“Relax man” is an expression you might associate with a stereotypical Caribbean island such as Jamaica. But in Dutch schools, when it comes to being the best, the atmosphere is almost Jamaican; there is no pressure at all.
In other words, Dutch students do not have any intrinsic motivation to perform or overachieve. This doesn’t mean that they don’t study hard. It just means that there is very little – to no – pressure to be better than their fellow students, let alone to be the best. The attitude of ‘no need to be the best’ starts at home. Dutch parents raise their children with the cultural understanding that being the best and sticking out above the rest is not for them.
In this article, you can read about the how and why behind this typical Dutch – and Scandinavian – attitude.