To my friends in the Netherlands, can you explain end-of-email greetings?

agnt007

New Member
English
I work (remote) for a company that's based in Amsterdam, and I live in Los Angeles (lived in LA all my life). I'm currently trying to learn some basic Dutch to grow accustomed to everything, as I absolutely love the people I work with -- real straight shooters, no BS. The idea is that later on, I get invited to their office at the center of Amsterdam.

I noticed the way they talk with each other in emails and have a few questions. They usually sign off their emails with "Groeten van [insert name]". In the US, and all during college, I was taught to say "Greetings, [Larry or whoever]" at the beginning of the email, and just do a "Best regards," at the end. Is this something that's in Dutch or European culture or email etiquette? (apologies if I seem rationally ignorant - I've never been to Europe before)

Another question: Is it normal to say "Beste [Name]" at the start of emails? From what I understood, it's the US equivalent of "Dear [Name]", correct? I noticed they do it a lot with clients. I, again, was taught that you say "Hello/Hi/Greetings/Hey/[Insert name]" (at least in the US).

Also, one more question: if there is a direct line to an NL division in a company/client's company, will it be odd if I write in English instead of my (very very very rough and poor) Dutch? I can say basic things in Dutch at this point, but constructing full-on emails, I use my dictionary and Google Translate -- just afraid points will get lost in translation. Based on what I've read, folks in Holland pretty much all speak English, even better than I do.

Thank you.
 
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  • ThomasK

    Senior Member
    Belgium, Dutch
    This is a very difficult one. It used to be simple: in formal letters one used to write "Geachte" [lit. "respected ..."] and ended with "Hoogachtend" (Respectfully, lit. esteeming highly or something the like) or "Met de meeste hoogachting".

    E-mail (and...) has changed all that, I'd say. Less formal but still fairly formal would be "Beste meneer/ mevrouw X" [i.e., including the surname]. You could perhaps say: "Goede morgen/ goeiemorgen, meneer/mevrouw X!" (But a lot of people hat the exclamation mark and simply write : "Goede morgen meneer/ mevrouw X," which I object to as the "meneer/ mevrouw" is a vocative and therefore needs a comma in front of it in this case...)
    End: "Met vriendelijke groeten" is the most common, I think, even "Mvg". I like "Hartelijke groet!" (which is a bit more affective), or even "Hartelijk,".

    "Hoi (mevrouw/ meneer) Z" is wrong as for me: one mixes semiformal with informal.

    But I am Belgian. That may make a difference.
     
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