At SBE 40% of the total student population has an international background, which means a lot of cultures are mixed together. This means that the most common language at SBE is English. Your lectures and tutorials will be held in English and amongst each other most students talk English too.

As working together with so many different backgrounds, idea etc, the university has rolled out a project called “the international classroom”, in which students are made aware of these different backgrounds, the consequences etc and how to deal with these differences.

However as the university has a Dutch origin, you will find the most common practices are from the Dutch culture/have a Western European background.


Here an overview of the most common Dutch stereotypes:

  • There is little hierarchy: Your tutor could be either a (associate or assistant) professor, a lecturer or a senior student. He/she only has a guiding role during the tutorials and not a standard teaching role. So you can easily address them with problems if you want. In general you address older people more formally, but besides that and when the older people have agreed to this, you can call him/her by his/her first name.
  • The Dutch are direct: the Dutch easily say what they mean. This may be a bit overwhelming if you’re not used to it, but this does mean you know exactly where you are with the Dutch. For example if they don’t agree with your argument they will tell you. This does not mean however they have comments about you as a person, just about your argument.
  • The Dutch are stingy: the Dutch want value for their money and are very critical. This does not mean however, that they are not willing to pay their share and are not able to have fun

Dutch practices
The Dutch in general have a ‘working’ day from 9 till 17h. The Dutch in general have breakfast by eating bread or cereals and go to work school, university, work… In the cities, people generally eat a sandwich for lunch and a hot meal in the evening. As the Dutch population is a melting pot of different cultures, so are the available cuisines. Typically Dutch are smashes and pancakes. However Italian (pizza and pasta) is very popular among the Dutch.

There are a few typically Dutch festive days, like Carnaval (February) and Queens day (April 30) during which the Dutch show themselves from a very different perspective. Also when there is a European or World football championship, the country turns orange. Not really events to write about, but to experience yourself if you have the chance.


The culture at SBE

So having read something about the Dutch culture, what can you expect when you study here?

  • Students and tutors here have quite a close relationship so that students can freely share their knowledge and opinions.
  • Even though you are responsible for the working of a tutorials group, this does not mean you don’t have to show respect. Respect each other’s opinion, stay polite and mind your own behavior. You are not allowed to use of phones during tutorials, nor tablets/laptops unless indicated differently

For more information about the Dutch culture have a look at: