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Dutch culture

ITC is a multicultural environment to study in. People of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds walk through the halls of the ITC building every day. For many of them it's the first time in the Netherlands, and some of them experienced cultural shock when they first arrived. Read the short stories below to find out how international students experience the Dutch culture.

  • Everybody cycles

    Everybody cycles more

    "The first shock was of course the weather. I have never experienced winter before. Another shock was related to cycling. Dutch people are famous for their bikes, but I was still surprised to see that everybody cycles – men, women, children. Where I come from, women are not supposed to ride a bike."

  • Only one cookie

    Only one cookie more

    "There are some social rules that are different from Asia. For example, if it comes to food. In Asia, you simply put snacks on the table and people can take as much as they like. Here, it is impolite to eat more than one cookie unless the host offers it to you."

  • Open towards strangers

    Open towards strangers more

    "I have been coming to the Netherlands for about 4 years, but I still remember things that I thought were strange at first. There are many subtle social differences. Dutch people are generally more honest and less dramatic than Americans. They are also a bit more open towards strangers – for example, it is normal to greet people you don’t know on the street or in a doctor’s office."

  • Multicultural society

    Multicultural society more

    "Dutch people are very friendly and open towards others. That might have something to do with the big amount of foreigners that live in the Netherlands. I’d never seen so many people from so many different parts of the world at one place before."

  • Formalities take much longer

    Formalities take much longer more

    "I was a bit surprised with how the local people reacted to me as a foreigner. I expected them to keep their distance, but everybody has been very friendly and welcoming. Dutch people are generally warm and accepting towards others. On the other hand, formalities, such as making an appointment, seem to take much longer here. Everything has its specific rules, you need to follow them and getting anything done takes a long time."

  • Incredible public order

    Incredible public order more

    "There is an incredible public order and security in the Netherlands. I’m actually not sure what police officers do here! Everybody seems to follow the rules and respect others."

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