News - January 14, 2016

The Going Dutch app

‘Don’t get your hopes up when a Dutch person invites you to his/her birthday party in a restaurant. Good chance he/she won’t pay for your meal and you’ll have to pay it yourself. Or, as the locals say, going Dutch.’ This is a rough paraphrase of one of the most memorable parts of a survival guide to studying in the Netherlands which I read before coming to Wageningen.

I haven’t had the embarrassment of eating in a restaurant without carrying money, as happened to the protagonist of that novel. But going Dutch, or paying for your own meal, sure is common. It is even facilitated in most restaurants here. I found myself queueing at the counter of an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant to pay my share of the bill, in front of my friend who had been eating at the same table.

Sharing costs also applies to cooking at home, at least on my corridor: the sum of money spent on a meal, including dessert, is divided by the number of people eating. The paying arrangement is made even smoother by the app WieBetaaltWat, with its shopping list format and bank account information.

I find this both interesting and practical. It shows how efficient the Dutch are, especially when it comes to money. In Indonesia, most restaurants refuse to split the bill (due to inconvenience), so someone needs to pay and then ask their friends to pay up. Not to mention the ‘who-received-how-much-change’ dispute. In the Netherlands, you pay for what you eat (or drink), and there is no need to memorize prices on the bill. Also important: this will prevent broken friendships over the ‘who-owes-what-to-whom’ grudges. I will definitely apply this, as far as circumstances allow, when I get back to my home country.

Do you have a nice anecdote about your experience of going Dutch? Send it in! Describe an encounter with Dutch culture in detail and comment on it briefl y. 300 words max. Send it to and earn 25 euros and Dutch candy.

Ferdy (Muhammad Ferdyansyah) Sechan, Master’s student of Biotechnology, from Indonesia

NL: WieBetaaltWat-app Als Ferdy Sechan uit Indonesië wordt uitgenodigd voor een verjaardag in een restaurant, neemt hij altijd geld mee. Hij las, al voordat hij naar Nederland kwam, dat men hier de rekening deelt. En het klopt. Hij stond pas in de rij bij een sushirestaurant om af te rekenen, met achter hem een vriend, die aan dezelfde tafel had gegeten. Ook thuis, als ganggenoten voor elkaar koken, worden de kosten verrekend. Daarvoor is zelfs een app: WieBetaaltWat. Dit toont hoe efficiënt Nederlanders zijn, vooral als het over geld gaat.