Stuff Dutch People Like

No. 8: Not owning curtains

Nothing to hide

Dutch people like living a curtain-less existence, thereby showing the world they have nothing to hide. Take a leisurely stroll down any Dutch street and you are sure to notice one starting similarity: a persistent lack of curtains, and hence personal privacy. I have to admit that my voyeuristic tendencies are heartily fulfilled in this town.

Curious about the neighbours decor or sense of style ? Want to know what Jaap and his family are eating for dinner? Want to know what most Dutch folks are watching on the televisie? You can find the answers to all your questions and much, much more behind Dutch people’s naked, street-level apartment windows.

What I have come to realize, during my many voyeuristic expeditions around my neighborhood, is that Dutch people seem to get as much entertainment (or perhaps even more) looking out and observing who is looking in. I begin to wonder who is the fish and on which side of the aquarium am I standing?

My favorite jaunt around my neighborhood leads me past, what I like to refer to as my Dutch Bundy family (Married with Children). On a typical evening, the whole family can be seen squeezed into their tiny living room watching some popular Dutch TV show (think Dancing with the Stars at the moment). You see Vader wearing nothing but his leopard-print underwear, Moeder and Dochter coiffed with same red-hair dye and matching neo-mulletsVriend, Zoon and Hond are all there, squished onto the other couch. How gezellig!

Now, much has been discussed about this curtain-less matter. Yes, it’s not my keen observations skills that first noticed this alarming occurrence. The common explanation is that it stems from Dutch people’s Calvinistic roots: allowing passers-by a full view of your living quarters shows that you have nothing to hide.

Let the sun shine in

BUT, my theory on the matter is slightly different. I don’t think it has anything to do with Calvinism. I think the answer (as always) is much more simplistic and can be summarized in 5 letters: L-I-G-H-T. We all know Dutch people love the sun and quite frankly, many of those ground-floor and entre-sol (basement) apartments are nothing more than a dark, somber dungeon. Without the curtains open and the light pouring in, Dutch people would essentially live like underground moles: traveling from dark apartment, to dark outside, to dark workplace, a possible stop-over at a dark brown cafe, and then back to said dark apartment. Leaving the curtains open is essentially a basic human survival technique, a meager attempt at fighting the never-ending battle on Vitamin D deficiency.

Leave a Reply

69 response to "No. 8: Not owning curtains"
  1. kp said:Posted on June 28th, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Agreed. Please consider doing another post on the lacy Dutch curtains that my Oma had.

  2. svenvantveer said:Posted on July 1st, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Why bother with curtains? They need cleaning (especially if dad in his leopard skin undies smokes), and they take all the fun away for people on the street. Besides, not having curtains is good for the consumption of energy. Why pay for illumination if you already pay taxes that the city uses to illuminate the streets.

    Curtains are for people with money to spend.

    • Trevor McCook said:Posted on December 6th, 2014 at 7:42 am

      Wow! When I lived in Nijmegen, I knew a guy called Jeroen who echoed a similar seriously flawed penny-pinching philosophy with regards to personal privacy, personal relationships (he said pretty girls are created for dumb men with money to lose) and other matters where meanness have no place. Yet he would think nothing of spending thousands of € on his travels and collecting crates of expensive bubbly on his annual pilgrimage to the famous champagne growing regions of France. Doesn’t compute, maybe all that curtain burning stuff going on and daylight worship has led to calcium poisoning, and a permanently confused state of mind?

  3. outsider82 said:Posted on August 10th, 2011 at 9:43 am

    I think you should rename this blog in “stuff dutch people in amsterdam like” (judging from the pictures you live in Amsterdam). I’ve never seen basement apartments anywhere near my hometown (who would want to live in them?!)… etc.

    • Corinne said:Posted on September 6th, 2011 at 2:48 pm

      Excellent point! I don’t think that anybody from the States or England quite understands that what we have here is a tiny country with so many different dialects, accents and cultural habits that it will make your head spin. Our Scotland is Friesland, our Cockney is Achterhoeks, our Oxford English live in Haarlem, where the spoken Dutch is pretty much without accent. We are a tiny country that holds many countries and identities.

      I once met an Australian of Dutch descent. Had not been “home” for a long time and was amazed that there were some Dutchies he could not understand! He pulled me towards him in Brabant, a somewhat peasant part of Holland, and asked me to translate for him. Oops, I no idea what they were on about! This was the Brabant dialect and it is spoken by exhaling suddenly with your vocal cords on their lowest setting… Sounds like a bad cough sometimes!

      I actually imitated it once in a shop. Just made those sounds to my Australian companion who almost wet himself, because, indeed, NONE of the visitors looked at us in surprise. They though we were speaking in dialect…. So much fun!

      I have been away from Holland for quite some time and it is funny to see how foreigners perceive our cute little habits. I do think that when you live in Holland as an ex-patriate, it takes some getting used to “us”. Then again, don’t forget to smile every now and then. Each country has their own culture and habits. And if you do not like us, well, nice meeting you and bye-bye! In most cases nobody will be forced to live there, right! And to those who are unable to leave: I pity you when you can only look at us with an eye that sees differences and annoying habits. You should enjoy your experience as a guest, go with the flow and maybe educate the odd coarse Dutch person…

      Also don’t forget that although we are by history marked as travelers and explorers, in fact, a lot of Dutch people do not leave their country, except for the annual vacation of course. To understand your own traits as a people, it requires to be away for a good while. Then you start to see it more clearly and yes, you do understand that we can be perceived as quite arrogant. Much like the syndrome of non-too-tall people: they need a big mouth to compensate for their lack in size…


      • Caroline Dennis said:Posted on October 17th, 2011 at 2:18 am

        Corinne, thank you for your wonderful, enlightening responses on this blog site! I have giggled my way through the complete SDPL site………I cannot wait to return to my country of birth next year and spend a “gezellig jaar” with the Dutch.

      • Just another Dutch living abroad said:Posted on January 23rd, 2013 at 3:33 pm

        Just one thing…. in Haarlem they DO speak with dialect…..

    • Tamar said:Posted on March 3rd, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      You have them in most older, big cities in the Netherlands, like Utrecht, Leiden… So not only Amsterdam!

      • Stella said:Posted on July 14th, 2014 at 2:03 am

        And in other countries too. I remember France and England and surely there ar more countries.

    • Stella said:Posted on July 14th, 2014 at 1:59 am

      Have seen this sousterrein-appartments in Utrecht. I guess all older towns have them.

  4. Nina said:Posted on September 8th, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Eh, Corinne, I appreciate the fact that you seem to grasp that the Netherlands (not Holland, take note) consists of several areas that differ a lot in terms of social and cultural habits. Hailing from Brabant myself, I was slightly offended by your comment that we’re a “somewhat peasant part of Holland”.

    First, and most importantly, Brabant is not, and has never been, part of Holland. It’s a common mistake and one of my pet peeves. Historically, Holland only refers to the coastal provinces of North- and South-Holland. As they were the center of economical, political and cultural power during our so-called Golden Age, Holland has somehow become synonymous with the present-day Netherlands. It could potentially offend not just the inhabitants of Brabant, but also those of Friesland, Limburg, Overijssel and the other six provinces not part of Holland to have their province refered to as being part of “Holland”.

    Secondly, Brabant might seem like a somewhat peasant part of the country, but it’s certainly far from the most rural province. It’s actually one of the most populous and most industrious provinces outside of Holland and has cities like Den Bosch, Eindhoven, Tilburg and Breda which, granted, might not be as beautiful as cities like Delft and Haarlem but still count as proper cities.

    And about the accent, I’ve talked to many foreigners living or studying in the Netherlands and most of them prefered the southern accents to the northern accents. They especially liked the softer pronounciation of the “g” (for which we often get ridiculed by our fellow countrymen).

    Lastly, please don’t take this too seriously or personally. I just happen to be a history student from Brabant who can’t help herself ranting sometimes, especially when it concerns Brabant. I always pretend to be the least patriotic person imaginable but these kind of things always prove me wrong ;)

    • Eefje said:Posted on September 21st, 2011 at 4:09 pm

      I was going to make the same point about the cities in (technically North-)Brabant, even though I am from Utrecht. There is just more rural landscape in between them than in the ‘Randstad’ (the area in mostly Holland (North and South) with major cities really close to each other). About the Holland thing, I like to explain to others why it is incorrect to refer to the entire country by that name, but I don’t get offended since so many Dutch people do it themselves. It’s just an easier word than ‘the Netherlands’. I also think it’s rather funny that people from the south, Limburg and Brabant have a tendency to refer to every other Dutch person (not from the south) as an hollander, be they from Amsterdam (correct), Utrecht (incorrect) or Groningen (most definitely incorrect). And people in Friesland do it the other way around I believe.

      Gosh we’re weird! I love us. :D

  5. Lieke said:Posted on October 2nd, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Sorry, Nina, but it seems to me that you are saying that people from Brabant, Limburg, Friesland, etc. don’t feel like Dutch people, I hate that, I (from Limburg) feel that we are all from the Netherlands and shouldn’t draw a border line around Brabant, Limburg, Friesland, etc.
    I don’t want to be mean or anything, i just feel that that isn’t really vaderland liefde.

    • Dominic Van Der Meij said:Posted on December 1st, 2011 at 10:54 pm

      I agree with you they all carry Dutch Nationality (Unless that changed since the 8 years I moved to the USA).

    • Gerwin said:Posted on December 26th, 2011 at 5:37 am

      Being a Frysian, living abroad, I’m getting used to being asked if I’m from Holland… My answer is normally: “No, I’m from Frysland”, which gets a “where’s that?”, followed by “that’s in the Netherlands”. Fine with being Dutch, but I’ll never say I’m from Holland…
      Guess its the same asking an Irishman (Northern Ireland) if he’s from Britain; now he may be British (they’re given the choice as I understand it) and live in the UK, but he is in fact from Ireland…

      • hidh said:Posted on February 27th, 2012 at 11:02 am

        Or a Scotsman who’s asked if he is English… In fact that is how I usually explain the difference between Holland and the Netherlands to British people.

  6. Lieke said:Posted on October 2nd, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    But I do want to say something to the writer of this blog, if you are not sure a “stuff dutch people like” is something all dutch people do, research it first, because this not owning curtains thing is I think mainly for Amsterdam. I think everybody in Holland owns curtains of some sort (also in Amsterdam), but in Amsterdam they keep them open apparently also at night and the rest of Holland closes them at night, hoor :P

    • Nikolas said:Posted on March 26th, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      That’s what I thought. Before now I’d never come across the “no curtains” thing. Myself and every other Dutch person I know have lace glass curtains and then heavy ones that are closed at night and opened during the day.

      • Stella said:Posted on July 14th, 2014 at 2:07 am

        I have curtains, but neighbours and others in this little town don’t and show their houses and doings.

  7. Barbara Backer-Gray said:Posted on November 8th, 2011 at 3:00 am

    Actually, I’ve lived in Amsterdam, Bilthoven, Eemnes, Bussum, Deventer and Amersfoort and the majority of people didn’t have curtains in their living room windows. And by all means keep doing the blog just the way you are. It’s hilarious and there’s always truth to generalizations, and as long as they’re not offensive (like Brabant being a peasant area) they’re fun. Maybe a post about the lack of a sense of humor when it comes to ourselves is in order!

    • Stuff Dutch People Like said:Posted on November 8th, 2011 at 6:25 pm

      Thanks Barbara! We agree – its all in the name of fun ;)

    • Tori_Adam said:Posted on March 6th, 2012 at 6:24 am

      My first time living in the Netherlands I lived in Utrecht and noticed that the majority of street level apartments/ windows in homes didn’t have curtains. When I moved to Amsterdam I noticed the same thing. However, visiting smaller towns it was always less common. It’s strange to see for a foreigner, however I found it lovely to cycle past these homes and catch a quick glimpse of a family enjoying dinner together or watching television together. Of course it was also great to get some free style/decorating tips from the neighbours and satisfied my natural nosiness and curiosity!

    • Dennis said:Posted on January 17th, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      There’s one notable exception to the no-curtain rule, and that’s the province of Limburg. Here every house has roll-down shutters at every window, and about 15-30 min before sundown, you will hear a thunderous roll as everybody on the street seem to roll their shutters down in synchrony, trying to do this for all windows of their house within one minute. So, just when outside is dark enough and people start turning on the light in their houses, they just shut you out! Can’t watch TV together with a random Dutch family anymore (without them knowing it)! After moving to Limburg from Groningen, it was quite weird to stroll on the street in the evening and only get light from the lamp posts, with all the houses reduced to dark cubes. I asked the Limburgers why the shutters, and they’ve told me it has something to do with keeping the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. I say bollocks, they have shutters because they’re bohemian catholics :)

  8. Erik Bakker said:Posted on November 15th, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Most of us actually do have curtains, blinds or whatever…
    But during the day, they’re all open. Yes, because of the light.
    Plus it saves energy ;)

  9. daan said:Posted on November 15th, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    My theory is

    sun = light
    Light = heat
    heat = free
    more sun = less bills
    dutch = stereotypicly cheap?

    • Just another Dutch living abroad said:Posted on January 23rd, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      And besides all that ( i agree) there is the biggest thing of all… It’s incredibly ‘gezellig’ to look outside during our 10 months monsoon having a hot drink on your couch looking at all the cyclist getting completely soaked!! And the other way around, being the on getting soaked, it motivates you on your bike heading for your own ‘gezellige’ home!!

  10. daan said:Posted on November 15th, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    ^And not to forget not needing to pay for curtons

    keeping the steriotype live and kicking!

  11. Tom said:Posted on November 22nd, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Actually, the picture used for this blogpost does clearly shows pulldown blinds behind all windows :P

    I’m betting when this picture would have been shot at night, those blinds would’ve been down.

  12. iemand said:Posted on November 27th, 2011 at 3:55 am

    we(my house, me, parents+little brother, in friesland) do have curtains, but for me to purpose of curtains has always been blocking light at night when sleeping, and sometimes during the day when the sun is low and shining in my eyes. curtains are something you close on the evening and open in the morning. I never considered using curtains to block peoples’ view f the inside of the house. for that purpose some houses have luxaflex, that blocks sight but still alows light trough

  13. Jaap said:Posted on November 29th, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    A “basement apartment” would be a souterrain, not an entresol (but French nonetheless)

  14. Vlakbij Maaskantje... :) said:Posted on December 1st, 2011 at 1:55 am

    Noticed it before, but you definitely need to see more of the country. Working with people from and when I’m lucky, also myself traveling, all over the world I’ve seen quite a few cultural quirks. At the same time I became more aware of our own but still you already managed to name a few I didn’t notice as so ‘strange’ as they are perceived by foreigners.

    However, as I started the post and is abundantly clear by the comments in this thread, spend some time in the country. You’ll be able to learn what I always tell my customers… Amsterdam was built for tourists… (no offence!). I just get tired of all people saying they were in the Netherlands because they visited Amsterdam. You can find the Netherlands there, but what people see is Red Zone, Sex Shops and dark gritty Coffee Shops (where we can legally buy marijuana in the Netherlands). Lot’s of pop concerts suck because of artists not being able to cope with the liberties we have… I’m ranting now…

    Secondly, as I’m proving very well myself and is mentioned all over the blog. Our nationalism and defensiveness is epic! Quite extreme forms of “nationalism” can even regularly be found between neighboring villages etc. We love “gezellige” ‘small’ (they can be hundreds of people) groups to bond with and to feel just to defend their respective turfs. “Carnaval” is one of the events (yes, I’m from below the rivers) where neighbor rivalry plays out a lot; Both in friendly and aggressive ways.

    To finalize… The Brainport region in Eindhoven and Helmond has been chosen Smartest region in the world by the Intelligent Community Forum from New York. ASML is among one of the countries which almost certainly is one of the most important in your life. If you own a device with a chip which is not produced by Nikon, Intel, Samsung or Toshiba (and most consumer products of these manufacturers also contain chips from 3rd party manufacturers) there is a near 100% probability that chip was produced on a machine made by ASML… :)

  15. Maria said:Posted on December 1st, 2011 at 7:03 am

    I think that part of the reason some Dutch people like the fact that others can look in their homes,is to show how clean and gezellig it is and how all the silver and brass is polished and Hoe Mooi the clock is! ha !

  16. Carolien said:Posted on December 1st, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    I’m a Dutchie myself, and believe me, I do own curtains :) and I use them!

    • Teddy said:Posted on December 2nd, 2013 at 4:04 am

      I’m a Dutchie too. Lived all over Holland, as I like to call it. Lived in the south of Limburg, yes, most people there have shutters. I didn’t, I had vertical blinds which I left open. Lived in Enschede, no curtains and would look inside the neighbors’ homes, almost all with their curtains open at night. Lived in Rotterdam and would watch TV inside people’s homes, while riding the Metro at night. Especially if it would be a popular program, like a Christmas show or figure-skating.
      Also lived in Zwolle, Schiedam and Vlaardingen, no curtains, just very short crocheted decorative “valletjes”, no longer than 10 inches, and ofcourse plants in the “vensterbank”, window-sill.
      Now I live in Florida and when I married my American husband, the first thing I did when I moved in was to get rid of the curtains, most Floridians keep closed to block out the sun, which is the last thing any Dutchie wants to do.
      All the years I have lived in Florida, I have never had curtains in my livingroom and kitchen. In the bedrooms I do, to keep the home from getting too hot in the summer and for privacy.
      I love the “gezelligheid”, cozyness of being able to see in peoples’ homes in the evening.
      I do think it is a form of openess, that Dutchies have.

  17. mandykuiper said:Posted on January 24th, 2012 at 7:11 am

    My husband’s family is frisian and when we visited I noticed they (at least) like to put little doo-dads and thing-a-ma-gigs in on the window sill to show to the passersby. Everyone does it. if you had curtains you wouldn’t be able to show the world your latest aquisition for your window sill. LOVE this blog btw! Found it and can’t stop reading it.

  18. Richard said:Posted on March 1st, 2012 at 10:31 am

    In Germany they say the Dutch have to pay tax on curtains.

  19. Lutek said:Posted on March 12th, 2012 at 11:36 am

    I’ve seen the odd window with curtains open in the evening, but it’s not very common at all. In the daytime, curtains are open, but surely not after sundown. And if a little space is left, it’s filled with plants and other stuff.
    I think the first thing people do when they finished painting and move into a new house, is putting up curtains.
    Still, if you people see it ‘everywhere’, I guess it must be more common than I thought.
    Nice blog btw.
    (I’m born and raised in Rotterdam)

  20. Lisa said:Posted on March 22nd, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    I see it everywhere as well, but it’s not that common for me. I still think it’s weird when I see it, and I always have to take a look. I wouldn’t like that at all, my curtains are always closed at night and I don’t even live on the streetside of my house! And I know a lot of people who close their curtains, even during the day.

  21. Lilliana said:Posted on April 25th, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    I want to bring this trend to America. I don’t like curtains, don’t understand ‘em, and don’t want to shop for ‘em.

  22. Mara said:Posted on May 9th, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I think not using curtains has more to do with the fact that most houses in the Netherlands are pretty small and in the overcrowded ‘larger’ cities there is not enough outdoor space. Many houses have no garden of any substance so in order to create at least the idea of space, leave the curtains open so vision is not restricted to the 30 square metres of the average Dutch living room.

  23. Judith said:Posted on May 11th, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    This curtain thing keeps popping in every foreigner’s blog/book/whatever about the dutch. And yet, it is really not true! Everybody I know has curtains and most of them close them at night… no shit. I still wonder how this became such a supposedly general feature of the Dutch.

  24. Steve said:Posted on August 31st, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    It really is a picture window, and Dutch people like to represent themselves with the view in the window. Key to that is filling the window with the latest trendy knickknacks on sale at the HEMA this season.

  25. Maaike said:Posted on November 10th, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    A bit of history: up until the early seventies the Dutch windows were covered well with laced net curtains called ‘vitrage’. It was often hung in the same way as oldfashioned theatre-curtains and it had a tiny opening down in the middle for a flowering pot plant.
    In the seventies the vitrage was replaced by a complete jungle of pot plants and handcrafted crochet style curtains and / or ‘macrame’ window hangers. It wasn’t until the eighties that the view got so open. Nowaydays, when you see a house, one can often guess the age of the owner by the style of its curtains.
    By the way, in Eastern / Southern parts of the country people often have roller shutters that they close in the evening. The opennes is very much a thing of the Randstad.

    • Judith said:Posted on December 22nd, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      That’s indeed true! My grandma always had the vitrage for the windows with pot plants. ˆˆ

    • cloggy said:Posted on April 29th, 2013 at 1:15 am

      I’d like to ad that before this period of time, families were much bigger sometimes consisting of up to 15 children. So mothers who had to keep an eye on them needed the lookout to see if Jantje didn’t beat Gerritjes skull in during playtime.

    • Yos said:Posted on May 21st, 2013 at 6:33 pm

      I live in Arnhem, which is in the east of the Netherlands, and I love to peek through windows at night. I don’t use curtains, and most people I know who use curtains or shutters do so sporadically, not daily.

    • Teddy said:Posted on January 31st, 2014 at 11:39 am

      I remember spending the summers with my grandparents in Enschede and in the evening we would take a stroll through the neighborhood. Probably half of the homes would have their curtains open. We would look in and if one of the neighbors would happen to be sitting close to the window, we’d wave. Some homes did have the roll down shutters. I think that is more a German influence. I did see that a lot in the South of Limburg too.
      Here in the States, I have my curtains in the livingroom and kitchen open all the time.

  26. rightie said:Posted on November 18th, 2012 at 5:28 am

    I grew up walking the dog through the neighborhood at night and a big part of the enjoyment was looking into everyone’s living room while passing by. last time I was there I noticed they all have these plastic strips glued to the windows so I guess looking in is not done anymore. i will miss it.

  27. Judith said:Posted on December 22nd, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    You seriously couldn’t be more right! I work for a couple and clean their house, the male from Scotland and the woman from Estland, they álways have the curtains and shutters closed! So when I come by I first open them all and let the bleak winter light in. I think bleak winter light is always better than electric light.

    ˜ A very Dutch student

  28. cloggy said:Posted on April 29th, 2013 at 1:07 am

    My curtains are open for me to look outside, not for you to look inside. That’s considered to be rude.
    We know we live in dollhouses, that doesn’t mean you are invited to play with it !

  29. silly said:Posted on May 12th, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    we also have curtains who we close at night.
    i do not like the look of thin curtains, and blinds make it too dark (although we have huge windows in our house).

    Its not polite to stare in to someones house so dutchies try to look at other peoples houses in stealth, most of the time when they see someone looking back they nonchalantly look another direction, acting like they were accidentally watching inside and arent curious at all, the hypocrites :) .

    People who keep staring face the punishment of bumping in to our thrusty lantern pole.

    Looking outside is often more entertaining than tv.

  30. Dutch Dynamite said:Posted on May 26th, 2013 at 3:52 am

    Especially in Amsterdam, people did not own curtains for the simple reason that people might think of you as a prostitute. As Amsterdam was the trade-centre of the world back in the day, it also meant loads of sailors coming of the boat every day looking for pleasure and so on. Prostitution wasn’t really accepted and so opening your curtains at night would show other people that you were not someone selling your body/had something to hide.

  31. BB said:Posted on June 2nd, 2013 at 6:36 am

    And that while the Germans joke we have to pay to Havermans our curtains open. I believe that the no curtain thing is something from Amsterdam the cities I frequently visit or have lived in are ruled by people who have pannelung curtains etc.

  32. Christina Kooistra said:Posted on June 25th, 2013 at 9:21 am

    We always had lace curtains in the house growing up, my mom bought them overseas when she went with my heit to visit family, I hated them, no one else has them in southern California, I didn’t like that people could see in the house. I badly wanted blinds or at least solid curtains. sighs. My mom passed in 99, we have since then sold that house and live in another, and now have blinds and curtains but I have the lace curtains packed away in a box I cant bring myself to toss them out :/.

  33. Erica Dakin said:Posted on September 12th, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    The curtains would just get in the way of the copious amount of houseplants.

  34. Kate said:Posted on September 27th, 2013 at 12:09 am

    Nah, I don’t think it’s Calvinism, nor a light issue. I think it’s like: if you keep your windows open and clean in such a way that I am able to look inside your house, then I will do the same for you. It’s like solidarity; I pay tax, so that the government has the means to pay you your welfare benefit and then you don’t become a criminal and then we’re both happy

    And I don’t think it’s about letting others know that you’re doing nothing wrong. It’s just plain fun! It’s the best way to pick up some decorating ideas or an idea on what to watch on tv next week. And it gives a sense of belonging: when you’re walking outside on certain times, you will notice than 90% of households are watching the same show (and you can see this through the window)! So much gezelligheid!

  35. LisanneBrenkman said:Posted on January 28th, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    When I first started reading a couple blogs I thought this was extremely funny and recommended it to other Americans here (being a Dutch person living in America for a year). But in some blogs, the way you write is a bit stereotypical, and a bit offensive. Yes, some things are very Dutch like the directness, Sinterklaas, food etc. but other things you can just find in the big cities like Amsterdam. You cannot describe every habit you see around you as a habit that particular to people from that country. You have to watch out that you don’t put people from another country in a perfect shaped box. Like the typical Dutch person is wearing white leggings, eats spreads and yells cancer at you. I still think most of it is hilarious, but I like the positive blogs the best.
    I (not saying ‘Dutch people’ it could never be that all of them do) know how to laugh about some Dutch habits, but keep it fun to read for Dutch people too:). Am still recommending this to others and will definetily buy the book!

  36. Eva said:Posted on February 11th, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    About those curtains, closed curtains means you have something to hide. People with closed curtains are , by offical police handout, possibly growing drugs ar participate in other criminal activities. And people with closed curtanis are not considered social, and incapable of cleaning their house. They must have something to hide. Closed curtains in the evening means you do not expect someone to visit you. You litereretly close yourself away from the rest of the world. When curtains are closed in the morning, the residents are not awake yet.
    Our “glass” curtains and leadedglass and plasticfoil uses are there to ensure some privacy.

    Curtains also hide expensive things from thieves, when on vacation. It is generally advised to have people come in your house and adjust the curtains regulary to prevent burglary.

    I have my curtains closed in the winter a lot and in the beginning my parents would open them as they visited, “to let the light in”. During winter we have no leafs on the trees and everyone will look into our house. I do not like that. At spring we open the curtains again and have trees secure our privacy. My neighbours have open curtains to keep a good view on the streets and to see who goes where and when, to gossip about later. They will also look into other people’s houses and gossip :(

  37. agathe said:Posted on May 3rd, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    I can’t open my curtains here in Amsterdam, as my curious neighbours will keep looking inside my appartment. They don’t have other entertainment except minding other people business.

  38. Ilona Toth said:Posted on May 30th, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    I think the reason why dutch people have open windows is to be able to look outside. It makes the livingplace much and much bigger. You don’t only live in your small house but you live in the whole neighbourhood!

    • Teddy said:Posted on June 15th, 2014 at 9:44 pm

      You’re right Ilona, the Dutch who like to leave their curtains open do so to see more than just their small living room (size of 12′ x 15′ is considered fairly large).

  39. circleofjoycey said:Posted on August 21st, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Hahahah again my jaws hurt from laughing!!! Never considered this as typical or even typical dutch. I only close the curtains when it fiets could and yes I want the rare sunlight to shine in. Dutch Bundy family I really pee in my panty’s. Love this website

  40. Maarten said:Posted on September 8th, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    and, no curtains is cheaper then any curtains, and sunlight is cheaper then electrical lighting.

  41. Peter said:Posted on September 10th, 2014 at 4:33 am

    Don’t peek inside the homes. My aunt always waves.

  42. Brenda said:Posted on November 20th, 2014 at 8:09 am

    I lived there before & the Dutch like most don’t have sexual hangups like Americans. They don’t usually perceive nudity as a turn on or something other than just natural but in the States, nudity is a TURN ON to many so part of it is cultural in that regard but another part would be drapes or window treatments collect dust & the Dutch prefer things in a way there is less dust collected in a home or business so not thinking in sexual terms or concerns of robbery like one would in the States, it is very normal for them to not give it a second thought about not wasting money on such items when they can instead save for a new pair of wooden shoes :)

  43. J. said:Posted on December 10th, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    The dutch often dont own curtains but when you take a look through the window while walking on the sidewalk, they give you a look that says “How dare you look inside our home?”
    Makes no sense at all.

    • ilona said:Posted on January 7th, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      Dutch children learn from an early age on that it is rude to peek through a window

  44. jonny said:Posted on January 29th, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    you have to tell them also that the curtains get closed when it gets darker

  45. Framus said:Posted on February 12th, 2015 at 11:43 am

    I cannot see that dutch people love sun and light: As soon as the first ray of sunlight can be seen on the sky, everybody lets down their shades and starts wearing sunglasses. The Dutch are the most sun allergic people I ever experinced, almost like vampires.

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