anyone moved to the Netherlands?

(14 Posts)
SunnyBaudelaire Mon 01-Dec-14 11:40:15

has anyone got any advice? I would have one 16 year old child with me, the other one is going to do a residential apprenticeship here in UK.
Any advice about which city would be nice to live, schools/colleges/burocracy/day to day life?
rents? security of tenancies?

OP’s posts: |
LemonySnug Tue 02-Dec-14 22:02:17

What would you want to do and for how long would you want to be in the Netherlands? What would your sixteen year old want to do? Do you (and your son) speak Dutch?

Plus sides:

It is a nice country, everything is close by. Good railways, quite good bus services, many places you can go around by bicycle (good cycle lanes).

Also, if you are in the Randstad (area between Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and the Hague) and you need a doctor OOH or within normal hours, all this is close by, easy to get appointments, some doctors still do home visits.

You can do lots of sightseeing. There are lots of museums (most are free entrance if you have a Museum Jaarkaart). Also nice nature reserves. If you like sports, then there are lots of clubs.

Down sides:

It is very expensive though compared with the UK. Taxes are high, goods and services expensive. Health insurance is obligatory and very expensive (about 120 euros per person for the basic insurance plus first 360 euros is excess charge, however, your sixteen year old probably will be part of your insurance). Service is hit and miss.


There are quite large expat communities in and around Hilversum, Utrecht, The Hague, Wassenaar and of course Amsterdam.

SunnyBaudelaire Wed 03-Dec-14 12:50:38

Thank you Lemony! well I have an online business that I would continue with.
We do not speak Dutch.
I just like it there from many visits over the years.
maybe a bit crazy to upsticks and move there - certainly the 16year old is taking some persuading!

OP’s posts: |
LemonySnug Wed 03-Dec-14 21:47:57

Would you have to send your stuff by mail/parcel delivery? Are your main customers based in the Netherlands or else where? Reason I am asking is that the Dutch mail services are being reorganised and reorganised. Staff is very demoralised and quite a lot of the deliveries are being carried out by very disgruntled part-timers and/or students. Result is a very haphazard service. Significant chance that goods arrive damaged and/or late or not at all (stuff seems to get nicked on regular basis as well). On top of this, Dutch mail services are much more expensive than UK services where you can choose from a whole number of delivery companies.

Not trying to put you off, all depends what type of business you have. If you provide specific services the above may not affect you.

LemonySnug Wed 03-Dec-14 21:54:51

If he was slightly older it may actually be easier as he could do a degree here and should qualify for a Dutch student loan and the much lower university fees compared with the UK. Most Masters are taught in English, but there are also several Bachelors taught in English.

Also, consider tax implications. If resident here, you will probably have to pay Dutch tax = much higher tax rates than in the UK. You do not have a tax free allowance like in the UK. It is an eye wateringly expensive country to live. Same for cost of utilities = much higher than in the UK. Same for cars, road tax, car insurance, double to quadruple compared with the UK.

So, it is unlikely you would financially be much better off. However, quality of life may be better. Depending on where you go, what your expectations are and how easy you will settle/make friends - same applies to your son.

SolomanDaisy Thu 04-Dec-14 08:50:13

A lot depends on where you go in the Netherlands. We live outside the randstad and a lot of what Lemony says doesn't really apply to here. Housing isn't particularly expensive. We reliably get mail from England in four days, delivered by our regular middle aged postman, who chats and knows DS's name. Our car tax is low as we have a very fuel efficient car. I'm self employed and our accountants seem to make sure I do ok tax wise. We have same day access to doctors and dentists. The downside is there is much less work for non Dutch speakers.

What would your son do? It would be an awkward age to move into Dutch language sxhool, so you would have to go for an international school, which is expensive.

SunnyBaudelaire Thu 04-Dec-14 14:19:50

Thank you Lemony and Solaman for some good and practical advice -
my online business is purely online.
Not sure about the son - are there any kind of FE type colleges or is pre 18 education all school based?

OP’s posts: |


LemonySnug Thu 04-Dec-14 21:11:58

Kids who are not planning to go to university tend to go to the MBO by the time they are 15/16. There are many different types of MBOs but I expect that all the teaching will be in Dutch.

SunnyBaudelaire Fri 05-Dec-14 09:24:42

what is an MBO? I suppose Dutch schools and colleges must be set up for those that do not have Dutch as a first language in the same way as those in the UK are?

OP’s posts: |
TopazRocks Fri 05-Dec-14 19:01:50

If your younger child is 16, would it not be possible to postpone a move till he/she is a bit older and in some kind of post-16 education/work in the UK? and at least you'd not be far away in the NL.

SunnyBaudelaire Sat 06-Dec-14 11:00:16

Perhaps you are right topaz, I should put this plan on hold for another 12 months or so...

OP’s posts: |
livingzuid Tue 20-Jan-15 18:29:52

Hi OP not sure if you are still around but there are MBOs offered in English and some in partnership with BTEC in Amsterdam so it does not have to be a huge educational battle for your dc. Also prices at an international school vary depending on where you are. Hilversum for example is rated one of the best but also is the cheapest. It is state subsidised in many schools but again fees vary. Most offer the IB.

Rotterdam where I am has a large expat community but I found The Hague much more geared up to overseas residents. But we are quite happy here smile it is not too expensive and the health care is excellent. I have just moved back after a stint in the UK as I preferred it greatly. I actually don't find it any more expensive than the UK. Some things are such as cars, but other things on a day to day basis are the same or less and there is an OK exchange rate at the moment from pound to Euro. You can get deals on food etc if you shop around and the higher taxes equal much better infrastructure such as public transport ime.

Not speaking Dutch isn't necessarily a barrier as the majority have such good English. It's good to learn the basics at least though, and a nice way of meeting people.

livingzuid Tue 20-Jan-15 18:38:28

Gaaa lost my message but Google the Dutch education system for an explanation. Basically an MBO is a vocational qualification and at its highest level (4) leads to a university of applied science called a hogeschool (they can't call themselves universities in Dutch though) where you get something called an HBO and the other is a vvo or havo which takes you to a research university and you get a bachelors. Both are very respected qualifications but used differently. The idea of an HBO is around local workforce demand so you study and do internships with local companies (DH is doing his now). It is a very different system to the UK so it is hard to compare the two ime. Many have courses in English. Good luck smile

livingzuid Tue 20-Jan-15 18:43:04

Also I am continually ordering things from the UK and US as the shopping is admittedly not quite the same grin and have had no problems with the post. Also shipping stuff to family in nz and the US was cheaper and more reliable than from the UK.

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