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Dutch life and culture

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Can you tell me the most important things about Dutch etiquette?

  • Dutch manners are frank which can be described as a no-nonsense attitude, informality combined with adherence to basic etiquette. This might be perceived as impersonal by some other cultures but is the norm of the Dutch culture. As always, manners differ between groups. Asking about basic rules will not be considered impolite
  • Shake hands with everyone present – men, women, and children – at business and social meetings. Shake hands again when leaving. Introduce yourself if no one is present to introduce you. The Dutch consider it rude when you do not identify yourself
  •  The Dutch value privacy and seldom speak to strangers. It is more likely that they will wait for you to make the first move. Do not be afraid to do so
  •  The Dutch expect eye contact while speaking with someone
  • Food does not play a major role in hospitality as it does in many other cultures. It is not considered essential for making someone feel welcome Do not expect to be served a meal unless the invitation specifically mentions a meal
  • Men should wait until all women are seated before they sit. Allow the hostess to start eating and drinking before you eat
  • The Dutch prefer fashions that are casual, unpretentious, conservative and subdued. A traditional suit and tie are required only in certain circles of business and government
  • When invited to someone’s home, bring a small gift for the hostess. Bring children a small gift or candy. Sending flowers before or after the party is also appropriate

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