GIFT GIVING IN
NETHERLANDS* - Gift Giving Etiquette
BUSINESS GIFT GIVING /
PERSONAL GIFT GIVING
- The Dutch like a balance in payment and other
obligations: they like neither giving nor receiving large gifts, great
favours or other preferential treatment. It makes them uneasy and they may
start worrying about how to return this generosity. They feel that just a
small gift etc. leaves them more free and comfortable because there is not
as much of an obligation. Large gifts may easily be interpreted as some
kind of bribery or unfair treatment to others.
- Wait until you have established a relationship with
your Dutch contacts before presenting them with gifts.
- Any gift should be of good quality but not obviously
expensive. Modest gifts are usually the safest choices. Expensive gifts
make people embarrassed and might even be seen as bribery.
- If you are invited to dinner at a Dutch home, it's
recommended that you bring a bouquet of flowers or potted plant for the
hostess. Another option is to send a bouquet or potted plant the following
- If you give a gift of wine, your hosts will be
interested and thankful, but may leave the wine unopened, thinking it does
not match this evening's food, or has been shaken on the way to the
gathering. Since wine collecting is popular here among the well-to-do, do
not give a gift of wine unless you are certain that you can make an
appropriate selection for the recipient.
- Bringing a gift of chocolate or candy is often
appreciated when you are invited to a Dutch home, especially if there are
children around. If you know that children will be present, it's
recommended that you bring something for them, too, such as candy or a
small toy. Belgian chocolate is highly appreciated.
- books about your home country or city, imported
quality pens, pocket calculators [only of designer quality], electronic
gadgets [only of designer quality].
*Vossestein, Jacob. Netherlands Business
Etiquette - Gift Giving. Executive Planet. 09 Aug. 2004
Above: The flag of Netherlands