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Top 10 Tips for Doing Business with the Dutch

Top 10 Tips for Doing Business with the Dutch

Whether you have a Dutch boss, subordinates, colleagues or customers knowing how the local culture influences the way business is carried out is crucial to successful and effective business relations.

Be prepared for lots of meetings – the Dutch love them, yes it can be frustrating but that’s the way things are done here. For more information on Dutch meetings see here.

  1. Be prepared for lots of meetings – the Dutch love them, yes it can be frustrating but that’s the way things are done here. For more information on Dutch meetings see here.
  2. Don’t try to force a decision – the idea of consensus is huge in the Netherlands, it is important that everyone gets his or her say and that a decision is made that includes everyone and keeps everyone happy. If you try to force a decision you will meet with many arguments as to why it just won’t work and implementation can take a long time.
  3. Give your opinion – the Dutch are an opinionated lot and not afraid to share their thoughts, it’s not arrogance it’s just the way they work, and they expect others to do the same.
  4. Get straight down to business – whereas some societies like to spend time on ‘chat chat’ and ‘getting to know you’ the Dutch prefer to get straight down to things.
  5. Don’t expect the secretary to make coffee for you – you will probably be shown where the coffee machine is.
  6. No boasting please – bragging about your achievements either in the workplace or outside is not appreciated. You don’t have to lie about what you’ve done, just don’t keep going on about how wonderful you are.
  7. Keep business and private separate – the Dutch tend to keep their work and private lives separate and whilst people may well ask how your weekend was it usually wouldn’t go much further than that.
  8. Private time is sacred – The Dutch work hard but value their private time so unless it is an emergency don’t expect them to work overtime or in the weekends.
  9. Don’t take work related feedback personally – it isn’t intended personally and isn’t meant as a judgement of your character.
  10. July & August is the holiday period; remember to take this into account in your planning as many people will be away (3 weeks holidays is normal) and won’t be answering their mobile phones!

business dutch

 

 

This article has been previously published in At Home Abroad.

 

Caitríona Rush

Caitríona Rush

Consultant at At Home Abroad
Caitríona Rush is founder of At Home Abroad (athomeabroad.nl); a training & consultancy firm providing professional, tailor made cross-cultural solutions to businesses & individuals. Our aim is to enable companies become more successful when doing business with other cultures, and internationals become more effective and happier living and working in the Netherlands.
Caitríona Rush

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