By Chris Smit
Most of the work I do consists of giving 1 or 2-day workshops and giving lectures (anything between 20 minutes to 2 hours, I consider a lecture) about cultural differences. And to ‘ease’ the delegates into to the subject of culture, I start talking about stereotypes; which are, of course, an incomplete representation of reality or a society. Sometimes they are true and sometimes they’re not true. Sometimes they’re in between.
Of course, I ask about what stereotypes people hold about the Dutch as well. Here are some:
bikes, orange, marijuana (almost always immediately followed by the Red Light district in Amsterdam), cheese, and many more. And also always the word stingy or cheap (sometimes reluctantly or quietly, because they are afraid to insult me. Trust me, you can’t insult a Dutchman. We’ll insult you, though, or at least be rude to you, albeit unwillingly).
And so the word is out; the Dutch are stingy. But are they?