The Dutch sure have a mind of their own. An open and progressive mind. But still a mind of their own. The Dutch are a different kind of breed when it comes to personal relationships and work.
By touching a few subjects like birthdays, being formal or informal and ‘going Dutch’ we will help you understand the Dutch in a better way, and we’ll give you the proper tools to blend. Become the expat they always wanted to have!
The open-minded and progressive Dutch
Dutch people are known for their progressive and open-minded character. This translates into a country where man and woman are equal (emancipation) and where there is a lot of racial diversity. The first article in the law of the Netherlands even states that discrimination is not allowed and that it is illegal. The Dutch want their country to be a safe haven for any person. Don’t be afraid to be yourself! The Dutch will accept you as you are.
What’s the work environment like?
The Dutch are hard workers, but they also value their free time. Their credo has more to do with being efficient and effective than actually to work hard and long hours. It’s not for no reason that the Dutch leave at 5 if they started working at 9. But this also means that you need to be on time! Don’t come in late for work or a meeting. The Dutch value their time and are picky about this subject.
When you have to be formal or informal
The Dutch community is a mix of constant switching between being formal and informal. Most Dutch start with a formal attitude. Distance. This doesn’t mean they don’t like you; this means that they’re still evaluating the situation. They want to see if you’re a threat or not. So, don’t be afraid to contact Dutch people. Just be sure to start in a formal way of communicating before you try to start making friends. Break down those walls!
Making friends? Are you sure…?
So, you do want to try and make friends? Then be sure to prepare yourself for a long journey. Building a friendly relationship with the Dutch takes time and effort. They are very reserved when it comes to sharing personal issues and situations. Like mentioned earlier on, prepare to break down a huge wall. Sometimes these walls are at least 2 kilometers high! So, don’t expect an invite to one of their barbeques any time soon.
The Dutch are really straight forward, right
Apart from breaking down walls, you will also need to prepare yourself for the directness of the Dutch. The Dutch are not scared to voice their opinion. They will tell you if they don’t or do like something. Don’t get too scared of their opinion! It’s just an opinion, and it doesn’t mean they don’t like you. The best way to deal with this directness. Just accept it. Don’t go into a discussion; just accept it. And move on.
3 Kisses, what…?
The Dutch are used to giving each other three kisses when greeting each other. This will sometimes lead to awkward moments at birthdays if you’re a foreign person or an expat. The Dutch also don’t give real kisses. It’s more of a gesture. So go in cheek to cheek, ‘kiss’ three times and make a kissing sound. You’re good to go. Oh, and men do NOT greet each other by giving kisses. For your information.
The circular Dutch birthdays
Dutch birthdays are weird. They gather chairs and set them up in a huge circle. It’s almost like some ritual. The Dutch will then sit in the circle and will talk to their neighbor and see for how long they can maintain that particular setting. After a while, someone will bring plates with little pieces of cheese, sausages and other things to eat. These will be handed down the circle for everyone to eat, and there will always be at least one piece left. Cause that’s what the Dutch do. They do not eat that last piece of food.
Last but not least; going Dutch. The Dutch people are known for their greediness and not spending too much money. This comes to down any financial situations. Do you want to tip a waiter? Don’t go over 20% of the total amount. There is a bill after your date? Split the bill, and you will score massive points. Want to know what a person earns with their job? Do not, and I mean never, ask how much they earn. Finances are a scary thing!
You are ready!
With this information, you will have a basic understanding of the Dutch. Don’t think that you’re an expert now, by all means. Cause Dutch people do not like egos. Just be sure to take all this information into account when you start living in the Netherlands. It will at least get you a head start.
Apart from integrating like an expert, feel free to contact us if you need any help with getting your finances and contracts checked out. It can be a maze, and we would be more than willing to help you out.