Dealing with the Dutch
The Dutch are modern and individualistic. Equality to all people, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation or religious believes that is a norm most Dutch strongly believe in. Of course there are as many different Dutch people as there are fish in the sea. Still there are some general characteristics.
Other cultures might see the Dutch as rude or impolite. Dutch people can be very direct and asking people about personal information is not considered as impolite at all. The people from the Netherlands see their way of behaving as openness, which is very important to them. Just to say certain things to be polite, is considered insincere and hypocrite. Two things the Dutch despise.
But, don’t be afraid, the Dutch are also considered as welcoming, warm and open minded. About 77 percent of the population gives to charity on a regular basis.
As mentioned before, the equal treatment act is stated in the constitution. To the Dutch this does not only mean that all men and women should be treated equally; they even take it a step further. The Dutch are not fond of hierarchy. Treating someone with respect only because he or she has a high social position does not come natural to them. Not even when it’s the prime minister or the King.
In English everyone is addressed with ‘you’. In Dutch (like in French) there are two personal pronouns to address other people: ‘jij’ which is informal and ‘u’ which is formal. In the old days everyone who was older than you, or had a higher position, or you never met before, you addressed with ‘u’. Nowadays the Dutch use the word ‘jij’ much more often. They don’t do this out of disrespect but to show that they see you as an equal individual.
You can read more about the Netherlands and Dutch society at:
Dutch society and working culture