The heavy handshake

Dutch smiles are mostly accompanied with a very heavy and serious handshake.
Illustration: Henk van Ruitenbeek

I have been in the Netherlands for a while now. In my opinion it’s one of the friendliest and most welcoming countries in the world. Having been in groups, lecture rooms, church and living with a few indigenous Dutch, I can conclude that a Dutch person will typically give you an infectious smile on a first meeting, although not knowing you well. But there is one strange thing about their handshakes.

Dutch smiles are mostly accompanied with a very heavy and serious handshake. I recently started my thesis and when I was introduced to the first lady in my group, she stood up, cooked a nice smile but launched into a serious and heavy handshake. I was surprised as I thought it was only their male counterparts who usually introduce themselves with this kind of handshake.

The Dutch smiles are mostly accompanied with a very heavy and serious handshake 

Concentrating on the Dutch handshakes might make you feel unwelcomed, but don’t worry: just focus on their smiles and kindness. It completely covers everything and that brings a relief.

Bright Amoah, an MSc Biotechnology student from Ghana

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