Dutch Culture

Greetings

  • The common greeting in the Netherlands is a handshake along with a nod of the head. This form of address is usually short. 
  • Among friends and family, it is common to greet one another by kissing on alternating cheeks three times.
  • Take both your hands out of your pockets if you shake someone’s hand. It is rude to leave the left hand in your pocket while you shake with the right.
  • The way people address one another depends on the context and social relationship.
  • Typically, people refer to each other by their calling name (roepnaam) or first given name (see Naming for more information).
  • When meeting someone in a casual setting, it is common for people to say “Hoi” (‘Hi’) or “Hoe gaat het?” (‘How are you?’)
  • Meanwhile in formal settings, the most common greeting is “Hoe gaat het met u?” (‘How are you?’). 
  • Greetings in the form of questions such as “Hoe gaat het?’’ (‘How are you?’) or “Alles goed?” (‘Is everything alright?’) are usually only asked if the person genuinely wishes to know the answer. 
  • Other common phrases when greeting someone is “Goedemorgen” (‘Good morning’), “Goedendag” (‘Good day’), “Goedenmiddag” (‘Good afternoon’) and “Goedenavond” (‘Good evening)

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