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Moving to the Netherlands? Any MNers there can help with questions++

(145 Posts)
Veggiemummy Thu 10-Sep-09 17:08:32

We are possibly moving over as my DH has a possible years contract over there. Ironically we have just been there for a 2 week summer holiday. His job would be based in Amsterdam with some travel to Belgium and we are considering where we would live. I quite liked the town of Leiden but not sure of cost of rent or if it commutable to Amsterdam for DH.

We have 2 boys DS1 is 4 and attends a Montessori school here in Derby a style of education we would like him to continue and DS2 is 9 months but is unlikely to attend much more than a playgroup within the year. What sort of child care and playgroups are there in the Netherlands for under 5's and is non Dutch speaking a problem. We are planning to learn as much as we can but in a year not sure how much that will amount to.

Finally what is it like living over there, we enjoyed the time we had there and we are keen cyclists so it felt like Nirvana for us. We are both Australian but have been living in the UK for over 10 years, so are used to being expats.

preciouslillywhite Thu 10-Sep-09 17:10:46

Can't give any advice...just an emoticon


Veggiemummy Thu 10-Sep-09 17:14:25

Thanks Lilly I'll take that as a little blessing from you grin

norktasticninja Thu 10-Sep-09 17:17:19

I'll get back to you later, the DC are being a bit mad and I need to cook...

I've lived in NL for 6 years now and know the area around Leiden pretty well.

LadyMuck Thu 10-Sep-09 17:20:30

Leiden is v popular with expat families, and good train connection with Amsterdam though it does depend on where in Amsterdam he would be?

Veggiemummy Thu 10-Sep-09 17:25:41

Thanks LadyM he is flying over for a visit to the prospective employees next weds so will know for sure then. Is the public transport expensive? We would weigh up the cost of living in Amsterdam compared to living out of it and him paying for the commute. What are the outer suburbs of Amsterdam like?

Norks thanks for ducking in I'm currently cooking pasta and ignoring watching DS2 as I type

preciouslillywhite Thu 10-Sep-09 21:09:56

Good luck. We've recently been on holiday over there.Pure niceness!!smile in fact I would (probably) chop off my little finger to go and live there for a bit.

(tho do you find veggie food might be a bit of a prob over a year??)

norktasticninja Thu 10-Sep-09 21:27:41

OK, I'll try and keep it shortish. Not something I'm too good at...

The Netherlands is a fantastic place to live, I'm sure you'll love it!

Leiden is a great little city. Oegstgeest, it's main suburb on the Amsterdam side, is also worth a look. Another bonus of Leiden is that it's only 20 minutes from the sea grin I've not lived in Amsterdam so can't really comment on it's suburbs. Sorry.

School starts at age 4 here but my DC are both under two so it's not something I know too much about. Finding a Montessori school shouldn't be a problem though, there's even one in our village! Nurseries are very widely used here (maternity leave is only 10-12 weeks) and there are usually waiting lists at the better ones. The standard is generally pretty high though.

Playgroups are pretty thin on the ground, although I'm sure there will be some if you're living in a city. There are none in my village and it's not a small village by any stretch of the imagination. There is an English language toddler group once a week in Voorhout, a village about 10 minutes outside Leiden.

The public transport here is great (but the Dutch complain about it constantly) and cheaper than in the UK. You can get an idea of prices here. But, road travel can be a total PITA at peak times. Commuting between Leiden and Amsterdam by car would mean often sitting traffic jams unless your DP's working unusual hours.

Not speaking Dutch isn't likely to be a problem at all, almost all Futch people speak good English. It is worth learning a bit of though, well, as much as possible really. It makes things much easier. The DC will almost certainly pick it up really quickly smile

Are you looking to rent? This site is very widely used to advertise properties.

Plaats of postcode = Place or postcode
Prijsklasse - van/tot = price class - from/to
Zoeken = Search

Erm, ok, I think that was all the things you asked. Hope it's some use! I must go to bed now, will check back tomorrow.

norktasticninja Thu 10-Sep-09 21:37:02

Not speaking Dutch isn't likely to be a problem at all, almost all Dutch people speak good English. It is worth learning a bit of Dutch though, well, as much as possible really. It makes things much easier.

Veggiemummy Fri 11-Sep-09 09:27:50

Norks that's is all soooooo so helpful thank you. We stayed in Wassenar for 2 weeks and loved all the beaches, not quite Australian surf but just the fun vibe on the beaches themselves were lovely, and when the tide slowly comes in it's very different to any other 'beach culture'. I will have a look at the Leiden suburb, DH has found the metro station his prospective office it near but I can't remember the name only that it starts with D. We did actually drive to Amsterdam and then to Haarlam and after that just cycled or took the train, the traffic is annoying esp with kids and we rarely drive if don't have to over here. We would like to try to get by without a car at all if we can.

I'm hoping to pick up as much of the language as I can in a year and will both have lessons over there, it would obviously help DH for work but I've just always wanted to speak another language. DH and DS1 already speak Mandarin Chinese and both are really good with languages (kids are aren't they, damn them), DH also just seems to absorb any language. So I'm hoping being immersed in it will help me.

Where in Netherlands do you live, have you lived in Leiden?

Lilly, we got by over the 2 weeks but over a year it may be harder, though I could quite happily live on Dutch pancakes. The boys are not veggie just DH and I so I guess lots of home cooking which is fine for us. Also there were a lot of Indonesian restaurants which was great.

strudelface Fri 11-Sep-09 09:43:07


We nerly moved to Leiden earlier this year - for several reasons my dh didn't take the job in the end. One of the reasons was that there is a very small rental market in Leiden - when we were tentaively looking there was nothing suitable. Most people buy (so it is a bit like the UK in that respect) The prospective employer knew this was a stumbling block and offered to help find a mortgage - but as expats we did'nt want to make such a huge commitment straightaway.

i don't want to put you off and there may be more on the market now but that was our brief experience.


Veggiemummy Fri 11-Sep-09 09:49:26

Thanks Strudel that's helpful, have been a little worried about that as it seems a popular place but we aren't pinned down to there just need to be within commute to Amsterdam. I just really really like it there. DH has considered asking for a relocation package that would include maybe a couple of months rent just to get ourselves settled and have more time to look around but not sure if they do that over there.

BonsoirAnna Fri 11-Sep-09 09:51:02

My sister lives in Amsterdam and her children go to the International School of Amsterdam. She is pretty happy with the school.

pasturesnew Fri 11-Sep-09 09:55:45

Don't live there but from visits I really like Wassenaar / The Hague - bit of a Brighton feel there and an absolutely massive expat population, which might be good for you.

Veggiemummy Fri 11-Sep-09 18:36:41

Yeah Pastures that's where we spent most of our time. We stayed at Duinrell which was a bit crazy but DS1 loved it. When we told him we were possibly moving to The Netherlands he said we could live at Duinrell, Bless him.

HerHonesty Fri 11-Sep-09 18:45:59

half dutch so very biased but has always struck me as brilliant place to bring children up.

Hoorn is a lovely town, v. commutable to amsterdam. worth looking at.

schools are far superior to the british ones imho, and much more bent towards montessori principles than the UK.

HerHonesty Fri 11-Sep-09 18:50:58

OMG i used to dream about duinrell when i was kid too. and the efteling.

Veggiemummy Fri 11-Sep-09 18:54:05

Oh thanks HH that's really helpful will have a look at Hoorn. I had heard that about Dutch schools, I'm interested in having a look at a local state school (well Dutch equivalent) we will only be there a year but I just think it would be brilliant for DS1 to start some schooling there even if it just a few half days or something like that. Also would be helpful to settle in properly there and he could have some little friends.

Veggiemummy Fri 11-Sep-09 18:55:11


HerHonesty Fri 11-Sep-09 19:00:24

its a sort of fairy wonderland. its amazing. you must go if you go back there. i would but him in for the whole time. he will have a ball.

Veggiemummy Fri 11-Sep-09 20:56:11

Wow I looked it up on wikipedia and it looks amazing. I particularly like that it's in the municipality of Loon Op Zand, that jus sounds cool.

HerHonesty Sat 12-Sep-09 08:27:43

just realised i meant to say put him in dutch school the whole time. although living in the the efteling would be super cool too.

Veggiemummy Sat 12-Sep-09 10:29:01

LOL I thought you meant efteling but I'm sure school would be almost as much fun. He currently goes to school 5 mornings a week and isn't keen on going anymore than that, and I quite like that too because we still get loads of time together but I have mornings alone with DS2. Do you know when kids officially start school in the Netherlands. I don't want to get in contact with any schools yet because we don't if we are definitely going yet as it depends on Wednesdays meeting and not sure where we would live. After weds if it does happen we are going to have to to into hyperdrive because DH will start work on the 1st November!

norktasticninja Sat 12-Sep-09 18:03:40

Glad to be of help!

The Efteling is indeed amazing grin

I've not lived in Leiden but I live pretty close by, a couple of villages north of Wassenar on the cost. So, about 15 or 20 minutes drive from Leiden.

Here is a map of the Amsterdam Metro, hopefully It'll help you find the one you saw.

Amsterdam is part of the Randstad, the whole area surrounding it is scattered with commuter villages so there are loads places you can commute in from. But, Dutch villages can be pretty lifeless en cliquey. If you're a SHAM you may well be happier in one of larger places.

Veggiemummy Sat 12-Sep-09 18:40:58

Duivendrecht is the one I'm pretty sure. That's interesting about the villages I hadn't thought about that I will be a SAHM and won't even be able to casual work because I'm a nurse and imagine it would be impossible to register as a nurse there if I don't speak Dutch. I'm was thinking the best option might be to see where most of DH's work is a live close to there, or at least have him chat to some of his potential colleagues about where they live. Where you said you lived sounds about the area we would like to live because we quite liked the coast and Leiden. Oegstgeest looks good too or near to Vourhout(sp). I guess in the end it will also depend on whether much is available to rent. We may well end up living at Duinrell grin

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