They are known for their cycles, 🚴‍♀️but we are known for our tricycles (autos & rikshaws). But don’t be amazed if a Dutch colleague suddenly wants to sprint into one of them to save time. 🤣 We would usually take our Dutch counterparts in a car or cab, but they are down-to-earth. No wonder it is common to even see a CEO riding on his bicycle (what they usually call bikes) to office.

Feasting – We are used to sharing the cuisines we order for in a restaurant, but we might just have to stop peeking at what they are eating 👀 and control our hands and eyes as you might not always be offered a bite. 😂 Booking a nice restaurant with a grand 5-course meal and wrapping up with a dessert. Let’s be honest! Our lives revolve around some lekkere (tasty) parathas with veggies and then a nice chocolate mousse or tiramisu. 🍨🍫🍰 Broodje met kaas (bread with cheese) is what they usually eat for lunch. So if you are trying to organise a grand 5-course lunch then you might also have to be prepared to give an off for the rest of the day (or arrange a katiya 🛌). Nobody is interested in the menu of the day! All they want to get to is ̶ work. At the same time, when in The Netherlands, it would be a tad easier to tone down the expectations because it is not common to be invited home for dinner.

Forget your chai-coffee, hello, how do you do or sutta break. Get to the point and kick-off. 😜 No need to talk about koetjes en kalfjes 🐄 (talking about unimportant things). Chand-taare 🌛⭐ are beautiful and might be different in The Netherlands, but keep it to de koffieautomaat (the coffee-machine) while grabbing your coffee. Business is business, so no need to talk about the weather! 🌞 As easy as it seems, it is however difficult to put in practice. We are so used to first creating a mood for our business meetings too. Then, once we are settled and comfortable, we get to the point. But getting to the point costs India equally more, not to mention physically, mentally and monetarily. Use borrelen en netwerkbijeenkomsten (networking events & gatherings) to get to know your colleagues better.

Some words that are handy: meneer (sir/Mr), mevrouw (madam/Miss/Mrs), Het spijt me/sorry, hallo, goedemorgen/goedendag (good morning/good day), tot ziens (bye/see you later), u (a formal way to say you for elderly people, strangers, clients or people at a higher rank), jij (an informal way to say you).

Dutch Hindi
Hallo, hoi Namaste (नमस्ते)
Dank je! Shukriya, Dhanyawad (शुक्रिया, धन्यवाद)
Jij, jullie Tum, tum sab (तुम, तुम सब)
U Aap, aap sab (आप, आप सब)
Hoe gaat het met u? Aap kaise ho? (आप कैसे हो)
Alles goed! Sab theek (सब ठीक)
Dat is goed! Accha hai (अच्छा है)
Wat onzinnig! Kya bakwas (Strictly to be used in an informal space)😂 (क्या बकवास)
Wat, ben jij gek? Tum pagal ho kya? (Strictly to be used in an informal space)😉 (तुम पागल हो क्या)
Vertel maar Bolo (casual way), boliye, batayein (बोलो, बोलियें, बताएं)
Prima Accha, theek hai (अच्छा, ठीक है)
Doei, tot ziens Namaste (Though we prefer saying ‘chalo bye’ in an informal space)

It is a pain for us to get up in the morning, drag ourselves out of bed and get ready for a meeting on time because we are known to be ‘never on time’. 🙈 But stiptheid (punctuality) is important for them. If late, keep the narration of the dramatic event for later if they are interested.

While doing business in India, there is a common trend of beating around the bush. In case of opinions and solutions which are not liked, we tend to be diplomatic. This could be the biggest cultural shock as the Dutch tend to be direct and honest. They are tough negotiators (onderhandelen – to negotiate). Once we enter a meeting, we tend to first exchange business cards which is, on the contrary, done at the end by them. Though it could feel privileged to have the personal details of the owner of a company, but it is not advisable to call them beyond the work hours. They generally work for 8 hours a week and we??? 😷😥

Playing meeting-meeting! It is loved, no wonder tons of agendas overflow from the drawers. But irrespective of your position, you always get a chance to be heard in a Dutch meeting. Now, “How should I look and what should I wear?” crowd our thoughts. 🧥👔👗 Though they generally have an informal trend at a work place, it is understood to wear a suit when meeting government officials or certain people of a high-ranking.

Dutch Meaning
KvK (Kamer van Koophandel) The Dutch Chamber of Commerce
BV (Besloten vennootschap) Private Limited Company
NV (Naamloze vennootschap) Public Limited Company
Eenmanszaak Proprietorship
BTW (Belasting Toegevoegde Waarde) VAT
Groothandel Wholesale business
Kleinhandel Retail business
Belasting Tax
Salaris/loon Salary
Loonsverhoging Pay raise
Inkomstenbelasting Income tax
Vergoeding Reimbursement
Richa Gujarathi

Richa Gujarathi

The Dutch Door®

We are recommended by the Dutch Consulate and Embassy in India, and however not affiliated with any other language institutes in Pune or Mumbai.