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Overview Netherlands

Insights into the regulations, traditions, and logistics of Netherlands.

Country : The Netherlands
Currency: EUR
Calling code: +31
Area: 41.543 km²
Population: 17.02 Million 
Density: 409 people / per km²

1. Are there typical greeting rituals?

Business / not familiar people: Shake hands with everyone present (men, women). Shake hands again when leaving. Introduce yourself if no one is present to introduce you. The Dutch consider it rude not to identify yourself. 
Social / good friends: man vs women 3 kisses on the cheek, women vs women 3 kisses on the cheek, man vs man handshake, hugs, or fist bumps.

2. What business rules are to be followed?

The Dutch are creative, open minded and pragmatic. They are also rather direct, honest and open in their dealings with others. The Dutch are known for their tolerant attitudes. 
The Dutch tend to get right down to business. 
In first meetings, there is a brief business introduction of the people present. 
Business negotiations proceed at a rapid pace. 
Dress accordingly. 
Exchange business cards at start of the meeting.

3. What prejudices are there and which of these are actually true?

Bikes, everywhere bikes - true

The Netherlands is on second place when it comes to bicycle use. Actually Denmark comes on the first place, they sell more bicycles and more people are a member of special cyclists unions. But still a lot of  bikes in the Netherlands! About 1.3 bike per person and a total of approx. 22.5 million.

Everybody speaks English - true

The Dutch are, for the second year in a row, on first place in non-native English speaking. 90 % of the people speak the English language. One of the reasons is that the Dutch do not dub their movies / TV-Shows / commercials ect. also not when it comes to TV-shows for children, they learn at young age.

Everybody wears clogs - false

The Dutch are happy wearing all kinds of shoes but clogs are not in the daily selection. Some old farmers still wear them, but nowadays just tourists love them.

4. What subjects are discussed during small talk?

Weather, the Dutch love to complain when it is too hot, to cold, or to rainy. 
Sports, Food, what the weekend will bring. 
Everything else that comes to matter, depending on the relationship.



5. What commodities play an important role in the country and to which countries does it export to and from which countries does it import from the most part?

a. Export 
Machinery, high value plastics, flowers and plants, metal and metal products, natural gas 
Mainly inside Europe (about 75%), Asia (11%), North America's (5%), smaller percentage to Africa and Latin America.

b. Import
Manufactured goods, Machinery, Vehicles, Chemicals, Food & Drink 
Mainly inside Europe (about 50%) ex Asia (30%) , North America's (8%), smaller percentage ex Africa & Latin America. 
Rotterdam is an important transit port for Germany, a big part of the German imports is being unloaded in Rotterdam, and trucked/rail/barge to Germany.

6. What special logistics obstacles/difficulties are there on location?

The Netherlands is pretty full, and has a high density, so space is an issue, but the Dutch will just turn see into land, and created a new port: Maasvlakte II.
And all that while the biggest part of the country is below sea-level.

7. What goods were the most exciting or unusual that were transported by Fr. Meyer's Sohn or of which you have heard?

Diesel engines too big to be handled by normal vessels.

8. Are there traditional dishes that are eaten on specific holidays, for instance?

The Dutch have a specific tradition that usually will be done with Christmas it is called: Gourmet This is a cooking plate that will be placed in the middle of the dining table. On this plate are little pans. All kinds of little pieces of meat and vegetables & sauces will be placed on the table so people can create their own little dished in their own little pans.

9. What must absolutely be experienced or seen there?
  • Instead of Amsterdam, which is to crowdie and too much tourists, go see Dordrecht, Leiden or Delft to see old Dutch cities. 
  • Kinderdijk - Here you can see the windmills.
  • Port of Rotterdam, which is the 5th biggest port of the world.
Portrait Nadine Kinscher
Nadine Kinscher-Masur

Corporate Head of Marketing | Fr. Meyer's Sohn


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