You’re out on a first date, and despite all the anxiety you had going into it, it has gone surprisingly well. The cocktails were great, the conversation flowing, and the chemistry palpable...  but now comes the most awkward part. Paying the bill. 

Will he get it? Should I? It can be awkward enough trying to navigate this part of the date, but more so when you two come from different cultures. 

So which countries around the world tend to split the bill on the first date? Let’s go through the list.


1. The Dutch

Quite literally the inspiration behind the phrase of “Going Dutch” when paying the bill, the Dutch are known for their sense of equality amongst genders. This country was one of the first to completely close the gender pay gap, make feminine products and healthcare universally accessible, and offer equal maternity and paternity care. Needless to say, most women in the Netherlands do not want much ‘special treatment' just for being a woman.

If you want to be romantic, then planning the date is the more important part. Go for a walk… or better yet, a bike ride, or take them to a nice coffee spot. Dinners are seen more as a splurge and quite a commitment for a first date. But get her a drink or plan an experience, and she’ll be pleasantly surprised.

If not, you can always Tikkie (money transfer) it afterwards.


Verdict? Split it or send a post-date Tikkie


2. Swedes (and to a degree, all of the Nordics)

Swedes are staunchly independent people. They avoid small chat, prefer to have their space, and are known for being quite frugal when it comes to dates - BYOB is the way to go for any social event. Let’s not forget that Sweden is an expensive place to go on out for any occasion, let alone for a date. There’s nothing that Swedes hate more than being in debt. So keeping this in mind, a Swedish woman would rather pay their share than feel they owe you something - especially for an overpriced drink or dinner. 


If you’re old school and prefer to pay for the woman, offer to do so and let her know she can get the next one. This will lessen any discomfort she has about “owing you”. If you’re a woman wanting to date a Swede, take note of the little things he does for you, as he will doubtfully foot an expensive bill or dazzle you with gifts. 

Find out more in my book:


Verdict? Split it

3. Spanish

Spanish people are often regarded as the hotheads of Europe. Fiery, passionate, and loud but there is also a side to them that is far cooler and more collected than people realize. They have some of the most progressive paternity leave programs in the world and the gender pay gap has been closing in recent years. Some traditional mindsets do live on, but women are far more outspoken nowadays compared to their more submissive mothers and grandmothers.


If you are on a date with a Spanish woman - don’t be surprised if she fights you on splitting, or sends you a request on bizum (payment service) afterwards. If you’re a woman, it can vary greatly. Keep in mind, it also depends on the region of Spain you’re in, as the southern part of Spain is, of course, much more traditional.


Verdict? The man pays, split it, or bizum it later


4. Germans 

Germans. Pragmatic, logical, and progressive.  Germans have a very independent mindset. They also like to keep their life well organized, so most will watch their spending to make sure it’s not too frivolous.


On dates, it can range between the man offering to pay a bill, or both parties preferring to split the bill. Many German women would love it if the man offers to foot the bill, however, being too “macho” or domineering about it will definitely serve as a turn-off. Your best bet is to say, “Listen, I had a nice time - this one's on me, how about you get the drinks next time?”


Verdict? The man pays for the first round or split it.


5. Filipinos

 Not many people know this about the Philippines, but in comparison to many of their South East Asian counterparts, it is quite common to split the bill, no matter who you’re with. 

 Kaniya-Kaniyang Bayad (commonly referred to as KKB) means that each person pays their own part and is the standard for most, if not all, social outings in the Philippines. Of course, there is a bit of a “check dance” where people will go back and forth over who would pay, but in the end, it is usually just split between them. 

Although, specifically for dating, keep in mind that Filipinas still expect some level of chivalry. They may not expect you to pay the bill but there are other expectations such as opening the door and bringing gifts or flowers that are crucial to winning her heart.

My advice: take the gentlemanly approach regardless.


Verdict: Man should offer to pay.


6. Australians:

Much like its other English-speaking counterparts, Australia has a very back-and-forth view on who pays the bills. Some people assume the man should pay if he wants a second date, while others believe that Aussie women would rather pay than have the men expect something from them. Is it good manners for the man to pay the bill? Sure, in the traditional sense. Is it an expectation? No. Australians are far too casual for that.


Verdict: Keep it laid back and feel it out

7. Japan: 

Japanese society is one that is highly progressive, as more women are entering the workforce and becoming financially independent. It is such a thing, that certain luxury condos around Tokyo are being marketed strictly to successful women. As a result, many women choose to remain single rather than get married. 

So, it is not surprising that, unlike the older generation, the newer generation of Japanese women are not opposed to splitting the bill. It is such a popular practice that there is even a word for it: warikan. However, warikan is best done when the woman asks the man what her share of the bill is. This is the most polite way of asking if he is paying or if they are splitting it.  

Oftentimes, the splitting is not done exactly down the middle as there is a practice for men to pay two-thirds of the bill. However, if you’re a foreigner in Japan, always offer. Many women still hope the man foots the bill on the date.


Verdict: Read your date’s body language 

8. Scotland

Is it getting a little… tense in here? No. that is just what happens when the bill comes around the table while you’re on a date with a Scotsman. 

Now in the UK in general, paying the bill is always an awkward affair. With friends, everyone whips out their calculators and gets straight to doing the math. On a date, however, there is even more pressure, especially for a Scotsman. 


The traditional side of him may offer to pay entirely, but he would frankly appreciate it if you offered to split or at the very least cover the pints. Really, the pints alone can actually end up being half the bill when you’re out drinking with a Scot, so it only makes sense. 


Verdict: When in doubt, pay for the pints, or just split it.


Dating someone from another culture can be exciting, but it can also come with its share of miscommunication. Who pays the bill is just one aspect of it, but it can leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. 


Was he cheap? Was she entitled? Before you go and judge someone based on this one gesture, keep in mind, just because something may seem “normal” to you may not make it so in someone’s culture. Maybe he felt it best to split the bill, as he had assumed you’d feel better about contributing. Or maybe she had assumed you’d pay, as that is just what men in her country do.


Understanding each other’s culture and communicating expectations might not make us compatible, but it should at least help us understand the worlds we come from.

Take the guesswork out by watching a video or two at Dating Beyond Borders.