Every culture has its own recipe. So does the Dutch culture. Also when it comes to hiring and firing. Here comes what you should know about hiring and firing in the The Netherlands – written by a Dutch.
The Netherlands has been quite successful on an economic note for over 400 years. If you look at all the lists, the country, on a global scale, is one of the largest investors, has one of the lowest unemployment rates, and is one of the most wealthiest countries in the world. With only 17 million people, how can they be so successful in generating companies like Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever, Philips, ASML, ING, Akzo, etc. So how do they do that? The honest answer – it comes all comes down to the story of Hans Binker: the boy who put his finger in the dike. The Netherlands is a country below sea level. 400 years ago they had to build an infrastructure but they did not have the financial resources. They were good in one thing: trading. They established the VOC (the first ever stock listed company in world history). With the money earned, the Dutch built an infrastructure , which nowadays is still fundamental to Dutch prosperitywhat is still used in today’s society. The basis of this infrastructure is “poldering” (in Dutch it is polderen).
As a result of flooding disasters Regional Water Authorities, water boards called waterschap (when situated more inland) or hoogheemraadschap (near the sea, mainly used in the Holland region) were set up to maintain the integrity of the water defenses around polders, maintain the waterways inside a polder, and control the various water levels inside and outside the polder. Water boards hold separate elections, levy taxes, and function independently from other government bodies. Their function is basically unchanged even today. As such they are the oldest democratic institution in the country. The necessary cooperation among all ranks to maintain polder integrity gave its name to the Dutch version of third way politics—the Polder Model.
So when it comes down to hiring and firing, the Dutch use “poldering”. They try to find common ground to hire and fire someone, thereby involving all stakeholders. The process is direct: they ask the age, set rules and regulations for hiring an firing men, women, race, education. At the end of the day everyone is protected and satisfied. The process is in general transparent and nine out of ten times it is quick. Keep in consideration, due to “poldering” everyone gets involved so if one party or another is not satisfied, the person hired or fired is able to be back at the drawing table again.
What do you need to know when applying for a job in the Netherlands:
- The Dutch are excellent in trading and dealing with foreign investments. They are also good in attracting skilled labourers. If you work for a Dutch organisation and you hold a foreign pasport you will get 30% income tax (rather than 52% if you earn more than € 60.000 annually). Great advantage fiscal advantage.
- As explained earlier, the Dutch are direct. Do not be surprised if the interviewer gets too personal (like what did your father do, do you have any kids, does your partner work)? This is allowed in The Netherlands. You are not allowed to discriminate so do not expect questions about religion, sexual preference or medical history.
- Networking is very important in the Dutch culture. Hierarchy in general is not. So if you know someone at the company you are applying with, do mention the name. Whether your contact person works in the mail room or is the CEO, the Dutch do not care. As long as you have a referral.