Meeting the Dutch
By describing 'the' Dutch in one paragraph, I am inevitably doing a lot of Dutch people wrong. For more elaborate and sophisticated articles on Dutch culture, I refer to the links on Dutch culture and society.
Judging by what is written about them in tourist guides and websites, the Dutch are generally perceived as rather outgoing, spontaneous, and straightforward. The Dutch are famous for having (and airing) an opinion on just about everything and they are proud of it. You generally do not have to worry about what people think of you because your will probably be informed about it before you even aksed the question.
The Dutch may not be very patriotic, but events like Queens Day or international football tournaments trigger a strong sense of orangeness (after the royal House of Orange) in the entire nation.
Dutch people are usually interested in making a conversation with tourists and they love to display their language skills, something they take a lot of pride in (whether justified or not). You may actually find it difficult to get a Dutch person to speak Dutch to you. If you want to practice your Dutch, you have to be persistent.
When you live in the Netherlands, you probably want to meet new friends, which goes beyond having a casual chat in the bakery around the corner. While you will not have a hard time looking for a stranger to talk to, it usually takes some time before you are invited to someone's home. If you do not study or work in the Netherlands, you have to find an alternative place to meet people on a regular basis, be it a pub, park, the local gym. Just remember that it takes time to make new friends, everywhere.
When making your first steps into Dutch society, you may find it helpful to get in touch with fellow countrymen who have been precisely where you are now. One of the richest resources for expats in Holland is expatica.com. Also check the expat groups listed on culture and society links. Some groups only meet on the internet but others get together in real life too.
Clubs and communities
Become a member of the gym, enroll in a pottery course or join the local philatelistic society. If you do not have a paid job, get engaged in vrijwilligerswerk (volunteer work). This is not only an opportunity to meet new friends, it will also improve your chances on a paid job. Vrijwilligerswerk.nl has a large vacancy database for volunteer jobs. Organizations such as het Rode Kruis (Red Cross) are always looking for volunteers for a variety of jobs, from cooking in a home to public relations for the national organization. If you like working with animals, visit the volunteer vacancy site of the Dierenbescherming (animal protection), where they are desperately looking for all kinds of volunteers, e.g. for the animals ambulance, animal refugees, or pensions.
Meeting people on the internet
If you do not feel like leaving your home, there is always the internet. Not exactly the same as going for a drink or a romantic candlelight atmosphere, but it may eventually get you there.
There are many dating sites where you can meet Dutch people or even people from other ethnic groups in Holland as advertized by etnodating.nl. When you sign up (usually for free), you can search for people that match the criteria you are looking for.
Other main dating Dutch sites include dating.nl, datecom.nl and iwannadate.nl.