6 Things to Know About the Dutch Business Culture

Are you new to the Netherlands? Are you here to establish your career? Well, there are so many things that you need to know and understand about the Dutch business culture. So as not to mess up your first day in the office, we share with you the six things to know about the business culture in the Netherlands:


Business Plan

Dutch companies are very organized and pragmatic with regards to business strategy planning. If you are tasked to make a business plan, make sure that you undergo thorough research and step-by-step planning. You are not expected to be an expert, but you need to be equipped with problem-solving skills.


First Meeting

In meeting other people, a smile is your best weapon. It creates a good impression. If you introduce yourself, give a firm and swift handshake. Avoid air kissing, unless you are not in a business setup. In addressing colleagues, Dutch people use an informal manner of communication. Usually, they use first names. However, if there is a notable difference in age or rank, use “meneer” (Mr.) and “mevrouw” (Madam) before the name.



In terms of negotiation, Dutch business people are known to be tough negotiators. They are typically forceful and stubborn. However, they always value integrity and reliability in performing business negotiations.



People in business are always busy. Their day has structured agenda and appointments. If you set an appointment with a client or customer, make sure you show up hours in advance. Missing an appointment or turning up late is not just annoying, but it provides an impression of unreliability.



Time is very important in business. It is considered “money” for the Dutch people. Again, if you show up late for an appointment, you did not just waste other people’s time, but their money as well. So value each other’s times.


Dress code

In a business setup, of course, you have to look professional. Men are advised to wear a traditional suit and tie. Women, on the other hand, can wear corporate attire or a dress.

Which of these business norms are new to you?