So a Dutch friend of mine just got engaged. She’s in her mid thirties and has been with the Dutch man in question for many years, so it shouldn’t really come as such a surprise. But it did. It did, because she’s been living with this guy for over 10 years, they have 2 children together (not to mention a fairly pricey downtown Amsterdam apartment), plus 3 pesky cats, so why would marriage suddenly be important now?
Simple: because they are doing things the “Dutch way“. You know that old school- yard rhyme: Sally and Ryan sitting in a tree. k-i-s-s-i-n-g. First comes love, then comes marriage…then comes baby in a baby carriage [insert rampant girlie giggles and screams]. Well, in the lowlands, the rhyme somehow got a little reversed over time. Not one, not two, but countless of my Dutch friends/colleagues have just recently gotten around to the marriage part AFTER already having the love, (the house), and the baby carriage(s).
The highly complex mathematical formula here in the lowlands appears to be: attraction + love + buying a house together + having babies = marriage. Of course, ultimately, the order of this stuff doesn’t really matter. But I dare say I was certainly shocked to see loads of these very rational, down-to-earth female Dutch friends soooo overwhelmingly excited about their romantic proposals and upcoming nuptials. I just figured since they already had some major life commitments together, the formalities of marriage just weren’t a priority. Silly me! Seeing them giddily jumping around, showing off their new glittery engagement rings was a very un-Dutch sight!
We’ve said it once and we will say it again, Dutch people like to do things differently. They certainly have their own little quirks. Take their beloved hagelslag, their birthday oddities or even their sharp-tongued “directness” as examples. So it shouldn’t come as a shock that they’ve somehow gone and reversed the age-old order of love and marriage. Is it just to spice things up? Just to buck conventional trends? Another form of Dutch practicality and pragmatism? We haven’t figured it out yet, but maybe you can!