Coaching By Karin

Coaching By Karin

Cultural Differences

in Europe

And World Wide...


Below examples are only a few. I do not pretend that I know, or mention, all the differences.
In my opinion all those differences are wonderful. That is what makes us human different from each other.
Although there are people saying that we are all the same.

Again, in my opinion, every person on earth is U N I Q U E.
There is NO 2nd (or 3rd etc.) You!
And don't let anyone take that away from you.
The best person to be is YOU. Yourself. And that sometimes is hard enough.


What is Culture? And what are famous Cultural Differences?

According to Wikipedia, Culture is the social behavior and norms found in human societies. Culture is considered a central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of phenomena that are transmitted through social learning in human societies.

This includes:
Art, Music & Dance: Fado Music in Portugal, Flamenco Dance in Spain etc.;
Technology, Cooking & Clothing: Taco in Mexico, Tapas in Spain, Spanakopita in Greece. The Sari in India, Kilts in Scotland, Conical hats in Vietnam etc.;
Principles of Social Organization: Democratic, Socialist, Communist, Capitalistic;
Mythology: The Odyssey by Homer;
Philosophy & Literature: 1984 by George Orwell, Les Misérables by Victor Hugo etc..

Folk Culture includes:
Celebrations: Koningsdag in the Netherlands, 4th of July in the USA;
Rituals: Bar and Bat Mitzvah in Israel, Circumcision in Muslim countries & Israel, etc.;
Patterns: As in real drawn patterns but also patterns of believe & act etc.;
Consumptions: Beer (Germany, Czech Republic), or Wine (France, Spain & Portugal). Tea (the UK) or Coffee (the Netherlands).

In culture also is included how people treat each other. From other parts of the same country, or people from other countries who live there.
As is the fact if a country is (or was) more Pro-Communism, Marxism, Socialistic or Capitalistic.

Is there a culture of worship a God? Or Gods.
And if so, what believe?
Christian, Muslim, Jewish. Or Buddhism, Wicca, Divinity etc.

At what age are you allowed to marry, and if there are differences between ages for girls & boys). If you are allowed to marry who you want.
Or your parents/family decides this for you.
Are you allowed to go to school as a girl? Or aren't you?

Or with what age you are considered to be "too old" when in search for a new job. "Neatly" said "Over Qualified".
In the Netherlands for example you are considered "Over Qualified" already from 35 years on.
While in Spain and other Southern European countries they hardly mind. More important there is what your qualities for that particular job are.

These are all differences in culture. But for sure not limited to these.
And many are not aware of the fact, that the culture in their country is only the culture in their country.
That is why I advise everyone to live a few years in another country.
You learn to be more open-minded. That there is more than the culture in your home country.
Also, you are probably going to appreciate normal things in your country more.
You also learn to accept, you have to, that not everything works out as it does in your hometown/country. You learn to adapt.

Just like all other things, Culture is subject to change.
Imagine in the 1950s when Rock & Roll first was heard on the radio.
According to many Christians, it was the music of the Devil. And when Elvis Presley started to do his hip moves (on stage!!!), he was almost pronounced as the Devil.
These days we hardly can believe this anymore. In the 1950s it was so new and for that difficult to get used to.

In 1967 in the Netherlands, it became a big riot when they showed the first complete naked woman on television.
These days, when there are no naked women on tv, it is strange. This is an, almost overall, accepted change in culture.

Till halfway the 1950s it was normal, and still is in many parts of the world, to discriminate people with other skin colors other than white.
The Klu Klux Clan was a huge organization many years ago. Memberships dropped down.
And start to rise again since trump (not worth a capital t) is the president of the USA.
The fact he is the chosen president doesn't say much about him. He still is a moron, someone who discriminates etc. etc.
It says so much more about the people who voted for him.
Some said "we didn't thought he would do what he said" (plain dumb).
Others say "he doesn't go far enough, throw everyone out who is not white (and preferably male ===> my words) & rich".
Plain racists & egotistic.

I know, I know. I always come back to discrimination & racism. Why?
Because this is an evil that should be rooted out. Completely.
And because many "white" cultures have their base in discrimination & racism. Where parts of discrimination are still widely accepted.

Even in a small country like the Netherlands, there are cultural differences between parts.
For example, in the North part the 11th of November "Sint Maarten" is celebrated.
While "below the big rivers" 11-11 is the start of the preparing for Carnival.
In Friesland they speak another (extra) language. Yes language, not a dialect. It is called Frisian.

All countries have their own Anthem, and their own Flag.

Some cultures appreciate it when, in a conversation, look each other in the eye.
Other cultures do not appreciate it. Because they find this un-polite & offensive.
There are countries who appreciate waving. There are who don't like this gesture.
Like thumb up is not appreciated all over the world.

And how about nodding? In most countries nodding means "Yes".
Not in Greece and Bulgaria. Maybe even in other countries it means also the opposite.

The cultural differences what you directly mention, as long as you are able to hear, are the difference in languages between the countries.
Although there are certain similarities between for example Spanish & Italian, the languages are different. Some Spanish people will be able to understand Italians without having learned the Italian language. Others won't.
This depends on how language-sensitive you are.

These are only a few examples of differences in Culture.

For Expats there are several cultural differences which are important.
For example the notice periods in different countries.
Spain, Italy & Malta: 14 Days;
Netherlands: Normally 1 months (depends on the function);
Bulgaria: Depending on contract. Mainly 1 month;
Czech Republic: 2 Months. But take care!
When you give your notice the 1st of the month, you have to work 3 months. As you only can stop per the 1st of the month.
Also Czech Republic. When you rent a studio etc. And your rent is ending (so you have a temporary contract for rent) you STILL have to cancel your, in my opinion not existing, contract for after the time you do not have a contract anymore.
I know, I know, it sounds ridiculous, but you have to. Other wise you will not receive the 2 months deposit back.
What I decided, is to send a few companies, with whom I do not have a contact, a cancellation letter.
You never know where I might have no contract that I need to cancel.

Very important for Dutch who want to work abroad!
Be sure that you still have an address in the Netherlands.
In almost all countries you need to have proof of address in your home (or other) country.
On the driver license & passport from the Netherlands is no address mentioned.
They stopped with this somewhere in the 1980s-1990s.
Probably the own country in the world with driver licenses & passports without an address.
Very clever as for this you always need to have tights with the Netherlands. Tax wise very clever.
You need this when opening a bank account, signing a rental contract or a mobile phone contract.
Depending on the country.

For opening a bank account you need at least:
Proof of employment in that country;
Proof of address in your home country;
Tax number of the country you want to open a bank account:
Extra requests depending on the country:
Social Security number of that particular country.

BE SOMEONE who makes YOU happy.

"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, You are right". Henry Ford