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Living in the Netherlands: Bussum or Hilversum?

(87 Posts)
irishmumonthemove Sat 28-Apr-12 20:19:04


I have recently posted about education in NL and have that question pretty much sorted in my head. Now on to where to live. We want to live outside Amsterdam, close enough but not a suburb and are looking at the above two towns. I have spoken to schools in both that have places for my 3 children and we could get a rental house in both too. I will be visiting NL soon but would love some opinions from anyone who has/is living there. Both are excellent regarding public transport. Hilversum is a lot bigger- is this a plus or minus? Are there areas to avoid? Where's better for family life while still offering culture, sports, cafes, restaurants, parks, nature etc? Any thoughts welcome.

irishmumonthemove Sat 28-Apr-12 20:32:25

Top of my list also is meeting people and making friends. This goes for my Dh and children too though my kids will have school friends in time. So is one of these towns better than the other for all of the above?

BaronessBomburst Mon 30-Apr-12 23:43:59

I live in the Nijmegen area, so don't know either of these towns, but will ask around amongst my Dutch friends and will let you know what they say. Feel free to ask if you've got any general questions though. I've been here nearly 10 years and love it!

irishmumonthemove Tue 01-May-12 11:33:03

Thanks Baroness. I just saw the new Dutch thread- I will be giving my two cents in a few months. Running out the door now but will be back later with questions. Great to hear you so positive about living in the NL.

Pinkiemum Tue 01-May-12 11:48:35

Irish I live in Hilversum, and we love it, there is so much that goes on in summer, lot's of live music and festivals. I think too the trains will be better from Hilversum if you are wanting ones that don't stop at each station.

There are two international schools in Hilversum there is also an international mums and tots group on a Thursday morning, if your children are around that age, even there not you would probably still be welcome to joion us on the mums night out we have every month. though you could still go to mums and tots if you lived in Bussum.

Hilversum is also surrounded by forest, lots of lovely walks and bicycle rides.

I will try and think of more and send you a link if you like to mums and tots on face book.

irishmumonthemove Tue 01-May-12 23:06:34

Yes, i have a little one so the mums and tots group would be great Pinkiemum. We will move to NL in July- are there any Dutch language classes available during summer do you know? It would be good I presume for my older kids to try learn a little before school starts. Or maybe I should let them take it easy and get used to a new life and leave the language till school starts.

Generally, how would i go about enrolling my DD for a few mornings in pre-school in September? Are they free and what are the hours usually?

Have been looking on Pararius website for rental houses and it's proving difficult to find a suitable house. Have googled local makelaars and prices are a little cheaper. Any other ideas how to find a reasonably stylish 3-4 bedroom house in a good area? Is there a distinction between North and South in cities? Is 'South' a safer, greener, prettier area with better schools or is it the opposite?

I have the impression that dutch education is very good. Is that right? Are schools/teachers strict and serious with children? My kids school and teachers here in Ireland is quite relaxed and warm yet very on the ball too regarding bullying, academic work etc. It will be interesting too to see how the curriculum is different. Hope it's all not too much of a shock to them!

Is Hilversum an ' international city ' with lots of expats or a dutch city with a small number of non-dutch? How about Bussum? Is there an Irish community in Hilversum or are the numbers very small? Is there a Music School there where my kids can get instrumental tuition? Lots of questions and I don't expect to get all the answers!

irishmumonthemove Tue 01-May-12 23:07:45

Also loving the sound of festivals and forests and bike trails...Are the lakes close by?

natation Wed 02-May-12 07:34:33

Children start groep 1 at age 4. In Belgium children can start school as soon as they turn 2 1/2 (so long as they can find a place that is) and I think it might be like that in the Netherlands, that they can join once they are 4, rather than the September after they turn 4. I'll ask my Dutch friend - her son is at the national Dutch school in Brussels which is run along the Dutch calendar so she'll know. But there should be some mumsnetters who could answer whether it's the day you turn 4 or the September after you turn 4.

Anyway, before primary school from 4-12 (which includes the 2 classes previously known as "kleuter"), there are pre-schools called "peuterschool" or "peeterspeekzal". Some of these pre-schools are attached to primary schools in Hilversum, some are separate. They are fee paying. Here is a link to them.
Hilversum pre-schools
More about the pre-schools in English.
pre-schools English

natation Wed 02-May-12 08:07:40

I personally wouldn't put too much pressure on the children and sending them to intensive Dutch for the whole Summer. I'd seek advice of the international schools as to where your children can do activities in Dutch, either designed for children who are learning or with Dutch first language, but just a couple of weeks max will do I think. I put our 2 elder children into a week of French/multisports a couple of weeks before they started French school.In fact they learned very little, it was more a way of introducing them to Belgian discipline and their funny ways!

Here's a Summer week at de Lelie community centre where they have the English mums and tots...

Whilst search that link above, I found it lists even more pre-schools.
more hilversum pre-schools
Then I noticed a Dutch mums and tots on a Friday.
Dutch mums and tots
The de Lelie Community centre (wijkcentrum) where the mums and tots is, it is the only one in the central to south area of Hilversum, there are many courses for children here during the term time and also in the holidays. The centre also has a youth centre. Worth emailing them here for any other information on children, including where to find the local music academy?
de Lelie Community centre

irishmumonthemove Wed 02-May-12 09:13:51

Thanks Natation. Yes, I know children start the day after they turn 4. It's not imperative but most do. And again, I was thinking that it would be great to get the boys into a summer camp for a week or two hopefully to meet kids they will be at school with and as you say become a little accustomed to the new way of doing things. Thanks a lot for those links. Invaluable.

heroutdoors Wed 02-May-12 09:45:25

You are going to a fabulous area, there will not be a sink estate in sight.
Everywhere is nice. I would go for Bussum.
Will you have your own transport, and how old are the children?
I am asking about transport because there are lots of places within 5 mins of Bussum.

natation Wed 02-May-12 09:48:50

Dutch courses for foreigners in Hilversum

irishmumonthemove Wed 02-May-12 10:07:27

Hi, yes I will have my car and DH will use public transport. My children are 3, 7 and 9. Tell me more about Bussum and the surrounding area!

natation Wed 02-May-12 10:29:30

Here#s the preschools, will see if I can find more in Bussum.

natation Wed 02-May-12 10:34:18

Here#s a link for some Bussum preschools.
Bussum preschools

heroutdoors Wed 02-May-12 11:10:20

Hello again, irishmum
Bussum and Hilversum and the surrounding places are in an area which is called " Het Gooi ", an affluent expensive area.
Bussum has many good foodshops: bakers, greengrocers,cheese shops, patisseries, you name they have it. Good coffee shops and good small restaurants.
The surrounding area is lovely, yes with forests and near the lake.
And lovely little towns nearby. There is Naarden, Laren , Huizen.
Now with regard to the children I was thinking it would be good/nice to live where there will be lots of other children.
This can differ hugely between which part of town.
There is e.g. Naarden-Vesting, fabulous, right on the lake where a lot of families with children live. Also Huizen is good for children
If you can post what is available for you to rent, I can make a phone call to check what it is like .
I have not been for a few years but my family still lives in Bussum.

irishmumonthemove Wed 02-May-12 11:25:12

Our budget is 2k a month, possibly a little more but preferably not. Yes, living close to other children is really important. I think we would like to live close enough to schools, in a child-friendly area with access to nature and a good coffee shop!
Thanks Natation -looking at that link now.

irishmumonthemove Wed 02-May-12 11:37:13

Heroutdoors, Bussum has a good train link for my DH's work so we will keep our search for a house to either Bussum and Hilversum. In the future, he may have to work in Leiden so the quickest access to there is important. It's great you know the place. Thanks for your help.

Pinkiemum Wed 02-May-12 12:39:19

Hi Irish,

Are you planning to send you children to International school, I am not sure if there is one in Bussum.

Hilversum does have a large International community, Nike have there Eurpean Head quaters here, Phillips also. There are a lot of Children where I live in Hilversum which is known as the Bloomenburt

Hilversum is home to the Media centre of the Netherlands which is one of the reasons it has so much going on.

Yes it is expensive although with 2k per month you should be able to find somewhere nice, although I do know it is hard to fnd rental accomodation.
Are you moving with your husbands work, if so are they providing you with a settlement company, my husbands company did and they helped us to find our house.

My dd started Dutch school in January and she really loves it, she is given extra Dutch lessons, she has made many friends and there does not appear to be much of a language barrier her Dutch is also improving.

heroutdoors Wed 02-May-12 12:41:16

All the individual estate agents under one roof.
The stuff on Pararius is very expensive,for what is seems.
Good luck.

Pinkiemum Wed 02-May-12 12:42:39

Sorry forgot, Hilversum is a big town, if you want to eat out you will find a restaurant for every week of the year. There are also nice coffee shops. Bussum is also nice though not as big as Hilversum and the swimming pool for children is lovely, it is where we take our daughter. They also have a soft play centre which Hilversum does not.

natation Wed 02-May-12 12:55:57

This one looks nice...well looks best situated of the houses on the funda website with 4 beds in Hilversum. 3 schools within 1km radius, about 2km to the train station. 1700 so under budget.

Pinkiemum Wed 02-May-12 13:02:21

Natation, that is a nice area my daughter has a friend who lives about 2 minutes from there it is not too far from where I live about five minutes on the bike.

natation Wed 02-May-12 13:07:03

hey Pinkiemum, better get irishmum down there quick then. Maybe your kids will end up in the same school too. That would be funny! And there are preschools at 2 of the 3 nearest basisscholen too. And it's near the mums and tots.

irishmumonthemove Thu 03-May-12 00:10:12

Natation, that house you posted has nice living rooms but a small kitchen and garden. My own kitchen here - I couldn't swing a cat if i wanted so was hoping for a bigger one but it's looking like I will have to compromise pretty soon. Thx for linking it.
Pinkiemum, no - we are sending the children to Dutch schools.

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