When I arrived in the Netherlands I was surprised to experience that in the morning, when taking a lift with people I did not know, but with whom I was about to share such a minuscule compartment, I would not always receive a reply to my morning greeting.
I experienced this several times and with different people, which makes me think it was not just an occasional exception. However, I was astonished when some of them would promptly wave 'dag' as I got out of the elevator. This unexpected end left me not knowing what to think or how to behave (should I still try to say good-bye even after feeling ignored?) In my country, salutations within organizations are considered mandatory to create a good social environment. Not making eye contact and greeting in this particular situation of the lift, or, for instance, when two people pass each other in a corridor, is regarded as extremely impolite and disrespectful. Nowadays, I still try my luck every morning! Knowing that this attitude is not necessarily an indication of personal rejection allows me to be a little bit more complacent about it./Lídia Rebelo-Lima, PhD candidate, Laboratory of Food Microbiology