• Greet! Don’t forget to say “Hoi(Hello)!” when you meet someone in the Netherlands. Dutch also love shaking hands.
• Remember that tolerance is very important for the Dutch! In practice this means that people can say whatever they want. Say loud and clear what you opinion is about things and be tolerant for opinions of others.
• Eye contact! Try to do eye contact while speaking with Dutch.
• Bring something when you’re invited! If you get an invite to a meal or picnic, it is polite to offer to bring something. Do not be surprised if this generous offer is accepted. It is also customary in the Netherlands to take flowers or chocolates for your hostess.
• Notice that there are some table manners! Guests get food first, and you should not leave the table when someone is not done with his or her food.
The Dutch are stoned all the time? This might be the most common stereotype about Dutch people, or at least something they are infamous for. However, the fact that soft drugs are (more or less) legalized in the Netherlands actually contributes to the lower numbers of addicts and users compared to the high percentage, almost twice as high, of soft drug users in the USA.
Amsterdam is the gay capital of the world? Well, most Dutch people are very tolerant towards the gay community. So, yes, Amsterdam might be the unofficial Europe’s gay capital. The Netherlands was also the first country in the world to allow gay marriage in 2001. This has made it easier for gays to come out of the closet and for society to open toward them. But this doesn’t mean that most of the population is gay and that in 100 years there won’t be any heterosexual children.
The Dutch are greedy? There must be a reason why splitting the bill is called ‘Going Dutch’. It’s true that many Dutch keep a tight watch over their money. Dutch Men are unlikely to pay for their dates. But as a collective whole, Netherlands is a very generous country with a high percentage of their GDP going to development aid, 0.82%, which is above the UN target of 0.7 and only lower than their richer neighbor from Luxembourg, Sweden and the oil-loaded Norway.
The Dutch wear wooden shoes? Yeah, but only if they come with Oilily. They are quite popular with little kids and people in countrysides. We make them, so tourists can buy them. If you think Dutch people are still wearing them, that is fine for Dutch as long as you buy a lot of them.
• Don’t show off your possessions! Dutch people are usually down to earth and don’t like it when you try to impress them with material things.
• Be careful when you are talking about politics! Typically, for Dutch people, politics is a personal matter.
• Don’t expect a normal place for coffee in Dutch “Coffeshop”! Don’t get confused if you just want to grab a cup of coffee before wandering around. ‘Coffee shops’ in the Netherlands are famous for something entirely different, and ‘cafes’ are places you go to get a beer. You’ll have to find a koffiehuis (coffee house) if you just want some good old caffeine.
• Don’t walk on the bike lanes! Dutch bikes do not stop for anyone.