Customs and traditions
Just like Sweden, the Netherlands is a relatively rich and equal country and the way to socialize and many customs are similar. Knowledge and etiquette that work in Sweden often work well in the Netherlands as well.
Men greet each other by taking care. Women, at least those you know, kiss three times on the cheek. However, it is not usual to hug when you meet.
- Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Netherlands, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
When you meet a Dutchman for the first time, he (as in most other countries) becomes happy if you show that you know something about the Netherlands, for example about the country’s culture. You can talk about family, interests and work, but not much about how much you earn. Dutch can be quite formal at first and getting into political discussions with someone you don’t know is not advisable (although Dutch people often like to discuss politics).
Freedom of expression has ancient origins in the Netherlands and the Dutch are often right. Foreigners may perceive this as buffalo or rudeness but it is not. It is accepted to show feelings, even affections, in public. The Dutch usually have a liberal attitude towards homosexuality, prostitution, light drugs etc.
Relationships and attire in the workplace are broadly in line with the Swedish, sometimes with a slight shift towards larger hierarchy and more correct attire (men’s suit). Dutch people are happy to come to meetings on time.
According to Abbreviationfinder, the Netherlands is known for its good cheeses, such as gouda and edams. The country has a well developed beer culture and here you will also find genever, an older relative of gin. The food culture is worse off – the most exciting is the one that comes from former Dutch colonies, such as rice rice rice table from Indonesia. Dutch people rarely invite anyone you don’t know well at dinner – instead they spend a cup of coffee and the coffee break in the workplace is “holy”.
The Dutch enjoy watching – and practicing – sports such as football, cycling, swimming and skating.
The Dutch national anthem is Wilhelmus van Nassouwe (Wilhelm van Nassau). It was written in the 1570s as a tribute to Wilhelm of Orange (see Older History) and is said to be the oldest national anthem in the world.
The national anthem is played, among other things, on the King’s birthday on April 27, which is a holiday (and replaced the Queen’s Day on April 30, 2014, since Beatrix abdicated in favor of Willem-Alexander). According to Countryaah, other holidays are New Year as well as Christian holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and Ascension Day. On May 4 and 5, the remembrance of the liberation from the Nazi occupation during World War II is celebrated. However, these are not public holidays, although many in society still remain closed. There are also festivals of various kinds, especially in connection with the tulips blooming in the spring. Instead of Christmas presents, family members and friends give each other presents on Sint Nicolaas Day on December 5, while the children receive their gifts the following day.
Violent protest at asylum residents
A meeting in the city of Geldermalsen where plans are being made to build an asylum reception for 1,500 people degenerate into chaos and must be canceled. Opponents of the construction plans run amok and tear fences and throw fireworks at the police, who respond with warning shots.
The President resigns after scandal
Second Chamber Speaker Anouchka van Miltenburg resigns due to the scandal with compensation to a drug dealer in 2000 (see March 2015). She must have provided important information regarding the case. The scandal casts a shadow over Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who has defended his party mates. A few days after van Miltenburg’s resignation, Parliament holds an eight-hour debate on the affair, and the opposition goes hard for Rutte, Minister of Justice Ard van der Steur and Deputy Minister of Justice Klaas Dijkhoff. However, a vote on a formal reprimand is voted down, albeit by a marginal margin.
Jihadist recruiters convicted
Eight men and one woman are being convicted in one of the most extensive terrorist trials so far in the country, after being found guilty of being part of a network trying to recruit young people to jihadist groups in Syria. Everyone has argued that freedom of religion and expression gives them the right to propagate for jihadism. Three men, two of whom are sentenced in their absence, receive six years in prison, three receive between three and five years and three are sentenced to short sentences of between one week and five months.
The coal power plants will be gone
Parliament votes with little margin for phase-out of coal-fired power plants in the country; The Labor Party supports the decision while the VVD opposes it.
A record number of asylum seekers
The Statistics Netherlands Bureau of Statistics Netherlands, CBS, announces that the number of asylum seekers in September was the highest so far: 8,400. The majority come from Syria, Eritrea and Iraq. As elsewhere in Europe, the wave of refugees creates tension. Deputy Minister of Justice Klaas Dijkhoff has warned in an open letter that asylum seekers are awaiting an “open reception” awaiting them in the country.
“Russian-made robot behind crash”
The Dutch National Transport Administration presents the results of its investigation into the air crash in Ukraine (see July 2014): a Russian-made robot hit the plane, causing it to be broken. The investigation says nothing about who was behind the attack, although others conclude that, based on the firing point, it must have been Russian military or Ukrainian separatists. By contrast, the Finnish Transport Administration believes that the Kiev government should have closed the airspace over eastern Ukraine.
New asylum center
According to the authorities, the number of asylum applications has increased “dramatically” during the year, although the Netherlands has not seen the same amount of attacks as some other countries in Europe during the summer. A temporary center for 3,000 asylum seekers will now be set up near the German border.
Russian no to court
Russia vetoes the UN Security Council against the establishment of an international court to investigate those responsible for the shooting down of the Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine (see July 2014). The Dutch Prime Minister vainly appealed to President Putin shortly before the UN vote not to stop the court. Russia claims it is too early to start investigating any before the international investigation into the crash is over.
Riot after arrest
Police arrest around 200 people in The Hague since riots broke out in Schilderwijk, an area with a high proportion of immigrants. It happens after four nights of unrest triggered by the death of a man from the Caribbean in police custody. Most of those arrested are teenagers who are fined but soon released.
Court order on greenhouse gases
A court unexpectedly orders the government to live up to its promises and reduce emissions by at least 25 percent by 2020. This is a result of a lawsuit in which a group of 900 people claim that the state is obliged to protect citizens from the dangers posed by climate change. The goal is unique in its kind and the environmental organization Greenpeace calls it a milestone. The Netherlands has already decided to shut down coal-fired power plants, increase the use of wind and solar energy and sharply reduce gas extraction in the north.
Elections to the Senate
When elections are held for the first chamber of Parliament, which follows the regional elections in March (see March 2015), the right-wing Liberal Democrat will be the largest with 13 seats, closely followed by Christian Democratic CDA (12), left-liberal D66 (10), right-wing populist PVV (9), socialist PS (9) and Social Democratic Labor Party (8). The remaining 14 seats are divided by six small parties.
New government crisis threatens because of refugee policy
A government crisis threatens when the two coalition parties find it difficult to agree on the conditions for rejected refugees (see also December 2014). Liberal deputies oppose support for asylum seekers who are going out of the country, while the Social Democratic Labor Party wants some support for the needy even if they are to leave the country. After eleven days, the parties agree on a compromise that means that asylum seekers should be temporarily housed, but only in five locations in the country.
The government parties back in regional elections
The two government parties VVD and PvdA lose a lot when regional elections are held in the twelve provinces. PVV also backs slightly, while the left liberal D66 and the Socialist Party become winners.
The Minister of Justice resigns after scandal
Both Minister of Justice Ivo Opstelten and his secretary of state Fred Teeven resign because of a scandal dating back 15 years and concerns a deal between a notorious drug dealer and a prosecutor. That is a setback for liberal VP’s. Opstelten has argued before Parliament that the drug dealer received significantly less compensation for seized assets than was the case. The actual handling of the case was not illegal.
Cyber attack against the government
Most of the government’s websites are down one day in what is described as a cyber attack. Some private sites are also affected.