The Netherlands is among the world’s open economies and stands among the best countries in the world for technology and innovation. The country offers an excellent infrastructure, a strong treaty network as well as a business climate that is competitive. Netherlands’ tax incentives are diverse, and is stimulating innovation as well as business activities.
Every country has its own rules and other cultural influences to consider when doing business, and so does the Netherlands. When comparing negotiating in The Netherlands in other countries like the United States (US) or the United Kingdom (UK), there are a few differences. Below are some facts when it comes down to doing business in the Netherlands.
When meeting your clients or investors, the Dutch tend to be informal even though formality is appreciated. The Dutch are direct (confront issues straightforwardly) get straight to business and spend practically no time with niceties, this will be done after the meeting. People also shake hands and finish off by saying, “Pleasure to meet you.” Make sure you don’t shake people’s hands vigorously, the Dutch don’t like too much physical contact so don’t go backslapping everyone in attendance.
Negotiating in the Netherlands is also very different than in the US or UK. The Dutch Leadership culture is about Consensus. Consensual decision making sounds like a great idea in principle, but people from fundamentally non consensual cultures can find the reality frustratingly time-consuming, but it is always effective. Therefore please expect the decision making to take longer. Don’t expect the manager to jump in and decide for the group. The manager is a facilitator, not the decision maker. Everyone at the negotiation table is often treated equally regardless of his or her position (hierarchy). If you want to lead successful negotiations, make sure you are ready to listen more, talk less, and understand others. The good thing about the Dutch is that their decision is always final. They rarely go back on their word.
The process is, however, not hard, and if you are a patient person, you will find it to be straightforward to grasp. Similar goes to the negotiating process. You should also keep in mind that the Dutch don’t like mixing business with pleasure. That means during lunch hours, you need to be fast so that you may get back to work.
Dutch Leadership Culture
- Punctuality is generally appreciated in the Netherlands. Last minute cancellation or rescheduling of meetings are not appreciated.
- The Dutch have an extensive degree of organisation and planning, from scheduling meetings to book holidays far in advance.
- Managers are vigorous and decisive, but the consensus is mandatory, as there are many key players in the decision-making process. The style has often been described as ‘Polder Model’: The structure of the Dutch landscape stimulated a type of politics that wanted to accommodate minorities, looking for compromises and consensus decision-making. The Dutch will share, comment, express their opinions and present ideas, based on the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.
- Employees and managers are self-initiate and demonstrate flexibility on how to achieve goals, while working independently.
- The Dutch Leadership culture is about Consensual and Egalitarian. Consensual decision making sounds like a great idea in principle, but people from fundamentally non consensual cultures can find the reality frustratingly time-consuming. Expect the decision making to take longer. Don’t expect the manager to jump in and decide for the group. The manager is a facilitator, not the decision maker.
- The Dutch are direct (confront issues straightforwardly) get straight to business and spend practically no time on niceties, this will be done after the meeting.