How to handle cultural gaps while doing business in The Netherlands? A guide to avoiding the traditional pitfalls
“The Dutch occupy one of the world’s most densely populated countries, and they structure life in it by means of a seemingly irrevocable commitment to a meticulously detailed but at the same time flexible system of interlocking organization.”
 William Z. Shetter,“The Netherlands in Perspective”

Being an international and entrepreneurial destination, The Netherlands embrace their very own culture. Have you decided to expand your business horizon to the country some call the Low Land? Here are a few insights on the Dutch business etiquette and what you must know to succeed.
 From day-to-day communication to cultural differences and daily life rules, here are a few insights on the cross-cultural differences you may face while doing business in The Netherlands.

Dutch are timekeeper

Time is money. Therefore extreme punctually is expected. Five to 10 minutes are tolerated but make sure to reach out to announce that you will be late. The local culture is strict on the clock, and lack of punctuality is often interpreted as a lack of reliability and can impact your business relationships. Make sure you are on time for your business appointments!

Straightforward communication

Dutch handle business communication the same way they cope with other matters: it should be practical and straight-forward. When it comes to meetings, Dutch embrace a very Nordic style: they tend to stick to the defined agenda and choose for minimal chit-chat. Same when it comes to discussing private matters in a professional context, this not appreciated in the local culture.

Clarity is everything

Dutch people are very fond of transparency. When communicating with a Dutch partner make sure that you provide all the information he or she needs to scale the project to the next stage. When asking questions, ensure they are relevant, and that they will a real added value to your work. Show effectiveness and your will to always over deliver.

Pick a low key attitude

In a general way, Dutch people embrace a low-key and moderate behaviour. Comes as a result, a pragmatic society, which is highly organised, embodying the core principals and values of pluralism. Company cultures tend to be flat, with low hierarchy standards. Same goes with the dress code, which is, within the local IT scene, casual.

How do experiences cultural differences? Do you adapt your approach to the nationality and the cultural specificities of your interlocutor? We’d love to hear your experience. Feel free to share them in the comment section below or shoot us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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