Cultural Characteristics in the Netherlands Part II
Features of Dutch culture
During a study abroad in the Netherlands, students get to know the big and small cultural differences to Germany up close. This not only includes innovative teaching methods that rely on group work and practical relevance. Cultural peculiarities in the Netherlands also include a positive approach to unknown problems and the search for creative and long-term solutions.
Modest and willing to compromise
A typical characteristic of Dutch culture is modesty. Many do not like to put themselves in the foreground to push through their views and individual interests. Rather, they work together in a team so that everyone can contribute his or her expertise and strengths. Together they work out a solution that will satisfy everyone. As a result, there is a personal working atmosphere with flat hierarchies and direct communication not only at the Dutch universities. Due to the small power distance, many Dutch people strive for equal opportunities and emphasize the achievements as a team.
Multicultural and solidary
The most densely populated area state unites the most diverse cultures and beliefs, so that the Netherlands are considered particularly liberal. Christianity is widespread there, but members of Islam, Judaism, Buddhism or Hinduism also have their place in the Dutch community.
Amsterdam is a special hotspot for the Dutch cultural scene. This includes not only the notorious nightlife, but also numerous stages and museums. The Netherlands values its artists, especially in painting, and likes to organize festivals to bring people together.
The cohesion of the multicultural nation is great even in crisis situations. For example, with the help of the frugal population, the Netherlands built an extensive welfare state after the devastating Second World War. Solidarity is important to the Dutch.
The numerous changes in the state structures or national borders in the Netherlands required constant adaptation to the new circumstances. To this day, many people in the Netherlands face the uncertainty with forward-looking and imaginative planning. A tendency to save is just as pronounced as the willingness to invest in the long term and patiently wait for the results.
Innovative and long-term solutions are necessary, for example, in dealing with the water that surrounds the land. After the flood disaster in 1953, the Netherlands began building huge flood protection systems and are continuously working to come to terms with the water.
In the higher education sector, the integration of the English language in the study programs testifies to the future orientation of the country. However, a minimum knowledge of Dutch is still helpful during studies and in everyday life in order to get to know Dutch culture.
Tolerant and open to new things
Traditions and morals are not considered static in the Netherlands. Instead, cultural behaviors and rules are flexible and depend more on the context. This is based on a fundamental openness and pragmatism that simplify the coexistence of different people in the Netherlands. For example, traditional holidays of other faiths, such as the sugar festival, are a matter of course in the annual calendar.
The curiosity of many Dutch people also encourages their wanderlust, so that they can be found in many parts of the world. Looking beyond one’s own nose leads to a tolerant attitude towards other points of view.
Healthy work-life balance
As a country that belongs to European Union according to holidaysort, the Netherlands is considered a typically feminine culture in which free time is an important part. Self-realization is important to the Dutch in all areas of life. Instead of surpassing others with their own performance, many see it as personal progress. The focus is on fun and a positive attitude. This is also reflected in higher education, where lecturers tend to act as coaches for the students. In the long term, the balanced lifestyle between work and leisure inspires the individual and thus society as a whole.
Behavioral tips for the Netherlands
Despite the great tolerance and willingness to compromise on the part of the people in the Netherlands, there are specific rules and norms for all residents and visitors. A case in point is the assumption that soft drugs are allowed anywhere in the country. As in Germany, carrying and consuming are strictly regulated by law.
Cultural peculiarities in the Netherlands mean that international students adapt to other customs on site at the latest. Due to the friendly and open nature of many Dutch people, it is advisable to simply ask if something is unclear. Many like to get into conversation.
In general, it is helpful to stick to the unofficial motto of the Netherlands: “Act normal, that’s crazy enough.” The following are some helpful tips for a carefree student life in the Netherlands.
Dos and Dont’s in the Netherlands
|Be humorous and upbeat||Show off and brag, because many Dutch people hardly value status symbols or academic titles|
|A greeting with a handshake or three kisses alternately on the cheek||Dutch people generally referred to as Dutch. Holland is just the province of the same name in the north-west of the country|
|Skinny dipping where allowed||Football jokes at the expense of the Dutch|
|If you are staying for a longer period of time, it makes sense to learn Dutch||Speak to Dutch people in German as a matter of course, rather ask politely whether they speak German or English|
|Bring small favors with invitations, especially chocolates or flowers||Popping in on someone spontaneously without notice|
|Go outside the door or in designated areas to smoke||To be too late|