Greetings: When meeting family and friends, it is a custom to give each other three kisses on the cheeks. Men generally just shake hands.

Conversations: Dutch are straightforward, which is sometimes confused with rude. In an informal situation there is no subject that can not be discussed. The only thing that does not happen is to ask someone what he or she earns.

Business: Dutch business people do not like small talk. You shake hands, introduce yourselves and get to the point. Often you will be immediately called by your first name, even if you are the director of the company.

Gifts: In the Netherlands it is normal to bring a gift for someone. This applies not only for an anniversary, but also when you are invited to a dinner at someone’s home. This can be for example, a book, flowers, chocolates or a bottle of wine. If you receive a gift, it is expected that you unpack it immediately.

Food: Dutch generally give little value to food. Breakfast is beaten about by many people, lunch is a simple sandwich lunch and dinner usually consists of potatoes, vegetables and meat. During the day you drink coffee or tea. Read more about the Dutch kitchen and other facts (including recipes!) in chapter Food & Drinks in the Netherlands.

Dinner is usually served between 18:00 and 19:00. In restaurants, the kitchen is usually close around 21:00.

Birthday: Most people celebrate their birthday with family and friends. The person who is having birthday gets gifts, and guests enjoy cake and drinks. A fiftieth birthday is always celebrated. When a man turns fifty, he sees Abraham, a woman sees Sarah, named after the Bible figures.

Birth of a child: When a baby is born, it is traditional to eat biscuits with ‘mice’ (which means sugar sprinkles). Dutch often place a wooden or inflatable stork in the garden to let everyone know that a baby is born.