Dealing with cultural differences as expat in The Netherlands

As the world becomes more interconnected, cultural intercompetencies are becoming increasingly important for people who want to work in a foreign country. When coming to work in the Netherlands, there are several things to keep in mind in terms of cultural differences and expectations. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most important cultural intercompetencies for working in the Netherlands and how they can impact your success in the Dutch job market.

  1. Language Skills

The Netherlands is a country with a strong preference for English. Although Dutch is the official language, nearly everyone speaks English fluently. However, it is still advisable to learn some basic Dutch phrases to show your willingness to adapt to the local culture. For non-native speakers, a good command of English is essential for success in the Dutch job market.

  1. Business Etiquette

Dutch business etiquette can be quite different from what you might be used to in your home country. The Dutch value direct communication and can be quite blunt in their feedback. They also tend to have a flat organizational structure, which means that decision-making is often decentralized. It's important to be aware of these differences and to adjust your communication style accordingly.

  1. Punctuality

The Dutch value punctuality and expect meetings to start and end on time. Being late is considered rude and can make a bad first impression. It's also important to notify your colleagues in advance if you are running late.

  1. Work-Life Balance

The Dutch are known for their strong commitment to work-life balance. They prioritize leisure time and often work shorter hours than their counterparts in other countries. It's important to respect this balance and avoid working excessively long hours or sending work-related emails outside of regular business hours.

  1. Diversity and Inclusion

The Netherlands is a multicultural society that values diversity and inclusion. It's important to be aware of cultural differences and to show respect for different customs and traditions. The Dutch are also known for their tolerance and acceptance of people from different backgrounds.

In summary, when coming to work in the Netherlands, it's important to be aware of the cultural differences and to adjust your behavior accordingly. Demonstrating cultural intercompetencies, such as language skills, business etiquette, punctuality, work-life balance, and diversity and inclusion, can help you succeed in the Dutch job market. By being respectful and adaptable, you can build strong relationships with your Dutch colleagues and contribute to a positive and productive work environment.