Drinking with the Dutch

Bottles of beer on the wall - photo: Annoesjka Brohm

“Would you like to have a drink?”
Make sure you react immediately when a Dutch person asks you this question. Never beat around the bush: if you want to have a drink, this is the only moment you can say “yes please”. Otherwise you just won’t get a drink. Even though the Dutch will get himself/herself one.

Refuse first

I have to admit, I was quite surprised when I found out about this myself. Outside the Netherlands, especially in Spain, it’s polite to refuse first:
“Would you like to have a drink?”
And then the game of insisting and insisting again begins.
In the Netherlands that insisting is considered to be quite rude: “I said ‘no’, so bugger off.”

Insist and insist

In Spain it is polite to insist. In fact, it is obligatory. Only after saying “no” for at least 3 times the other one knows you really don’t want to have another drink. Might be even after 4 times. Or 5.

Reacting immediately

My Spanish friends know they have to react immediately whenever I offer them something. Me, on the other hand, know that I have to insist whenever they refuse something. Though I often use another strategy: “I know you’re Spanish, so I know I have to insist. But let’s just skip that and tell me whether you really want to have another drink or not.”
Saves us both a lot of time. And I can’t help but think the Spanish sort of likes that. Though it’s not Spanish to admit to that, so they’ll never tell.