are known for their rainy weather. You better be prepared for a sudden weather change, and wind and rain are usually involved. A funny fact is that Dutch people do not care anymore, so it is common to see them walking around under the rain like it was nothing.

4. Bikes, bikes everywhere 

The main means of transport in the Netherlands are bikes. Every person living there owns at least one. You can find it in every shape, color, and size. You can buy one, or ever rent it with a monthly subscription. However, you need to be careful and lock it, or it might easily get stolen!

5. Cafes or coffeeshops?

When people move to the Netherlands, they will probably get confused with these two terms in the first few days. It is important to know, that consumption of light drugs is legal here, so they are sold in Coffeeshops. If you are just looking for a cup of coffee instead, you need to go to a café or a terrace.

6. No visas accepted. 

When students move to the Netherlands, they usually expect to use their credit cards from their own country. Unfortunately, Visas and Mastercard’s are not accepted in most stores. Everything is very organized and efficient in the Netherlands, but to become part of this organized system, you need to get a Dutch bank account and use Dutch platforms. Do not worry though, it is worth it!

7. It is what it is.

Another characteristic of Dutch people is their directness. Some foreigners appreciate it, some less, but Dutchies do not really care. If they need to say something, even if uncomfortable, they will say it. It is not to be rude or disrespectful, it is just the way they communicate.


These are some culture shocks that students experience during their stay in the Netherlands.

If you liked the blog, join the discussion, and let us know: what was the biggest culture shock for you?

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