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Living in The Netherlands

As a foreigner you should realise that working and living in the Netherlands might differ from your country. Clearly there are cultural differences. As a country, the Netherlands has a liberal outlook, which stems from pragmatism and a 'live and let live' attitude. They always speak their mind and ask a lot what most foreigners consider to be probing questions about one's personal life. Their directness gives many the impression that they are rude and crude-attributes. They prefer to call it "openness."

In the office, meetings drag on endlessly since so much attention is given to the right to fully express one's personal opinion. The impression that something was actually settled in a meeting will be proven incorrect when workers later remark: "We didn't agree to anything yet. We only discussed it." This famously frustrating phrase is summed up by the classic maxim: "It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it."

Dutch people are used to dealing with foreigners. Businesses often operate in an international environment. Also, many foreign companies have a branch-office in the Netherlands. In society as well as in most companies people speak sufficient English to help you out.

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