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Dutch working culture

Fietsend van stad tot polder Boer op tractor

The Dutch are known for their direct, down-to-earth approach to life and this extends to working culture.

Some important aspects of working life in the northern Netherlands include:

  • Work-life balance. The standard working week is 40 hours, but many people work less than this (men included) and job appointments can be calculated in half-day slots. Dependent on your industry, these hours are actually adhered to more or less strictly.
  • Consensus and directness. Dutch companies generally have a flexible hierarchy within companies and a non-hierarchical approach to clients. Disagreement across hierarchical levels is possible.
  • Informality. Dutch workplaces are informal in terms of dress and interaction; there is not a lot of formal business etiquette.
  • Planning. The Dutch are punctual and live with a very structured agenda.
  • Nuchter’. Groningers are often characterised as ‘nuchter’, meaning unpretentious or no-nonsense, more so than other regional identities.

On the Expatica website you can find a general introduction to working culture in the Netherlands and a more in-depth article too. The IWCN website provides an overview of Dutch customs more generally, as well as an overview of what to do in the job application process.