Why The Dutch Don’t Like Americans, And How It Isn’t That Bad

I have been thinking about this one for a while. There is somewhat of an anti-American sentiment in The Netherlands. It’s not Iran-bad, but Americans are viewed as ignorant, self-centered, arrogant and overly proud of a country that is, viewed from European standards, run poorly on social standards. Politically, I agree with some of those (especially the last one). Best example?

I’ll be the first to agree that Amsterdam isn’t the most holy place in The Netherlands. The thing I hate most about Amsterdam are the American tourists though. Also, saying Dutch statistics are different from American ones is the least sensible way of tackling the numbers presented. But just as Amsterdam is in no way a reflection of The Netherlands (let alone the Dutch), Bill ‘statistics’ O’Reilly is nowhere near the average person I would have a conversation with. Screaming idiots are not necessarily American.

A Dutch screaming idiot. National pride on tv.

Personally, I feel there is no difference between Americans and Dutch people. For one thing, the amount of annoying, shouting, old men on television that make one feel ashamed of ones country are to be found all over the world. Most of the conversations I have had with people about politics, American culture or Europe are far from the stereotypes reflected in the sentiment. As someone who is interested in people and culture, meeting open-minded people is a joy that is easier to accomplish in the States (being a stranger will help). People pointing fingers, being descending towards others and seeing their own ways or culture as superior are equally divided among both sides of the ocean (not in numbers, but in percentages, mr. O’Reilly). It’s the old story that keeps getting back at you: keeping prejudices alive is based on a lack of knowledge (add final O’Reilly joke here) and a narrow view.

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10 thoughts on “Why The Dutch Don’t Like Americans, And How It Isn’t That Bad

  1. Your post reminds of our trips to China and observing what made Americans different from the Chinese. What the Chinese noticed was how fat most Americans were and our noses – they called us ‘big noses’.
    My name is Wim which i was given by my mother at the suggestion of her grandmother (we called her Omoe) who was Dutch. She and my great-grandfather (we called him Opie) were from Boskoop. They came to the US right before WW1. We suspect he was a draft dodger.
    And speaking of big noses – my Dutch grandfather and his father had HUGE noses – legendary. It must have been a recessive gene though because no one has every matched them.
    Your blog looks interesting.

    • It’s so funny to hear from people that have Dutch ancestors. You’re more than welcome to my blog. Boskoop actually isn’t that far from where I live, so I know that. Your name sounds very Dutch, I have a few of Wims in my family as well. Again, feel welcome and I’m glad you think it looks interesting here.

  2. You know, only recently have I started to really pay attention to stereotypes about Americans and how true they really can be… If you don’t want to look past them. There definitely ARE self-absorbed, fat, idiotic people in this country, but I think you’d be hard pressed to make the argument that you’ll *only* find them here!

    • They can absolutely be true, I think stereotypes all have some truth, it’s the effort it takes to look behind them that can make the difference. Both ways, that is. And yes, those people are everywhere. Also, I think sticking to the believe those stereotypes are true for whole countries would make one self-absorbed and idiotic himself.

  3. Good point about prejudices! But sometimes it’s also a matter of luck – sometimes people only come across other people that are the living proof of a stereotype. And after that become absolutely sure that Nation A is all “like that” πŸ™‚

  4. Thank you for this post! I am so glad that visitors are able to look past the surface to see that we’re not like television! As somebody who has visited Europe and has lived in Berlin as an exchange student, I have to admit that I am often ashamed of the way many Americans behave abroad. When I was in Amsterdam, I saw many tourists behave as if it were some sort of hedonistic Disneyworld. Nothing was real, the locals were cast members, and everything was a ride for their enjoyment. Ugh. These people need to imagine how they would feel if somebody came to their home town and acted like that.

  5. What really ticks me off about the Dutch, and of course I am part Dutch on my mother’s side of the family is due to the fact they introduced slavery into the American colonies. And because of this the United State went through a 4 year period of a civil war between the states which cost this nation dearly. The Dutch have never apologized for bringing slavery onto our American shoreline.

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