Do's and don'ts about the Dutch culture!

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The Dutch Culture

Are you interested in working in the Netherlands or Belgium? Read more about the do's and don'ts about the Dutch (working) culture in this article.

Culture: Do's!

  • When working or talking with a Dutch person, try to respect their personal space. Many value their privacy very much and tend to get irritated when their space is invaded, especially by someone they don't know that well
  • The Dutch love their humor! So feel free to crack a joke when in the appropriate setting and everyone's feeling comfortable with it
  • People in the Netherlands often love to partake in deeper conversations, so try to converse about these deep topics as we enjoy these quite a lot!
  • Keep a structured agenda, the Dutch experience missing appointments as annoying and often unreliable. You can be 10 minutes late due to traffic problems but is not taken for granted
  • Give your suggestions too, most decisions are made based on consensus and therefore everyone's opinion is involved in the decisionmaking
  • It is usual to provide a tip in Dutch restaurants, often only when the meal and the service provided is to one's liking. The usual tipping percentage is around 5-10% on the total price

Culture: Don'ts!

  • Try not to come across as arrogant, as Dutch people don't appreciate it and often will dislike you for it. Saying things that can be considered pretentious or boastful could give the impression that you see yourself as someone superior
  • The Dutch are known for their tolerance towards ethnic minorities or alternative lifestyles, so avoid showing intolerance to these minorities as it will likely lead to disapproval from the Dutch people.
  • Don't visit Dutch people unannounced as they like to plan things ahead and know what they're up to. This counts for friends as well as work relations
  • The Dutch are open-minded and tolerant but don't try to push your own cultural customs on them, as this can make them uncomfortable and lead to resistance and limits. Although the Dutch are known for being quite open, they do have their boundaries.
  • Try to speak as much Dutch as possible, this is appreciated and they don't mind if you make mistakes or combine Dutch with English.
Do's and don'ts about the Dutch culture!
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