The nation with nothing to hide

When I moved to Tilburg, my uncle told me the Dutch are so boring they don’t even bother to cover their living room windows with curtains. Turned out he wasn’t joking.

Whether it’s an old couple’s home or the rowing association’s party house, one thing is for certain: when the night falls, all ground floor living room windows reveal the lives of their tenants like giant, glowing fish tanks.

Yes, it’s clearly a thing. And no, I haven’t seen anything like this anywhere else.

‘The Dutch family life uncovered’ show leaves me feeling uneasy, and I have developed a number of theories to explain the phenomenon. According to some critics, the Dutch are known to be cheap. The living room windows are sizeable, and thick curtains would probably cost a fortune – that’s already been spent on the 42” HD tv screen. It would also take a full 30 minutes’ effort to hang the heavy curtains up.

Maybe this tiny country is full of exhibitionists. They put on their chillest sweatpants, swirl their hair in an intentionally messy bun and enjoy the admiration of the passers-by. A beer-belly, hairy winter legs and piles of laundry laying on the floor – let it all show! Forget about the glorious but distorted Instagram life and replace it with the every night Dutch reality. For free, naturally.

Most likely the natives here just enjoy the openness of social interaction. If a neighbour needs to borrow some eggs for baking, they will spot you snoozing on the couch with the light on and know they can ring your doorbell. Furthermore, who knows what’s going on behind closed curtains? A Breaking Bad style lab? It must be better to show the world everything – the frozen pizza dinners, watching football with Willem II scarves on, the kids running around right before bedtime.

Or the Dutch are just a very jealous and competitive bunch. Mark next door has a bigger subwoofer? Splurge on the biggest one on the market and place it on the living room windowsill! I refuse to believe in this explanation.

In fact, all these scenarios are paranoid. Dear Dutchies, please put an end to this and enlighten me. Why do you want to share your Netflix and chill sessions with the outside world? Why? In the meantime, I’ll keep going on evening strolls just to spot the cats peeking out from the lit ground floor windows.

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