This isn’t so weird. But you’d never see it at home.
The translation is, approximately, “Watch out! Borrowing money costs money.” This image, or a version of it, is plastered all over our Dutch bank’s website. You’ll also see it on commercials for mortgages, cars, and checking accounts. See the little guy with the Euro ball and chain?
Things may have changed since we left Boston, but I’m pretty sure I never saw such a warning on any of those Delta Skymiles credit card offers I faithfully ripped up and threw away once or twice a month. Spending culture on the whole is different here. It’s OK, even honorable, to seek out the cheapest, from the national “Bier” brand beer to the reclame, or advertisement, prices on the half-spoiled watermelons at the market. (I got burned bad last week by a 1-euro watermelon.) And borrowing money here certainly isn’t the everyday event it is in the US. Where Nate and I used to use our Amazon.com credit cards to rack up points at grocery stores and restaurants, we now use our Dutch bank’s chip-and-pin debit card, because credit cards aren’t universally accepted. Credit cards are also (anecdotally) much harder to get. I’ve heard stories of adult Dutch citizens with good jobs needing a spouse to cosign, in order to get enough credit to buy a plane ticket.
I’m no expert, and I certainly haven’t even googled whether the Dutch are in less debt than their American counterparts. But seeing warnings like this on every car, student, or home improvement loan certainly makes one wonder.