Nesrin Nazlieva ~ The do’s and don’ts of dealing with Dutch colleagues ~ The Netherlands has a well-deserved reputation as a highly-organized society, embodying the principles of pluralism, social responsibility, and tolerance. It is what is called gedogen in Dutch, an untranslatable word that implies the ability to tolerate even exceptions to the rule. The Dutch society is a consensus-oriented society where everyone has his or her say. And they all know the value of their opinions, which they do not hesitate to give.

As an egalitarian society, the Dutch have a tendency to avoid displays of discernible wealth, whereby houses and clothes often seem ordinary and discreet to foreigners. Every person is equal and is treated accordingly, which is often difficult for foreigners to understand. This way of looking at things is also reflected in their work ethics and culture.

A CEO of a company pouring his own coffee, and general managers talking to the cleaning lady is nothing if normal in the Netherlands. People are equally treated with respect, and no one is simply bossed around and given orders without a proper explanation as to why. The Dutch tend to consider the risks and consequences of anything they do by acquiring very detailed information in advance. If something goes wrong, however, a Dutch person is willing to take full responsibility for the consequences. The same applies for the alternative – if one succeeds, he or she will take the full credit.

Read more: