Communication in Holland
• A firm handshake. Many Dutch people may think
your handshake is weak. They hate a limp handshake. Dutch handshake seems intimidating and
• Keeping their distance. When talking to you, Dutch
maintain a greater distance than you are accustomed to. They do not touch each
other while having a conversation.
•The Dutch pay most of their attention to your actual
words. They don't hear the intonation that you use when saying something.
•The left hand or the right? In daily life, they use
both hands for everything. they won't understand why you feel offended if they
simply happen to have handed you something with their left hand.
• Arguing and making threats. During arguments, most
Dutch people reduce the level of emotions in their gestures and words.
• In the bus or train, most people look for a seat as
far away from others as possible. You hardly see any people sitting together!
•Body contact. In Holland, strangers do their best to avoid
touching each other.
•Reluctance to be a nuisance. This means refraining
from talking too loudly in the waiting room or the train.
• How to ask for something nicely? Dutch people always
use a ‘descending’ intonation.
•If a Dutchman wants to tell you you’re out of your
mind, he’ll point to the middle of his forehead.
• Looking into each other’s eyes. The Dutch find it
quite normal to maintain extended eye contact during conversation.
• They find it really irritating if you smack your
•The Dutch always begin by telling you their name.
Saying just "Hello” is rude for them.
•The Dutch do not find it easy to express their
•DO stand when someone is being introduced to you.
•DO be on time. Punctuality is important.
•Greeting friends: the 3 Dutch kisses. You might find
the custom of social kissing a bit over the top, the Dutch, however, do it
frequently. Mind you, it is only done among people who know each other rather
well! People kiss each other on the cheeks two or three times, every time they
meet. This is not compulsory. If you do not want to be kissed, just extend your
hand for a handshake.
•To beckon a waiter or waitress, raise your hand, make
eye contact, and say ober (waiter) or mevrouw (waitress).
•Men should wait until all women are seated before they
sit. Allow the hostess to start eating and drinking before you eat.
•Keep your hands on the table at all times during a
meal -- not in your lap. However, take care to keep your elbows off the table.
•It is considered rude to leave the table during dinner
(even to go to the bathroom).
•Stand when a woman enters the room.
•Don’t chew gum in public.
•Keep your hands out of your pockets while talking to
someone or shaking hands.
•Facial expressions should be fairly neutral but
friendly during the first contact, and the tone of voice should generally not
be too loud.