The Weird Reasons Dutch Residents Don’t (Almost Never) Say “Sorry”

Holland may be a small nationbut the Dutch are known for many things: bikes and cheese, cafesand windmills being the tallest people in the world. However, there is one thing they rarely do: The Dutch don’t usually say “sorry”.

Experts like Saskia Marci, a multicultural trainer, say there’s a cultural reason behind this. “To the Dutch They are known to be directThis means that your messages are clear and accurate. While, In most countries, the communication method is indirectwhich means that to understand it, you have to think about its core values,” says Marcy.

Saskia Marci explains why the Dutch don’t apologize oftenBBC World

“The British style, for example, has a lot of courtesy, diplomacy and tact. In the Netherlands, it is more about transparency, honesty and openness, “adds the specialist.

For foreigners living or moving to the Netherlands, it takes some effort to understand this strange custom. Verena, who was born in Indonesia, says Indonesians are not straightforward at all.

“We tend to change things when we talk. Dutch people when they have something to say They say it to my face and they’re honest about it. “They go straight to the heart of the matter,” he said. for some Dutch style may sound rudealthough they realize it is a cultural issue.

The BBC They took to the streets of Amsterdam to gather opinions on this unique feature. “The kids are very good at riding their bikes. They always apologise. But others, older generations, do not. One of the interviewees on the street said they don’t say “sorry.”

The Netherlands is famous for its windmills, but not because its residents are used to saying that "I am sorry"
The Netherlands is famous for its windmills, but not because its residents are used to saying “sorry”BBC World

“If someone in a group says something unpleasant, I insist and then I understand why. It may be for something positive, or not, in which case I say something to you. ‘I’m polite in that sense,'” said an old woman.

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Of course, as with every trend, there are exceptions. Rami from Syria says he has dealt with the Dutch for three years and they say “sorry” often.

“usually, They’ll say “sorry” if they really mean it. The British, for example, say it’s more diplomatic or polite, while we say we should only apologize if we really mean it,” explained Marcy. “If I knew I was to blame, I would say I’m sorry. I can’t stand injustice.”said another Dutchman interviewed on the street.

This cultural trend has a peculiar historical and practical origin. As Marcy explains, this direct communication style is part of consensus culture. “If you look at history, we have a common enemy: water,” the expert says.

Centuries ago, the Dutch had to work together to find solutions to the various problems that water caused with rises and floods.

They were sitting around the tables and having long discussions and deliberations. It was necessary to be honest in thoughts, ideas and opinions in order to find a common solution,” says Marcy.

In the face of the common enemy, water, the need for direct communication developed in the Dutch
In the face of the common enemy, water, the need for direct communication developed in the DutchBBC World

The specialist also says, to take all opinions and ideas seriously, people had to see each other as equals. A deeply rooted factor is part of your communication style.

This Dutch frankness can cause Translation problemsespecially people from other cultures who don’t always say what’s on their mind for whatever reason, especially those who try to be polite.

When we present an idea and someone [no neerlandés] He tells us “Oh, that sounds interesting, we thought they were interested, but they could also be uninterested and they think it was a bad idea,” Marcy said.

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The challenge, then, is for the Dutch Discover the true meaning of the words. Although we speak English [o el mismo idioma]It doesn’t mean we got the real message.”

For citizens of other countries, Marcy says, it can also be hard not to be shocked by this frankness because, while it does mean honesty and clarity, Sometimes seen as rude or even arrogant.

Hit spijtme It is a phrase they use in Dutch to express a kind of The next level to the common “sorry” of other cultures and languages. “Heat Speech I find it more serious than saying “I’m sorry”. “It really comes from the heart,” said Lin, from Maastricht in the southern Netherlands.

Lynn, right, you recommend apologizing only if you really mean it
Lynn, right, you recommend apologizing only if you really mean itBBC World

“more includes: story, situation”Marcy argued. A ‘sorry’ is ‘sorry’, but say me It’s a real “sorry”. Only apologize if you really mean it. “Don’t say that if you don’t mean it,” Lin advised. Perhaps we can learn from the Dutch to use this phrase with all the care it deserves.

BBC World

Freddie Dawson

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