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Anyone in the Netherlands?

(39 Posts)
Scootergrrrl Sun 14-Jun-15 07:34:29

We've just found out that DH's job will be taking us to the Netherlands for a couple of years. What's it like living out there? And what can't you buy there so I can start stockpiling (will be transporting an EU Yorkshire teabag mountain already)? And is the language very hard to learn? Between us, we speak a fair bit of German already so am hoping it's slightly similar!

Effiewhaursmabaffies Sun 14-Jun-15 07:52:36

Do you know where in the Netherlands? Den Haag has a very large marks and sparks, including food hall, so you will be fine for most things. Living here is good. Cycle to work every day which is so much better than sitting in a car. And there are no hills, so much easier, and proper cycle paths that are safe. Dutch is not the easiest language to learn, but there are usually language courses to be found relatively cheaply. Sundays over here are usually family/leasure days which are relatively relaxing.
People are very blunt and direct and it takes getting used to.

Scootergrrrl Sun 14-Jun-15 08:01:07

We will be between Masstricht and the German border. We lived in Germany for a number of years before so we are fairly used to the directness!

cannotseeanend Sun 14-Jun-15 09:08:53

Dutch is 2nd nearest to English after Frisian and with the added knowledge of German vocabulary and grammar, will be easy peasy, just change all hard "g" sounds to "hhhhhhh" and you're half way there already.

claraschu Sun 14-Jun-15 09:16:32

Do you have children?

cannotseeanend Sun 14-Jun-15 09:23:34

Oh and from Maastricht area, the Marks in Brussels is nearer to you!

Scootergrrrl Sun 14-Jun-15 09:33:34

Three children - 12, eight and four. We have access to an international school so that's where they'll go.

Effiewhaursmabaffies Sun 14-Jun-15 09:45:22

If you are near Maastrict, then you will have the limburgse dialecht which is sort of across between dutch and german. That will be easier if you have german. You will be ok.

Scootergrrrl Sun 14-Jun-15 09:49:06

Cool. Thank you. We had four years living in Germany when the children were younger so we're not phased by the shops shutting on Sunday-type stuff. What do Dutch houses tend to be like? We have had warnings about steep, windy staircases already. Do they have attics and cellars like German houses?

DuchessFanny Sun 14-Jun-15 09:54:00

Hello, I'm in Den Haag and almost all the houses I know have steep stairs. We've been here a long while and used to it now though !
I don't know Maastricht very well, but we love living here. The language is easier once you get your ear in, and the Dutch are brilliant English speakers for if you struggle at first.
Lots of shops are open all week ( they are here anyway ) and I can't think of anything you'll need to stockpile ..
Good luck on the move !

SolomanDaisy Sun 14-Jun-15 09:55:28

Yes, Dutch staircases are crazy. We had ours replaced. Lots of places do have attics, though in smaller houses the bedrooms are in what would be the attic space. Supermarkets do open for a few hours on Sunday,and once or twice a month the city centre shops open. Ikea is open every Sunday. Our local toko (international/Asian food shop) actually sells Yorkshire tea. Most supermarkets sell marmite.

I think the main issue you'll have with the language is the pronunciation, all that stuff at the back of the throat is hard to get used to!

Ringsming Sun 14-Jun-15 10:40:09

I really like Maastricht! Great area.

Personally I don't think Dutch is that hard a language to learn you just have to learn a lot of vocabulary to feel comfortable speaking. Grammar much easier than German.

Ringsming Sun 14-Jun-15 10:43:52

Ps I think Maastricht has koopjes zondag (might b out of date here) ie once a month clothes etc shops are open on a Sunday! That area is considered by Belgians to be more fun/ better food than other bits of NL because they're "bourgundians" .

cannotseeanend Sun 14-Jun-15 11:23:29

Maasmechelen is nearby open on Sunday, if you like outlet shopping.

BaronessBomburst Sun 14-Jun-15 11:27:25

You won't get a sore throat speaking Dutch in Limburg. It's much softer and there's no hard 'g'.
I live in Limburg too, but but in the north, kind of between Nijmegen (NL) and Cleves (D).
You'll probably find you want to go shopping in Germany. Food is much cheaper, and better quality. We always fill the car up in Germany too as it's 10 cts a litre cheaper.
Things you'll need to stock up on: medicines, especially anything containing codeine or pseudoephedrine as they're not available here. (So cocodemol, solpadeine, sudafed etc).
Er, what else?
Ginger biscuits, fig rolls, suet, spaghetti hoops, Christmas pudding, crackers with nice junk in, smoked haddock, Bombay mix, mince pies, black pudding, scotch eggs, sage and onion stuffing.
That's the list of everything all the expats I know miss between us!

BaronessBomburst Sun 14-Jun-15 11:32:43

Children's shoes are expensive; you'll wonder why other MNers are complaining about Clarks.
English language books are available with free postage on German Amazon.
I love it here. Only planned to stay a year or two when DH came over for work, but that was nearly 14 years ago.

Scootergrrrl Sun 14-Jun-15 13:03:58

Thanks for all the advice. It's really helpful. When we lived in Germany, we missed bacon and strong Cheddar cheese, both of which might be quite difficult to stockpile. The children are very excited at the prospect of bread, butter and chocolate sprinkles for breakfast though!

BaronessBomburst Sun 14-Jun-15 13:27:00

Jumbo sells Cathedral City cheddar, and you can also buy it in Edeka in Germany.
You can get bacon too. I know because I make bacon butties for the English drivers stopping off at the restaurant where I work. smile

BaronessBomburst Sun 14-Jun-15 13:29:25

DS has never had chocolate sprinkles for breakfast! I've never enlightened him as to their existence.
Have you ever had a stroopwaffel?
Mmmmmmm.

Scootergrrrl Sun 14-Jun-15 13:32:59

Mine spotted them at breakfast on an overnight Rotterdam ferry once. Stroopwaffels are delicious. We are also looking forward to a wide variety of pancakes!

SolomanDaisy Sun 14-Jun-15 14:26:33

Mine learnt about hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles) at peuterspeelzaal (preschool) where they gave him them for lunch!

Scootergrrrl Mon 15-Jun-15 18:32:07

I have another question - do foreigners get the Dutch child benefit? We did in Germany, despite not being able to get the UK one. It was odd but v welcome confused

SolomanDaisy Mon 15-Jun-15 20:23:42

Yes, we do. It's not much though.

cannotseeanend Mon 15-Jun-15 20:53:25

For me, the child benefit rates are not low. They are a small fortune.

www.svb.nl/int/nl/kinderbijslag/betaling/hoeveel_kinderbijslag_krijgt_u/index.jsp

SolomanDaisy Tue 16-Jun-15 09:05:06

I think it's only about a quarter of the German equivalent and its less than the UK (for those who are eligible).

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