The Netherlands is known for many things, from its beautiful tulip fields to its rich cultural heritage. But one thing that often surprises visitors and expats is just how dog-friendly the country is. From its outdoor cafes to its many parks, the Netherlands seems to welcome dogs with open arms. But why is this the case? What makes the Netherlands so dog-friendly, and why are there no stray dogs in the country?
For starters, the Dutch have a long history of living with dogs. Historically, dogs were used for hunting, herding and guarding property, and many Dutch families had at least one dog as a working companion. Over time, dogs became beloved family pets, and the Dutch developed a deep appreciation for their loyalty and companionship. Today, around one in three Dutch households owns a dog, making it one of the most dog-friendly countries in Europe. One reason why the Netherlands is so dog-friendly is its urban design. Many Dutch cities and towns are built around a network of pedestrian and bike-friendly paths and lanes, which make it easy for dog owners to take their pets on walks and runs. There are also plenty of public parks, gardens and forests throughout the country, which provide ample space for dogs to run and play.
Another factor that makes the Netherlands dog-friendly is the attitude of its people. The Dutch are generally very laid-back and tolerant, and this extends to their attitude towards dogs. Most people in the Netherlands are happy to see dogs out and about, and many are quick to strike up a conversation with their owners. Dog owners are also expected to take responsibility for their pets, including picking up after them and ensuring that they are well-behaved in public spaces. It’s important for dog owners to familiarize themselves with the laws and regulations to ensure that they are in compliance.
In addition to the urban design and cultural attitudes, there are also some laws and regulations that help make the Netherlands a great place for dogs. For example, dogs are allowed on most public transportation, with their own dog ticket, as long as they are on a leash and well-behaved. Many cafes and restaurants allow dogs on their outdoor patios, and there are even dog-friendly beaches in some parts of the country. Additionally, many businesses in the Netherlands even have water bowls or dog treats available for their canine customers, or even a dog menu with different types of food. This makes it easy for dog owners to take their pets with them when they are out and about.
Still, finding suitable housing in the Netherlands with a dog can be challenging, especially if you are looking to rent an apartment or house in a city or densely populated area. Many apartments and houses in the Netherlands have strict pet policies or do not allow pets at all. Even if you are able to find a pet-friendly apartment or house, there may be additional costs associated with having a dog. Some landlords may require an additional pet deposit or monthly fee to cover potential damage or cleaning costs. Despite these challenges, it is still possible to find suitable housing in the Netherlands with a dog. It’s important to start your search early or consider working with a rental agency that specializes in pet-friendly housing or looking for housing outside of the city center where there may be more options available.
Another interesting thing to note about the Netherlands dog culture is that it has virtually no stray dogs. This is largely due to the country’s strict laws and regulations around dog ownership. In the Netherlands, all dogs are required to be microchipped, registered with the government, and have a license. Some municipalities even charge a dog tax. Dog owners are also required to keep their pets on a leash or under control at all times, except in designated areas. If a dog is found wandering alone, animal control officials will scan the dog’s microchip to identify its owner, and may issue fines or other penalties if the owner is found to be in violation of the law.
Overall, there are many reasons why the Netherlands is such a dog-friendly country. Whether it’s the urban design, cultural attitudes, or laws and regulations, everything seems to come together to make life easier and more enjoyable for both dogs and their owners. So, if you’re thinking about bringing your furry friend to the Netherlands, rest assured that your pup will be welcomed with open arms.
Written by Tracey Martin