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Netherlands or Germany(32 Posts)
Good afternoon, I was wondering if anyone can give me some advice please, in living in either country.
I am a single parent with a daughter in year 7 and considering either country for better job opportunities and quality of life.
Can anyone share their experiences of living in either country. The pros and cons. Education, housing etc
Thanks very much
I should say I have been learning both languages and found German easier!
I have recently moved to germany and have to say that I've been bowled over by how kind, friendly and welcoming people are. But would you hope to send your dd to international school? Because I wouldn't say the school system is accommodating of pupils who don't speak German.
NL - housing: funda.nl.
This has renting and buying all over the NL - you can see the cost & also the types of housing available.
We lived in NL 10 years ago. Loved it. Our children were babies so no experience of the education system.
My father lives permanently in Germany.
I think NL is easier for English speakers as Dutch people have incredible English language skills (in general). You will find that everyone, even people behind the counter in shops, can speak English.
NL has mandatory health insurance. If you have a job lined up, make sure you ask how much will be in your pocket each month - you need to know how much tax, insurance, retirement money etc is taken out. This will help you see if you can afford the housing, food etc.
International schools in both countries would certainly be nice for your daughter but find out the cost!
Also, in the NL, public transport and bicycling need to be embraced. If you go to the NL, don't do what we did and choose housing on the basis of using a car to commute. The traffic jams are legendary!
I've lived in both countries, although we are back in the UK now. What kind of job would you be looking for? I would say that we found the Netherlands much more expensive than Germany (so much so that we would go over the border for shopping!).
Good morning Goosegettingfat! Thank you for your response. I am not sure I would be able to pay the international fees as a single parent. Therefore I was hoping she would be able to pick up German and make local friends. I am glad to her you are having a positive experience thus far. Where in Germany are you? I was thinking ofBerlin or Cologne!
Good morning user! Thank you for the link for housing. I will definitely check this out later today. It looks like NL speak English more. As above I won’t be able to afford international schools. And it is useful to know the net salary is not my final salary without taking into consideration the specified mandatory insurance etc
@scootergrrl! Morning, I am currently looking at working as a Teaching assistant however hoping to train in either country as a special education teacher. In saying that I was thinking of just getting a job and working out how either countries policies work in relation to Autism and promote/raise awareness. I have been searching. However, it seems that fluent Dutch or German is required hence I am learning both. My aim is to leave the UK by end of the year
Netherlands I wouldn't quite say I'm having a positive experience thus far- sorry to rain on your parade. There are many things that I'm thoroughly enjoying about germany (Bavaria btw) but seeing my kids so dispirited and lonely at school is breaking my heart. If I had a daughter at the start of secondary school, quite honestly I wouldn't put her in a local school in a country where she didn't speak the language at all, unless she was totally miserable in the uk and very bright and enthusiastic about learning another language
You might want to investigate the wages for teaching assistants overseas before you commit to a move - I'm not sure you'd be able to support yourself and your daughter, especially in the Netherlands where the costs are higher, and it's worth investigating how you would be able to study as someone from another country. Have you thought about capitalising on your language skills and looking into some kind of TEFL thing before you go?
BTW I'm sorry about your children, goose. Mine were in international/military child schools out there so they were with children who spoke mostly English which was a relief. I hope things get better for them soon.
I'm in the Netherlands, the basics of housing, petrol, cars, groceries, health care, taxes, etc. are high. The housing market is always crazy, but with better economic times (as they are now) it goes insane. Single parents have it hard despite there being quite a lot of supportive measures/services, I know many who have coupled up a lot quicker in part as a financial incentive. Salaries are higher than in Germany but I'd posit you'd have more spare income left there.
If you're in education there is a shortage of teachers (not sure on assistants) so if you were willing/able to retrain into a teacher there are a lot of schemes to incentivise that. I believe the salary for teaching assistants isn't very high, and it wouldn't leave you much as a single parent once all the bills are paid. Housing will take up the bulk of costs and in the large cities you won't have access to social housing for quite some time due to long waiting lists.
Realistically, getting employed as an English speaker will only happen within the Randstad area. The Hague is particularly expat friendly, so is Amsterdam but it's more expensive and the majority of international institutions are in The Hague. If you can get a job with one of the international institutions you'd be doing very well as they do not have to pay any taxes on that income but it also means you have no access to social benefits should you find yourself in need of it. There are also several English language schools you could apply to (the British School, the American School and the International School) and they usually offer a staff rate for their own children to attend. However, especially in The Hague, there are several secondary schools that offer bilingual education, TTO (Tweetalig onderwijs) where students with an English speaking background get preference in selection.
I would point out that secondary education starts in year 8 here and it's tiered into potential further education (vocational-college-university). Year 7 is pretty much geared around prepping for a standardized test that indicates capability, I'm not sure what the process is if you're coming in from abroad, but I would point out that it could be quite frustrating that she's placed in a lower tier than capable, and thus limiting her choices in further education on account of language. You can move up sometimes but you'd be losing a lot of years in the process.
Are you an EU national outside of the UK though? I think potential employers will show some hesitance WRT UK employees so long as Brexit has not been fully negotiated.
Goose I am so sorry to hear your children haven’t settled. I can imagine it’s heartbreaking. My daughter is quite sensitive and I thought if she went to a german or Dutch school she would make lifelong friends. In saying that I want her to be happy. I will look into international schools although it’s very expensive. There’s a lot to consider. I was thinking of Berlin. I had heard that Bavaria had a good expat community!! Thanks for your advice. I really have to make sure I am
Doing the right thing not just for me but my daughter!
Goose, I really hope your children settle too. Big hugs
Scootergrrl thank you re teaching assistant advice. I have found no wages and I assumed it would be pretty low. Hence why I was thinking of just getting a regular 9-5 job doing administrative work etc. I have not thought about TEFL I guess it’s something else I could consider. Thank you for your advice a lot to think about.
Berlin is quite expensive. We live near the black forest and it's very beautiful here. I teach EFL and have thought about doing certification here for full teacher training but I'm struggling to get my language anywhere near the right level and it's likely to take several years so I'm feeling discouraged. I actually think what may be best would be to take my TEFL experience and come back to the UK to work as a TA specialising in ESL support. But we're happy here for now.
D'S is at German school and has had no problems but he was younger, so had a couple of years at kindergarten initially.
Botemp thank you for your detailed explanation of the pros and cons of NL.
I’ve researched so many companies in the Ranstead area. I am particularly looking st The Hague, Rotterdam. Nonetheless I’m not prepared for my daughter to be held back at school as she is doing well. And being an expat could hinder her education.
Yes I am aware of the ongoing negotiations re Brexit, however with us not being out st the moment surely We are still able to move.
I’m thonking maybe I will just leave london and relocate!
Thank you all for your advice I will still
Consider a move if the right job comes up but I will think about relocation in the UK too. All the best
Teaching assistants don't seem to be a thing here and it's a pain to convert a UK teaching qualification into a local one. That said apparently the European Schools are hiring at the moment. Look at their website as they have locations all over and that may be ideal. You need the relevant UK qualification though.
Thanks Bertieboo for your advice. I have heard Berlin is lovely. TEFL sounds like a very good option although as you say I need to get my language up to scratch also if I moved to german. Which I have been doing! I’m glad you are having a positive experience
Just personal opinion, but it's a personal opinion shared by many, Rotterdam is probably the last place I'd want to live in the Netherlands. It's riddled with social problems and a lot more confrontational in attitudes. The international school there also has a terrible reputation.
I'd suggest looking at the smaller cities around the Hague like Delft, Leiden, Wassenaar, etc.
The American school in The Hague has a special needs section, it's predominantly learning difficulties rather than physical IIRC.
I was thinking more with Brexit long term as well, university education (predominantly in English now) is quite cheap (and I believe still free in Germany) for EU nationals but really expensive if you're not. It would be a shame to place your daughter in an education system that preps for that only then to not be able to afford it or burden her with huge loans as a result.
Everything botemp says.
Also, there are two types of international school - private and state. The state international schools charge fees but they're much, much lower (think €2000 p.a. instead of €13k). If your daughter joined a regular Dutch school, she'd have to do a year in a taalklas, just learning Dutch. So she would be 'behind' by British standards, but crucially not by Dutch ones. The Dutch somehow do not see being kept back as a bad thing - it's done when it's appropriate for the child and seen as an entirely neutral thing. But it's a tricky age to do this, because of the way secondary schools select students (as botemp said).
I'd join the Dutch Education Group on FB (it's an offshoot of Amsterdam Mamas group). It's Amsterdam-focused, but has members all over the Randstad. They know EVERYTHING about Dutch education.
Oh hang on! Everything in botemp's first post! Not her second one!
I'm in Rotterdam and it's an absolutely fascinating city. It is 'harder' than anywhere else in NL, but it's not all bad.
I suggest to check carefully what types of jobs might be available and open to you in Germany - for example when I went to school there was no such thing as a teaching assistant at all, there were only teachers, and to be a teacher you had to have very specific degrees, go through several years of training and then become a “Beamter”, a State employee for life. This would give you a very secure job and many privileges but was hard to get into, probably impossible for anyone who hadn’t been to a German university (sometimes even degrees from a different “Bundesland” wouldn’t be acceptable).
Admittedly this was 30 years ago (sigh, how did that happen?) and
I do believe Germany is becoming a little bit more flexible, but it’s definitely worth checking out the details in advance. Education is the remit of the federal states, so rules will be different in, say, Bremen and Bavaria. The non-state sector doesn’t play much of a role though I believe it is growing.
Having said that, “Inklusion” i.e. including children with SEN in mainstream schools is a big thing in recent years and my impression is that the UK has a lot more experience in this field, so if you have a background in this area there may be opportunities (especially if you have a degree to prove it, Germans are big on formal qualifications).
Generally speaking I would say that living standards in Germany are higher for most people compared to the UK. Salaries are higher, so are taxes and health insurance costs but in return you get better public services.