Business behaviour

When conducting business in the Netherlands, respectful but relaxed behaviour is the norm.

The Dutch are rarely very formal, but when greeting older business partners and those of a higher business rank, they will use the formal 'u', 'meneer' and 'mevrouw' until the senior person adopts a more informal tone.

Let's shake hands

Handshakes are used in all situations and it is good practice to shake hands with every person in the room (although in a group of more than 20 people, this might become inconvenient!). It is recommended to maintain eye contact when you greet someone as it signals trustworthiness.

Business cards are also exchanged frequently during business meetings, usually with those with whom you have had contact with directly and with whom you have a shared business interest. They are not usually handed out for no reason.

Dress to the occasion

Dress codes can vary greatly between companies: some may require at least semi-formal wear, even for a typical day in the office, while others allow you to ‘dress as you please’ within sensible boundaries. Suits and ties are standard attire in certain business sectors and government agencies.

For interviews, it is best to lean towards a more formal style with a simple dark suit, white shirt/blouse and smart shoes, for both women and men. However, our top tip is to visit the company's website to try and find clues about their dress code.

Source: Expertise in Labour Mobility

last modified Nov 19, 2013 11:14 AM
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