Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tell it Like it is - The Dutch on Online News Forums

According to recent research by Trouw (a newspaper in the Netherlands), the Dutch react with no holds barred on news forums. As far as the Dutch are concerned, the rule for news forums is... there are no rules. Politicians and foreigners beware. Swearing, abuse, threats; all part of the norm for Dutch with an online opinion.

The French tend to be very philosophical, proficient at putting arguments forward and refer to ideologies of the 'Great Thinkers', such as Karl Marx en Alexis de Tocqueville. More often than not, Germans begin their feedback with 'Dear Sir/Madam', and Belgians keep it polite (although right wing sentiments, just as in the Netherlands are common in the news forums). The British are adept at using humour in their reactions and generally mind their language, even on the tabloid sites.

In short, the British, Germans, Belgians and French rarely swear, use offensive or threatening language on the news forums. The Dutch, however, are a different breed altogether. So much so that the newspapers ran with the headlines of ''Online schelden typisch Nederlands''. Swearing and abusing politicians and allochtonen (foreigners) online is just something that the Dutch do. They react strongly and very bluntly to news stories and issues, compared to their European neighbours.

For any expatriate living here this will most probably not come as a surprise. The Dutch say what they mean and are as a nation, blunt. Living here is not for the meek or the sensitive!

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