No Double Dutch: plain speaking is highly appreciated!
The Dutch appreciate plain speaking above all else. Subtlety, diplomacy and coded speech can all lead to problems. It is important to be seen as unpretentious in your dealings with other people. And humour is used and appreciated but not in very tense business situations where it could be seen as frivolous.
Outsiders can often find meetings in the Netherlands somewhat frustrating and certainly lengthy. Meetings in the Netherlands are forums for debating issues in a full and frank manner where everybody is expected to contribute and everybody expects to be listened to. The purpose of the meeting is to move towards a commonly agreed approach which can then be implemented. However, reaching this common viewpoint can be a time-consuming business, needing a great deal of input from a number of differing sources. The positive aspect of this consensual approach to meetings is that, at the end, real buy-in has been achieved and therefore implementation can be really swift.
Despite their reputation for liberalism, the Netherlands is a conservative society and change is only accepted and embraced after much deliberation and discussion. The Dutch have a long tradition of internationalism and are possibly more aware of the impact of cultural differences than people from many other cultures. Their language skills are world-renowned.
Do you have any experience of the plain speaking Dutch that you can share?