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Customs

Dinners

If you invite Dutch people for dinner, prepare your own type of food and style as they love to try something different. They are not used to potluck dinners and buffets. They will not help themselves to drinks as it is considered rude, unless specifically invited to do so.

If you are invited, make sure you are on time. If they say 8pm, they mean 8pm. Most of the time, they will only invite you when they know you well. It is very considerate to bring a small gift like a bunch of flowers, a bottle of wine, or a box of chocolates. They won’t open the wine, but they might serve the chocolates with coffee.

Don’t offer to bring a plate of food, to help prepare the meal, or to take a doggy bag home. Wait with starting to drink wine until the host has raised his or her glass. Only start eating when your host has taken the first bite. Expect that you will be offered seconds, but only after everyone has finished their plates.

Dinners at homes are served around 6pm and will only take half an hour. The kitchens in restaurants normally close at 9pm. At a restaurant, a tip of 5-10% is appropriate if the meal was good. When two people go out for dinner, they usually split the bill (‘going Dutch’). In a larger group, everyone pays their own share. If a Dutch person pays for the meal, he will let you know when you are invited.