Greetings from around the world. Or parts of the world, let’s go with that

(Hugs, the universal greeting)

Before I moved to Amsterdam, I ended up working with a Dutch team on my first project of my secondment/ last project with my old company. I had never been to Amsterdam prior to that, and when they told me there was potentially a legislation to close down coffee shops in Amsterdam, I wondered aloud why did the Dutch have against coffee. Needless to say, my Dutch team decided it was best that they gave me a little 101 on Dutch culture and ways. What I then found fascinating as I lived in Amsterdam and travelled around Europe, were the different ways they greeted each other.


Its three cheek kisses, starting with (your) left, then right then left again


(Paris, France)


Two kisses bien sûr! Left and then right


One kiss only, so imagine my stunned Belgian friend and his girlfriend when I went it for two more (what?! I was coming from Amsterdam ok)


(Antwerp, Belgium)


As a woman, just try to avoid being kissed ok 😉

I guess then, the interesting comparison would be coming back to Asia

Beijing 2011 079

(Wangfujing district Beijing, China)


Typically it’s a handshake, though during Chinese New Year you would find most of them greeting each other with their hands clasped together, one in a fist and the other covering it, wishing a Gong Xi, Gong Xi


Mostly it was a handshake, though maybe I was hanging out with a lot of modern Indians, I don’t really know

New Delhi 2011 120

(Making amazing prata – New Delhi, India)


Most of the time you greet someone you are being introduced two with your palms flattened together, fingers pointing upwards in front of your chest. Men tend to say Sawadee-kap (with a sharp ‘kap’) and women Sawadee-ka, with a long drawn out kaaaaaaa. My Thai friend told me that a woman tends to sound so much more feminine with the long drawn out ka <– insert demure looking downwards stare here


(Malaysia, where kissing the hand of the elders is a norm when you say hello)


As for Malaysia, my land and my people, given it’s a mix of cultures and ethnicities, I would say the Malaysian Chinese tend to greet like people in China, Malaysian Indians greet like the people in India, and the Malays would greet people with a salam. Its essentially a handshake, but using both hands. Imagine your left hand, then the other persons right hand, followed by your right hand, and the other person’s left. A short clasp together followed by bringing both hands to your heart.

Most importantly, I thought you should know, Malaysians don’t really greet each other with a “Hello, how are you?” but rather with a “Hello, have you eaten?”

And as they say in Australia