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I think I have a Dutch last name

Dutch roots

Maybe you recognize yourself in Johanna Dijkstal, a gal from Minnesota. But her Dutch runs deep.

What does it mean to you?

How Dutch do you feel? And what does it mean? Although there’s no such thing as Dutch DNA, there are some specific features, however, there are some specific features, characteristics, and traits that the Dutch have.

And so might you.

Dutch heritage

My last name is Vandenberghe. Or Janssen.

Did your relatives ever tell you where your name originates from?

Is it the Dutch countryside? Some village in a province other than North Holland?

What kind of heritage does your family tree bring you?

Is there such thing as 'typically Dutch'?

That's so Dutch.

Phrases with the word 'Dutch' in it. Double Dutch, going Dutch, and the list goes on. Not so much with, let's say, our southern Belgium neighbors. As a Dutchie, living in Dutchland and abroad, there are definitely some specific aspects that you can almost characterize as typically Dutch.

Direct (and opinionated)

Dutch people are known for being direct, very direct.

Sending a Whatsapp message to a Dutch friend? Maybe because you need something?

Feel free to be direct. No need for lengthy introductions and pleasantries.

You can get straight to the point.

What do you think? Will your Dutch friend help you?

That’s up to your friend. But you’ll clearly know. Typically, you'll either get a 'yes' or 'no'. Clarity.

Same thing when asking for their opinion. Does that make them opinionated?


Six o'clock is six o'clock. Five minutes late? Send a message. Twenty minutes early? Not appreciated. And don't come unannounced. Don't be surprised if your host says that they’re not expecting you, and it's better if you come some other time [and be ready to make an appointment].

Better use your calendar in the Netherlands...


Aaargh, that sounds bad. Going Dutch? Stingy? Call it what you want. The Dutch generally don't spend what they don't have. Credit cards are used more to buy plane tickets, and not so much as ‘credit’.

Tipping is not common. Why?

The Dutch expect that the person who is serving them has a decent wage.

Buying something expensive? Dutchies will probably try to figure out if you have the means to buy it, if it was a smart purchase, and spend a day trying to find the article cheaper elsewhere – just to annoy you.

Oh yeah, and we love to split the bill. Or do you want to pay?

If it ain't Dutch... ain't much. You might’ve heard that phrase. So proud. Maybe because Holland is a tiny country, the Dutch boast about the things that come from it. Heineken, Philips, Shell.

Or when something is cool & hip like VanMoof, LightYear and SuitSupply. It's Dutch!

And you'll hear it often: 'Did you know this brand is Dutch'?

How Dutch am I?

So this might be in your blood. And even when you're the opposite of punctual, greedy or are as indirect as can be, knowing some background about your relatives and family history can enrich your personal life. Maybe some things from your childhood start making more sense. Or your conversation with auntie Margriet will come to life

Connect to your roots. Speak the language of your family. Pass your knowledge on to the next generation. Dutch it up!

Master Dutch offers private online Dutch lessons, designed to let you understand Dutch fast. Discover how Dutch works.


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