Dutch Vs German Work Culture

In many regards, the Dutch and German cultures are quite similar. For example, both Dutch and German people have a strong work ethic, place a lot of importance on punctuality and orderliness, and are very fond of their beer! But there are a few key differences too, and not just in the language! Here are 5 Dutch vs German corporate culture facts that you should be aware of before your next business trip.

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Dutch vs. German – Round 1: Formality

When it comes to the workplace, the Dutch and Germans have different ideas about how formal aspects should be conducted. In Germany, it is customary to always address your boss with Sie (you), while in the Netherlands it is more common to use the informal form of address (Toon). In addition, Germans are often more formal when it comes to business dress, while the Dutch tend to dress more informally.

Another difference between the German and Dutch workplaces is the way that employees are expected to interact with each other. In Germany, it is common for employees to keep to themselves and not socialize too much with their colleagues. This is not the case in the Netherlands where coworkers often go for drinks after work or spend time together outside of work.


When it comes to working hours, the Dutch are known for their relaxed attitude. In the Netherlands, it is not uncommon for employees to take a few hours off in the middle of the day to go home and have lunch with their family or take a nap. This is not something that would be tolerated in Germany where workers are expected to be at their desks during working hours.

All in all, the first Dutch vs. German round has a clear result: German corporate culture is much more formal.

Dutch vs. German – Round 2:  Business Meetings

In Germany, meetings tend to be much more formal and structured than in the Netherlands. There is often a clear agenda that is followed and discussions are typically very concise. In the Netherlands, meetings are generally less structured and more open-ended. This means that there is often more time for small talk and informal discussions.

When it comes to making decisions, the German approach is typically very rational and based on facts and figures. The Dutch, on the other hand, tend to be more flexible and are often willing to compromise. This difference can sometimes lead to misunderstandings, so it’s important to be aware of it when doing business with either of these countries.

Dutch vs. German – Round 3: Authority and Hierarchy

In the German corporate culture, there is a clear hierarchy and employees are expected to respect those in positions of authority. This is not always the case in the Netherlands where employees are often more egalitarian. This difference can be attributed to the historical power dynamics between these two countries. For centuries, the Netherlands was a republic while Germany was ruled by an emperor. This has led to different ideas about authority and hierarchy in these two cultures.


While it would be easy to say that the Dutch have won this Dutch vs. German round, in the end it all depends on your working style. If you are someone who thrives in a structured environment where hierarchical dynamics are clear, you will love working in Germany. If you prefer laxer working environments where you can talk to everyone in an informal way, then the Netherlands should be your next destination.

Dutch vs. German – Round 4: Perks

In the Netherlands, it is common for employees to receive a number of perks and benefits, such as free lunches, gym memberships, and transportation allowances. This is not always the case in Germany, where these benefits are not as common.

On the other hand, German workers are often given more vacation days than their Dutch counterparts so, who has won this Dutch vs. German round is up to every person. Would you prefer to have more perks on a daily basis, or get more vacation days but fewer extra benefits? Let us know in our social media.

Shared values in the Dutch vs German workplace

As we said at the beginning of the article, the Netherlands and Germany do share a few key values when it comes to work culture.

These values include a strong focus on teamwork, a dedication to quality, and a respect for rules. In both cultures, it is considered important to maintain a good working relationship with colleagues and to put the needs of the team before individual desires. This focus on teamwork is one of the key reasons why both the Dutch and German workforces are so productive, despite the differences in how they achieve their goals.

Another thing that both Dutch and German people have in common is that, despite being used to communicating in English, they really appreciate it when people who come from abroad make an effort to use their language. Using the local language shows that you value their culture and, more importantly, that you don’t expect your international partners or clients to do the hard job for you.


Would you like to become fluent in either Dutch or German? You’ve come to the right place. At Language Trainers, we work with fully qualified language teachers who also happen to be native speakers of the languages they teach.

Sydney Carroll, a travel nurse from Chicago, recently took a German course with us online and had this to say about the experience.

“I’m enjoying my classes very much! I feel the pace is appropriate and I’m getting exactly what I was looking for, which is being forced to actually speak German to someone. I still freeze up a bit but I’m feeling more confident every day. I also surprisingly like the grammar part of it. It is something I feel I would’ve had a hard time learning myself, and I appreciate having a teacher to ask questions to. Chris also will give me homework, which I have asked for because it helps keep me motivated throughout the weeks when I don’t have class. Overall, it’s been a great experience with Chris.”

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