Netherlands etiquettes: Dos and Don’ts – What you should know?

With the Netherlands being open to ‘tourists’ and to those coming from a safe country, you might want to pay a visit to the land of tulips! However, as with any country, before going there, it is essential that you learn about the social faux pas! You would not want to get on the bad side of locals or even your host, right? Let’s have a look at some essential Netherlands etiquettes that you must be aware of.

Greeting and meeting someone

You will surely come across someone whom you have to greet, have a conversation with or befriend during your stay. How do you introduce yourself to someone?

  • Always shake hands with the people present, men, women and even children.
  • Introduce yourself while doing so. Even if someone else already did so, repeat your name with a firm handshake and a smile.
  • First names are used only among friends and family, so wait until you are invited to do so.
  • Shake hands again when leaving.
  • Wave if someone is a distance away. Never shout a greeting!

What to do in a corporate setting?

The Netherlands has a long history of international trade and the Dutch are very popular for conducting business with among foreigners. If you are dealing with a Dutch in a corporate setting, make sure that:

  • you are always on time. Punctuality is very important for business relationships in the Netherlands. If you are running late, always inform the other party beforehand.
  • You do not waste time before getting to the point. The Dutch do not like to waste time during meetings.
  • You are always equipped with facts and evidence to back up your claims.
  • You live up to your words since commitments are taken very seriously. Thus, only make claims that you can promise to deliver.

Visiting the Dutch

Since the Dutch can be pretty personal and private people, there are a few things that you must know when visiting someone.

  • Always call or text a person before visiting. Never come unannounced.
  • It is customary to bring a gift for your host. It can be flowers, chocolate, cookies or a potted plant. Do not forget a treat for the children.
  • It is impolite to ask your host for a tour of the house.
  • Sending flowers after the meeting is also appropriate.
  • Meeting for coffee in a public space is more common.

Dining: what are the faux pas?

How to behave when you are having dinner? Let’s find out.

  • Do not begin your meal before others at the table.
  • It is polite to keep your hands above the table until you are done eating.
  • Try to finish your plate since the Dutch do not like to waste food.
  • Take only a small quantity so that you can accept a second serving.
  • Unless your host has clearly specified that he will pay for the food, offer to pay for your share of food or split the bill.
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