±A - Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Our monthly newsletter contains health and financial news, expat articles, social media recommendations and more.
±A - Join Our Community
±A - Read Our Guide
±A - Compare Quotes and Save
±A - Listen to the Podcast
±A - Expert Financial
±A - ExpatFocus Partners
Business CultureBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
The Netherlands (Holland) - Business Culture
Appointments should be made well in advance, preferably in writing. Normal business hours are 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m., Mondays to Fridays. You may wish to avoid the holiday months of June, July and August. Turn up on time, as punctuality is seen as very important.
Although Dutch is the official language, most business people can speak English so it is not necessary to have correspondence translated, or to arrange an interpreter. However, you should ideally have your company promotional materials translated into Dutch.
Normal business attire varies considerably vary between industries. Unless you are aware that informal dress is the norm in your business area, wear a conservative suit for meetings.
A brief, firm handshake, with good eye contact, is the normal business greeting. Don't smile too much as this may be seen as insincere.
People should be addressed by their personal or professional titles with family names, unless you are invited to use first names. Academic titles are not normally used in speech.
Business cards are exchanged on meeting, and should include details of higher educational qualifications, which are highly regarded in the Netherlands. However, you should not refer to your qualifications in conversation, as the Dutch respect modesty.
Meetings are usually quite formal and well structured, with adherence to the agenda. The Dutch communication style is fairly quiet and reserved, but also direct and frank. You will be expected to give a well-structured, factually accurate presentation, with clear evidence or data to back up any statements made. The Dutch have a very analytical approach and will examine your proposals in great detail. You will be taken at your word, so don't make promises you can't keep, and avoid hard sell or exaggerated claims.
Since team-working rather than hierarchy is the main feature of Dutch business culture, decision-making is usually consensual. Once made, decisions are quickly implemented and will be regarded as final.
Business lunches and dinners, usually held in restaurants, are popular. Gifts are not usually exchanged in Dutch business culture, but if invited to someone's home, bring a small, good quality gift such as flowers, a plant or chocolates.
Read more about this country
Expat Health Insurance Partners
At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.
Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.