There are a couple of things you should think about before you choose what to wear in the Netherlands.
First of all, you don’t want to get too crazy with anything you put on. We have a popular phrase that roughly translates as: ‘just act normal, then you’re acting silly enough‘. The Dutch like to be original and trendy, but they don’t want to stand out too much.
So don’t go too wild with your colours and accessories, not even when you go out (unless it’s something like a big themed dance party where you’ve bought tickets for). It is quite normal to go to a local bar on the weekend wearing your jeans (even as a girl) with a simple top. Heels not too high, as most Dutch girls are huge, so we don’t bother that much about them.
Practical clothing in the Netherlands
The Dutch are a very practical bunch of people. Most people, when asking them what to wear in Holland will tell you: a raincoat should stop you from getting wet, a bag should carry all your crap, a sweater should keep you warm. Simple as that, right?
So, one of the most important things with Dutch clothing is that you want to be prepared for any type of weather. You will never quite know what to expect when leaving the house. Work in layers, so you can peel off or put something on. Don’t forget your umbrella, gloves and scarf, especially in fall and winter!
What to wear to work in Holland
Most work places in the Netherlands are quite casual, you can wear pretty much anything as long as it doesn’t show too much flesh, really. I worked on a couple of primary schools and there wasn’t really a dress code (except for the one rule I just mentioned, but common sense is expected).
My brother works for a bigger IT company and he can still wear jeans and a sweater to work, with the occasional suit (jacket and tie not always needed) with client meetings or networking events.
In most shops people are dressed casual and the more bigger bars and restaurants usually require the standard black pants/shoes with white shirt or company shirt.
Last, but absolutely not least, your outfit should be bike-proof. Whether you’re going to work, doing groceries, picking up your child from school or going clubbing, you’ll probably go there on your bike. Trust me.
Wear something that is fashionable ánd cyclable!
What is you most decent piece of clothing? Can you cycle in it?
This post is also available in: Dutch