Working through a Dutch summer: not so bad after all

07 August 2014, by

It’s that time of year again. Colleagues disappear for three weeks to an azure beach in a sunny country and you’re left holding the fortress.

But it’s not all bad news. Often working in the summer in the Netherlands can feel like a holiday in itself simply because the atmosphere is different.

Business in summer

The summer workflow often depends on what industry you’re in. Some Dutch industries such as the building sector slow down, with 90 per cent of construction sites closed for three weeks over the summer. Educational institutions and parliament also have set breaks over July and August.

However, for other industries, like hospitality and tourism, the summer months are peak period, when extra staff are often hired in to cope with the influx of holiday customers. Freelancers, or ZZPers, also often work through the summer, filling gaps for colleagues on vacation.

Dutch holidays in numbers

Here are some facts about holiday habits in the Netherlands according to research bureaus NBTC-NIPO and CBS:

69 per cent of the population is going on holiday this summer.

The most popular country destinations for summer holidays are France, Germany and Spain.

On average the Dutch take 42 per cent of their holiday leave during the high season months of July and August.

12,8 million people took one or more holidays in 2013, that’s 81 per cent of the population.

In 2013 there were 3,1 million city trips abroad. Most popular destinations were Paris, London and Berlin.

Benefits of working through summer

Sitting in a quiet office with the windows open and the sounds of summer outside often creates a holiday mood without even having to pack your bags! Here’s a list of benefits of working through the summer:

Lunch outside at the closest terrace, lawn or park.

working dutch summer

An empty office means more productivity, with less interruptions, fewer emails to answer, and long stretches of time to work through old tasks on your to-do list.

With most people away there can be a more relaxed mood in the office. It feels even better if the boss is not around to look over your shoulder.

The dress code is often more casual during the warmer months, so you don’t need to dress so formally.

Drinks after work, and a feeling of camaraderie with other colleagues who are also still around.

A holiday in summer means a holiday with the rest of the nation. Prices are higher, accommodation more crowded, and queues abound.

Working through summer allows you to save your holiday leave for the dark days of winter, when travelling to a warmer part of the world can help alleviate the winter blues.

Greetings from the office!

So when your colleagues return with stories of sunburn, traffic jams and too-full campsites you can give a refreshed reply describing the peaceful and productive days passed at the office.

Maybe working through summer isn’t so bad after all!


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About the Author
Beatrice Clarke

Beatrice is a native Melbournian who moved to the Netherlands in 2009. With a background in independ...

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