Some international students are intimidated by the infamous directness and strictness of the Dutch. But not blogger Kaavya Raveendran. She finds it really relaxing that Dutch people say what they mean. And there are more qualities she admires.
© Sven Menschel
Although many people find the very ‘direct’ attitude of the Dutch too harsh, I personally really appreciate it. I am an overthinker and often tend to read too much between the lines of what others say. So I spend a lot of time and energy analysing other people’s sugar-coated remarks. But in the past year of my life, my brain has been quite relaxed as I haven’t had to waste my mental energy decoding how others respond to things related to me or my work. Because what the Dutch say is what they really mean. Direct and straightforward. A no-drama zone.
It is quite surprising that what I failed to learn in the previous 21 years, in spite of trying, I have learnt in the last year. I have learnt to say “NO”! This was something I was terrible at in India, where people will either judge or misunderstand you when you say this two-letter swearword. But the people of Holland are the coolest. They understand and respect your choice without you having to give a reason. So the lesson you take from here is: be cool, like the Dutch!
People here are so honest. I would say if someone had to confer an award for ethics, the Dutch would win, hands down. They have miraculously high morality. Their words and commitments are like indestructible bonds which hold true no matter what. Have you seen people jogging despite pouring rain? That’s their commitment right there. Whether it is the self-checkouts at the supermarket or completing your hours at work. The trust and faith they have in each other is awesome. This simple yet underrated trait of the Dutch is not talked about much. It is as though honesty runs in their blood.
Reacting to what really matters and thinking ahead is typical of a Dutchie. This attitude motivates them to adopt and stick to more sustainable ways of living. It is better for them, the society and the future generations. They truly adhere to their beliefs and don’t need anyone to monitor their actions. Each individual takes responsibility for what they do, and so they do it right. As many people know, the Netherlands is actually below sea level, and yet the country continues to function at its best. This is all a result of acting and reacting in advance. Indeed, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Being on time was always important to me, but here I can actually start things on time because everyone will be there. The punctual part of me has been so happy since I have been in Holland. It is a perfect motivation to start your day early. You get more done than when you are sloppy and late. But I have to say, it is one thing to be early, but you’re in a totally different league if you can turn up bang on time! If the Dutch say 9, it means 9:00, not 9:01or 8:59. (One tip: don’t ever be late, but if you are, bring cake. The Dutch people love it so much they’ll probably forgive you.)
Kaavya is master’s student of Food Technology.