What role do cultural play in the survival of companies that face existential problems? We try to provide some answers by looking at the decline of the Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker. In 1996 this company went bankrupt and among the causes of this event cultural factors rank high, at least at first sight. We show that differences in national culture could have played a role in one of the defining moments in Fokker's existence: the failed take-over by the German aerospace giant Deutsche Aerospace (DASA). But we also show that an over-ambitious management was responsible for the situation in which there were no other options to survive besides a take-over by DASA. An increasing gap between the ambitions of the management to be one of the worlds prime aerospace companies and the limited resources of what was essentially a second-league player put Fokker in such a bad financial condition that it surely had to become an unbearable burden for DASA. So culture played a role in Fokker's decline, but its influence was at its peak long before the problems that brought the company down were recognised.