Reinildis van Ditzhuyzen / Manners in the Netherlands
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Manners in the Netherlands
Reinildis van Ditzhuyzen
‘The Dutch are so relaxed and easygoing!’ That is what many foreigners hear when they leave for the Netherlands, but this often turns out to be less than accurate. In fact, in many respects, the Dutch are surprisingly formal. And what’s more, they possess their share of idiosyncrasies: some of their ways and manners being quite different from anywhere else. Such different or unfathomable ways of behaving sometimes make foreigners and expatriates feel unsure of themselves, since they do not know how they should act or react in a given situation. But someone might also feel offended, for instance, if a Dutch person does something that seems rather inappropriate according to that foreigner’s cultural perceptions. To avoid misunderstandings and difficulties in adjusting and to make the lives of foreigners in the Netherlands easier and more successful, this book Manners in the Netherlands – Dutch Ditz, covers the most important aspects of etiquette deemed to be typically-Dutch. These are dealt with in seven chapters laced with questions, info blocks, quotes and (historical) background. To achieve as broad and reliable an overview as possible, the author spoke to numerous expatriates in the Netherlands. She also visited so-called expat centres set up by companies and municipalities and spoke to the heads of expat societies and international clubs. The many observations and experiences of all these foreigners revealed just how different the Dutch actually are – and especially different compared to how they see themselves. Thus this book serves another – unexpected – purpose: it also compels the Dutch to take a good look in the mirror!