Questions I Want Answers To (But Seem Too Petty or Potentially Rude To Actually Ask)
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Question 1. Why do the Dutch charge for flooring when you take over their rented flat?

To be specific, what would they do if you told them you didn’t want to pay for the flooring? Would they tear it up and take it with them?

Considering the Dutch reputation (and truth) for being stingy (they say practical), I consider this to be a real possibility. I mean, I can definitely see one of my Dutch cousins with a stack of parquet or laminate flooring in their store-room somewhere, waiting for the day they can either sell it off for a good price or wandering around Ikea looking for the same material so they can redo their living room.

Do you know what I’m talking about? Maybe not. On Dutch housing adverts, they often list the flat rent (what the space itself costs), the utility charges (can vary – usually a combination of electricity, water, gas, heating, Internet), and a list of furniture to take over. Sounds pretty standard, right? Then come a couple of items I’ve only seen on Dutch adverts:

  • “[Insert type of material] flooring to be taken over at 50€”
  • “5€ extra to share Wifi with downstairs/upstairs neighbour”

Okay, I understand the Wifi. Makes sense. Expats might not want a contract with an Internet provider since it complicates things. Plus the Dutch will do anything to save money. I have a Dutch stepdad, I know what I’m talking about. But the flooring?

The flooring situation works like this: You pay 50€ when you move in, you get 50€ from the next person when you move out. And so on and so forth. Sure, that’s logical, but why? Why didn’t the landlady or landlord just include it in the initial rent? Did the first person who moved in not have a floor? And what’s underneath this 50€ worth of material? Concrete slabs? Tears of expats trying dropjes for the first time?

Rania, the German girl whose room I’ll be taking over, has officially stated that she really wants an answer to this question before she leaves. She’s lived in the Netherlands for four years studying Psychology, and still hasn’t got an answer.

We’ve asked Jonas, our alpha roommate (who is really just the guy who’s lived in the flat the longest and is responsible for gathering all our rent and sending it as one to the landlord-lady-person, don’t really know what their gender is yet), who simply says “Well, all the flooring is really old and cheap. Except for the one in Rania’s room. I don’t remember when but apparently that’s some expensive parquet, according to the landlord”. He has already succumbed to the Dutch ways, and given up on his German roots of questioning everything.

But really, of all the questions I’ve had about the Dutch, this is the biggest one. If I say no, will they give me a better deal, or rip up the floorboards and take them (or sell them online)?

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