Working through a Dutch summer: not so bad after all

Working through a Dutch summer: not so bad after all

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:

 In 2014 almost 8,4 million residents in the Netherlands (roughly 50 per cent) travelled to another country for their summer holiday.

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

France is the long-time favourite summer destination hosting 18 per cent of Dutch foreign holidays in 2014, but Germany is becoming more popular with a rise from 13,1 to 15,6 per cent between 2013 and 2014.

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

 The most popular forms of transport to get to foreign holiday destinations are by car/camper van (55 per cent), plane (38 per cent) and tour bus (3 per cent).

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:

 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.

 Lunch outside at the closest terrace, lawn or park.

 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 can take a break from more formal clothing.

 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!


Beatrice Clarke


Beatrice Clarke

Beatrice is a native Melbournian who moved to the Netherlands in 2009. With a background in independent publishing and fashion, Beatrice honed her understanding of Dutch language and culture working...

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