• Italy!

    Italy: Rome' historic buildings. Go Now!

    Italy
    Crumbling buildings in Rome (pictured) only add to the atmosphere in a country where old is redefined and western civilization begins. Explore Italy!

  • Ireland!

    Ireland: Cliffs of Moher! Go Now!

    Ireland
    The Emerald Isle is world famous for its landscapes, foods, beers, and culture. Explore Ireland!

  • Serbia!

    Serbia: Houses in the mountains. Go Now!

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    Serbia is a historic power now looking internally to re-discovery their identity and future. Explore Serbia!

  • Armenia!

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    Armenia
    With a unique language, foods, architecture, and identity, Armenia is a fascinating country and culture unlike no other in the world. Begin Your Journey!

  • Switzerland!

    Switzerland: The Matterhorn. Go Now!

    Switzerland
    This mountainous country unites ethnic Germans, French, and Italians; making it home to a number of diverse cultures. Go Now!

  • Iceland!

    Iceland: Traditional House! Go Now!

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    Although linked to Scandinavia, as an island Iceland has a culture all its own, but most visitors come for the natural beauty. Explore Iceland!

Social Life in the Netherlands

Behavior

The Dutch are very well aware of the world around them as well as the differences in opinions and behaviors. Because of this they are quite understanding of various cultures and foreigners so odd behaviors are generally accepted (but not encouraged).

Your behavior should begin with modesty as being loud, rude, showing off wealth, or dressing provocatively will get you stares. Likewise, placing yourself above others or boasting is viewed negatively, whether that be in your attitude, talking about finances, making others wait for you at a meeting, polluting their environment, or even in personal relationships. Putting others down gets the same reaction; the Dutch view men, women, minorities, and people of all sexual orientations as equals and not doing the same can be very offensive.

As a visitor to the Netherlands, try to follow the lead of the locals by being modest, dressing in like manner (see below for details), dining in the local etiquette (see our Netherlands Dining & Food Page), and avoiding sensitive conversation topics such as politics, finances, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart.

Dress

The traditional dress in the Netherlands is best known for its footwear, which are wooden shoes or clogs. These were primarily worn in the muddy low-lying fields as they lasted longer than other materials in these conditions and leather shoes were quite expensive. More than just the shoes, the traditional dress for the Dutch varied from region to region, but there were some similarities. For women the traditional dress included a long, loose-fitting skirt, a blouse, and an apron, while men generally wore long pants, a shirt, a jacket, and a hat. Most of these outfits consisted of darker colors, but most had color in them, although many of the pants men wore were black.

Today, these traditional outfits can only be found on certain cultural occasions, and even then are rare as few people wear them or even have them. Not even wooden shoes are popular today in the Netherlands as modern boots tend to do the trick just as well, if not better as they are tall and keep the mud from falling into the shoes. Modern western-styled clothing is the norm in the Netherlands today and styles vary from individual to individual.

As a visitor to the Netherlands you are welcomed to wear just about any western-styled clothing. The Dutch are also quite liberal so wearing tight-fitting clothing or more revealing outfits is acceptable, but not encouraged as the Dutch tend to deflect attention and anything that attracts attention is viewed negatively by most people. Just try to dress for the occasion, meaning dress more conservatively and formally in business settings, churches, and other formal locations, but wearing shorts and t-shirts is common if just wandering around a city or going for a bike ride, which is a popular past time.

This page was last updated: November, 2013