Life is good for ‘man’s best friend‘ in the lowlands. In fact, Dutch dogs lead an extraordinarily charmed life, enjoying rights, privileges and luxuries not normally afforded to their furry friends across the Atlantic.

Not sure what I speak of? Just take a look around and you will find dutch dogs living large! Why strut the streets when you can have free access to excellent public transportation (think buses, trams, metros, etc.)? Looking to see more of the world? You’re in luck, as Dutch doggies can ride the trains for an affordable 3 euros/day! 

Dutch dogs also need never spend a lonely night at home, as they can head on over to the local pub or restaurant. Yes, believe it or not, canines are allowed to wine and dine in the vast majority of the Netherland’s restaurants, shops, bars, pubs and cafés! It is not an unusual sight to see a furry friend munching on some grub at the next table over.

If all this sounds like madness, you are not alone. Many an expat, tourist (and even a Dutchie) can be heard grumbling over the omnipresence of dogs in the lowlands (and of course, we do sympathize with those with allergies…).

A line has to be drawn somewhere, and it seems the entry rights of Dutch doggies have been denied to the lowland’s many cultural entities. Rest assured you will be able to enjoy a dazzling Van Gogh or Rembrandt without a wagging tail smacking your leg in enjoyment.

Dutch dogs have many a talent and are as skilled as their owners in the realm of bike-riding. Whether they occupy shotgun (the coveted front basket), the back seat (sweet-heart style), or  are tucked neatly in a saddle bag, these doggies can be found cruising the canals in a typical laid-back dutch style.

Who ever coined the phrase “It’s a dog’s life”, certainly had not lived a day in the life of a Dutch dog!

28 Responses

  1. Harry Alleva

    It is one of the things I love most about the Netherlands. The fact that you can take your best friend with you to a cafe, bar etc, and not made to feel like you are going to initiate 2014’s version of the black plague.

  2. Angela

    I love that the Dutch adore dogs, for I am a big dog lover and I truly feel it is great to have my little dog go with me as much as possible.
    I would like to however point out the Dutch do not seem very well educated about their canine friends. For the love of dogs I wish the humans of Dutchyland would educate themselves (loads of information on the internet for example). But not just owners the vets need to practice educating owners, it should be a responsibility of every vet here. Along with animal groups etc.
    Cleaning up after your dog poops, why? Hygiene most diseases, parasites and the likes are spread though dog faeces. Some like Parvo are deadly. Think only need to worry of your dog? People can get sick from animal waste too.
    Spay and neuter your dogs. They are happier, live longer and will not make little doggies. Do not even think of making little dogs from your big dog unless you have put years and your life to becoming a reputable breeder. Just because you can let you animal make babies does not mean you should. You are only making bad genetics and contribute to suffering of the dog, people and breed.
    Dutch government should make sure to have regulations to ensure a reputable breeder.
    Have better facilities for unwanted dogs, have these facilities educate people for free on dog ownership.
    Last but not least, I love being able to take my dog all over town. But I limit it to my own space. I do not think dogs belong on public transport for the sake of other people who have allergies for example. There is my bike, car, etc for my dog. I do not want to take her on the bus with me. Just seems a bit much to put dogs over peoples health.

    • Dutchie

      It’s not the vet’s responsibility, but the owner. Just as it isn’t the responsibility of your doctor that you raise your children properly. I often say that people should first (successfully) raise and educate dogs before they themselves may reproduce. But that isn’t the case either.

    • nlkiwinz1

      Angela, some people do not have a car and might need to take their dog to the vet, or socialize their dog to big groups of people in town for example, whixch were reasons when I used to take my dog on the bus. Most responsible people pick up after their dog, but humans are like sheep, if one lets their dog poop on the sidewalk, many more will follow easily…

    • Kiki

      Angela, thank you for your thoughtfulness! Dog owners all over the country could learn a great deal from you. Right outside my house next to some flats there’s a big open grassy space for the people who live in those buildings; all around it are signs that say “No Dogs Please!” and a doggie poop bin about 5 meters away – so naturally the majority of dog owners in the neighborhood let their dogs poop all over the nicely manicured grass where kids play and can’t be bothered to clean it up (I have frequently stopped to ensure people clean up their dogs’ mess when I see this happening). I find it absolutely disgusting that so many (not all, but MANY) dog owners seem to feel that the entire world loves their pet just as much as they do and will surely not mind if all the nice public spaces become doggy playgrounds and toilets. Dog owners also allow their dogs to roam free all over my neighborhood despite the fact that there is only one leash-free zone nearby. I’ve been jumped on by random dogs I’ve met on the street, and have often witnessed them clogging up the bike paths because their owner does not feel the need to keep them out of the way of traffic. I personally don’t care for dogs; I understand that plenty of people love them, including many of my friends, but that’s no reason that I should have to encounter other people’s pets (and their unsanitary messes) everywhere I go.

    • Marieke

      Now tell me you met every dogowner in the lowlands. Seriously, I think it’s a little too big of a statement to say that an entire country seems uneducated on canines. I get the whole ‘people should take responsibility’ thing and I absolutely agree, but you’re coming off as really pretentious. There are way worse countries to live in for a dog and if you have a problem with people taking their dogs on the tram, you should indeed ride your bike.

    • Arie

      Well your comment is filled with non-sense. Dog breeders actually contribute to poor health of many true-bred dogs because of massive inbreeding; I guess you never thought of that. Mixed dogs are healthier than the true-bred dogs that stem from mating of a father with a daughter or cousins or other closely related dogs. Pets are allowed in public transport because not everyone has a car and sometimes you need to cover distances larger than can reasonable be done by bike or by foot. If you don’t like it, don’t use public transport.

      • Tamir

        I have to agree with Arie here, dog breeders are a major part of the poor dog health problem. As for the not removing the feces: yes it is gross and should be done, however not neccesairly for the health of the dog. We vaccinate against parvo because it is deadly and you have to deworm your dog often. Even if every one would clean the feces, one trip to the forest with your dog and it could get worms. As for the spaying and neutering, we have one of the lowest problems with stray animals of the world. Little dogs are almost always given a home, we even get stray animals from shelters outside holland, which is truly dangerous for other dogs in terms of infactious diseases, so I prefer someone who takes a dutch puppy bred by normal dog owners who wanted a litter. As a last comment: most people acctually spay female dogs, sometimes after a year or 2 due to the risk of incontinence in bigger dogs. Since there is no evidence a male dog will live longer neutered, there is no reason to do this unless it has behavioral problems.
        I do, by the way, admire your love of dogs and the wish everyone with a dog should be educated about it, however the arguments you use should be right and in that order I feel obliged to point out the internet maybe full of information lots of it is actually wrong…

    • Irene

      Dutch people on The whole are very well educated on doggy things. You seem less educated then you think you are about our awareness of dog wellfare. As for puppies, we have no stray dogs here, and very good facilities for inwanted In fact we take in inwanted dogs from around The globe to give them a better life.
      I must mention most dogs here are indeed spayed or neutered. Breeding here is regulated through the pedigree foundations. They impose strict conditions which have to be followed.
      As for diseases, vets vaccinate 90% of all our dogs so they don’t carry and spread diseases such as
      You have a point about The dog poep. Slowly that is changing. Most countries have imposed laws that have made it a crime to leave the dog poep behind.

      So you know nothing about our ways with dogs, so think before you critisize us!

  3. henriqueoz

    I think that European dogs are too much quiet. You will never see a European dog making fun with others dogs and unknown people which in my opinion is sad =/ #FreeDogs!

    • Anon

      Well, then, you’ve never been to the EU, because I’ve seen plenty of dogs socializing with each other.

      • henriqueoz

        And you’ve never been outside to the EU to know what’s a real dog socialization party with alcohol, drugs and dogstitutes

  4. Pfmb

    Just wish the owners would collect the dog’s feces. Here in The Hague is almost impossible not to spot a big pile on the sidewalk.

  5. Mariska ❞

    As long as the dog-owner is smart about it and knows where to draw the line.. This is ok. I was born in the Netherlands myself an have a small dog. He is calm and doesn’t bark when I take him with me in public transportation etc. Unfortunately there are those who do not care that their monster is disturbing the entire bus/train. Or their dog is the size of a small cow and drools all over the floor. Just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean that you should. Well behaving dogs are no problem for me or most people. There are those with allergies, but if that person would ask me to sit elsewhere.. I would.

  6. Rebecca Allsop

    I love it, another great thing about the dutch x

  7. Jochem

    I was not aware that those things are not normal in other countries. Interesting.

  8. mantodistelle

    Well, you are certainly fun to read but I must say many of the things you highlight as “strange” are not to an European. There are many similarities among Europeans, more than we ourselves admit.

  9. Linda

    This is such a great post. Thank you so much for sharing, and greetings from Montreal, Canada.

  10. Kaneel

    Funny to read this about my own country. We live in Prague, and we are soooo fed up with all the dogs here. There are more dogs here than in NL, I promise you! The dogs are usually bigger than the apartments of their owners. And their rights are at the same level as the rights of dogs in NL.

  11. Laura

    Ah, I moved here from San Francisco which is MUCH more enamored of dogs than Amsterdam is, and as a non-dog-lover I was terribly relieved at the much lower rate of dogs all over public transportation and in cafes and such. But I love the more common bar cats!

  12. papamischaMischa

    I hate it! Dogs all around me. They smell bad, they shit wherever they please and most dogowners don’t care to remove the droppings form the street. So one can easily step into this dogshit. And visiting friends who own dogs means a great deal of sacrifice to me. It’s a choice between either let go of good dear friens or accept the smell and drool of their child as the often refer to their dog!

  13. Optimel

    Hmmm… I’ve never seen dogs eating at a restaurant though. And they aren’t allowed to come into our restaurant.

  14. wes

    I am just glad it rains regularly in the Netherlands – if it didn’t we would be up to our necks in dog crap – in 11 years I have never seen even one person clean up after their dog. Sometimes I think I should just take a dump on the street myself when the urge takes hold! (and it is only in the Netherlands I have seen it so bad)

  15. hminorfolk

    Where are pictures of the keeshond, Dutch barge dog, “smiling Dutchmen” a.k.a. the National Dog of Holland?

  16. Maggie

    Now this I like to hear! Am vaguely considering going back to school and perhaps doing a program in the Netherlands, but my dog is my family and I’d never leave him behind. It is encouraging to read that he can go so many places with me! Was worried about having a dog and no car, but if he can go on public transport and be tolerated… wouldn’t that be perfect.

    • Anon

      You can take your dog on the train or (most) other public transport, but dogs smell a lot when in a small space and not everyone likes them on public transport. When you’re in the Netherlands, watch where you’re walking. Dog poo is everywhere. Playgrounds, sidewalks, streets, in the gardens, in front of the church’s door…. It’s gross. And as far as I know there aren’t many places that allow you to eat inside while having your dog with you.

      Please clean up the poo you leave behind. Nobody’s waiting for a more difficult parkour while trying to get home.

  17. ingrid hammink

    Not only dogs are allowed on public transportation.
    I had a baby goat that I used to take with me on the tram. This was in the 50s.

  18. Erik NY

    As a Dutchie in New York City, I must disagree with this article. In New York, it’s now common that people take their dogs to the office. Not just my office, but many offices. It’s about work-life-balance. I’ve worked in many offices in the Netherlands. Having dogs anywhere would be unthinkable due to the super whiny and complaining nature of Dutchies. I have never seen a dog in a restaurant in the Netherlands and I used to wine and dine at least 5 times a week for many years (primarily in Amsterdam and The Hague). This article seems like some Dutch village logic to me.


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