(Cultural) differences between The Netherlands and Romania 2

After the first post about the differences between The Netherlands and Romania I thought that I wouldn’t be able to find many more. Guess I was wrong. So today a part two.

Starting off with the man/woman relationship. The views on this is quite traditional and the question of feminism and equal pay is something more from the recent years. As a colleague explained to me, after the fall of communism, Romania had to deal with its basic stuff first. When this was (more or less) sorted out, other issues came to play. I notice it mainly in the small things. The men here would always let the women go first when walking through a door for example. In an elevator full of men they would wait for me to go out first, even though they might be closer to the door. I have to say that I find this quite chivalrous and don’t mind it all.

Another example is greetings between men and women. The first time you meet each other you shake hands, introduce yourself, the usual. However, if you’ve seen each other more often, guys would greet/say goodbye to guys with a handshake, and girls with a wave or something else awkward. If you’re friends you would hug each other, but I feel like it takes quite a long time to be called each other’s friends in Romania. In The Netherlands, you would either hug when you greet and say goodbye, or give each other 3 kisses on the cheek (one if you want to act posh for no reason).

Another thing I really like about living in Romania are the opening hours of shops. In The Netherlands, they would open at 09:00 and close at either 17:00 or 18:00, except for Thursday, then it closes at 21:00. Being open on Sunday is a thing of recent years and only in bigger cities. However, here in Romania, the shops are open from 10:00 till 22:00 every day. That’s right. EVERY. DAY. The opening hours in The Netherlands don’t even make sense since those are working hours as well. Here in Romania, if you feel like shopping after work, you can easily do that without feeling the need to hurry.

Another shop-related thing, the supermarkets are huge here. But I think The Netherlands may be the odd one here. Our supermarkets are half, maybe even quarter the size of supermarkets here. I would say it’s comparable to the size of a Lidl supermarket. However, I’m not complaining. Bigger supermarket = more choice.

I would say the biggest cultural shock when coming here was the pace everything goes in. It’s definitely more laid-back than in The Netherlands. I’m used to a fast pace environment where everyone is in a hurry, and coming to Iasi, I had to take it down a few notches. I have to say that I still prefer the fast pace environment as I feel like I get more things done then. However, I think it’s just a matter of what you’re used to. I bet that Romanians here would prefer the laid-back approach.

I think this must be it. There are more differences of course but they’re minor and not quite as obvious or important. However, if you do know more, feel free to comment!

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