Working with the Dutch is most often times a pleasant experience. Those hailing from the Netherlands tend to be reasonable, pleasant, and polite, and they have a history of trading across the world with many different cultures. This history has helped create a tolerant and open society where people feel free to speak their opinions and share their views. However, all cultures are at least somewhat different, and Dutch culture is no exception. That’s why we’ve put together this list tips that can help you succeed in both business interactions as well as social ones, when understanding the Dutch is your goal.
When Doing Business With The Dutch, You Should:
- Be Straightforward – The Dutch are known as a straightforward people, sometimes even to the point of being perceived as rude. Be open and honest; there is nothing that cannot be discussed in informal settings. Just be sure not to ask how much a person earns, that is considered extremely rude!
- Get Down to Business – Along with being straightforward in conversation, Dutch etiquette usually stipulates that you don’t waste a lot of time on idle chit-chat. Business meetings open with a greeting and handshake and it’s off to the races.
- Bring Presents to Social Occasions – Gift-giving is important in Holland. You gift people presents not only on their birthdays, but also for occasions such as being invited to dinner at someone’s home.
Other Tips Involving Dutch Etiquette And Social Life:
- Food – Food is of less importance in Dutch culture than it is in many others. Breakfast is skipped by many people, and most restaurants close by 9pm or so. If the way to your heart is through your stomach, a visit to Holland may disappoint you.
- Birthday Celebrations – Birthdays are much like they are in most other Western countries, with family and friends being treated to cake and treats. One difference is a person’s 50th birthday; when one turns that age one is called ‘Sarah’ or ‘Abraham’ based on sex, in reference to the biblical characters of the same name.
- Birth of a Child – The Dutch have a unique custom when a child is born. The new parents serve rusk biscuits topped with blue or pink aniseed comfits affectionately called mice. They also place a stork in their front lawn as an ornament.
For the most part, dealing with Dutch etiquette is a simple and straightforward affair. The biggest hurdle for most will be dealing with the infamous ‘Dutch Directness’ we alluded to above. If you ever find yourself offended when in conversation with a Dutch person, just remember they are not likely trying to offend you, and would likely feel terrible about it if they did. Hopefully these tips have helped you with understanding the Dutch.