netherlands index
Index from Hofstede center

According to Hofstede Model, The Netherlands scores

  • Low level of power distance : It means, the Dutch people tend to be independent, follow hierarchy for convenience only, insist equal rights, prefer direct and participative conversation.
  • High level of Individualism : This means there is a high preference for a loosely-knit social framework in which individuals are expected to take care of themselves and their immediate families only. In individualistic societies offense causes guilt and a loss of self-esteem, the employer/employee relationship is a contract based on mutual advantage, hiring and promotion decisions are supposed to be based on merit only, management is the management of individuals.
  • Feminine society (Low masculinity) : In feminine countries it is important to keep the life/work balance and you make sure that all are included. An effective manager is supportive to his/her people, and decision making is achieved through involvement. Managers strive for consensus and people value equality, solidarity and quality in their working lives. Conflicts are resolved by compromise and negotiation and Dutch are known for their long discussions until consensus has been reached.
  • Slight preference for avoiding uncertainty : Countries exhibiting high uncertainty avoidance maintain rigid codes of belief and behavior and are intolerant of unorthodox behavior and ideas. In these cultures there is an emotional need for rules (even if the rules never seem to work) time is money, people have an inner urge to be busy and work hard, precision and punctuality are the norm, innovation may be resisted, security is an important element in individual motivation.
  • Pragmatic nature : In societies with a pragmatic orientation, people believe that truth depends very much on the situation, context and time. They show an ability to easily adapt traditions to changed conditions, a strong propensity to save and invest, thriftiness and perseverance in achieving results.
  • High score in indulgence : People in societies classified by a high score in indulgence generally exhibit a willingness to release their impulses and desires with regard to enjoying life and having fun. They possess a positive attitude and have a tendency towards optimism. In addition, they place a higher degree of importance on leisure time, act as they please and spend money as they wish.



Keep Private life Private

hand privacy online concept on blue background

The Dutch people are reserved and formal when dealing with outsiders. They won’t ask personal questions on a first meeting, and personal life will be kept separate from business. They are private people and do not put their possessions or emotions on display. Self-control is considered as a virtue.


Being equal in relationships

Young group of friends hanging out in the city

The Dutch are egalitarians. They don’t feel a strong power distance. It means, they have less dependent relationship between subordinate and boss. The Dutch workers would feel comfortable to express disagreement with their boss, and Dutch bosses are less autocratic than bosses of other countries. Every person is equal and should be treated  accordingly, which may be difficult for foreigners to understand. For example, a Japanese—one of the countries with strong power distance—visitor asked, “If the boss is pouring his own coffee, what kind of power can he hold in the company?”

Also, the relations between teachers and students are more equal than in many other cultures with higher power distance. Mostly the Dutch students are independent and they respect the hierarchy just for convenience.

The power is decentralized in Netherlands and individual differences are highly tolerable. Therefore Employers usually take into consideration the employees’ own, unique experiences when they choose their workers. Also the Dutch children are raised without gender biases, compared to other cultures.



The importance of being on time

dutch punctual

The Netherlands is based on a short-term oriented culture. It means that they have great respect for the traditions, a small propensity to the future, and they are focused on achieving quick results. Also ‘time’ is very important in The Netherlands, so it is advisable to always be on time, because being late is seen as an insult and a form of disrespect. In daily life, when preparing for an official meeting, an interview or just for a normal work day, it is recommendable to arrive maybe 5 minutes earlier to show that you are willing and have a positive attitude.

However, the Dutch are not strictly monochronic. It means they are not that much obsessed in sticking to order and schedule. So, for example, if you are invited for dinner, it will be reasonable to ask your host what time he or she would like you to arrive.



“Yes” means “yes”

dutch yes

The Netherlands is seen as a low context country and culture; it means that the Dutch give a lot of values to things being written down, handbooks, contracts etc. Moreover, the words spoken are direct and honest in the Netherlands. Saying ‘yes’ means ‘yes’. More words or more explicit language is being used, and the context carries less weight in reaching an interpretation of the message.

For example, in education, a lot of things concerning communication between supervisor, project leader, coach, etc have to be in a written format. And the teacher will ask direct questions and will bring the information direct as well. In daily relationships, it is almost the same. In relations between friends, a friend can phone another up on a birthday to say that she or he simply did not feel like coming to the party. they can be so direct and explicit. Also when doing business, written contracts are extremely important. They are a guarantee that both parties agreed and a proof for any possible law suit if things may go wrong.



Stella, South Korea

“I have studied at Leeuwarden, the capital city of Friesland! In Leeuwarden there is a “Oldehove”, the leaning tower. It is always interesting to see this nice architecture and also you can go to the top of the tower, so you should try to visit here! And what you have to know is that it always rain in The Netherlands. You should bring umbrella or some nice waterproof jacket with you. When you first go to normal supermarket, you will be panicked because it’s all written in dutch there. It might took an hour only to grab some milk if you don’t know Dutch at all. But don’t worry, Dutch people are kind enough to help foreigners if you ask them to. Lastly It is advisable to try typical Dutch food such as Kroket(croquette) and Harings(fish), because they are great!”


Jenny, Canada

“I am studying in Nijmegen in The Netherlands. If you visit Nijmegen, you really should visit parks near the city center. They are so peaceful and beautiful! And ‘Doner King’ Also, here you can taste one of the most delicious kebab! But there is a thing you should keep in mind before coming to The Netherlands. The thing is that you should know how to ride bikes in this country. Here every person has their own bike, it’s almost a part of your body. And The Netherlands has their unique bicycle roads and rules, so you should practice hard. It would be hard to bike at rainy weather at first, but you will get used to it. I want you to drop all your worries related to language problems and just visit The Netherlands for wonderful experience, because it’s a country full of nice people who are always eager to help you!”