Travel to the Netherlands – Learn the Dos and Don’ts of Dutch Culture

Holland is a beautiful country, bordering the North Sea, Belgium and Germany, with a diverse culture that shows reflections of Dutch and foreign immigrants. The country, with a wealth of tourist attractions, is home to a variety of historical paintings and replicas of Dutch buildings with rich Dutch architecture. The country is often referred to as the home of some of the great philosophers and painters, whose famous works attract a lot of tourists here.

Certain customs that are perfectly acceptable in one country may be totally outlawed in another. There are many different types of traditions that are very important to the Dutch cultural heritage. Some ideas about language etiquette, dress manners, tips and greeting behavior can make your trip and stay in the Netherlands etch in your memory. The Dutch are quite formal and etiquette is not a big deal, but here is a list of dos and don’ts on a trip to Holland.

Dutch society is egalitarian and modern. The people are modest, tolerant, independent, self-sufficient and enterprising. They value education, hard work, ambition, and ability. According to Dutch culture, the people of the Netherlands are very direct or frank with each other and with strangers. They simply regard this as a sign of honesty and trust. It is good to be carried away by its flow. But when it comes to behavior in public places or crowds, noisy or proactive behavior is not appreciated. Shake hands when meeting someone. Depending on your culture, start a conversation only after introducing yourself. Kissing three times on alternate cheeks is a typical custom followed here when greeting or saying goodbye to a close friend. The Dutch place more importance on time and punctuality. Try to be on time for meetings and don’t try to cancel or reschedule meetings at the last minute. They also place great value on cleanliness and neatness.

Tipping is not mandatory in the Netherlands. Legally, the service charge is included in the cost of the meal itself, but if someone feels that the service is exceptionally good, they can be tipped 10% in addition to the bill. They usually eat with a fork in their left hand and a knife in their right hand. Eating otherwise is considered uncomfortable here. The dress style of the Netherlands is similar to that of the United States. Business attire is quite conservative, but it depends on the profession. Casual clothing is preferred for sightseeing. Shorts, however, are acceptable for jogging or walking only. Smoking is prohibited in many areas of the Netherlands. Always ask before lighting.

It is worth knowing the basic knowledge about local laws and penalties when traveling to the Netherlands. Under Dutch law, all persons over the age of 14 must carry identification, such as a valid passport, driver’s license, identity card or Dutch residence card, at all times. Organize a variety of ways to access your money abroad, such as credit cards, traveler’s checks, cash, debit cards, or cash cards. Holland is a good destination for independent travel with good public transport.

When planning your trip to the Netherlands, be sure to check travel guides, best places to visit, and country etiquette for information on how to travel safely and well.

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