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  • Writer's pictureSean

Integrating into Netherlands Society - Tips for New Residents

Integrating into Dutch culture can be a bit of a shock for newcomers. You will find that there are many aspects of life in the Netherlands that are unique and often shocking to expats and new residents.

However, once you get past the culture shock, acclimating to your new life isn’t that difficult once you understand that these are simply normal parts of the Dutch way of living. If you're planning to move your personal belongings to the Netherlands, be sure to contact Pinnacle Removals and Storage. Let's now get started on how to integrate into the Netherlands society if you are planning to move.


1. People Speak Their Mind

If you come from somewhere like the UK or most of Europe, then you’re probably used to a certain level of social grace in conversations. It’s considered rude to just say whatever you think whenever you think it. However, things are a little bit different in the Netherlands.

Dutch culture is built on a policy of almost brutal honesty. Dutch people speak their minds with very little regard for social nicety. You will hear exactly what people mean, even if it is considered slightly rude.


Ultimately, it can take time to accept that people are not being rude to you so much as straightforward. It’s very normal in the Netherlands for people to value honest and direct communication without disguising difficult conversations and topics with metaphors and polite phrases. It’s quite refreshing, but it does take a little getting used to.


2. Sensitive Topics are Public Discourse


Something that goes hand-in-hand with brutal honesty is a willingness to discuss sensitive topics in a very frank, open way. In most places around the world, controversial conversations are discussed behind closed doors with a level of sensitivity. This is not the case in the Netherlands.


Conversations about this type of topic are held in public, open forums, and it demonstrates a mature approach to identifying and dealing with problems. Don’t be surprised if you are invited to participate in these conversations, as it is simply how people in the Netherlands handle this type of thing.


3. It’s Hip to be Eco-Friendly

The Netherlands is a place that has a strong focus on being eco-friendly and conscious of the world around you. Nearly every aspect of normal life in the Netherlands is oriented around eco-friendly practices, from government to the actions of the individual. Sustainable living, waste production programs, and green energy initiatives are abundant.


Public transport is usually powered with fully eco-friendly methods, and individual households often have solar panels and support local agriculture. You will be expected to participate in this culture if you’re going to successfully build a life within the Dutch community.


4. Learn the Social Norms


There are a handful of smaller, less specific social norms that you would find in most civilized countries, but it is worth noting that there are a handful of things that

are synonymous with Dutch culture, even if they’re not specific to the Netherlands.


Dutch people have a very profound sense of punctuality and value being on time. It is considered very rude to be late for either a social meeting or a work event. People also heavily value their personal space, and you will be expected to maintain a reasonable distance when having conversations, with the invasion of personal space being considered rather rude.


The Netherlands has made great strides towards equality, creating almost a flat hierarchy within the country. Regardless of position or standing, all individuals are expected to be polite and friendly to everybody. Gender norms are no longer part of everyday life, and there are equal opportunities for both men and women in the workplace.


These all seem like normal rules and expectations, but many people arrive in the Netherlands and don’t consider these types of things. If you want to integrate smoothly and naturally, then you have to follow the traditions created by the people who already live in the area.


5. Learn Dutch, Please

Perhaps one of the most important things about integrating into life in the Netherlands is to learn the local language. In some countries, it’s considered to be up to you whether or not you choose to learn the native language, as most parts of Europe speak English.


However, with that being said, the Dutch people are very receptive towards those who take the time to learn the fundamentals of Dutch and are more than happy to help you improve your grasp of the language. It demonstrates that you are willing to learn and change, and this will help you to become more well-received.


6. Get Involved


Dutch people have a wonderful sense of community which is prevalent in the number of festivals and small cultural activities to take place throughout the year. If you’re apprehensive about joining these types of events, don’t be. One of the best ways to prove that you are here to connect with the Netherlands and become part of everyday life is to embrace these cultural traditions.


Ask questions, learn about what the celebrations mean, and enjoy participating in them.

Closing Thoughts


The Netherlands is a wonderful place to live. Something that most people aren’t prepared for is the almost tactless nature of most people living in the Netherlands. There is no deception or things held back.


Opinions are expressed freely, and they are usually grounded in a well-meaning bit of advice. It’s very common for people to give constructive criticism towards a person regarding a job or their attitude. If you take these lessons and internalise them, then you stand a better chance at integration in the long term.


This change in attitudes is probably the most difficult thing to acclimate to because most of Europe and the US are still very secretive and built upon social grace. We are hardwired to be polite, even if it means that we don’t communicate very well.

Moving out of that environment and entering one where people are honest to the point of offending can take a little getting used to, but it is also one of the most refreshing qualities of the Netherlands. You will know exactly where you stand with people, and this is often very helpful for improving yourself and growing as a person.

If you're planning to move your personal belongings to the Netherlands, be sure to use Pinnacle Removals & Storage. European removals are effortless with our expert services.


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