Grab your agenda: 52 tell-tale signs you’ve gone Dutch

So there you are, sitting chomping on your French fries with mayonnaise and cheering on Oranje on the telly, or lingering in the bathroom to check which birthdays are coming up, and it suddenly hits you: you’re turning Dutch. At what point does integration become assimilation? Here’s a list of some tell-tale signs; feel free to add your own in the comments.

You complain about the number of tourists in Amsterdam

You complain about the way tourists ride their bikes

You’ve learned to cycle while carrying an umbrella

You’ve learned to cycle in the snow

You no longer wait at red lights on your bike, or wear a helmet

You drop Dutch words like lekker, borrel and gemeente into English conversation

You start calling your diary an agenda and keeping it meticulously

Bar staff and shop assistants have stopped replying to you in English

You correct visitors on the pronunciation of Utrecht, Breda and Maastricht

You complain about expats not learning Dutch

You arrive at a birthday party and go round the entire circle shaking hands, kissing and congratulating everyone without feeling stupid

You own a set of miniature forks for eating birthday cake

You’ve learned to lie to your doctor about how ill you are so they can’t fob you off with paracetamol

As soon as the sun appears you dash out to the nearest pavement cafe

As soon as the sun comes out you wear shorts and flip-flops to work and clock off at lunchtime on Friday to head to the beach

You’ve accepted the absence of Sunday papers

You’ve stopped thinking washing powder was better back home

You’ve given up longing for sweets and snacks from your home country

You’ve found yourself kissing your non-Dutch friends three times on the cheek

You’ve stopped defending your home country all the time

You refer to political parties, government agencies and football teams by their initials

When people ask where you are from you say: ‘I’m English/French/American/Nigerian but I actually live in…’

If your home country is taking on the Netherlands in a sporting event, you are torn between the two

As soon as the temperature drops below five degrees, you start hoping for the Elfstedentocht

You watch the Tour de France round the telly at work with your colleagues

You get obsessed with collecting stickers for the latest Albert Heijn kitchenware promotion

You have strong feelings about which AH salads are the best

You own a flessenlikker, aardappelstamper, kaasschaaf, poffertjespan and gourmet set

You can use a cheese parer on very old cheese without shredding your fingers

You’ve ordered pancakes in a restaurant without feeling embarrassed

You’ve learned to call a cheese sandwich lunch and eat it with a knife and fork

You call margarine butter

You drink a glass of milk with lunch

You’ve considered having boerenkool and snert for dinner

You can eat a tompoes without getting cream all over the place

You buy raw herring from a fish stall because you like it

You don’t raise an eyebrow if someone only chips in €15 to the common restaurant bill because they only had one glass of wine and no starter

You buy flowers for yourself regularly

You have a birthday calendar in the loo

You have a birthday calendar in the loo and you’ve actually put everyone’s birthdays on it

Trees planted in a neat straight line look natural

You no longer freak out if you see a line of cars parked 5mm from the edge of a canal

You know who Andre Hazes is and can sing along to at least two of his songs

You know that half seven means half six and ‘five quarters’ is a normal measure of time

Really long steep staircases feel completely normal

You start saying what you think in an aggressive aggressive way, not just a passive aggressive one

When your boss asks you what you think of something, you give him or her your honest opinion

You stop inventing polite excuses for skipping social engagements and just tell your friends: ‘I don’t feel like coming’

You describe people with an ethnic minority background as allochtonen

You avoid discussions about Zwarte Piet

You no longer wince when your kids say shit and kut!

You’ve actually gone the whole hog, signed the participation declaration, sworn your allegiance to king Willem-Alexander, sung the Wilhelmus and claimed your Dutch passport


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