Dutch social customs

The following reflections/information about Dutch culture and society might be interesting and/or useful to you. It is by no means exhaustive:

  • the Netherlands has quite a horizontal hierarchic structure;
  • women and men have the same social status;
  • family ties are important, but to foreigners the Dutch may seem rather individualistic;
  • the Dutch can be quite straightforward and direct;
  • greeting each other is by shaking hands, friends and relatives usually kiss each other on the cheek (three times);
  • visiting people is often by appointment and does not necessarily include staying for dinner as well, unless invited;
  • lunch is usually a cold meal in the Netherlands, in the evening a hot meal/dinner is prepared.

Wikipedia's page on Dutch social customs and etiquette contains a more complete overview. 

Activities and appointments

If you are planning to join in activities with Dutch people, it’s worth remembering that they are usually very serious about their daily schedule. This means you need to be punctual. Take this tip seriously especially when it comes to official appointments.