Dutch Niceness

The Dutch have a bad (mostly deserved) reputation for being rude. And normally, I can entertain you with story after story of Dutch rudeness. But there is one area where the Dutch are overwhelmingly nice.


I have many firsthand accounts, since I average 2-3 bike accidents per week. The past week has been especially bad. First, I dumped my bike while doing newspaper distribution, spilling 100 copies of the paper onto the street. Then, later that week, I got hit by a car.

Bike accidents.

As far as I can recollect, the car accident was not my fault, as the car was turning left and clipped the rear wheel of my bike. Some bruised ribs and skinless knees were, fortunately, the only result.

On both occasions, random strangers have stopped, helped me collect my things, collect myself and were generally awesome. During the newspaper incident, so many kids (ok, college-aged people) helped pick up the papers, I didn’t even get a chance to pick any up myself. During the car accident, several people helped do some emergency repairs on my bike, so it was rideable. They offered to call the police, an ambulance, a friend.

No concern about whether or not I spoke Dutch. No remarks about my lack of cycling prowess. No passive aggressive comments about foreigners, bike knowledge, me generally being a klutzy or  my hair cut.

If you want to see Dutch niceness in action, just crash your bike into the nearest inanimate object.

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