, there are elements of Dutch culture that sets it apart from Asia.
Firstly, their greeting is more liberal – cheek kissing, 3 times, for friends or even acquaintances.
Also, the Dutch are very thrifty, just like Asians.
Beyond these similarities, there are some notable distinctions in values.
Climbing the corporate ladder, or achieving career success, is a primary objective of many.
Firstly, the Dutch prioritize work-life balance and wellness very highly. Most people in the corporate environment end work at about 6-7pm latest.
This ripples out to operating hours of shops, which are required to close by 10pm latest every day. (unless you work in a MNC that’s driven by a foreign culture.) On the other hand, in Asia, work/career/financial success tends to be the single, top-most priority, at the expense of personal rest. It’s not uncommon to hear people working into the night, or over the weekends.
Secondly, a more direct and open communication style is adopted in the professional setting, unlike in Asia where silent agreement and instruction taking is more appreciated.
I appreciate the Dutch culture, and in fact find quite a few similarities with the Asian/Singapore culture.
Before my trip, one of my friends told me the European culture has more similarities with Asian culture than American culture with Asian culture, and I do agree with her.
Fourthly, kids move out of their home when they reach 18, compared to Asia where children continue to live with parents till they get married.
But that, I found the “soft” elements of the culture are quite similar with Asians, if not totally similar. Community/togetherness is highly valued – to the extent where shops are not allowed to open later than 10pm (and Sundays in some cities), so that people get time with their family and friends.
Dutch people are also very private, usually sticking to the same circle of friends, rather than venturing out to make new connections.
Face-saving is also important – Unlike what I’ve heard, the Dutch are direct when it comes to communication in off-work settings.