Dutch Culture

Communication

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Verbal

  • Direct Communication: Dutch tend to have a direct communication style, speaking quite frankly in a straightforward manner. At times, this may be misunderstood as rude, especially if one is not used to forthrightness. However, the Dutch tend to view direct communication as a well-appreciated form of openness.
  • Communication Style: Dutch tend to speak in a friendly tone of voice and often in short sentences. Excessive politeness is often viewed as distrustful as it may imply a lack of directness in communication. Dutch also generally avoid over-exaggerating and will often tone down statements and compliments.
  • Humour: Much of Dutch humour relates to ‘schadenfreude’ (a sense of pleasure or amusement from another person’s misfortune). Dutch humour may also be cheeky or nuanced. Irony and sarcasm is often not appreciated as many Dutch take what others say at face value.
  • Formality: In the Dutch language, different forms of expression indicate varying levels of courtesy and formality. The polite form of speech is to address people in the formal form of ‘you' (known as ‘U’). The informal address known as ‘jij’ is becoming the most common usage of ‘you’.

 

Non-Verbal

  • Personal Space: Many Dutch value their personal space and do not appreciate it being invaded by others. When conversing, an arm’s length or more distance is acceptable. Dutch may have their furniture arranged in a way that puts more distance between people in a room. Avoid moving your chair closer if this is the case.
  • Physical Contact: Among friends and family, light touching of the arms, shoulders and hands is acceptable. The Dutch are generally less tactile among strangers and acquaintances. It is common for couples to display affection in public.
  • Body Language: Dutch people rely heavily on words and generally make less use of body language to emphasise a point in communication. Some hand gestures may be used during conversation.
  • Eye Contact: Holding eye contact is valued and shows sincerity. Occasionally diverting your gaze is common and can help create a more comfortable situation.
  • Gestures: Putting your index finger to the temple of your head is considered an insult as it indicates that the person you are talking about is crazy.
The Netherlands
  • Population
    17,016,967
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Languages
    Dutch (official)
  • Religions
    No Religion (46.9%)
    Catholic Christianity (26.3%)
    Protestant Christianity (16.1%)
    Other Christianity (11%)
    Islam (4.8%)
    Other (1.2%)
    [2013 est.]
  • Ethnicities
    Dutch (78.6%)
    Other European (5.8%)
    Turkish (2.4%)
    Indonesian (2.2%)
    Moroccan (2.2%)
    Surinamese (2.1%)
    Other (6.7%)
    [2014 est.]
  • Cultural Dimensions
    Power Distance 38
    Individualism 80
    Masculinity 14
    Uncertainty Avoidance 53
    Long Term Orientation 67
    Indulgence 68
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  • Australians with Dutch Ancestry
    336,549 [2016 census]
Dutch in Australia
  • Population
    70,172
    [2016 census]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in the Netherlands.
  • Average Age
    64
  • Gender
    Male (50.9%)
    Female (49.1%%)
  • Religion
    Catholic Christianity (32.7%)
    No Religion (31.1%)
    Presbyterian and Reformed Christianity (9.2%)
    Other (21.5%)
  • Ancestry
    Dutch (89.3%)
    English (1.7%)
    German (1.6%)
    Other (5.7%)
  • Language Spoken at Home
    English (63.7%)
    Dutch (33.9%)
    German (0.3%)
    Other (1.2%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 95.5% speak English fluently.
  • Diaspora
    Victoria (28.4%)
    New South Wales (24%)
    Queensland (19.7%)
    Western Australia (13.1%)
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2001 (87.2%)
    2001-2006 (4.5%)
    2007-2011 (5%)
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