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A Dutch custom I will never get used to…

When it’s someone’s birthday here in Holland, you don’t wish them a “Happy Birthday,” you say “Gefeliciteerd,” which translates more closely as “Congratulations.” What are you congratulating them for? For surviving?  What makes even less sense is the Dutch custom that, in addition to congratulating the birthday boy or girl, you are expected to congratulate his…

The Polder Model in Action

Have you ever heard of the Dutch polder model? It’s a political term referring to consensus decision-making. However, here in Holland, it is used within organizations as well. The idea is that everybody in the organization (yes, including the cleaning staff) gets a say in any decision that will have any effect on them. The…

How to be Dutch

Here’s something I wrote about five years ago, but it still applies! How to Be Dutch There’s been a lot of talk in Holland lately about immigrants and about how and how much we should adapt ourselves into the Dutch culture. Clearly we need to learn Dutch, no question about that. But there’s more to…

A rant about Dutch supermarket shopping

I’m sure there are plenty of rude supermarket shoppers the world over, but this is something that’s happened to me numerous times here in Holland: I’m in line at the check-out. They’ve just opened up the line, so I’m the first one there. I start unloading the groceries from my cart (a week’s worth for…

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