Spontaneous planning in the Netherlands? Try it like a Russian

It’s about this time of the year to spend hours in book shops to buy a perfect annual agenda for the upcoming year. At least in the Netherlands, there will be a bunch of people congregating in front of freshly printed “Agenda” sections available in all colors, shapes, and sizes. The struggle is real! If you are a tech-savvy kid, then please renew your Evernote subscription or sign up at Any.do and make it your handbook for all life occasions planning from the daily routine to family birthday reminders. Believe me, all these seem to be unnecessary apps and websites would benefit your future life as an expat in the Netherlands. The success and your wellbeing for the whole upcoming year are at stake, no mistakes are allowed here.

How on Earth do you get a hang of planning and arranging things as a true Dutchie? Is it a gene that could be associated with organizing your life like a pro? Are Dutch people born with it or they develop this skill throughout the years. Let’s shed some light on this mysterious topic.


Well, you can still continue living a “YOLO” way of studying, but believe me, my Friend, you go down a slippery slope of “100500 assignment re-take”. It starts with useless attempts to finish an assignment in agony just the night before the deadline. There is a high chance to miss that important pre-condition typed in the smallest letters, cause you didn’t have enough time apart from completing an assignment. Voilà, welcome to the club of “long-tailed “students, who’d still need to submit assignments in case they wish to graduate on time and get their diploma.

How about activities planning with friends and family? Are the agenda rules applicable here? Sure, they do! How do you think, for instance, Dutch keep in mind all the necessary dates like Birthdays and anniversaries of their family members and close friends? They apply the most effective rule here – the proximity, to be more specific – the proximity to the bathroom and the toilet bowl :D Its genius, he? At the end of the day, this place has a special place in our hearts. If you ask me, men should know all these dates by heart, following the logic of the hours spent in this special place, where men tend to get lost like Alice from the Wonderland.

If you happen to have some free time during the weekdays or the weekend, don’t tempt fate and proposing your Dutch friend to join you for an extra activity you have in mind. They already have the whole upcoming month planned if not longer, so please don’t be disappointed to hear a brutally honest answer from a Dutchie: “Sorry, no time for you any time soon. Perhaps, there will be a gap if someone drops out. I’ll let you know.” God forbid reminding them about this occasion. Better plan ahead next time, you shallow ex-pat.

No pressure at all, hé? Daily planning is an essential part of any Dutchie which they tend to bring anywhere they go and whatever they do.  Life in the Netherlands is a time management course that is not identified in your curriculum, yet it is a step you can’t avoid if you wish to complete successfully the Inburgeringscursus.

Good news for spontaneous kind of people, it’s allowed to keep that crazy and wild part of you. You won’t go nuts if at least once a month you let go of all your Dutch-like adopted planning habits and pay an unexpected visit to that fellow expat friend of yours. Deep into it and leave the agenda home, let yourself be even in the Netherlands.