Neighbors in the Netherlands


A well-known Dutch saying goes: a good neighbor is worth more than a far friend. A good relationship with the people around you contributes to comfortable living. Sometimes, that is easier said than done. For example; noise nuisance, litter, a dog, children and the garden can cause irritation. Cultural differences can also play a part.  

A good talk can usually remedy annoyances. Nobody really wants to have trouble with their neighbours. Taking each other into account is very important. Here are a few tips and hints to help you maintain good contact. Is it really too much for you? Then the volunteers at Buurtbemiddeling can help.  

Tips and hints:  
  1. Introduce yourself. A normal relationship between neighbours starts with a friendly acquaintance. Ring your neighbour’s doorbell and tell them who you are. 
  2. Keep it decent. Dutch people appreciate it if you keep your house and the area around it nice and tidy. 
  3. Keep it calm. Dutch people expect it to be quiet after sunset and on Sunday morning. They do not appreciate loud talking, children running around and other disturbances. 
  4. Curtains? Dutch people like to keep them open. They don’t like it when neighbours have their curtains closed during the day. You don’t like your curtains drawn? Then use net curtains.
  5. Communicate with your neighbours. Party? Tell your neighbours when it starts and finishes. Feel free to invite them. Ask them to contact you when they experience an inconvenience. 
  6. Dutch directness. Dutch people communicate in a very direct manner. When something bothers them or they dislike something, they will tell you. Whatever they say, is what they mean. Do not take this as an insult, but as a Dutch way of communicating! 
  7. Don’t make your mind up. It is very normal to approach your neighbours and tell them what is bothering you, or what you don’t understand. Don’t wait too long to tell them!   It all comes down to one concept: 
  8. The golden rule: treat other people the way you want them to treat you.   
Buurtbemiddeling / Neighbourhood mediation
Is there still a conflict with your neighbours that can’t seem to be resolved? Then consider Buurtbemiddeling. This organization helps solve arguments between neighbours. Their voluntary and objective mediators listen to the story of both neighbours. The goal is for the neighbours to work out a solution by themselves. That is much more effective than when somebody tells them what to do. Buurtmiddeling is free of charge. We do expect neighbours to cooperate in finding a solution acceptable to both parties.      

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