Customs and traditions
Just like Sweden, the Netherlands is a
relatively rich and equal country and the way to
socialize and many customs are similar. Knowledge and
etiquette that work in Sweden often work well in the
Netherlands as well.
Men greet each other by taking care. Women, at least
those you know, kiss three times on the cheek. However,
it is not usual to hug when you meet.
Overview of the capital city of Netherlands, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
When you meet a Dutchman for the first time, he (as
in most other countries) becomes happy if you show that
you know something about the Netherlands, for example
about the country's culture. You can talk about family,
interests and work, but not much about how much you
earn. Dutch can be quite formal at first and getting
into political discussions with someone you don't know
is not advisable (although Dutch people often like to
Freedom of expression has ancient origins in the
Netherlands and the Dutch are often right. Foreigners
may perceive this as buffalo or rudeness but it is not.
It is accepted to show feelings, even affections, in
public. The Dutch usually have a liberal attitude
towards homosexuality, prostitution, light drugs etc.
Relationships and attire in the workplace are broadly
in line with the Swedish, sometimes with a slight shift
towards larger hierarchy and more correct attire (men's
suit). Dutch people are happy to come to meetings on
The Netherlands is known for its good cheeses, such
as gouda and edams. The country has a well developed
beer culture and here you will also find genever, an
older relative of gin. The food culture is worse off -
the most exciting is the one that comes from former
Dutch colonies, such as rice rice rice table from
Indonesia. Dutch people rarely invite anyone you don't
know well at dinner - instead they spend a cup of coffee
and the coffee break in the workplace is "holy".
The Dutch enjoy watching - and practicing - sports
such as football, cycling, swimming and skating.
The Dutch national anthem is Wilhelmus van Nassouwe
(Wilhelm van Nassau). It was written in the 1570s as a
tribute to Wilhelm of Orange (see Older History) and is
said to be the oldest national anthem in the world.
The national anthem is played, among other things, on
the King's birthday on April 27, which is a holiday (and
replaced the Queen's Day on April 30, 2014, since
Beatrix abdicated in favor of Willem-Alexander). Other
holidays are New Year as well as Christian holidays such
as Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and Ascension Day. On
May 4 and 5, the remembrance of the liberation from the
Nazi occupation during World War II is celebrated.
However, these are not public holidays, although many in
society still remain closed. There are also festivals of
various kinds, especially in connection with the tulips
blooming in the spring. Instead of Christmas presents,
family members and friends give each other presents on
Sint Nicolaas Day on December 5, while the children
receive their gifts the following day.
Violent protest at asylum residents
A meeting in the city of Geldermalsen where plans are being made to build an
asylum reception for 1,500 people degenerate into chaos and must be canceled.
Opponents of the construction plans run amok and tear fences and throw fireworks
at the police, who respond with warning shots.
The President resigns after scandal
Second Chamber Speaker Anouchka van Miltenburg resigns due to the scandal
with compensation to a drug dealer in 2000 (see March 2015). She must have
provided important information regarding the case. The scandal casts a shadow
over Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who has defended his party mates. A few days
after van Miltenburg's resignation, Parliament holds an eight-hour debate on the
affair, and the opposition goes hard for Rutte, Minister of Justice Ard van der
Steur and Deputy Minister of Justice Klaas Dijkhoff. However, a vote on a formal
reprimand is voted down, albeit by a marginal margin.
Jihadist recruiters convicted
Eight men and one woman are being convicted in one of the most extensive
terrorist trials so far in the country, after being found guilty of being part
of a network trying to recruit young people to jihadist groups in Syria.
Everyone has argued that freedom of religion and expression gives them the right
to propagate for jihadism. Three men, two of whom are sentenced in their
absence, receive six years in prison, three receive between three and five years
and three are sentenced to short sentences of between one week and five months.
The coal power plants will be gone
Parliament votes with little margin for phase-out of coal-fired power plants
in the country; The Labor Party supports the decision while the VVD opposes it.
A record number of asylum seekers
The Statistics Netherlands Bureau of Statistics Netherlands, CBS, announces
that the number of asylum seekers in September was the highest so far: 8,400.
The majority come from Syria, Eritrea and Iraq. As elsewhere in Europe, the wave
of refugees creates tension. Deputy Minister of Justice Klaas Dijkhoff has
warned in an open letter that asylum seekers are awaiting an "open reception"
awaiting them in the country.
"Russian-made robot behind crash"
The Dutch National Transport Administration presents the results of its
investigation into the air crash in Ukraine (see July 2014): a Russian-made
robot hit the plane, causing it to be broken. The investigation says nothing
about who was behind the attack, although others conclude that, based on the
firing point, it must have been Russian military or Ukrainian separatists. By
contrast, the Finnish Transport Administration believes that the Kiev government
should have closed the airspace over eastern Ukraine.
New asylum center
According to the authorities, the number of asylum applications has increased
"dramatically" during the year, although the Netherlands has not seen the same
amount of attacks as some other countries in Europe during the summer. A
temporary center for 3,000 asylum seekers will now be set up near the German
Russian no to court
Russia vetoes the UN Security Council against the establishment of an
international court to investigate those responsible for the shooting down of
the Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine (see July 2014). The Dutch Prime
Minister vainly appealed to President Putin shortly before the UN vote not to
stop the court. Russia claims it is too early to start investigating any before
the international investigation into the crash is over.
Riot after arrest
Police arrest around 200 people in The Hague since riots broke out in
Schilderwijk, an area with a high proportion of immigrants. It happens after
four nights of unrest triggered by the death of a man from the Caribbean in
police custody. Most of those arrested are teenagers who are fined but soon
Court order on greenhouse gases
A court unexpectedly orders the government to live up to its promises and
reduce emissions by at least 25 percent by 2020. This is a result of a lawsuit
in which a group of 900 people claim that the state is obliged to protect
citizens from the dangers posed by climate change. The goal is unique in its
kind and the environmental organization Greenpeace calls it a milestone. The
Netherlands has already decided to shut down coal-fired power plants, increase
the use of wind and solar energy and sharply reduce gas extraction in the north.
Elections to the Senate
When elections are held for the first chamber of Parliament, which follows
the regional elections in March (see March 2015), the right-wing Liberal
Democrat will be the largest with 13 seats, closely followed by Christian
Democratic CDA (12), left-liberal D66 (10), right-wing populist PVV (9),
socialist PS (9) and Social Democratic Labor Party (8). The remaining 14 seats
are divided by six small parties.
New government crisis threatens because of refugee policy
A government crisis threatens when the two coalition parties find it
difficult to agree on the conditions for rejected refugees (see also December
2014). Liberal deputies oppose support for asylum seekers who are going out of
the country, while the Social Democratic Labor Party wants some support for the
needy even if they are to leave the country. After eleven days, the parties
agree on a compromise that means that asylum seekers should be temporarily
housed, but only in five locations in the country.
The government parties back in regional elections
The two government parties VVD and PvdA lose a lot when regional elections
are held in the twelve provinces. PVV also backs slightly, while the left
liberal D66 and the Socialist Party become winners.
The Minister of Justice resigns after scandal
Both Minister of Justice Ivo Opstelten and his secretary of state Fred Teeven
resign because of a scandal dating back 15 years and concerns a deal between a
notorious drug dealer and a prosecutor. That is a setback for liberal VP's.
Opstelten has argued before Parliament that the drug dealer received
significantly less compensation for seized assets than was the case. The actual
handling of the case was not illegal.
Cyber attack against the government
Most of the government's websites are down one day in what is described as a
cyber attack. Some private sites are also affected.