Your Guide To Dating in the Netherlands as a Foreigner

Your guide to dating in the netherlands as a foreigner titlecard

Are you a foreigner who is interested in dating in the Netherlands? If so, you might want to read this guide to learn more about the Dutch dating culture, etiquette, and expectations.

Dating in the Netherlands can be a fun and rewarding experience if you know what to expect and how to behave. By reading this guide, you will be able to understand the mindset and behavior of Dutch people better and increase your chances of finding your perfect match in the Netherlands.

Dutch Dating Culture: Explained

A couple kissing while leaning on their bicycles

Dutch dating culture is different from other nations in many ways, and it can shape how romantic relationships develop and evolve in the Netherlands. In this section, we will explain the customs, stages, and etiquette of dating in the Netherlands and how they differ from other nations.

Dutch Dating Customs

Dutch woman holding flowers

Dutch people, including Dutchmen, approach dating with a practical mindset. They avoid the elaborate, commercialized courtship seen in other places.

In a Dutch date, genuine connection matters more than extravagant gestures. A bouquet suffices if you wish to gift something. While Dutch people value romance, it’s expressed modestly compared to Western norms.

They eschew playing games and opt for authenticity, even in serious relationships. During a first date, Dutch individuals display their down-to-earth nature, steering clear of the dramatic dating norms prevalent in other countries.

Additionally, unlike in places like the US and the UK, where typically, the man is expected to make the first move, in the Netherlands, women are encouraged to go for it if they like someone.

Dating Stages for Dutch Women and Men

A couple out on a date in a restaurant

Dating in the Netherlands does not have a fixed timeline or a predefined order of events. Dutch individuals follow their instincts and feelings, and they let things happen naturally and organically, especially if it’s for a serious relationship. However, there are some general stages that most Dutch individuals go through when dating someone:

  1. The first stage is meeting someone online or offline. This is where you exchange contact information, chat online, or arrange a date. You can go to a fancy restaurant for dinner when dating the Dutch singles.
  2. The second stage is going on a first date. This is where you get to know each other better, have a conversation, and see if there is chemistry. The Dutch also value their careers, businesses, and relationships with friends or family, so don’t be surprised if they focus on that in the first few days or weeks of seeing you.
  3. The third stage is going on more dates. This is where you explore your compatibility, interests, values, and goals. You might also introduce each other to your friends or hobbies.
  4. The fourth stage is becoming exclusive. This is where you decide to be in a monogamous relationship with each other. You might also delete your dating apps or profiles.
  5. The fifth stage is becoming official. This is where you label your relationship as boyfriend/girlfriend or partner/partner. You might also introduce each other to your family or move in together.

Of course, not all Dutch women and men follow these stages in order. Some skip stages or switch between them. Some may define or expect distinct stages differently. Communicating honestly and respecting your partner’s thoughts is crucial.

Dutch Culture Regarding Dating Etiquette

Man and woman smiling while posing for a selfie

Dating etiquette in the Netherlands is different from other countries in many ways. Here are some of the dos and don’ts of dating etiquette in the Netherlands:

  • Do be honest and direct. Don’t play games or hide your feelings. A Dutch person usually avoids wasting time like some people in other cultures.
  • Do split the bill or take turns paying for the date. Don’t expect your date to pay for everything or nothing, especially during your first date.
  • Do invite your date to your home or accept their invitation to theirs. Don’t be surprised if they do or don’t want to have sex with you.
  • Dating Dutch men and women requires honesty and expression. Try not to impress them with expensive clothes or presents. Make small chat and be easygoing. Answering personal questions instead of bragging is refreshing.
  • Invite them out again or tell them you like them. Please don’t assume a Dutch person knows what you want or wait for them to act. Many Dutch people are honest and straightforward.

These are some of the etiquette rules that can help you date successfully in the Netherlands.

Of course, not all Dutch people follow these rules exactly or in the same way. Some might have different preferences or styles of dating. Be respectful and understanding of your date, and enjoy the experience.

Online Dating in the Netherlands

Person tapping the heart icon on a mobile dating app

Online dating in the Netherlands is a popular and convenient way to meet people and find potential partners. Contrary to popular belief, many Dutch people are not only using dating apps for casual hookups but also for severe and romantic relationships.

According to the NL Times, nearly 50% of Dutch aged 18 to 34 have an online dating profile. The most recent data shows that by the first half of 2019, Tinder, Badoo, and Happn were the most popular online dating sites in Holland.


A screenshot of a man's profile on the Tinder app

Tinder, a popular dating app, is widely used in the Netherlands despite traditional beliefs. About 63% of all singles in the Netherlands use this dating app. Despite popular assumption, the Dutch prefer technology for dating due to their gender equality beliefs. The software lets them connect over personal inquiries and mutual hobbies, representing Dutch openness.

Advantages of Using Tinder:

  • Wide User Base: Tinder boasts a vast user pool, increasing your chances of finding potential matches.
  • Efficiency: It’s a quick and convenient way to connect with people based on mutual interests and preferences.
  • Exploration: Tinder allows you to interact with individuals you might not have crossed paths with in your everyday life.

Disadvantages of Using Tinder:

  • Superficiality: Initial judgments are often based on appearances, potentially overshadowing meaningful connections.
  • Misrepresentation: Some users might present inaccurate information or misleading images.
  • Short Attention Span: The constant influx of profiles can lead to short-lived interactions, making it harder to establish lasting connections.


A screenshot of Badoo's website

Many Dutch individuals use this dating app to connect and explore potential connections. The diverse user base breaks away from stereotypes, showing that dating preferences extend beyond what might be seen on the surface.

Badoo lets men and women meet outside established standards. The Netherlands, known for its progressive views on registered partnerships and high heels for men, challenges dating norms and embraces transnational communication.

Advantages of Badoo:

  • Global Diversity: Connect with people worldwide, filtered to your preferences.
  • Enhanced Communication: Video chat for deeper connections.
  • Instant Interaction: Nearby online users for quick chats.
  • Verified Profiles: Reduced fake accounts and scammers.

Disadvantages of Badoo:

  • Casual Focus: Primarily caters to casual dating, not long-term relationships.
  • Deceptive Users: Possibility of encountering dishonest intentions.
  • Technical Glitches: Performance issues affecting messaging and browsing.
  • Outdated Design: Unappealing layout with intrusive ads.


Three screenshots of a preview of the Happn dating app, inclusing a person's profile and chat conversation

Happn has become a favored choice among many Dutch women and men in the Netherlands. This app’s unique approach, based on real-life encounters, resonates with those who prefer a more direct and romantic point of connection.

It connects digital dating and real-world encounters, letting users meet possible dates. Happn adds serendipity to Dutch dating, where perspectives on dating differ. Chance encounters can lead to significant relationships.

Advantages of Using Happn:

  • Real-Life Connections: Happn leverages real-world encounters, fostering a sense of uncertainty and a potential for more meaningful connections.
  • Less Superficial: Matching is based on shared physical proximity, emphasizing shared locations and interests over just appearances.
  • Encourages In-Person Interaction: The app encourages users to connect in person if they’ve crossed paths, facilitating genuine interactions.

Disadvantages of Using Happn:

  • Limited Pool: The app’s effectiveness relies on users being nearby, potentially limiting options in less densely populated areas.
  • Privacy Concerns: Some users might be uncomfortable with the app revealing their locations and movements.
  • Missed Connections: Relying on chance encounters might mean missed opportunities if users don’t frequently cross paths with potential matches.

Which Is The Best App for The Dutch Dating Culture?

Determining the ideal dating app for the Dutch dating culture hinges on factors like app UI, user base, and features. Badoo stands out due to its versatile platform and diverse users, accommodating various preferences. Happn capitalizes on real-life encounters, aligning well with the Dutch preference for straightforward interactions.

Meanwhile, Tinder’s popularity owes to its user-friendly interface and extensive reach. However, preferences vary; some prefer the no-nonsense approach, while others seek deeper connections beyond small talk.

Ultimately, the best app for the Dutch dating scene depends on individual inclinations, combining elements of tradition and modernity.

Final Thoughts About Dating In The Netherlands

Dating in the Netherlands can be a fun and rewarding experience if you know what to expect and how to behave. By reading this guide, you have learned more about the Dutch dating culture, etiquette, and expectations.

If you want to learn more about dating in the Netherlands or if you want to support our blog, please click on the links in the article. They will take you to more resources and information to help you with your dating adventures in the Netherlands.

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