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I live in the Netherlands, AMA

83 replies

Tulipsfordays · 18/01/2023 19:27

Not sure if this is interesting or not, but I couldn’t find a lot of threads sharing experiences about life here. So here goes!

I live in NL (near Amsterdam but in a different city) with my daughters and (Dutch ) husband. We moved about 2 years ago now. Expect to stay long term. I’m English, lived in London for 10+ years prior and grew up in the midlands.

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Tulipsfordays · 18/01/2023 20:31

@Westfacing yes direct trains but frustratingly seem to be much more expensive than flying . Yeah, wavelength feels equivalent BUT sometimes a bit of anti British sentiment. Eg around brexit, willing England to lose in the Euros, etc. Can be tedious

@Puffy123 havent myself seen racism but was surprised to hear about the North African racism, even in the equivalent of House of Commons. I am often struck by how non diverse (how white) it feels , though.

@LindorDoubleChoc pretty similar to London. Maybe a touch windier depending where in NL. Summers nice and warm generally. catering to that, there’s a sort of beach club culture with loads of nice bars and restaurants on the beaches. They are all year round - also quite pleasant and cosy on a rainy winters day (inside!). But fun in the summer

@RogersOrganismicProcess that is new to me! I doubt it, doesn’t seem to fit with the organised Dutch !!

@LindorDoubleChoc that definitely sounds offputting. Perhaps things have changed with more being online now but I haven’t encountered that - although mahbe it’s still the case in central Ams.

@Cattenberg definitely no smoking on trains , haven’t come across it in the office either- would be shocked. Generally I don’t know hardly any smokers here actually , now you say it

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Tulipsfordays · 18/01/2023 20:36

@IntentionalError yep re brexit, as mentioned above.

healthcare system is via insurance - mandatory to pay health insurance, different brackets. Seems to work well. I have always been able to get a GP appointment next day even when none urgent. We have been to the A&E equivalent once with DD and there was no wait at all, maybe lucky.

definitely more anti medication here though. You’ll very very rarely get antiobiotics for example, have to really push! I’m glad I didn’t give birth here, think they are very pro no pain relief - wouldn’t have been for me

not specifically healthcare related but there’s no Calpol equivalent - the Dutch give paracetamol to babies and toddlers via a pill up their bums. Fair enough I guess but I now bulk buy calpol when in the uk…

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Shinytaps · 18/01/2023 20:36

Do you work? How easy is it for non Dutch speakers to get a job? I dream of living in Amsterdam!

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Tulipsfordays · 18/01/2023 20:40

@Shinytaps i work in marketing a large multinational in Amsterdam. Didn’t take me long to find something when we moved , there’s quite a bit in Amsterdam for English speakers (some huge companies like Booking, Uber, Unilever, etc etc). Not sure what visa situ is if not married to Dutch / no Dutch children, though. Even with both those boxes ticked the process for getting permission to stay is not straightforwsrd (thanks to brexit). I think plenty of people have employers sponsor a visa though.

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weebarra · 18/01/2023 20:42

I've holidayed in the Netherlands trice and we're going again this year.
I'm very small and found the shelves in our accommodation really high and couldn't touch the ground when I sat on the toilet 😂
One thing I became aware of when travelling with some Dutch women in Australia was their real dislike of the Germans. Is that something you're aware of?

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Tulipsfordays · 18/01/2023 20:46

@weebarra no, surprised by that. A decent chunk of the country is close to Germany and I thought relations were decent! My father in law is half German though so maybe I’m biased

lol re the shelves! I’m quite small too but so far no challenges.. also I notice plenty of small / quite small
men among the stereotype of taller

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RandomMess · 18/01/2023 20:47

It's the kids TV still undubbed if it's German?

I think it helped many of those my generation watches undubbed German and English TV plus so much of the pop music is in English.

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Tulipsfordays · 18/01/2023 20:50

@RandomMess havent noticed but tend to turn to Netflix for kids. Will look out for it now!

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maddiemookins16mum · 18/01/2023 20:58

What are the top three easy things I could order for lunch in a cafe with a local flavour?

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Tulipsfordays · 18/01/2023 21:02

@maddiemookins16mum the Dutch seem to always have bread at lunchtime. Bread and cheese / boiled egg / cold cuts. Pretty simple

in a cafe you could get a roll with croquette / ‘bitterballen’ inside - a kind of meaty croquette, tasty.

indonesian cuisine is also very popular here. The equivalent of Indian takeaways in the uk maybe.

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N1C · 18/01/2023 21:02

@Tulipsfordays I think it's brilliant you and others of varying physical abilities feel comfortable cycling where you are. Hopefully one day most people here will feel the same way about cycling in England.

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Iliveditwizbit · 18/01/2023 21:04

How do you find the levels of racism in Holland? I found there to be a lot of casual racism, it made me uncomfortable. But this was 15 years ago, have things moved on?

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weebarra · 18/01/2023 21:10

I really loved the poffertjes- we even bought a poffertje pan to cook them at home!

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Tulipsfordays · 18/01/2023 21:12

@N1C the cycle lanes everywhere make a huge difference I think

@Iliveditwizbit mentioned above too - not something I’ve come across really. Happily

@weebarra super yum! Kid’s favourite too

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HolyZarquonsSingingSeals · 18/01/2023 21:12

Is flooding still a problem?

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Phrenologistsfinger · 18/01/2023 22:39

I’ve got a DP from NL too - I love our Dutch side of the family but sometimes the random cultural or communication differences surprise me. Do you notice any differences and what are they?

How have you found adapting to life in NL from UK? What, if anything, do you miss about London/UK?

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Tulipsfordays · 19/01/2023 07:22

@HolyZarquonsSingingSeals definitely lots of the country is high risk for flooding but they have invested in some incredibly complex dam systems etc and other defences - so although a high risk country i think the related infrastructure is probably far ahead many others. Haven’t encountered problems in the time I’ve been here.

@Phrenologistsfinger
hmm yeah plenty of differences , some big some small. off the top of my head:
-in playgrounds, very little parental supervision of kids. Even small kids. Parents off at a table nearby having coffee (or wine). Much more seemingly relaxed approach to parenting than uk / London. Pros and cons, I think
-mentioned above but wow they really love bread haha. Was surprised to see it served up for lunch every single day
-shoes on in house - I know the uk is mixed in this, but I think in NL this is fully standard
-Dutch people like to make (sometimes unsolicited) suggestions. Eg ‘I chose these blue tiles for our bathroom, aren’t they nice?’ ‘You should really get grey tiles, I will send you a link’ - clumsy example but something I notice a lot
-attitudes to money: I do see some truth in the stereotype re being a bit cheap. The Dutch will often send a ‘Tikkie’ to sort out a bill after the event. Fine, of course, but I’ve had this happen for really tiny amounts and that wouldn’t be my style personally.
-I get the sense that Dutch people are a bit more emotionally reserved than I’m used to in the uk. I’m get to meet a Dutch ‘oversharer’, and sometimes I’ve felt like one just for talking about feelings / moods etc to people I perhaps don’t know super well
-swim diploma- Dutch kids start this from age 4. Nobody has lessons before that pretty much. It’s a very rigid process. Different from uk I think where most people seem to take kids pretty young
-spirits (alcohol) are seen quite differently. You can’t buy them in a supermarket for example. Sometimes I’ve had a gin and tonic and had comments from Dutch ‘wow hard liquor etc’. a while back I bought my sister in law a nice bottle of gin for her bday and I think she found that utterly bizarre.
do you recognise any of these in your DP / fam, or anything I missed? :)

I found adapting hard initially, but lockdown didn’t help for sure. I feel settled now and I have no regrets. I sometimes miss the diversity of London , I think it’s such an incredible city. With kids though, I found it stressful. And I miss friends - have a few here but it takes time to feel like they are close friendships I think .

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MotherOfCrocodiles · 19/01/2023 07:37

Do you know of any summer schools or holiday camps for kids to learn Dutch - eg before starting Dutch school? I'm looking for something for age 5-7. Looking for something in person and fun rather than an online tutor setup. Thanks

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Tulipsfordays · 19/01/2023 07:42

@MotherOfCrocodiles not sure I’m afraid, but maybe look at iamexpat.nl / drop them an email.

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Userwoozer · 19/01/2023 21:52

I've just seen that government advice in the Netherlands on a sensible level of drinking is NOT TO DRINK AT ALL. How has that gone down? How much do people tend to drink?

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Userwoozer · 19/01/2023 21:55

Oh, I see you've mentioned alcohol. I wonder whether this is because of the government advice, or whether the government felt able to give that advice because people aren't really into drinking.

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Userwoozer · 19/01/2023 21:56

I would find the shoes on in the house thing really hard. Do they have carpets? If not, then that's a bit more bearable.

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BadgeronaMoped · 19/01/2023 21:59

Is it true that there is an impressive mayonnaise selection in the supermarkets? I love mayonnaise, sorry if that is a silly question!

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RapunzelsSplitEnds · 19/01/2023 22:04

Random but what is the name of stuff the Dutch add to their (already perfect) coffee? It is in a tiny tin and comes with a mini little scoop about the size of your smallest fingernail.
The stuff was supposed to make coffee less bitter?

Also, why don’t Dutch people appear to like curtains?
Thank you.

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Tulipsfordays · 20/01/2023 06:11

@Userwoozer i didn’t know that re the alcohol advice. Plenty of people seem to drink a fair amount but I don’t think there’s a binge drinking culture. Also if people order a beer, that’s a half pint by default which perhaps helps. I notice that young people (16-22 ish) often don’t drink, but I think that’s also the case in UK now (?) - just very different to my own experience at that age ! Maybe they’re smoking weed instead tho

carpets probably less common yes , tiles in living space not uncommon. Also wood / wood look (as in UK I guess). But I do regret certain rug choices in hindsight! I also just personally am more comfortable shoes off, but have stopped doing that in other peoples homes as seemed to always be the only one.

@BadgeronaMoped yes! I think that’s driven more by the Belgians but there is very decent mayo. My favourite has a sort of lemon infusion . They have also borrowed the Belgian tradition of a cone of ‘frites’ with a huge dollop of mayo. I love that.

the mayo chat is making me remember one thing I do miss: brown sauce. Scrambled eggs not the same without it in my view

@RapunzelsSplitEnds no idea on the coffee! Not something we have in the house. Is it a sort of sweetener?

I think it’s not so much hating curtains but that seems to be culturally normal to leave them open even in the evening / dark. It often means very little privacy in my view (but I also love peering in especially in beautiful old houses with so much character). We (and many others) have sort of sticky matte patches on the front windows to give a bit of privacy. I also shut the curtains in a ‘normal’ way :)

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