Etiquette in the Netherlands

For everyone who attempts to visit or stay in the Netherlands, you should know what to avoid and how to make it correctly. This guide for perfect behaviour in the Netherlands will help you to survive the Dutch society, as seen through the eyes of a German student.

By: Rica Kenning

Contact with the Dutch
First of all, you should know, that everyone is equal, there are barely hierarchies existing. Means, they do not use the formal form to address people, not even business partners. They prefer to address people informal, as you are talking to good friends or children. Also, professional titles are hidden, do not use them in talks. Besides you are going to talk to the King or Queen, then you should refer to them as His or Her Majesty.
Next to that, never discuss income or even ask personal questions. As well as never talk about yourself, it is a faux pax.

In the Netherlands are some behaviour rules when sitting at the dinner table. Always wait until everyone is seated at the table before starting to eat. Also, leaving the table during dinner, to go to the bathroom, is considered as impolite. Further, the knife is always taken in the right hand and the fork in the left, and do not put the knife down after you cut your dish
To be equal to the Dutch, eat chocolate sprinkles instead of Nutella on your breakfast bread and trample down your food as they do it with mostly everything.

When being in a pub to enjoy some beers, do not wonder where your head is. The head is removed with the beer foam scraper. Means, your glass will be wet, but according to the Dutch, it looks nicer without the foam and more beer fits in the glass. Even though the Dutch people like to have the foam in the glass, with at least 2 fingers widths on top.

Being sick
If you are sick, you are sick. Means, you do not have to run to the doctors to get a signed paper that you cannot work.  Just call your work and say that you are not coming, as it is a private matter. Even if you would go to the doctor, he would never give you a sick report. For longer sick leaves, the company doctor helps you. Before just staying home, be sure what counts for the company you work for.

In public
When being out and suddenly you feel the urge to pee, do never pee in public. If you get caught, you have to pay a penalty. As well, when you drive with too loud music through the streets or using the phone while driving you have to pay the penalty. Moreover, keep an eye in cities on signs which forbid alcohol in public. When being here with the car watch 3 times if you see a bike. They are everywhere!