The Saba Islander

by Will Johnson

10 ways to be polite to Dutch people

I am a West Indian of Scottish/Irish/English origin and a Dutch passport holder since they were first issued by the Netherlands.

The Netherlands by numbers

The Dutch have a reputation for being blunt and direct to the point of rudeness. But there is such a thing as Dutch etiquette. Here are the main things to look out for.

1. Shaking hands
Shaking hands is a Dutch obsession and one of those norms and values all foreigners have to adopt in order to be truly integrated. The Dutch shake hands all the time. You walk into a party full of strangers and you are expected to introduce yourself and shake hands with everyone there. When you come back from holiday, you shake hands with your office colleagues.

You will shake hands with your doctor, germs and all, with your children’s teachers, with the man who sells you a second-hand car and, well, with just about anyone. If you don’t automatically shake hands with all and sundry you will be marked as a foreigner, and probably a…

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