Dutch Australian Differences

When your life has been divided between living in The Netherlands and living in Australia, it  seems natural to notice the cultural and general differences between the two countries.  Some are interesting, some insightful and some just plain funny! A few differences are obvious, others more subtle.  Many are common to any observer but there are also those based on purely personal perceptions.

So I’ve decided to start  a list of DUTCH AUSTRALIAN DIFFERENCES….in no particular order.

  1. Bread: when we lived in Australia, my Dutch husband complained regularly about not being able to get “decent” bread (apart from places like Dutchy’s Bakehouse on the Sunshine Coast!)
  2. Bikes: Of course stereotypical, but there are bikes everywhere!
  3. Language one of the most obvious, with the official language in Australia being English and Nederlands in The Netherlands…most Dutch people speak English but only very few Australians speak Dutch!  (which would be different if the Dutch settled when they first discovered “New Holland”)
  4. School uniforms: children often wear these in Australia but not in NL
  5. School lunchtimes: It’s common for parents to pick up their children for lunch on school days.  You can arrange for them to stay at school, but this costs money! 
  6. Pillows: The European sized pillow is larger and hard to get a smaller one
  7. Top sheets: It’s common to buy sheet sets in Australia with a fitted bottom sheet and a top sheet.  In the Netherlands it’s pretty much a fitted bottom sheet and then the quilt cover, I’ve been searching for 2 months and not yet found a flat top sheet.
  8. Queen bed: this sized mattress is available but, it seems very common to instead buy two single mattresses and place them together.  Apparently one of the main reasons is that it’s easier to get two single mattresses up and down narrow stairs.
  9. Philladelphia Cream Cheese: I cannot find this anywhere in NL to make my Toblerone cheesecake!  There is actually the Philadelphia brand but it’s a softer spread, not the more solid cream cheese suitable for cheesecakes.
  10. Economy: Australia is a resources based economy while the NL is service based
  11. University prices a university education is heavily government subsidised in NL
  12. Driving on the left side of the road in Australia and right side in NL
  13. Drivers licences are much more difficult and expensive to obtain in NL
  14. Landscape: Though it varies widely, I’d describe the Australian landscape more wild and natural whereas the Dutch landscape is flat and organised
  15. Architecture

Shortly I will also write blog posts on some of these and you’ll be able to click through. Feel free to contribute your own observations via the contact form or comment below.

I guess, I should also write about DUTCH AUSTRALIAN SIMILARITIES soon too, can you think of any between the two countries?

10 thoughts on “Dutch Australian Differences

  1. Agree with you on most points (I’m a Dutchie living in Australia), but I find it very strange that you can’t find a flat sheet anywhere… I don’t know anyone back in Holland who doesn’t use one. Have you tried IKEA? Otherwise a shop like Blokker might have them. They might not sell them in sets with the fitted sheet but they definitely have them somewhere.

    1. Thanks Esther, been to both IKEA and Blokker! Maybe I’m looking in the wrong place. I just got my shipment from Australia and had some in there so I’m set for a bit and have kind of gotten used to the quilt being the “top sheet” though…and it is slightly easier to make the bed in the morning!

  2. Great list, so true. My husband is dutch and we are living in Australia, he is very particular about his ‘fritjes’ (hope that is how you spell it, Dutch is rather rusty these days) and mayonnaise and yes he complained for some time about the bread here as well. In relation to a dutch license can you not drive on an international one for the time being? And my sister-in-law can not find top sheets either in Holland so I sent her some from Oz.

    1. Hi Briony, I am not an expert on dutch spelling (yet!) but know what you mean. I think I can drive on my aussie licence for 6 months but am not 100% sure and either way I need to learn all the road rules etc here, it’s much more difficult to drive here I think. I am putting top sheets on today for the first time since we got here (that I had in our shipment) and look forward to a better night’s sleep tonight I hope! Renee

  3. Hmm… About the Philly, just before I left (which is almost 2 years ago, so could’ve changed) Philladelphia voor taart came out, which was not available at every supermarket, but was very good for the cheesecake!!
    And have you tried Hema, Zeeman and Wibra for the sheets, and asked for old-fashioned lakens? Probably that’s the only thing that comes close to flat sheets, that the sales persons will know as well 🙂

    1. Thanks for the tips Nicole! I’ve still been on a search for both these things and no luck yet…but I’m coming back to Australia shortly for my brother’s wedding and plan on bringing some sheets back….don’t think the Philly would survive the trip though! I have some friends who have said they are quite happy to eat my trial cheesecakes even if they don’t work out. Appreciate you taking the time to comment.

  4. How have you gone finding cream cheese Renee? I use the Mon Chou brand from the AH for cooking with (and making cake icing) and it’s about as good as blocks of philly. Quite pricey though.

    And what’s this toblerone cheesecake recipe?

    What other goodies did you bring back from Oz?

    1. I’ve just ordered some Mon Chou in my AH delivery arriving tomorrow!! Yes, 99 cents a block which I thought was ok – until I realised it was just a tiny block! I didn’t bring much back from Oz as my suitcase was overflowing (funnily enough mostly with winter clothes which I bought in the sales in Brisbane!). I did squeeze in some turkish delight Tim Tams though and a bottle of Bundy Rum Red for an Aussie friend here. We’ll have to get together sometime before my timtams are finished, I’ll try and save you one! What do you bring back when you go to Oz?

  5. Loved reading these differences. Sure missed the foods when I first came to Australia (and still get disappointed often when I try Aussie vanilla slices or chips…just when I really feel like the ‘real’ patatje met). Thought of one more difference which is humor. But Even within Holland there are differences. I am from Groningen originally and notice that a lot of Aussies do not get my sense of humor.

    What I was wondering is: was it easy for you to move to Holland? Or did the English heritage help. The reason I would like to know is that we would like to move back to Holland. But migration laws in Holland are different than Australias laws. It was easy for me to migrate but there are many rules to follow before my husband can call Holland home, and it does not matter if you have a young family.

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