The Dutch and their identity and language

The Dutch and their identity and language

Does your colleague offer unsolicited comments on your new haircut (“far too short”) or does your neighbour tell you at exactly what time you are expected for a cup of coffee (“I only have an hour at most”)? Chances are you are dealing with a Dutch person.

We all have certain ideas about the Dutch: they are direct, pragmatic, efficient and down to earth. But what do the Dutch themselves think about their country and their national identity? What are the things to which they feel attached and what binds and divides the Dutch nation? The Netherlands Institute for Social Research (Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau) researched this and published a voluminous report: Thinking of the Netherlands (SCP, 2019). The research shows that freedom is the major common denominator for many Dutch people, though how that concept is interpreted can vary. And, not surprisingly, language is the most important binding factor.

Speaking about language: we understand that you, as an international, want to be able to answer your colleague (“Dank je, ik vind het zelf wel fijn zo kort”) or your neighbour (“Ik kom ook maar even hoor!”) in an appropriate way. In that case, you might want to consider one of these online Dutch language and communications summer courses by our partner Radboud University:

Summer course Social Dutch I (July 20 – 31)

Intensive summer course Social Dutch I (August 3 – 7)

Intensive summer course Social Dutch II (August 10 – 14)

And check out the other Language & Communication Summer Schools at Radboud University’s Language Centre. Do you have questions? Do not hesitate to contact them at