The Culture Map


It’s the Culture Map by Meyer :slight_smile: You can read the Washington Post’s article here:

“The chart is based on Meyer’s own surveys and experience of working cross-culturally. Of course, reducing something as amorphous as culture into one dot on a graph is both difficult and subjective. But her graphs do reveal something interesting about how to successfully navigate cultural differences.”

What I liked the most in the article is the funny examples for the intro:

“As a bumbling American abroad, there is no end to the ways that you can offend people and embarrass yourself in the process.
President Carter succeeded in 1977, when he told the Polish people, through an unfortunate translation, that he desired them “carnally.” President Bush offended Australians in 1992, when he gave a “V-for-victory” sign, the equivalent to a middle finger down under. And Michelle Obama had her own moment when she half-hugged the Queen in 2009, one of the few incidences of public hugging in the Queen’s 57-year career.”

For Dutch, go on Quora and people give a peak in how is it in other countries from someone’s pov (not the same pov for each individual of course! That’s what makes it interesting :slight_smile:)

How are Dutch people for real?

For ex, 1:

"Living in NL for 57 years…

Dutch people don’t like to beat aroun the bush, at pointments, they tend to skip smal-talk. To some this appears very unsocial, though this is seldom intended.

Dutch people complain. Get used to it. About politics, about parking tickets, mostly about the weather: too dry, too wet, too foggy, too sunny. About immegrants (although many relatives were economic migrants and moved to USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand), Euro songfestival. YOU should be worrying, if Dutch people are not complaining.

Dutch are very fond of our multi-lingual capabilities, our most famous example is Dick van Gaal’s english.

Because of the small size of our country causes a minority complex, we like to play along with the big NATO-partners: Korea, Lebanon, Yuguslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan.

We used to be a Republic! But we appointed a King (Wilhelm-1) to get rid of costly and undemocratically elections. It cost some euro’s, but you get all the juicy stories in return for it.

Dutch people don’t like to be told what to do (Even if it makes perfectly sense). Stubornly we remain living several feet below sealevel. It is said that God created the world is 6 days, the Dutch did the rest.

Regarding footbal (soccer), we have 17 million captains…
We usually under estimate other teams, causing the national team, or local clubs, to leave competition much too soon.

Throughout history, we were at war with Spain (80 years), France, England (at sea), and Germany. But we love foreigners, because through trade they pay our bills.
In contrast with our neighbours, we’re almost never chauvinistic (besides during football periods), so we addopted many words from (mostly) english, french and German.
On the other hand, few dutch words are addopted by other languages, actually just one, namely: Apartheid. Something to be proud of.

We have many connections with America. Many names point back to us, like: Harlem, Broadstreet, Brooklyn. Did you know that New York used to belong to us? At that time it was known as “New Amsterdam”. We traded it against Suriname…

Regarding traffic. Rules also apply for people that drive bikes, although none ever remembers this. Red traffic-light seem only to lighten-up the cities, it seems.

Dutch painters are world famous. Illustrative is however that during “Van Gogh’s” life he never managed to sell much of his work.

Throughout the ages, we are known to be tolerant.
Except when dealing with: other genders, foreigners, competitive footbal-teams,

It is said that the Dutch spend the highest percentage of their GDP of helping other countries. Sounds nice, but most is spend locally. The very first stock-exchange was Dutch. We squandered many natural resources from other contries, like from Indonesia (former colony), and we were NUMBER ONE in slave trading.

Every year, in the weeks before the 5th of december, our country is obsessed with Sinterklaas. The REAL one not its derivative Santa-Claus. His coloured helpers have NOTHING todo with discrimination. Christmas is a religious festivity and not something commercial. Well atleast 200 years ago.

The things we treasure most are: our (personal) freedom but far more: satire!!!"

But I don’t know whether it’s true or not LOL I think it’s his opinion tangled with a few history facts (not to be considered your own truth, but his own truth, his perception).

Another 1:

"There are a lot of differences between provinces and even cities though. The Netherlands might seem small, which it is, it also has a huge density of people. Having lived in a bigger country like New Zealand with only 4 million inhabitants it seems crazy that the Netherlands has over 17 million people. Each part of the Netherlands has different cultures, habits and accents. For a foreigner it might be less distinguishable, but for a Dutchie it’s very noticeable.

I hope this’ll give you some insight, but take everything what I say with a grain of salt. How you interpret Dutch people is also dependent on your own culture and habits."


There’s one thing I have to question here… Britain avoids confrontation? It’s true that in recent times Britain will try to avoid confrontation in the first instance, but we have no problem being confrontational when we need to be.


Isn’t that rather clichéd thinking?

I don’t think that Meyer traveled to 20 countries and asked different people in that country what life was like.
How one says so beautifully with us " which does not fit, is made suitably" simply to the amusement.
At the end is unfortunately never mentioned, That there is a lot of cordiality… :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Maybe I just understand it the wrong way


Yeah, I think it’s “stereotypes.”

When I read the synopsis of the book, I’ve understood that:

  • she worked in America, Europe and met different kinds of cultures (and one of the explanation of these differences was the country they’re coming from or their origins. Could be people from Europe, Asia… we move a lot nowadays lol)

  • from her experience, she made a book orientated towards company management, leadership and communication to help managers or directors take cultural differences into account when they have international teams or clients (but yeah, in addition to that, we take also into account different people’s personalities…).
    A manager won’t be interacting the same with an Australian or an Asian or present the thing the same way.

(Just from clicking on her books, her next book “No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention” will be published soon and is written with Netflix’s CEO. Coincidence LOL)


I’ve wondered about the use of words here regarding “Confrontational”. I shared with my British friend about an experience I had and her response was “Oh yes, that is so typical, they keep to themselves. They don’t want to get involved.” What happened was , I was in France and I don’t speak a lick of French (I’m sorry) and was standing in the wrong line for a long time and this British family was in another line , they keep looking over at me. When it was my “turn” , I had to be redirected to another line, the correct line, the line the British family was in and I told my friend " They knew I was in the wrong line, why didn’t they say anything? (because I would have)". But , what do I know, other than my British friend, I don’t know any other Brits.

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