Nieuws - 15 maart 2018

A simple Dutch wedding


A good friend of mine got married on 31 January at 10 o’clock. I am happy for her and her new journey, but there are a few things that bother me. Why was the wedding ceremony held on a working day? And why was I not invited?

Illustration Henk van Ruitenbeek

A simple wedding in Malaysia means 500 guests, for the Dutch it means immediate family only

Though I know the answers to both questions, it is just perplexing if I compare my wedding with hers. First of all, my wedding ceremony was on a public holiday. It is a taboo in my country to get married on a weekday. There were about 500 guests, many of whom I hardly knew. And please note: my wedding was simple compared to the norm in Malaysia.

My friend and her fiancé had a ‘simple wedding’ too – by Dutch standards. They invited only their immediate family and therefore opted for the free wedding ceremony. This is a concept which I find ludicrous, but it is not unusual in the Netherlands. It is so common that in certain gemeentes the slot for the free wedding ceremony is fully booked for months.

The free wedding was originally initiated by the Dutch government to help poor couples. The intention is good, but many people who do not fit this category also make use of it. This situation confirms my stereotype of the Dutch as cheapskates. Though I bet my friend will answer otherwise and say she is just efficient, like all the Dutch.

By the way: Congratulations Anne! I wish you a happy married life!

Mas Muniroh Binti Mohd Nadzir, a Malaysian PhD candidate in Plant Breeding


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

NL: Gratis trouwen

De trouwerij van Mas Muniroh Binti Mohd Nadzir was voor Maleisische begrippen eenvoudig: ‘slechts’ vijfhonderd gasten. Ze was dan ook verbijsterd toen ze er onlangs achter kwam wat Nederlanders onder een eenvoudig huwelijk verstaan. Een van haar vriendinnen koos voor een gratis ceremonie op een doordeweekse ochtend waarbij alleen de directe familie aanwezig was. Deze optie is eigenlijk bedoeld voor arme mensen, ontdekte de Maleisische masterstudent, maar is heel populair in Nederland. ‘Dit bevestigt mijn vooroordeel dat de Nederlanders gierig zijn. Al zijn mijn vriendin het efficiënt noemen. Gefeliciteerd Anne!’