Friendly Neighbors

Expats who are settling in the Netherlands are often faced with cultural differences, especially when it comes to sensitive and private issues such as moving into a new home and meeting the neighbors. Take Fernando and Elmira, who moved into an apartment in Amsterdam. They were thrilled with the prospect of a cosmopolitan life with restaurants, the canals and galleries around the corner.

And they were especially looking forward to getting to know their new neighbors, who had been so helpful during the move, better. However, Fernando and Elmira are from a collectivist culture, while their neighbors are from an individualistic culture – and this can lead to painful misunderstandings, illustrating how important it is to recognize, understand and accept cultural differences.

Jan Vincent Meertens
2017 Winter

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