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Moving to The Netherlands

(35 Posts)
MuniS Wed 03-May-17 23:46:22

We are deciding to move to The Netherlands with our 2 year old toddler, purely because I am a teacher and love the education system being a lot more independent and outdoor based as well as starting at 7 years in comparison to the rigid, competitive, mentally draining structure of education in the UK.

Can anyone give any advice on areas worth looking into to settle as a family where there are good public, primary schools. We are visiting in July so would like to consider a few places. I'm a teacher and my partner is an accountant. We would also look into buying a property with a garden. Any advice on weather, lifestyle, people, socialising, cost of living. All advice greatly appreciated. Thanks!

user7214743615 Thu 04-May-17 11:19:53

For one things, school education doesn't start at 7 - children start school at 4. While it is true that the formal part of education starts later (third year of primary) and primary education is less competitive, the system is quite rigid and children are filtered at age 11 into grammar and technical schools. Beware that this is what you actually want before you move there.

BitOutOfPractice Thu 04-May-17 11:22:43

I agree with user - I think you need to do a lot more research on the Dutch system before you up sticks and move shock

BitOutOfPractice Thu 04-May-17 11:29:01

Compulsory education starts at the age of five, but almost all children start at four. Secondary education is selective, based on exams at 12.

I love the way that the stereotyped image of the Dutch as all being liberal dope smoking free thinkers is so pervasive that it transfers, in our minds, to their whole education system. The reality is different OP.

Plus, the Netherlands is a country with 18 million+ people. There's likely to be quite a few "good public, primary schools", bit like the UK. You might want to narrow your search a bit on a particular area / city before you start

BitOutOfPractice Thu 04-May-17 11:32:17

In terms of "weather, lifestyle, people, socialising, cost of living" etc (coud you make that any broader?) I'd say (just as broadly) - very similar to the UK.

They get the same weather as England perhaps a day or two later. There are 18 million people. Most are polite and friendly. Some are arseholes. They are about as reserved as the British I'd say. Most speak English though it helps greatly to integrate if you learn the language. They like to socialise exactly the same as British peeople confused. Cost of living is, I'd say, marginally cheaper than the UK but not much.

user7214743615 Thu 04-May-17 15:36:54

Cost of living depends heavily on where you live. Cities like Amsterdam would not be cheaper than many places in the UK.

Bear in mind also that tax is higher in NL than in the UK so similar gross salaries will result in significantly lower net salaries.

(I thought CITO testing was used for secondary school filtering in combination with teacher recommendations? With the latter tending to go in line with the socio-economic backgrounds of the children.... Primary school ends at group 7, i.e. age 11.)

MrsLettuce Thu 04-May-17 15:52:15

I agree, you need to do a LOT more research.

School absolutely does not start at 7 here. First school day is the day after the 4th birthday (unless that falls in the holidays of course) but school isn't technically compulsory until the day after the 5th birthday. However, crèches and playchools (Peuterspeelzaals) don't take 4 year olds. Never ever. A childminder might possibly but delaying school entry is extremely unusual indeed.

The last year of primary is group 8.

MrsLettuce Thu 04-May-17 16:00:32

Brexit is also potentially a huge issue. There's obviously no way of knowing what's going to happen but you'd have to be prepared to have to take Dutch nationality. It's very expensive.

MrsLettuce Thu 04-May-17 16:03:27


FacelikeaBagofHammers Thu 04-May-17 16:13:28

I lived in the Netherlands (Eindhoven) for 2 years pre-kids. I loved it there, people are lovely, very well connected etc, and I had a ball.

But I would never live there, purely because it's SO OVERCROWDED. If you live in a rural part of the UK, you will probably feel very claustrophobic. There are very few places you can go in NL where you can't see buildings or can't hear traffic. It's incredibly flat and very 'samey' in a lot of the surburban areas.

Given the huge population density, apartment living is the norm and houses with gardens are pricey. Having said that, the apartments are generally better planned and roomier than those in Ireland anyway.

Anyway if I had to live there, I'd try some of the smaller cities like Utrecht and Eindhoven, maybe even Rotterdam. I also liked places like Breda and Tilburg, 's Hertogenbosch was really nice too.

I hated the supermarkets over there btw, food choice was always a bit grim compared to home. I would be prepared to pay more than home I think.

Good luck with it all.

user7214743615 Thu 04-May-17 18:48:49

The last year of primary is group 8.

Ah, It's group 7 in the international schools. I guess this is to align with international education programmes such as IPC/IB Middle Years.

MrsLettuce Thu 04-May-17 18:54:28

No idea about international schools but that makes sense.

SvartePetter Thu 04-May-17 18:55:14

You definitely need to learn Dutch.

PestoSwimissimos Thu 04-May-17 18:56:44

I thought you said you were wanting to move to Finland confused

MrsLettuce Thu 04-May-17 18:58:56

Oh yes. You must learn Dutch, of course.

TBH I'd taken that as too obvious to mention but I suppose some people might not think it necessaryconfused

Whymeagain1 Thu 04-May-17 19:03:00

You seem to be a bit undecided, I've read three threads from you just substituting The Netherlands for Geneva and Finland?

EtonMessi Thu 04-May-17 19:24:42

but you'd have to be prepared to have to take Dutch nationality.

Sorry but this part is nonsense confused

MrsLettuce Thu 04-May-17 20:08:57

Are you a UK citizen living and well settled in an EU country Eton? Brexit means that it's potentially something that needs to be considered for those of us that are.

MrsLettuce Thu 04-May-17 20:11:14

Losing the ability to communicate adequately in English is also potentially an issue, it seemsblush

EtonMessi Thu 04-May-17 20:15:12

Haha don't worry, I have the same issue wink

No I'm non-EU living in the EU.

The nonsense part is the idea of having to take citizenship in order to be able to live in NL. You would certainly need to be prepared to jump through the inburgering hoops (been there done that) but becoming an actual citizen is an option rather than a requirement and would usually - not always - require you to give up your UK citizenship.

In any case I don't think the OP is serious, possibly just bored!

EtonMessi Thu 04-May-17 20:17:42

By the way mrslettuce have you lived in NL for longer than 5 years? If that's where you live of course. If so I suggest you apply for permanent residence.

EtonMessi Thu 04-May-17 20:20:05

MrsLettuce Thu 04-May-17 20:44:59

I really hope you're right! TBH I'm about as ingeburgered as one can get. It's not official though, apart from the NT2 B2. I don't think I'd ever want to move back to the UK but even after all these years giving up my nationality is still something I'd rather not do. We shall see.

I've been here 15 years Eton. I wonder if the duurzaam verblijfsdocument would stil be valid once the UK leaves the EU though. It's not a question to which the answer is know, as yet. It's certainly a lot cheaper than naturalisatie though. Should get one anyway I suppose! There are just so many unknowns <sob>

DangerMouse17 Thu 04-May-17 20:50:13

I've seen a number of these threads with exactly the same intro...Geneva, Finland, Netherlands. Make your mind up and stop hogging the boards OPP hmm

MrsLettuce Thu 04-May-17 20:50:58

Oh. Thank you so much! It would still be valid (for me) because my children are Dutch. Crikey. Thank you, you're much more helpful than the Gemeenteloket woman shock

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