I was recently tweeted a link to How Culture Shapes the Office, a paper by Christine Congdon and Catherine Gall published in the Harvard Business Review. I saw Catherine present the paper at last year’s WorkplaceTrends. I was impressed with the content and found it a sensible model with practical applications in workplace design. However, other conference participants unjustly criticised Catherine of cultural stereotyping.
The presentation and paper got me thinking about my own experiences of cultural differences. There are too many to mention in one blog. I touched on my experiences in japan in a previous blog on Vernacular Design,Climate, Culture and Teapots. In this blog I will focus on my views on the Dutch culture. Rather than just state my findings, with the holiday season coming up, I have phrased them as travel tips for visiting the Netherlands.
So to begin with, did you notice that I wrote Netherlands rather than Holland? Tip #1 is to never say you are going to Holland to a Dutch person. They will think you are ignorant or stupid or both ignorant and stupid. Saying you are going to Holland rather than the Netherlands is like saying you are going to the Norfolk Broads rather than the UK. As a child I thought that the Netherlands was where Peter Pan and Tinkerbell lived, but apparently not.