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The Basics of Dutch Business Etiquette

January 06, 2022
In the business world, etiquette is important. Even for the Dutch, which many regard as relaxed, free, and overly liberal people. Even they get serious they get down to business. There are certain things you simply must do in order to work well with them. And trust that you'll want to since the Netherlands is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Imagine if you'd be able to work with them! Or if you moved here for work! Sounds like a dream, doesn't it? Well, that dream can sooner turn into a nightmare if you make even the slightest faux pas! Don't worry! As long as you're aware of the Dutch business etiquette, you'll be fine!

The Basics of Dutch Business Etiquette


Seniority and Authority Aren't That Important

In other countries, seniority is above everything else. No matter what you do, you have to respect and follow your superiors. Their authoritative power is what drives the businesses and you simply have to fall in line. It's like that in Germany, it's like that in Turkey, and more. One place that deviates from this structure, however, in the Netherlands. For the Dutch, your position within the company barely matters. Respect is given, of course, but the superiority of your position doesn't hold that much weight. Everyone is equal and their opinions, ideas, and the like are just as important as the boss!


Be Punctual But Don't Be Strict About It

As far as punctuality is concerned, the Dutch are pretty lax about it too. This doesn't mean you can just arrive late to any meeting and not care about the consequences, however! It only means that being late isn't the end of the world. Of course, if you're extremely late, you might suffer some consequences too. But more often than not, it's better to arrive as early as you can. If you already know that you're going to be late, it's also better to call beforehand. Either way, the moment everyone arrives, the Dutch will get right down to business!

The Basics of Dutch Business Etiquette



Business Meetings Tend to be Informal

What's important in Dutch business meetings is agenda, not structure. An overall objective is the only thing you need to call upon and start a meeting. And no matter how you achieve it, as long as you meet it, you're good to go. This is how informal business meetings are with the Dutch. Thanks to a structure-less format, everyone gets a say on the topic at hand which, as already stated in previous points, is what's most important to them. The superior doesn't have to start the meeting and the subordinate doesn't have to wait until the former is finished.


Everyone Contributes

As already mentioned, everyone in a meeting—or in the company, for that matter!—gets a say! From the most senior of managers to the latest newcomer around, all of their opinions matter. In a way, this reflects the more open and liberal attitude the Dutch are known for. Even in business settings, they remain as democratic as ever. It's also the reason why more and more people are wanting to work here. At least, thanks to the Dutch business etiquette, whatever they say matters. And at the end of the day, that's all you really want as an employee!

The Basics of Dutch Business Etiquette



Consensus is Everything

In relation to all of that, no agenda is finished unless there's a consensus. If the room remains divided on a certain issue or topic, you won't move forward. The Dutch are pretty headstrong about that. As long as there's an agreed-upon solution, be it by everyone present or simply by the majority, you're good to go. Always remember this when doing business with the Dutch. No matter what it's about, make sure you reach a consensus at the end of the meeting or, heaven forbid, at the end of the day!


Forget Small Talk

Now, you remember that business meetings with the Dutch tend to be informal, right? Well, that doesn't mean you can insert small talk either. As previously mentioned, the Dutch get down to business the moment everyone is in the room. They rarely exchange greetings, pleasantries, and the like. They save that for outside the office. But when you get to the workplace, especially when you arrive at a meeting, they expect you to be ready to work. Who knows? You might even get asked the first question! Are you prepared for that? You better be!

The Basics of Dutch Business Etiquette



Prepare to Work Independently

Why are the Dutch so focused on reaching a consensus? Because they expect each and every employee to have done their fair share of the work! When you work at a Dutch company or you have a project that's in collaboration with the Dutch, they expect that you can work independently. This isn't to say that they'll leave you to fend for yourself, especially if you're new to the business and whatnot. They just won't spoon-feed you as much as those from other countries probably would. They respect each worker enough for their skills and ability to work hard.


They Don't Have a Strict Dress Code

Is it really any surprise that the Dutch don't have a strict dress code for work? They're already known as free and relaxed people—at least, for the most part!—so it's only natural that they're not as fussy with what you wear either. But don't think that just because they're not strict with suits and such that you can get away with wearing practically anything to the office. That's not how it goes here! Donning business casual is enough to make a good impression. And as far as style staples are concerned, a well-tailored jacket is your best friend here!

The Basics of Dutch Business Etiquette


Doing business in the Netherlands is far from what you might think it is. The Dutch have their own set of etiquette rules you have to follow if you want to seal the deal and win big in the corporate game here! Are you ready for it?

You deserve to have the finest luxury home if you succeed in doing business with the Dutch well!




Destinations

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