Signs You Grew Up in a Dutch Family

Every family has its own culture. Some families take their genetic origins more seriously than others.

(*Cough cough*… insert hand-raising emoji here!)

After growing up in a Dutch family, marrying into an obviously Dutch family (hence, “Vande Vegte”), and moving from one intensely Dutch part of Iowa to another, I started realizing how equally odd and special Dutch traditions are.

If you are one of “God’s chosen people,” then you can probably relate with many of these tell-tale signs that you, indeed, grew up in a Dutch family.


Not only do you attend the Tulip Festival or Tulip Time Celebration every year, but you argue with anyone who would possibly schedule something else on the same weekend.


If you’re Dutch and by some genetic mutation are NOT tall, blonde, and blue-eyed, then others will call you out on it, as if you had the choice to rebel against this stereotypical appearance.


The only legitimate conversations you have with strangers consist of playing Dutch Bingo, which almost always end in at least one familial connection to that person.


You know darn well that there is a clear difference between baked goods from a generic bakery and those from a Dutch bakery.


Your recipe book is full of old Dutch favorites that have been passed down for countless generations.


You actually clip coupons and can’t fathom why other people wouldn’t do the same.


You either currently own a pair of wooden Dutch shoes or have a pair from your childhood carefully tucked away in a box in your attic.


To peoples’ disbelief, not only are you familiar with many Dutch words, but you know how to pronounce them correctly and sometimes laugh at people who don’t.


On the rare occasion that your family went out to eat at a restaurant, you never even considered asking for something to drink that wasn’t water unless it was your birthday. Don’t even get started with appetizers and desserts; only in a fairy tale life would your family order those.


It wasn’t a question that you had to have some type of job as a child to build up your future savings account—mowing lawns, delivering newspapers, or babysitting younger siblings, just to name a few.


You go gaga over any dessert that contains almond paste or flavoring.


Somewhere deep in an old photo album, you have a seriously embarrassing picture of yourself in full Dutch costume. That Dutch costume, by the way, is probably tucked away with those wooden shoes.


If wherever you needed to go was within biking distance, it wasn’t a question that you were expected to ride your bike there. Driving would be a “huge” waste of gas, obviously.


Either your parents or grandparents have a windmill in their yard, or at the very least, a figurine of one sitting in their home.


When people find out that you have a Dutch heritage, you inevitably get asked when (not if) you will be making a trip to the Netherlands.


A side note on the point above: You get seriously annoyed when people think that Holland and the Netherlands are the same thing.


Though you didn’t realize it at the time, your family was constantly inviting people over to your house for meals to exemplify that famous “Dutch hospitality.” (We’re having our neighbors 17 doors down over for lunch WHY, exactly?)


The majority of your wardrobe came from garage sales and secondhand stores.


Having “pigs in a blanket” for supper was way too common and ridiculously anticipated.


You’d purposely wear layers of baggy clothes with lots of pockets to every movie you went to just so you could sneak in your own candy and drinks because WHO in their right mind would pay $5 for a box of Mike & Ikes?! (If you were part of my family, you might even sneak in the occasional Six Pack and a Pound from Taco John’s.)


Searching in your refrigerator was confusing because all of your leftovers were put in ancient butter, fruit, and sour cream containers.


Last but not least, your front yard’s primary decoration was a bed full of tulips, and your parents took advantage of every opportunity to use them as backdrops for Christmas card photoshoots. After all, the most beautiful of God’s creations is the tulip.

Tulips 3Tulips 1Tulips 2


8 thoughts on “Signs You Grew Up in a Dutch Family

  1. Loved this blog. My life, just one generation later. I might add the following: “has a least one piece of delft blue pottery in your house.”


  2. You have got to read a book called “The Undutchables.” It has some great stories about Dutch lace and plastic on your lampshades. I seriously did not realize until I was quite old that everyone did not have “coffee time” at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Often tea and rusk. Check out the book for more Dutchness. I am seriously perturbed that Pella, Iowa does not have a Dutch restaurant, though.


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