And I’m back! E só pra abrir as hostilidades, em vez de falar do Sócrates (it made me sooo happy!), vou mostrar os do’s and don’t dos Holandeses

1) Do not be late.  Ever.  For anything. Under any circumstances.  Not even if you call ahead. Really, seriously.  Don’t be late.

2) Do not “just drop in”; do not “just come by”, do not expect that, if you see someone you know out and about, that you will be invited to join their table.  It is not exactly a faux pas to invite somebody to join yours; but they will look at you funny and visibly recall that you are foreign.  Do not expect to be fed when invited over unless food is specifically mentioned.

3) Do not cancel, ever.  Please see #1.  For this one you may be forgiven if you are actually in hospital.

4) Do not use hyperbole.  Spontaneous compliments are also likely to startle the person you are complimenting and people literally do not know what to do with them..

5) Do not start a conversation by asking what people do for a living.  Instead, ask them what they did on their last vacation.  Or what was their favorite vacation.  

6) Do not touch people.  They don’t like it in general; or it will be interpreted as a come-on. (Be warned about flirting; Dutch men at least are likely to take you rather more literally than you might expect.  I never flirted with Dutch women so I can’t tell you). 

7) Shake hands when you meet somebody and say your name.  Look everybody in the eye, all the time.  The eye contact thing in Holland is a thing you get used to; it is hard to lose the impression that you are being stared or glared at.

8) If you are walking down the road and you hear a ringing sound behind you, it’s a bike.  Get the hell out of the way.  They will in fact kill you.

9) That crowd of people at the cash register is actually a line.  Do not walk through the crowd to pay, they might kill you for that, too.



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