For sure I like loads of Dutch people, and I never let my observations and experience of living in their society carry over to the 'individual'. I approach all with a fresh look, a new embrace. So what do I like about the Dutch.
Well for one I like the fact that it is a less chauvinistic country than many, I love meeting strong liberal and independent women who have broken free from the chains of men. In Ireland women have a power that is derived from the importance of motherhood in the family group. But here it extends further, they can be something for themselves, not just as mothers.
I love the fact that gay couples walk hand-in-hand in the streets with a certain confidence and knowing. I like the fact that the police play it by the book, it doesn't get personal, it's just about rules and fines. You broke 'em, you pay 'em.
I like the fact that things work well, I don't mean their bureaucratically driven systems wrapped in excessive intellectualization (que dictionary: An unconscious means of protecting oneself from the emotional stress and anxiety associated with confronting painful personal fears or problems by excessive reasoning). I mean things like their doors and windows in new buildings, little wonders of well thought engineering that bring a smile to the face.
I like the birthday party thing, the behavior at such parties merits a 5 year thesis in psychology. But the idea that people gather every year to celebrate the birthday of every family member or close friend is remarkable. A brief time allotted in the agenda for the celebration of the individual.
I like the fact that the Dutch place importance and relevance on things other than their work. I like the fact they don't stick to rigid guidelines and norms of dress code at social events, even if they look like shit - which they do especially when they follow the guidelines! I like the fact that they often immerse themselves in foreign cultures and languages if only to escape their grey world. I like the fact that they are responsible and reliable. Pragmatically looking for solutions to improve their sodden plot. Those are some of the things I do like about the 'not so nice' Dutch.