The Dutch are rude and the Americans are fake.


These are two common perceptions that these cultures often have about each other. Having spent my life split between living in both of these two countries I have heard the accusations from both sides, often. But is there any truth to them?


Of course not. Americans are friendly, but not generally “fake” as a people. Dutch are direct and efficient. While rudeness is a matter of opinion what American’s often mistake for rudeness in the Dutch is just honesty.



A Dutch Cultural guide for doing Business with Americans


Three years ago I decided to do an experiment to test my hypothesis. I started a Facebook account (oh the shame) and spent my first year acting like an American. I posted cute, funny and inane posts of my pets, my meals and Family Circus level “witticisms”. I gave everybody LIKES and responded with mild interest and approval to all.


Within the first year I had amased 329 Friends, 212 of whom were American and 65 of whom were Dutch.


image courtesy of Arnold Overhaart

image courtesy of Arnold Goodhaart


The second year I went “Dutch”. For the sake of clarity, I am an Atheist, a Social Democrat and hostile towards Conservatism, Religion, Racism and the Political Correctness “trends”. My posts became centered around political and social commentary and I became very stingy with my LIKES. When people were in the wrong (in my opinion) I told them this in the most clear and concise of tones.


At the end of the second year my friend list had dropped 139 of whom 72 were now Dutch (an increase).


My conclusion: Americans prefer false friendliness while the Dutch respect brutal honesty. American’s may indeed have very thin skin but the Dutch have smaller hearts.