If you are thinking about moving to the Netherlands, you should know that living in the Netherlands has its advantages and disadvantages. There are also differences between the south and the north of the Netherlands, for example, people in the south are more sociable than in the north.
In the Netherlands you are always respected in the workplace, but outside the workplace it is really hard to build a relationship with Dutch people. They will always tend to keep you out of their circles and friends without including you in their social life. To try to integrate into society, knowledge of Dutch is essential, English is not enough. If someone tells you that you do not need to learn the local language, you should know that this is only half true. You do not need it for most professions, but you can not do without it if you want to have a chance to integrate into social life.
If this piece of land called Holland, or rather the Netherlands, is one of the world’s leading trading powers, there will be a reason for it. There is nothing to do, business acumen is in their DNA. Therefore, even if they seem friendly and helpful, they will always tend to take advantage of any situation that presents itself to profit by legal or even illegal methods. I call this Dutch opportunism.
The Dutch are usually very honest people, but they are stingy and put money above everything else. Do not touch his money or you will be in trouble. If a Dutchman gives you a gift, you have to return it in a few weeks, and if he lends you 50 cents, do not forget to return it if you do not want to lose his friendship. If a Dutchman invites you to dinner at a restaurant, do not forget your wallet, because it is very likely that you will have to pay half the bill at the end of the meal. If he invites you home, never come empty-handed.
In the Netherlands, as in many Northern European countries, everything is codified, planned and predictable. These are the famous protocols that are so useful in the workplace and in public administration, but boring in social and private life, at least for us southerners. In the Netherlands, there is the famous agenda, which leaves little room for improvisation, spontaneity and imagination.
The Dutch hate latecomers. If you have an official appointment, you should arrive at least 10 minutes early, but even for private visits, lateness of more than 5/10 minutes is not tolerated. You must also make an appointment if you want to go for a coffee at the neighbors. Woe betide you if you suddenly show up at someone’s house for dinner or join a group without being invited!
The Dutch tend to be more direct. They love to get straight to the point without mincing words. They do not let their moods or sympathy for you guide them. If it is a valid person who serves the development of the company, merits are recognized fairly and honestly.
In contrast to other northern European countries, a certain “slowness” and a more relaxed pace prevails in the Netherlands. No one is in a hurry at work, people are quiet and often take their time talking. The Dutch person is a talkative person by nature and enjoys the pleasures of life, but do not think that they talk just for the sake of talking, because it is often the small talk that generates new ideas or opportunities.
Big cities, first of all Amsterdam, are ideal for young people with their international atmosphere and pace that allows you to experience the city 24 hours a day. In small towns, on the other hand, you have to get used to the typical Dutch lifestyle. After six of the clock in the evening, everyone is cooped up at home in front of the TV, and outside is the desert. On Sunday you are forced to do something because there are no shopping centers and everything is closed.
The bureaucracy is very simple and many procedures can be done directly online. The services work well. Transportation is efficient and punctual and the presence of many bike lanes allows cycling everywhere.
Life in the Netherlands is expensive. The cost of living is quite high. Just think of the cost of private insurance (from €100 per month), the cost of kindergarten (€1,000 per month, with partial reimbursement), the diesel car fee (€100 per month), the cost of transportation (a train ticket for a distance of 50 km can cost €15), etc.
The health care system in the Netherlands is private and expensive, you have to take out a basic package (about 100 € per month) that includes visits to the family doctor, for other expenses (medications, specialist visits and hospital services) there is a deductible of 400 € (throughout the year) that the patient pays. Ophthalmologists and dentists are not included, but it is possible to take out additional insurance.
Food culture is low on average and Dutch cuisine is very limited. With a few exceptions, most dishes are too fatty or too sour, too salty or too sugary.
There is always bad weather, you have to learn to live in the rain, except for the few weeks a year with good weather.
Living and working in the Netherlands pros and cons
Living in the Netherlands, pros
- Good opportunities and job satisfaction
- Flexibility at work
- Relaxation, leisure and family life
- The possibility to go everywhere by bike
- Efficient services and bureaucracy
- Multicultural environment
Living in the Netherlands, cons
- High taxation
- Paid health services
- Bad weather
- High cost of living
- Dutch opportunism
- Difficulties with integration
Living in the Netherlands, conclusion
In summary, the Netherlands certainly has a lot to offer for those looking to move to the Netherlands in search of job opportunities. However, keep in mind that you are in a country where the cultural and social rules are quite different than in your home country. In the Netherlands, they do not like it when you ask for help. You will always have to try to get by on your own, and if you can not, you may get help, but it will never be taken for granted or free.
In the Netherlands, everything works: the bureaucracy, the welfare, there is work, there is security, and above all, you do not live by illusions, you live by goals. But the sun, the sea, the food and the human warmth are missing. One has to make a choice.