I rushed to the parking lot to get my old bicycle. A busy day with coursework made me forget an appointment with a local bank at 3:30 pm. No time for thinking, I cycled quickly to the Dutch bank located in the city centre to meet the bank employee on time. Unfortunately, when I entered the bank, the clock showed 3:40 pm.
I looked around and saw that there were just two people waiting. So I thought everything would be fine to open a bank account. Only slightly worried, I went up to the bank employee, gave her the appointment note and said: ‘Sorry, I am a little bit late, these are my documents required for bank account opening.’ ‘You are late, please come back another time. I will make a new appointment for you’, said the employee. I tried to persuade her. ‘Please help me, I had a class and could not get here earlier’. She smiled. ‘This is a rule for everybody and we make no exceptions. See you next time and have a nice day.’
I came home and told myself: ‘I must manage time better from now on. This is a valuable experience when studying in the Netherlands.’ In Vietnam, there are more employees in the bank and you rarely make an appointment with them. You just go and wait your turn and then open a bank account easily. Even if you have an appointment and unfortunately you come late, you just wait until a bank clerk is free, as long as it is within working hours.
Sometimes, strict regulations are inconvenient for me. But I am now familiar with the Dutch customs and have found it interesting to make use of them to improve my capacity for adaptation.
Dung Duc Tran, PhD candidate in the Water Management Group, from Vietnam
Do you have a nice anecdote about your experience of going Dutch? Send it in! Describe 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 euro and Dutch candy.
NL: Te laat? Pech
Promovendus Dung Duc Tran fietste na een drukke werkdag net te laat van de campus weg voor een afspraak bij de bank. Tien minuten na de afgesproken tijd meldde hij zich bij de baliemedewerkster. Die bleek onverbiddelijk. ‘Je bent laat, ik zal een nieuwe afspraak voor je maken. Dit zijn de regels en we maken geen uitzonderingen.’ Licht ontgoocheld ging Dung naar huis. In Vietnam zou zoiets nooit gebeuren. Maar hij treurde niet lang. Als dit de Nederlandse manier was, dan zou hij zich aanpassen en voortaan beter op de tijd letten!