Why Don’t the Dutch use Curtains?



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In the above video, recorded in the Netherlands, I ask why many Dutch people don’t use curtains. Below I’ve written a concise summary of the answers I got to my questions on the topic.

1. General Attitude Towards Open Curtains

“You don’t mind when people can look inside?” I asked the first person. The Dutch seem to have a nonchalant attitude towards leaving their curtains open. The woman answered, “No, I have nothing to hide.”

Even when wandering through the home in underwear it seemed unproblematic for some, showcasing a relaxed stance towards privacy.

2. Cultural and Social Aspects

My curiosity led me to ask, “Why do many Dutch people leave their curtains open?” The answers were diverse yet centered around the familiar theme of cultural upbringing and social openness.

Some emphasized how they’ve grown up with it, making it a normal aspect of their lives. The sentiment “We have nothing to hide” was echoed by several more people, reflecting a transparent and open Dutch culture.

Another perspective was about “gezelligheid” (coziness) and staying connected with the world. Open curtains allow them to peek into each other’s lives, maintaining a social connection like a cheerful wave to a neighbor passing by.

3. Night-time Practices

“And do you close them at night?” I queried next. Surprisingly, even during the night, some Dutch prefer to keep their curtains wide open, maintaining that transparent boundary between private and public life.

It’s dependent on the situation though. Those who mentioned keeping their curtains open at night generally didn’t have their window face a busy street. Those who do mostly tend to at least partially close their curtains.

4. Privacy Concerns

While many interviewees expressed a general indifference toward privacy with open curtains, there were nuanced perspectives that acknowledged the importance of certain boundaries.

One individual mentioned, “I’m not big on privacy. I’m ok with people seeing me,” reflecting a predominant nonchalant attitude.

However, another shared that in a more public area, there would be a tendency to “protect your privacy,” signaling a contextual approach to maintaining privacy.

Some residents partially close their curtains, establishing a compromise between open sociality and a semblance of privacy.

5. Enjoying the Outside World

Interestingly, enjoying the outer world from the comfort of their homes was another reason for keeping the curtains open. “We have many birds in our area, so it’s enjoyable to see them.”

Not wanting to limit their worldview by closing curtains and cutting off the external view seemed to resonate with many.