Flirting with Reserved Dutch Men: Tips from Women Who Actually Succeeded

Men on the street in Amsterdam. Photo by Kevin Dooley.
Men on the street in Amsterdam. Photo by Kevin Dooley.
Men on the street in Amsterdam. Photo by Kevin Dooley.

The Dutch are notorious for being tall, reserved, handsome — and lousy flirts. In Tipsy interviews and on internet rants 1 2 3 4 5 6, expat women in the Netherlands express constant frustration; they can expect more attention from a Dutch sack of bricks than its construction worker wingman.

This shouldn’t be a surprise; Dutchmen have been conditioned to hang back. Only 12 percent of Dutchwomen think it’s admirable for a man to make the first move. But the more egalitarian system of Dutch flirting does present some advantages; for example, an attractive woman can enjoy a glass of wine alone at a Dutch bar without inventing an enormous, fanged, jealous boyfriend who will be joining her shortly.

On the other hand, expat women (at least those from non-Scandinavian countries) tend to complain that they don’t feel quite as beautiful without the constant explicit attention and, more importantly, they can’t seem to figure out how to snag a local lover.

[adinserter block=”4″]

So, whether you’re looking to knock nethers in Amsterdam or ensnare a Dutchman passing through your neck of the woods, here’s Tipsy’s compilation of advice from women (expats living in the Netherlands) who have (eventually) succeeded in bagging one of these elusive prizes:

• Project strength. Dutch guys expect girls to be forward, have a lot of personality, and make their own decisions. Women in most countries are conditioned to hold back — will yourself to make the first move.

• If a Dutch guy starts explaining his job, divorce, kids, salary, living situation, etc. — this may be a sign of interest! It may seem crass, but to many Dutch this is an integral part of flirting. Sluttier or more desperate Dutch men are even known to work the room, explaining their CVs to any girl who will listen until they find one who expresses interest. Dutch men generally tend to be honest and straightforward about their life situations — they consider this part of looking for an appropriate match.

• Similarly, a guy may show he likes you by asking lots of practical questions. Where do you work? Do you want kids? Could you envision living the rest of your life in the Netherlands? Better for him to know these things before investing too much time flirting, right? This explains why a female friend-of-TP was recently asked by an apparently interested Dutchman in a bar, “So, why did your last boyfriend break up with you?”

• Strongly related to the above two points: Dutch guys have a reputation for being boring. Order a drink (or a few); as theatre critic George Jean Nathan used to say, “I drink to make other people more interesting.” Do what it takes to get fascinated with your Dutchman.

• While you’re at it, get your guy drunk. “A drunk Dutchman behaves like a normal man,” a woman in Amsterdam told me. She was Italian, so her expectation for “normal” may be slightly skewed — but it’s still good advice. If your Dutchman is sober, you’ll have to behave more like a Dutch woman to get him (be forward).

• Try to be with him at the end of the night. In Holland, being the last two people around is considered a classic signal. Should be obvious, right?

• But even then, you will probably need to spell it out for him. A source with ample experience bagging both German and Dutch guys tells me that German guys — who also wait for the woman to make the first move — are at least susceptible to flirty looks and will respond appropriately. Dutch guys need you to actually verbalize your intentions.

• When heading out for a date, take cash! The expression “Going Dutch” is true to its etymology. (Also know that foreign credit cards frequently don’t work here.)

• Don’t say “no” when you mean “maybe” or “maybe later”. Unlike their less civilized counterparts, Dutchmen generally won’t make a second attempt for your phone number, a kiss, etc.

• Chances are, the man will arrive by bike, but don’t take your bicycle when you go on a date. That way, afterward, when public transportation is closed, the man will feel obligated to give you a ride on the rack over his back wheel. Ride sidesaddle, wrap your arms around him, nuzzle him, slip a hand down his pants, and see if you can get him to lose balance.

Got more tips to share? Drop them in the comments below!

You can of course greatly improve your chances by learning Dutch. Ready to give it a try?

  • I highly recommend learning languages via communicative method guides — for Dutch my pick would definitely be Complete Dutch.
  • I also greatly prefer the convenience and efficacy of one-on-one lessons online, rather than language schools. There are hundreds of Dutch teachers on Italki and most offer a trial class for less than a cup of coffee. Try out a few different teachers, to see who you click with.

[Questo post è disponibile in italiano.]

Thanks for reading our treatises on cross-cultural boozing and boinking. On rare occasions, this site contains automatically monetized affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


  1. July 13, 2021

    Hello, Thanks for the article. I am searching for far more content material similar to this. Kindly keep changing

  2. February 9, 2021

    very helpful information, thanks for sharing

  3. Hochuuami
    November 11, 2018

    I am really confused about a Dutchman who I am dating now. I asked him how he sees us and his answer is: i dont know. We have met 5,6 times and we re new. I need time to consider. I guess he s write. But is it normal that we kissed and hold hand but not an official couple. Ans he stop initiating our conversation. I am the one who do it now. It makes me confused because we met yesterday and he said he liked the night we spent tgt and he will text me when will we met then he went silent again. I don’t understand him at all. Should I say goodbye to him and go on?

  4. Ntme
    October 9, 2017

    Hi guys after read it all experiencies now I feel better and worse being sincere. I. knew a Dutchman online and we had good vibe almost from the beginning . Am a tall and black woman and that was the main features he appreciated from me at first sight. We have chatted from a month and a half and every day we can’t avoid stay chatting whole hours, during our work hours, in my break time, even when am driving, yes silly stuff but real. I feel is stronger than me. For all that I feel inside that am falling in love with him. He is divorced with kid like me, and I like him a lot but once when I asked him what he wants with me serious or sex relation he answered**”we will see”**.
    I admit that my question was very early in the relation(maybe just a week after our first meeting)
    But I feel I love him, when we have any silly discussion we can’t stay much time without chat again. He tell me almost everyday that he feels confident with me, that I am strong in him and that he miss me when am out for work and can’t talk with me..
    Otherwise I am scare because I don’t want be hurt, I want meet him someday, but feel he is not decided yet to make first move. Maybe he wants t be sure that I am his best friend first?
    We are not very young already, he has 43 and me 37 yo. Then am very interested in him, his manners, sweet words to me every day, his Good mornings greetings and even his silly stuffs. Hope we can meet soon. He is the most respectful, kind and tall_handsome man I never knew. Good luck

    • October 10, 2017

      Hi Ntme,
      It sounds from your comment like you haven’t met him in person yet. You say, “I want meet him someday, but feel he is not decided yet to make first move. Maybe he wants to be sure that I am his best friend first?”
      As per some of the cultural elements noted above, you have every right (and could even be expected) to “make the first move” yourself and at the very least be very open and explicit about your feelings. Dutch people tend to value directness, including from women.
      Also be aware that for many Dutch people it doesn’t really “count” as a relationship or much of anything if you’re just talking online. There are too many unknowns. Will you have chemistry? Will you tolerate each other’s farts? Will the sex be any good? It’s hard to know any of these things for anyone without meeting in person.
      I hope you’ll meet your Dutch hunk eventually and best of luck! Write more here if you have more advice for the rest…

      • Ntme
        October 14, 2017

        Hello Mose
        Thank you for yr help, yes we haven’t never seen in person but still keeping contact every day. Am lil bit proud woman and he is like me. Strong personality both, maybe for that reason I m waiting he makes first step though I know this is a silly thought.
        Otherwise we are happy now and I hope meet with him next december and be sure of his intentions with our relation and me.
        Thanks a lot again for all the information we can use in the website.

  5. Sharma
    January 29, 2017

    I am dating a Dutchman online who seems very nice. He was drilling me about how I lived. After telling him three times I am retired, he finally stopped when I told him I take care of myself very well financially and wasn’t looking for someone to take care of me. I did let him know I knew where he was coming from. Now he sends me pics of his tall handsome and well built body, sends me text or call me everyday. We don’t live far apart, so hopefully he and I will meet soon.

  6. Ready in style
    January 28, 2017

    I have been chatting with a Dutch man, he seems very nice, but he send me a lot of texts and he takes a long time to reply and almost all of them are asking about me, he doesn’t share about him that much, and the text can be a little shallow, I see he tries to keep in touch since he wakes up until he goes to bed. He’s suppose to come where I live soon, but I don’t know if this behavior is part of the culture or can he be a player?

  7. Duci
    July 17, 2016

    So basically the bit take away from this article is why even bother?

    Investing interest in a Dutch woman seems like a high investment with litter return.

  8. Marija
    July 10, 2016

    Thanks for sharing your views. I from Serbia and have been dating a Dutchie for some time now. I must say that I am very pleasantly surprised considering what I have read about them in generalized texts on the Internet, but I assume that goes for every country in the world. Directness and open-mindedness are highly appreciated and he doesn’t moan when he is paying for a dinner/night out 😀 What I also find very helpful in our relationship is that he understands my love for fashion and doesnt’ mutter under his breath about it. I have also noticed that they are generally tall and handsome and not shy at all 🙂 The only thing that I find slightly challenging is the language, i.e. pronunciation 🙂

    • Rik muLeet
      July 10, 2016

      Hello Marija,

      Not all Dutch are exactly the same as the stereotypes.
      What I also find very helpful in our relationship is that he understands my love for fashion and doesnt’ mutter under his breath about it.

      In essence every guy should be happy with a lady that spends a lot of time prepping herself before going out.
      The positive side of that is that as a guy you get an hour time for your own. 🙂
      No worries about the pronunciation , will help you with that 🙂
      Cant be as hard as Serbian grammar 🙂


  9. Jack van den Hombergh
    April 23, 2016

    Hey ladies !!

    I’m a 57 year old native Dutch man.. yeah, an old guy I suppose… Still, I can give you one advice when it comes to Dutch men ; be who you are !! Don’t get gussied up… be simple. When it comes to conversation ; be straight forward and direct !! Don’t beat around the bush…. speak your mind ….we will know if you don’t and we will NOT appreciate it LOL….. I’m hopelessly in love with a Texan woman and can’t wait to be with her in a few months…. Wish you all ladies good luck !!!

    • May 29, 2016

      Thanks for the tips..can i ask can i prove to a dutch men that i truly trust him..and how can i handle a dutch men in time when we have a conversation.

      • Rik muLeet
        July 10, 2016

        Hello Hana,

        Like Jack mentioned in his post “avoid beating around the bush” Dutch tend to have a BS detector built-in to there genome. The way to prove to a Dutch bloke that you fully trust him is not to say it but to show it.
        Treat and be treated as an equal thats a very important thing within Dutch society.
        Showing trust is sending him to a swimming pool or beach packed with gourgeous ladies on his own. 🙂


  10. Alice
    January 28, 2016

    This is hogwash. Yes, they’re practical and straightforward, but they will pursue you if they like you. As an American living in The Netherlands for some time now, I am surprised by this pigeon holing of an entire nation of people. I had no intention of dating when I first moved, and was hit on in a very forward and confident manner by a dutch man that first night. And it didn’t stop there. They are just as flirtatious as any other nationality; their manner of speaking is more straightforward and practical, but they’re not dead fish when it comes to dating. If you’re not being approached, maybe there is something about you that is not approachable.

    I don’t see any difference in how they approach women than in America, to be honest; globalization, perhaps? A lot is reliant on you. Be confident–not for a guy, but for your own happiness.

    • January 29, 2016

      Thanks for sharing your experience! It’s certainly not the experience of the many foreign (mainly European) women I’ve talked to who live in the Netherlands. But, in any case, congrats … and the point about being confident is a good one anywhere.

  11. miyacamoto
    November 11, 2014

    What can I say of all cultures I met online,Dutch men are more respectful men
    They straight forward yet in a Good way.
    I have a boyfriend And his a Dutch .
    His the MoSt nice person I chat.
    And I hope in perfect Time we will meet someday, Okay going van Jou honey xxx

  12. July 15, 2014

    I have been talking (or dating) online to a wonderful Dutch man. It kind if started with just saying his and hellos until he asked me my kakaotalk and regularly talked, if not for the whole day at least 10 hours a day, consistently now for 3 months. I know almost everything about him now, we skype, too. Showed me his house, parents’ house, family, some friends and even his equally adorable, cute cat. He was supposed to visit Asia but got complacent with the visa which was not approved due to late filing. I can say that everything is quite true and the thing is you just have to find out their weakness. As for him, I am quite a motivated and empowered woman which he thought were great characteristics and we just reached an almost boyfriend-girlfriend status when we just noticed that we’ve been talking and like doing mundane things without getting bored with each other. We also have this mutual trust and the best thing is that he reassures me but at the same time telling me to not really depend on him and telling me other very blunt, straightforward things in a good approach. But since he knows that I am a bit conservative and soft-spoken, he always tries to be more gentle and subtle which sometimes tends to be overpleasing. He also likes pleasing me but still, keeps in mind that we are equally gifted and that we are ‘both’ human beings. He is also a self-confessed stingy or he says frugal. Lastly, don’t put too much make up or don’t dress too much because for them, the simpler, the better, the prettier…..or you might be called a fake. I’ll be staying with him for six months this coming October and we’ll see what happens. This is a online dating experience but I hope it helps.

    • July 30, 2014

      What a coincidence! I’ve been talking to a wonderful Dutchman online as well for the last months. We really like each other, talk all the time and we’ll meet up in October as well! He even has a cat too! Thanks for the advice of not trying too hard on the look, he hasn’t told me anything about it but I see your point and think you are right, they are very simple and real I’d say.
      I can’t wait to meet him, he’s the sweetest man I’ve met! Anyway, the best of luck for you darling I hope you can have a lovely time together.

  13. Veronica
    May 21, 2014


    They take “no” as a real no. Sounds like an egalitarian system and everyone should take a page out of it.

    I have enjoyed the company of men from Holland and more feminist countries. Grow up, people and tell people what you’re looking for.

  14. January 9, 2014

    I just got word that my job will be wanting me to move to their new office in Amsterdam in less than two years. These tips have been stashed away for future dates! I’m one of those rare American women who likes directness over subtelty, so I may be hitting the jackpot :3

  15. yunnie
    November 19, 2013

    does this apply to a married man who's in his trouble of marriage?

  16. Me
    December 3, 2012

    Well, that seems like the perfect place for men who are introverts and people who are affraid to screw it up, like me. Hopefully, if, dutchwomen are more attracted to foreigners than dutchmen, that is.

  17. April 12, 2012

    Thanks for sharing the tips! Banging isn't too much of a problem but it's the flirting and dating that are so bloody hard! Sometimes I feel like I'm in a TV prank 🙂 I will definitely try your tips though, they just might save me!

Leave a reply


Comments Policy

We read the comments; useful additions and corrections are quite welcome, and articles are frequently updated based on comments from readers. • We do our best to delete ethnocentric, xenophobic, and other useless comments. • Offended? Think we've got your culture all wrong? Nationalism (or regionalism, patriotism, whatever) is an understandable reaction; it’s also boring. Disagree with something? Tell us what you think joking, flirting, drinking, sex, dancing and other debauchery in your culture is really like. If you don't like these things, or want to pretend that your culture doesn't have a unique take on them, you're really in the wrong place. • This site, like any cultural anthropology, deals in generalizations. Of course not each and every person does blah, blah, blah... • And finally, before you go thinking this is all about you, you may want to bounce around the site a bit and learn about the ridiculous ways we screw, drink, and dance in other parts of the world.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.