skip to Main Content
dutch business communication

Dutch Culture: How to avoid Misunderstandings

Moving abroad for work often involves a certain change of mind-set. Sometimes it is not as easy as envisioned.  Even when moving to the Netherlands, where expats will tell you that you can live your life perfectly using only English. That is because the Netherlands is the country with the highest English language proficiency, according to the EF English Proficiency Index. However, there are still times in which misunderstandings and misinterpretations occur with the Dutch where the language barrier is not to blame. Often the issue is intercultural miscommunication. Understanding Dutch (business) culture is key to avoid these kinds of misunderstandings.

Intercultural Miscommunication

Intercultural miscommunication is a type of miscommunication that occurs between speakers from different cultures and languages due to cultural differences. Have you ever wondered why your Dutch colleagues prefer to get right down to business and avoid any small talk? Do you notice how quickly they address others by their first names, even their bosses? Are you also amazed to see your Dutch co-workers eating their sandwich behind their computer or eating it during a meeting? Do they see lunch as a moment to refuel their energy instead of a relaxing social event? And why do they always share their first thoughts and opinions on everything? It is not unlikely that at some point you have found your Dutch colleagues painfully rude…

Workshops on Dutch (Business) Culture & Society

So, how do you deal with the Dutch? Understanding the local mind-set and adjusting to a foreign culture is essential for a successful stay in any foreign country, also The Netherlands. At De Taaldienst we regularly receive the request by companies to organise a workshop about understanding Dutch (business) culture and society for newly arrived internationals at the workplace. In these workshops we help internationals to become aware of the similarities and differences with their own culture, and to help them to become more open to learn rather than judge. This will ease not only their integration in the workplace, but also in Dutch society. Is your company interested in one of these workshops? Please contact us via for more information.


Afbeelding van Gerd Altmann via Pixabay

Back To Top
Open chat