I have been in the Netherlands for a while now. In my opinion it’s one of the friendliest and most welcoming countries in the world. Having been in groups, lecture rooms, church and living with a few indigenous Dutch, I can conclude that a Dutch person will typically give you an infectious smile on a first meeting, although not knowing you well. But there is one strange thing about their handshakes.
Dutch smiles are mostly accompanied with a very heavy and serious handshake. I recently started my thesis and when I was introduced to the first lady in my group, she stood up, cooked a nice smile but launched into a serious and heavy handshake. I was surprised as I thought it was only their male counterparts who usually introduce themselves with this kind of handshake.
Concentrating on the Dutch handshakes might make you feel unwelcomed, but don’t worry: just focus on their smiles and kindness. It completely covers everything and that brings a relief.
Bright Amoah, an MSc Biotechnology student from Ghana
Do you have a nice anecdote about your experience going Dutch? Send it in! Describ an encounter with Dutch culture in detail and comment on it briefly. 300 words max. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and earn twenty-five euros and Dutch candy.