Necessary Guide for Living With the Dutch

Living on a small Dutch Caribbean island (we hit 10 years of living on Bonaire in a couple of weeks) is quite an interesting experience, especially as we have a blend of two cultures here – a Caribbean influence as well as a Dutch one. For as long as I recall, Herman Wouk’s Don’t Stop the Carnival was recommended reading for anyone thinking of living here on Bonaire, but now thanks to dear Dutch friends (that’s you, Martin & Angela), we have found a new tome to help us understand the Dutch-ness of Bonaire.

The book is called The UnDutchables, and it’s a humorous dissection of Dutch culture as well as the drivers and motivators behind observable Dutch behavior.

While The UnDutchables has an obviously strong link to mother Holland and activities there, and is intended primarily for English speaking expats living in The Netherlands, I have found that many of the examples apply equally well in the Dutch Caribbean. We have Dutch friends on Bonaire, as well as on neighboring Curacao and Aruba, and boy, does this book nail some of their traits to a tee! And some of those behaviors have rubbed off on some of the Antilleans we know here too. If only we had had a copy of this book 10 years ago, we might have dealt with certain situations better!

The authors also have a web site – – to accompany the book. Ironically, the book is also available writtin in Dutch to help so-called “Cloggies” understand their fellow “Kikkerlanders”. The Dutch friends who gave us this book found much of the content to be dead-on accurate (and funny) as well, incidentally.

Highly recommended with a 9.0 out of 10.0 on The Richter Scale.

I wonder if and when a similar book, written in Dutch, about Americans, will be produced to help the Dutch understand our frailties, foibles, and motivations?


One Response to “Necessary Guide for Living With the Dutch”

  1. Jake Richter says:

    Thank you both for your comments! I’ve just ordered “I�m a Stranger Here Myself”, as well as “A Short History of Nearly Everything”. Bas – I could not find an easily obtainable version of “Notes from a Big Country”, so I may well take you up on your offer when I get back from my next set of travels.