Anyone who spent only a few hours in the Netherlands has probably been surprised – if not shocked – by the Dutch directness. Probably because of the Calvinist cultural roots or just because the Dutch have been fighting the North Sea for centuries to be able to survive and prosper, there's a global sense that no one has time for trivialities.

A current injunction to people who start acting weird (or just standing out of the crowd too much) is 'doe normaal.' You could translate it as a mild reprimand to calm down or a measured encouragement to keep your cool. To a large degree, this also dictates how the Netherlands deals with technology. Does it work? Does it do something useful? Then, yes, let's use it. If not, who has time for this? But in any case, just doe normaal.

Here are a few examples of this cultural trait and how it shapes in many ways the Dutch relation to technology, innovation, and design: