How To Greet

I would describe the people as forthright, honest, down to earth, and open.
-Haley Smith

Dutch people will appreciate it if you take the first step in establishing contact with them. When greeting someone for the first time, you shake hands. This is common practice for men, women and children alike. You introduce yourself by stating your first name or first name and surname. Failing to introduce yourself will be considered rude.

For acquaintances, friends and family, it is customary to kiss each other three times on the cheek (left, right, left). This is generally the case when two women greet each other, or a woman and a man. Male acquaintances usually just shake hands.

When entering a room full of strangers, such as a dentist’s waiting room or a hair dresser’s shop, use a simple ‘hello’ or ‘good morning’ to greet everyone at once.

‘How are you?’ is not commonly used when meeting someone for the first time. In fact, it might cause confusion and make Dutch people wonder whether they have forgotten meeting you before. Just say hello, and save ‘how are you?’ for the next time you meet them.

When making a phone call, always state your name (and if necessary your company name). Even when you call a taxi, order a pizza, or ask for information, it is polite to mention your name. When someone calls you, do the same: pick up the phone and mention your name (and company name).

In the Netherlands it is customary to use the formal ‘u’ (‘you’) when addressing a senior person, it shows respect. When addressing an acquaintance or younger person, the Dutch will generally use an informal ‘jij’ (‘you’).