My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: VIII. The Palestinians, the Israelis and the Dutch
Hofstede (n.d. a) wrote as follows:
The Netherlands is indicative of a society with more individualistic attitudes and relatively loose bonds with others. The populace is more self-reliant and looks out for themselves and their close family members. […] Privacy is considered the cultural norm and attempts at personal ingratiating may meet with rebuff. Due to the importance of the individual within the society, individual pride and respect are highly held values and degrading a person is not well received […]
Furthermore, Hofstede’s findings on the Netherlands indicate a low level of differentiation and discrimination between genders, and a cultural tenancy to reduce the level of uncertainty by enacting rules to cover most situations.
The notion that one needs to conform to written rules seems to have become part of the Dutch social unconscious. For many a Dutch person, it seems difficult to understand that life could be lived differently. The relative importance of rules seems to be in conflict with the idea of tolerance of other cultural expressions. Gordijn (2010) described this as follows:
The Dutch are famous for being, as they call it, ‘tolerant’ and they are also firmly convinced of having this positive quality. However, an important element of Dutch culture is a strong desire for conformity: if you want to be one of ‘the’ Dutch, you will have to become exactly like them. Those who do not conform to the values that are commonly accepted by the Dutch are being socially excluded. This contradiction between tolerance and desire for conformity is mainly a problem because of the lack of awareness of people about this part of the Dutch culture. Social practice is much more influenced by the above-mentioned sense of conformity than by this so-called ‘tolerance’ (p. 217).