Dare to go Dutch? So, your business is all settled up in The Netherlands, thriving on the opportunities that rise from the ground like colourful tulips. Nonetheless you keep your roots close to home. Communication is key in quality business, so you hold on to your own cultural habits and people. We tell you: fear not, fellow businessman. Holland is not a place for homesickness. Even though 'going Dutch' tells you to pay your own bills, the multi-cultural country is highly valued for their hospitality and flexibility towards international partners. Just to be sure: with these tips you avoid a Clash of Cultures to evolve into something stronger than ever from the Big Bang of business.

Just split the bill

Step one to respecting each other's differences is learning about them and see the positive sides. It's easy to see the bill splitter as cheap, but there is more to it. The flip side of the British eternal tendency to be the embodiment of politeness, is the Dutch sense of independency. Remember, 'going Dutch' is not only suggested from the payer's perspective. It is also coined on the receiving end, basically saying: I appreciate your offer to carry the burden, but these shoulders are not made to sit and watch. That being said, isn't respecting another's culture, and collaborating in business all about meeting in the middle? Seems like the Dutch made this the standard a long time ago.

Sorry, not sorry

We apologise if we're wrong, but do the Brits not apologise for nearly everything? And doing business together with a company from another continent (because yeah, Brexit happened), sounds like the perfect stew for a lot of ‘sorry, sorry, sorry'. Well, your future Dutch companion will not look at it that way. They are just as direct as they are forgiving. Mistakes will be made, curse words will be yelled, but when apologies stay omitted, you might think the collaboration ends right there and then. Except, when you meet again – your cheeks start to blush from the memory of the argument – the dutchman greets you cheerfully like nothing ever happened. And don't start saying sorry, because for them, it's water under the bridge. Or, as they say themselves, ‘put some sand over it'. Which takes us to the following point.

Business is another biscuit

Who doesn't remember legendary football manager Louis van Gaal, out-and-out dutchman, flabbergasting English journalists with suspicious phrases as ‘we are running after the facts', ‘the points are inside', and ‘that's another biscuit'. Even though these sayings sound equally hilarious to your ordinary dutchman, they also make lots of sense. That's because they're quite literally translated from their language to English. In conclusion, alter your business language into something that is universally understandable. Or your partner might come back to the office limping after you told them to ‘break a leg' at meeting with a new client.

Should you do business with the Dutch?

Misunderstandings, especially when collaborating overseas, is the pitfall of partnerships. So, should you even consider doing business with companies from the Netherlands? Well, you might miss out on Dutch goodness if you don't. And we are not talking about their famous stroopwafels. Dutch people are recognized as innovative, skillful and flexible people. The additional cherry on top: in 2022 they ranked 1st out of 100 countries on the EF English Proficiency list. Doing business abroad might always require an extra night of sleep. But if you do, the Dutch seem the safest choice to secure a good communication.

As a final note, this article you just read has been written by a dutchman. If that doesn’t sound like a potential business partner to create relevant content in the Netherlands, we don't know what does! Reach out to Plop Marketing and have a (virtual) cup of coffee – because that's our cup of tea.

Looking forward to meet you!