Dutch Culture

Family

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For many Dutch, the immediate family remains important to the individual throughout their life. The personal relationships that family members share and the support they receive from one another is highly valued. The Dutch may maintain a distinction between relatives by marriage and relatives by blood. Support and solidarity, both in financial and emotional terms, are usually directed towards the closest kin (parents, children and siblings). Nonetheless, individuals value their relatives by marriage and extended family.


The Dutch are often encouraged to be independent and self-reliant as they grow up. Young people tend to leave home at the age of 18 in order to pursue higher education or employment. However, due to housing shortages and increasing university costs, many people may continue to live with their parents until they are married.


Family Structure and Gender Roles

The nuclear family is the most common household unit. Extended family tend to live separately but close to one another. However, many different living situations and family forms are gaining acceptance in the Netherlands. It is now common to see single-person households, single-parent families and couples without children. Moreover, there is an increasing acceptance of same-sex couples with children. This demonstrates the attitude of tolerance in Dutch society towards different choices in family structure.


Within the household, it is usually the man who has the principal authority. However, gender is becoming a less important factor in determining a person's role or duty in the family. Women often have equal rights and the opportunity to choose their form of contribution to the household dynamic. Some Dutch women may work part-time to allow for flexibility in caring for their children. It is also becoming common for both parents to choose part-time employment so that the couple can take turns tending to the household and children while the other works.


Dating and Marriage

Dating practices in the Netherlands are similar to those throughout the English-speaking West. During high school, teenagers will begin to socialise in group activities with peers from school or those living in the same neighbourhood. Some couples may meet through social activities such as a sports club or church.


The Dutch choose their partners out of love; arranged marriages are not a cultural custom and are somewhat disapproved of. Engagement and wedding practices vary throughout the country. Usually, the marriage ceremony entails a civil registration. Depending on the couple's preferences, there may be a religious ceremony. LGBTQI+ couples have the same rights to marriage as their heterosexual counterparts. It is common for couples to live together for years before marriage. In some cases, they may decide not to get married and remain in a de facto relationship instead.

The Netherlands
  • Population
    17,016,967
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Languages
    Dutch (official)
  • Religions
    No Religion (46.9%)
    Catholic Christianity (26.3%)
    Protestant Christianity (16.1%)
    Other Christianity (11%)
    Islam (4.8%)
    Other (1.2%)
    [2013 est.]
  • Ethnicities
    Dutch (78.6%)
    Other European (5.8%)
    Turkish (2.4%)
    Indonesian (2.2%)
    Moroccan (2.2%)
    Surinamese (2.1%)
    Other (6.7%)
    [2014 est.]
  • Cultural Dimensions
    Power Distance 38
    Individualism 80
    Masculinity 14
    Uncertainty Avoidance 53
    Long Term Orientation 67
    Indulgence 68
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  • Australians with Dutch Ancestry
    336,549 [2016 census]
Dutch in Australia
  • Population
    70,172
    [2016 census]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in the Netherlands.
  • Average Age
    64
  • Gender
    Male (50.9%)
    Female (49.1%%)
  • Religion
    Catholic Christianity (32.7%)
    No Religion (31.1%)
    Presbyterian and Reformed Christianity (9.2%)
    Other (21.5%)
  • Ancestry
    Dutch (89.3%)
    English (1.7%)
    German (1.6%)
    Other (5.7%)
  • Language Spoken at Home
    English (63.7%)
    Dutch (33.9%)
    German (0.3%)
    Other (1.2%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 95.5% speak English fluently.
  • Diaspora
    Victoria (28.4%)
    New South Wales (24%)
    Queensland (19.7%)
    Western Australia (13.1%)
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2001 (87.2%)
    2001-2006 (4.5%)
    2007-2011 (5%)
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