Skip to main content
OLC logo

OLC Editor

SFU Staff
All Faculties
Co-operative Education

The work environment in the Netherlands tends to be quiet, where workers are often soft-spoken, diligent and serious.

Hallo en Welkom in Nederland!

Nestled between Belgium and Germany, the Netherlands is a Dutch-speaking country known for its social tolerance and for having one of the most free market capitalist economies in the world. Also, as a member of the European Union,NATO, and theUnited Nations, the Netherlands maintains a very international profile. Amsterdam, Europe’s fifth busiest tourist destination, is its political, financial and business capital.

Home to van Gogh, Gouda cheese, and Ruud van Nistelrooy, the Netherlands culture is diverse, regional and reflects foreign influences. While Dutch is the official language, approximately 70% of the total population also has good knowledge of English, German, and French.

Interesting Facts

  • Dutch people are the tallest in the world, with the average height for men being 184 cm and 170 cm for women.

  • Famous Dutch artists include van Gogh, Mondriaan, Escher, Rembrandt, and Vermeer.

  • The Netherlands is the world’s first producer and exporter of tulips.

  • Dutch inventions include the microscope, the telescope, the pendulum clock, and the mercury thermometer.

  • The ‘Netherlands’ means “Low Country” in Dutch, as the land is mostly flat.

  • Well-known Dutch companies include the KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines), ING Group, Mexx, Philips, Randstad, Heineken, and IKEA (founded in Sweden but owned by a Dutch foundation).

  • The Netherlands has the highest number of part-time workers in the EU (4 in 10 people).

  • English speakers also often refer to the Netherlands as Holland, even though Holland is only a part of the Netherlands.

  • When Dutch schoolchildren pass their exams, they hang a Dutch flag and a school bag outside their homes.

  • The Netherlands has nearly 1000 museums, over 1000 windmills and over 1200 bridges.

Working in the Netherlands

  • The work environment in the Netherlands tends to be quiet, where workers are often soft-spoken, diligent and serious.

  • The dress code is quite informal, as it is important to not appear too wealthy in this egalitarian nation.

  • The personal life and business life is usually kept separate in the Netherlands; it is uncommon for coworkers to meet up for drinks after work.

  • The Dutch are punctual and expect a call or notice is one is going to be late or absent.

  • Staying late at the office often signifies that one is incapable of finishing his or her workload during normal work hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.).

  • Hierarchy in the workplace is respected in the Netherlands. However, teamwork is more valued than the demonstration of rank.

  • During a meeting, all participants are able to speak freely in order to better facilitate problem-solving. This may also lead to lengthy meetings.

  • Coworkers generally call each other by their first names even if they are of different ranks in the company.

  • Gifts for the host are expected at social events. If flowers are given, they should be of an odd number.

  • Workers are generally not rewarded individually for accomplishments, as the entire team is usually given credit for a job well done.

Beyond the Blog

  • Wikipedia theNetherlands

  • About the Netherlands – Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • Wikitravel:Netherlands


  • The International Criminal Court in The Hague

  • Check out the other countries featured in the International Spotlight.


OLC logo

OLC Editor

SFU Staff
All Faculties
Co-operative Education

The OLC Lead Editor manages content submissions, provides feedback on content submissions and assists with the development of content with contributors.

visibility  74
Dec 21, 2010

You Might Like These... International, Life Experience, Co-operative Education

International Spotlight: Korea

Bordered by China, Russia, and separated from Japan by the Korea Strait, Korea makes for a strong international hub of Asia.

International Spotlight: California

Sunny California is not only one of the favorite tourist destinations but also a state with a variety of opportunities.

Kaleigh sitting on a cliff staring out to the wilderness
My Co-op Work Term in Gaborone | Part Two

In Part 2 of her series, Health Sciences Co-op student Kaleigh Banister gets into the local Gabarone culture and takes a bit of time to explore the natural wonders she’s surrounded by.

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

girl smiling in front of a white background
A Q&A with a Co-op Alumnus

Today we’re talking to Rifayat Raisa, who graduated in April 2021 from the MA Economics program. During her time at SFU she was able to complete a co-op with Policy Reporter as a Research and Reporting Assistant. With this role she was able to break into the health economics industry and is still with the company today. Continue reading to have a look into her experience with co-op and what she’s learned along the way.

International Spotlight: Australia!

Whisk your imagination off to the world’s smallest continent and the sixth largest land mass on Earth. Not to mention a great place to do a Co-op semester. Meet: Australia!

Jessica Kehler
Life in Botswana: Jumping in With Both Feet

For four months Jessica Kehler traveled across the world to Botswana, working with Holy Cross Hospice, a non-profit organization that uses a holistic approach to treating terminal HIV/AIDS patients. Upon her return, the OLC sat down to learn about a country known for its diamond mining, tourism, and sadly, HIV/AIDS.