The Dutch are mad into their clubs; be it sports clubs, wine tasting, book or theatre clubs so these are always a good way to meet people. Just remember to do something that you actually enjoy doing!
2. The Dutch are reserved
You may find them friendly to a point but then feel like you have been ‘shut out’. Getting to know someone can take quite some time, just accept this and don’t start beating yourself up if you’ve been here for X months and still haven’t made many friends.
3. Business & Pleasure
In general the Dutch don’t tend to mix the two so if you’re used to spending Monday mornings catching up on weekend gossip or regularly going for after work drinks you may be in for a shock. This is not to say that it never happens. If you do get on well with work colleagues there is nothing stopping you from inviting them to dinner to your place or going for a drink after work…..just remember to plan…. see point 5.
4. Use your kids!
If you’ve got children this can be a great way of meeting other parents, either via the school or after school activities. This has the double advantage of having someone to call on when you’re stuck in traffc and can’t make a a pickup.
5. Learn to plan
The Dutch like to plan, plan and then plan some more. Whilst there are definitely those who are up for spontaneity there are many who aren’t. Don’t be offended if upon suggesting doing something, an agenda is whipped out followed by the declaration that the next available ‘slot’ is in 3 weeks time. This doesn’t mean they don’t want to meet you. If the agenda is to hand they probably do want to meet up, just bite the bullet and ‘schedule’ in whatever it is you are planning to do.
6. Invite your neighbours in
It’s always handy to be on good terms with the neighbours and you never know when one can turn into a friend. Invite them in for coffee or drinks. Remember point 5!
7. Look up local expat clubs
There are plenty of expat clubs and organisations in the Netherlands. Living abroad can be challenging at times and having other expats to talk to can a great way of releasing stress and having some fun.
8. Learn some Dutch
You’ll be amazed at how much more of the culture and its people you will understand through speaking the language and it also opens the door to many more opportunities for meeting people.
9. Dutch Directness
The Dutch are direct. They value honesty and the truth (even if it can be a little painful if you are on the receiving end!). If someone tells you they don’t like your new couch or the colour of your jumper don’t take it personally, it's not a sign that they don't like you. Similarly if you ask a favour and they say “no” it’s not a sign that they don’t like you, or don’t want to be friends, or that you can’t ask a favour in the future. No just means no, that’s all.
10. Don’t be too hard on yourself
Making friends takes time in any country. Try to relax about it, do things you like doing and hang out with people who make you feel good. If something doesn’t work try something else. There are almost 17 million people in the Netherlands. I am quite sure that there are a few who would like very much to be friends with you!