The Netherlands

Successful Entertaining in Netherlands

Business breakfasts are not very common in the Netherlands, so you are much more likely to be invited to a lunch or dinner.

Most business entertaining is done in restaurants and it is relatively unlikely that you would be invited to somebody’s home unless you know them very well.

Who pays? This can be somewhat complicated but basically, the Dutch will make it clear that you are their guest if they intend to pay the bill – otherwise expect to “go Dutch” and pay your fair share. People tend not to be embarrassed at splitting a bill.

Punctuality is important in the Netherlands so try to arrive on time. It is acceptable to discuss business matters during mealtimes and as at all other times to be open and frank about your own views — this approach gains you respect.

Dutch table etiquette is relatively formal. Everything seems to be eaten with a knife and fork and the eating utensils are used in the European fashion rather than in the North American way. This means that both knife and fork are used throughout the meal.

Although all bills will contain a service charge, it is customary to leave an additional tip of between 5% – 10%


This country-specific business culture profile was written by Keith Warburton who is the founder of the cultural awareness training consultancy Global Business Culture

Global Business culture is a leading training provider in the fields of cross-cultural communication and global virtual team working.  We provide training to global corporations in live classroom-based formats, through webinars and also through our cultural awareness digital learning hub, Global Business Compass.

This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in The Netherlands only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.

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