When relocating to the Netherlands, many people only have a very vague idea what to expect of their new (temporary) home. Apart from some thoughts about clogs, tulips, windmills and cannabis cafes, many people have no idea what living in this small country is really like or what they will have to do to make their time in the Netherlands successful and enjoyable.
The Netherlands (or Holland, as many locals and visitors will incorrectly but affectionately refer to) may be famously small, but it is packed with people. This means that getting to and from work is not the easiest, especially in a car. Long tailbacks clog up the main motorways every morning; in fact, those shorter than three miles are not even mentioned on the traffic bulletins anymore.
Luckily, many forms of public transport work well, and once you get your head around the routes, they can get you far. But, even though it may have been many years since you went around on two wheels, you should consider learning to ride a bike again. The flat countryside and excellent cycling provisions (cycle lanes and bike racks abound) make this the commuter option of choice for many.
Speaking Dutch isn’t something you will learn overnight. The pronunciation of many words is tricky for many foreign people and the Dutch habit of joining words together while splitting verbs makes reading tricky for the uninitiated. Luckily, most people in the Netherlands speak English, and German and French are also quite well understood, especially near the borders with Germany and Belgium.
Even so, learning a few Dutch phrases will stand you in good stead. Try a computer language course before you go or sign up at one of the excellent language schools you will find in the country once you are there. Dutch people will often switch to English if they see you are struggling, but if you tell them you want to learn they will be happy to let you try.
Get Your Paperwork in Order
Living and working in the Netherlands will involve permits, forms, and other paperwork. Because the country is used to a regular influx of expats, some organizations specialize in helping people get their papers in order. If your company is not taking care of the paperwork, get started well ahead of your move to make sure it is as hassle-free as possible.
Setting up a bank account, having the right ID papers for renting a home, and making sure you are entered into the tax system, are all things that have to be sorted out. Some documentation may have to be translated too. Pets can relocate to the Netherlands with you, but vaccinations, pet passports, and other issues can take time, so get started early.
Just as when you are moving home within your own country, relocating to another country like the Netherlands means you have to get your head around utilities, telephone, and internet connections. However, it is far trickier if you don’t know the utility companies, don’t speak the language and are trying to get on with a new and unfamiliar job! So, take advice from the experts. PartnerPete can arrange all utilities in your new home and to make life easier all our services are in English.
Not only do we have the expertise to make this happen quickly, but our partnership with main utility providers means you will also get a better deal than if you tried to sort things out yourself. Want to know more? Contact us, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Enjoy your time in the Netherlands – and don’t forget to try a “Kroket”, or a “Zoute Haring”- the typical Dutch foods most Dutch people living abroad say they miss most!