Tuesday, February 14, 2012

86% of Dutch Folk Not Impressed With Valentine's Day

There was an article this morning in the local Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that states "Currently only 15% of the Dutch population participates in St. Valentine's Day."  Why am I not surprised?  In the U.S. and England the day of love has been celebrated for several hundred years, while in Holland it only made its entrance in the 1950's.  Eighty-five percent of people from the Lowlands say they show enough love to their partners throughout the year and need no special day to remind them.  Yeah, right, okay.

I predict that the percentage of Dutch people actually doing something for their sweetheart on Valentine's Day will never go above 25% even 150 years from now when the influx cycle of influence from the US has reached its max.  Why?  The Dutch are the first ones to call themselves koude kikkers or "cold frogs," claiming they don't need to be romantic like the French or the Italians.  Although most Dutch have a hard candy coating with a soft chocolate center, getting to that center can be pretty tricky as most don't wear their heart on their sleeve (part of this knowledge comes from personal experience having been married to a Dutchie for twenty years now.)

Of the very small percentage of people who actually "celebrate" Valentine's Day in The Netherlands, here is the breakdown of the sort of gifts they give:

38% take their loved one to the movies or out to dinner
24% give a bouquet of flowers (SUPER cheap in Holland keeping in line with the Dutch frugality)
18% give chocolate
6% give a bottle of perfume

Another interesting statistic: more than 58% of the Dutch public is turned off (scared off?) by a secret admirer while 17% wouldn't mind having one.  This too, matches up with the Dutch level of love sobriety in society.  One of the most quoted phrases in The Netherlands is doe je normaal dan doe je al gek genoeg which means "if one just acts normal then they are already being crazy enough." Therefore, why does one need to do something special on a particular "love day" to prove something their partner already knows?

Quite rational, quite down-to-earth, VERY Dutch!


  1. I don't believe it. In the 13 years since I've been here I've watched it become a bigger deal every year.

    1. It's mostly commercial - the stores see Valentine's Day as an opportunity to boost their sales, but apparently most Dutch people aren't buying it:


  2. I have friends here in the U.S. who are saying the same thing. "It's a commercial holidays, etc. Still, I will celebrate and encourage others to as well!

  3. Interesting Dutch proverb of sorts.

  4. It's settled. Going to the Netherlands.

    Thanks for the neat post :)