Dutch 8 Mentality

The Dutch seem arrogant and perfectionist, and yet they don’t think of themselves truly perfect. Subconsciously, they all believe they could do better, thus never satisfied.

Last week I was watching a program (among many) of Dutch cooks, cooking for celebrities. Each cook gets a dish and needs to make it to ‘to perfection’. The irony here was that none of the contestants reached a perfect 10. They were praised for the execution of the dish, how wonderful it was and tasted. So they score them a 7… if lucky an 8. Anything great receives a 7, anything considered perfect an 8. I was just watching the program to see if anyone would get a 9 or a 10. None did.

I noticed also how students are very content with 7 and 8 also. Eights are considered a B+ in this country. So I can’t blame them. But having come from a country that does praise perfection and 10 (or A+), this seems lazy and strange. The students do their best, but they will never be Einstein, only Einstein gets a 10. Not that we should put so much pressure on the kids, I was there, I know. But at some point, the perfectionist mindset becomes that of content, lazy mindset. Not that the Dutch are lazy (regardless of the infinite number of vacation and sick days they get). But when it comes to reaching perfection, they don’t really strive for it and are content with fitting to society’s 8 standards.

At home, an 8 meant no pocket money. No praises from teachers and family. You were just another good student. Freeform expectations and allowed the liberty that comes from trust gained from adults. A 9 or a 10 secures you entry to any study you wish. An 8 would secure your entry to private universities (famous for their interest in quantity and lack of quality). A 7 meant you needed to pray and hope to get in, that there was enough space for just one more. This looks a lot like students today in the Netherlands. All I see are stressed kids trying hard to enter school, praying on luck, since a 7 is not good enough, an 8 will help you get there, but it is all they are taught to be satisfied with. Oh, the Dutch.

she writes