Dutch Etiquette

The Etiquette of the country you are planning to visit is a good thing to know or at least to be a little bit acquainted with. It will help you avoid uncomfortable situations in the foreign country and moreover will lead to a mutual understanding. 

Here are some points for you to get acquainted with the Dutch etiquette and their way of life.  

The Dutch are independent, modest and tolerant people. They are extremely proud of their rich history and cultural heritage. They value hard work, education and ambitions.

When getting acquainted it is common to kiss each other on the cheek. Men usually shake hands both at social and business meetings. So shake hands and introduce yourself even if there is no one else to introduce you. When greeting someone from the distance don’t shout – it is impolite - simply wave. When speaking to somebody an eye contact is very important. 

The Dutch are very punctual, so if you are running late always find a way to explain the reason otherwise it can ruin both business and social relationships. All the business negotiations proceed pretty fast as the Dutch prefer to get to business right away. All the presentations made at the business meeting are supposed to be informative and practical. The Dutch are usually eager to experiment only with minimal risk so they prove to be tough negotiators. They usually continue discussing the subject till all parties agree. As soon as everything is decided, the implementations are fast. But never promise anything you are not going to do, because commitments here are taken seriously. 

The Dutch usually dress casual and conservative. Suits and ties are required only for business meetings. When it comes to behavior in public they are very similar to other Europeans. The Dutch however are known for being straightforward and it can be very often taken as rudeness but in fact it is a sign of trust and honesty. 

When at the table, keep your hands on the table and your elbows off the table. Use a knife and a fork to eat even fruit, pizza and sandwiches. To show that you are finished put your knife and a fork crossed on your plate. Don’t leave the table during dinner, it is considered rude. In the restaurant the bill is usually split. 

When being invited to somebody’s home bring a small present for children and hostess. Candies or flowers are always appreciated.  The gifts are not usually expected during business meetings, the only exception is friendly relations. Don’t buy very expensive presents, because such gestures will be interprete as a bad taste. Art objects, books and wine are the best presents.