The Navier–Stokes equations are commonly used to model and to simulate flow phenomena. We introduce the basic equations and discuss the standard methods for the spatial and temporal discretization. We analyse the semi-discrete equations – a semi-explicit nonlinear DAE – in terms of the strangeness index and quantify the numerical difficulties in the fully discrete schemes, that are induced by the strangeness of the system. By analyzing the Kronecker index of the difference-algebraic equations, that represent commonly and successfully used time stepping schemes for the Navier–Stokes equations, we show that those time-integration schemes factually remove the strangeness. The theoretical considerations are backed and illustrated by numerical examples.