When you are invited to parties (for birthdays etc.) by your Dutch friends never forget to bring the receipt of the gifts you buy for them. I have been living in the Netherlands for nine years and I still have to get used to getting receipts along with the presents.
Last month I went with my husband to a baby shower in Wageningen and I had bought a nappy bag for the baby. As we left the house my husband told me, 'Don't forget the receipt in case they already have a nappy bag.' Of course this is very practical and the couple really appreciated his move, and told us that they had indeed already bought a nappy bag, so they would exchange it. Believe it or not, this couple is from India and they have been living in Wageningen for almost 13 years. I must say they have adapted to the Dutch way of life quite well.
When I asked my Dutch colleague if giving receipts is normal in Dutch culture, she had to laugh and told me that her boyfriend got her a gift and he also handed over the receipt in case she did not like it. She agrees that it's not at all romantic but it is practical.
Angela Pachuau, Education and Competence Studies Group, ass. editor, Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension (JAEE)