So, if you go into an almost-empty restaurant with one occupied table, where do you sit?
If you're American, you sit at the table farthest from the occupied table. If you are Dutch, you sit RIGHT NEXT TO IT.
WTF? Stay away!
I've asked Dutch people about this phenomenon, and they all say the same thing - it's for the gezelligheid.
I don't find it gezelling to have strange (Dutch) people listening to my conversations and bumping me with their asses whenever they move their chairs. Am I alone here? They want to sit next to you, but not make small talk. It's the omgekeerd wereld. Dutch people like closeness, but don't like chatting.
No one in Holland EVER talks to strangers in a chit-chatty way with ONE notable exception: doctors' waiting rooms. You walk in and shout "Good morning, everyone!" and take a seat.
Now, in America, this is like, the ONE time we don't want to talk to strangers. We have a privacy thing when it comes to medical visits, so don't expect us to talk there.
And keep your germs to yourself and go sit on the other side of the waiting room, while you're at it...