Student - January 16, 2020

The heavy handshake


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.

The Dutch smiles are mostly accompanied with a very heavy and serious 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 and earn twenty-five euros and Dutch candy.