Tipping:  By law, the service charge for dining at restaurants is included in the price of the meal. If you feel the service was exceptional, you can leave a tip (10%) in addition to the price on the bill.  In bars and cafes, it is usual to round up or leave some small change.


As Dutch people are quite informal etiquette is not a big issue but,

You shouldn't start a conversation with someone without introducing yourself within the first couple of sentences, and tell them what your relation is to the host.  Always shake the person's hand when introduced to them.  The Dutch do a three cheek kiss, IF you know the person, starting on the left cheek(from your view).  A "Sorry" for bumping into someone, or a "Dank u wel" (thank you) will go a long way.

If you smoke, it is customary to ask the owner of the house if it is alright to smoke(some people hate the smell of smoke in their house or some may be allergic--some people even think smoking and secondhand smoke might be unhealthy and dirty - shocking!!!).

If you are with a group and buying a drink for yourself in a bar or café, ask the people among if they want a drink aswell, this shows respect and willingness to do something for them.

Take something with you when you are invited, a bottle of wine, a little bouquet of flowers, some chocolate, something of your own country will impress the host, explain what it is and why you brought it, this is a good starter when you come in and make the conversation a little bit less awkward.

Dutch Directness:


In general, all Dutch and specifically the Dutch living in the Western (urban) part of The Netherlands can be very direct or outspoken towards each other and to strangers. This "openness" sometimes can be misunderstood as being rude, nosy or unmannered. The Dutch merely see this as a sign of honesty and trust rather then being unmannered. So do not be shy and try to go with the flow. Also it is good to understand that few Dutch know the nuances and innuendo of the English language so they will try to directly translate what they are normally saying in Dutch.



Behavior in Public:


When it comes to behavior in public The Netherlands are very similar to other Western/European societies. Try to blend in. Loud, outspoken or provocative behavior will not be appreciated, especially not in public transport or crowded places.



Table Manners:


When going to a restaurant it is polite to wait until the host/waiter welcomes you and brings you to a table. In less formal restaurants, lunchrooms or diners you can just grab an empty table and wait for the waiter there. When in doubt just wait or ask the staff.



Europeans generally eat with a fork in the left hand and a knife in the right hand. In restaurants it is seen as awkward to just using the fork in the right hand when eating a meal.