Dutch curtains are always open

Whenever I ride my bike or travel by bus, I notice there’s something unique about Dutch houses. You can always see right into them! Dutch people’s curtains are hardly ever drawn, whether it is day or night, whether it’s the middle of a warm summer or a freezing winter.
Illustration: Henk van Ruitenbeek

For me this is an unusual sight. In my own country or the other countries that I have visited, people are most likely to protect their privacy by drawing the curtains. They don’t want outsiders to see their activities inside the house. 

But here in the Netherlands, it’s a bit different. The Dutch just leave their large windows unshielded, allowing passers-by to view their living quarters as if to show they have nothing to hide inside. As their living room is totally exposed, we can observe their activities. We might see them watching TV, reading books, cooking meals or even playing board games. Yeah, sometimes I do feel strange taking a peek into Dutch houses every time I pass by. But I do love to see the Dutch interiors. They are mostly well-arranged: chairs, tables, lighting, wall decoration, fridge and cabinets – everything is in the right place. It feels satisfying to see their presentable interiors as they’re always clean and tidy.

Afrizal Maarif Imron, MSc Student of Landscape Architecture and Planning, from Indonesia.

Do you have a nice anecdote about your experience going Dutch? Send it in! Describ an encounter with Dutch culture in detail and comment on it briefly. 300 words max. Send it to resource@wur.nl and earn twenty-five euros and Dutch candy.

NL: Open huis

In vrijwel geen enkel ander land te zien dan in Nederland: huizen waar je altijd naar binnen kunt kijken, of het dag of nacht is, zomer of winter, de gordijnen zijn open. Alsof wij niets te verbergen hebben. Afrizal kijkt zijn ogen uit: niet alleen van verbazing over dit verschijnsel, maar ook omdat hij de Nederlandse interieurs prettig vindt om te zien. Lekker schoon en opgeruimd.

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