Are the Dutch proud to be Dutch?

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That is the question we asked foreigners and expats in the Netherlands. How do they see this?

This one is a feel-good video for the Dutch viewers!

The international students were very positive about the Netherlands and the Dutch people.

Foreigners living in the Netherlands, “the Dutch are really proud of their country”

Foreigners who’ve been in the Netherlands for some time can answer this pretty easily: very much so, of course, yes, definitely and super proud

Or as one student put it: “They can sing about it the whole day!”

According to the people in the video, the Dutch are glad to talk about their history of being a small country that has achieved some great things. Other things that were mentioned in the video were their important inventions and their economic situation. And also, characteristics of the people like directness and thriftiness are things Dutch people are proud of.

How can we see this in everyday life?

A lot of Dutch flags                

It’s not every day, you would see flags hanging outside people’s houses, but the Dutch are proud to show their national flag on special occasions.

For example, on King’s Day, Remembrance Day and Liberation Day.

Also for celebrations, like when you pass your exams…

What’s up with the flags and backpacks?

I heard this caused some confusion with foreigners living in the Netherlands. Around May more and more flags and backpacks appeared on the houses of people.

Foreigners didn’t have a clue. Did they miss something?

Dodenherding and Bevrijdingsdag are just two days right?

Yes. This means that someone in the household has passed their exams. Good news!

Dutch flags and sports

And I should mention sport events. Then the Dutch go crazy for their county. They are world famous for their support during the Olympics. And even more when it comes to football. During big events like the World Cup, everyone comes together in the centre of the city, and it gets really wild.

And it’s not only the red, white and blue. Orange is a colour that keeps coming up.

What’s with all that orange and the King?

It comes from Willem van Oranje (William of Orange 1533-1584), he’s also called the ‘Father of the Netherlands’.

In the sixteenth century he led the Dutch war of independence against Spain, and so laid the foundation for what later became the Netherlands. ‘Orange’ comes from the name ‘Oranje’, a region he inherited in what now is France.

National Anthem      

The Dutch are proud of their national anthem. They are proud to say that it’s the oldest anthem in the world.

But the Dutch don’t really sing it that much. And because of that, most Dutch people don’t know the lyrics after two lines.

The Dutch national anthem is called ‘Het Wilhelmus’ and is named after ‘the founding Father’ Willem van Oranje.

The question now is: is there a reason for the Dutch to be so proud?

Is there a reason for the Dutch to be proud?

The foreigners in the video think so.

Several students say that they would be proud as well if they were Dutch. They characterize the Dutch as humble individually, but proud as a country.

Is it true? Are the Dutch proud?

The Dutch are proud people

According to a research from the SCP the answer is: yes!

The survey had 5000 respondents. 41% of the 5000 respondents indicated that there is such a thing as the Dutch identity. (1)

Number one, and this might come as a surprise: Our own beautiful language!

Other aspects are:

  • Freedom
  • King’s Day
  • liberation Day
  • Sinterklaas

The Dutch are proud of their knowledge of

  • water management
  • commercial spirit
  • sporting achievements
  • royal family
  • social security

According to the SCP, the most striking thing about these results is that there were hardly any differences between Dutch people in terms of gender, age, education and origin.

So when it comes to certain things that we associate with our own nationality, we all think pretty much the same.

There are two important groups that are opposed to each other: on the one hand the group that values traditions and symbols and on the other hand a group that values civil liberties.

Dutch people who consider Sinterklaas or our flag to be important are more inclined to think in terms such as ‘Dutch identity’. This group is therefore of the opinion that the government should protect a celebration like Sinterklaas.

Others feel more attached to civil liberties, such as freedom of speech and religion and the right to demonstrate. Above all, they expect the government to guarantee these rights.

Are the Dutch proud of the King?

In recent years, support for the monarchy among young people has declined, according to surveys conducted by the research bureau Ipsos. In 2007, 70 percent of those surveyed aged between 18 and 34 were enthusiastic about the monarchy, compared to 55 percent in the years before. (2)

Young people also find the monarchy “old-fashioned”. They also criticize the succession. “When something is handed down from generation to generation, it says nothing about a person’s ability,” said one of the interviewees.

The Dutch complain a lot”

Although the foreigners noticed that the Dutch are proud, they also found that they like to complain.

Some might say that they are a bit spoiled. So they complain about things they don’t like such as the weather or the bus being a minute too late.


The Dutch like to complain, but as a foreigner be careful.

They don’t like it when an outsider criticizes their country.

Like the man says in the video, “it’s like a family”. Families can argue and squabble amongst themselves but if you attack a family then they’re united.



Bart de Pau
online Dutch teacher & founder of the Dutch Summer School & Dutch Winter School