If you want to work in the Netherlands as a foreigner, it is useful to know more about the work culture in the country. After all, it can be quite different from what you are used to in quite a few ways! Some typical elements of the Dutch work culture are:
– Flat organisational structure. Dutch companies are generally very flat in structure and hierarchy is almost non-existent. Managers are very approachable, have a coaching role rather than a directing role, they communicate many of their plans with the whole organisation and also ask for input from employees.
– Explicit communication. The Dutch are known for their directness. Sooner or later, you will experience this on your work floor too. The direct way the Dutch communicate is hardly ever personal, but is mainly aimed at getting to the point in order to solve a problem quickly.
– Lots of meetings, The Netherlands have a real meeting culture. Everyone is expected to give input on a particular issue or problem. Only when agreement is reached, the decision will be taken.
– Short lunches. In other countries, long lunch breaks and/or extended lunches with colleagues are quite common. In The Netherlands, you see this much less often. It is not exceptional for Dutch employees to simply work through the afternoon and eat their lunch behind the computer.
– Good work-life balance. Another typical example of the Dutch work culture is the 9-to-5 mentality. A full-time job in The Netherlands means working a maximum of eight hours a day and 40 hours a week. Overworking does occur, but is certainly not standard.
– Taking initiative. Initiative is highly valued in the Dutch workplace. It is therefore usual that you not only work within your job profile, but also look at what tasks you can possibly take up outside it.
– Informal atmosphere. Most Dutch companies have a very informal atmosphere. It is not uncommon for colleagues to exchange private matters and also meet up outside working hours.
– Friday afternoon drinks. This is also a typically Dutch tradition. Many companies have the custom of closing a working week with each other in a casual atmosphere.