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Cosy, cosmopolitan and friendly: welcome to the Netherlands! Beyond the tulips, you’ll discover a country of beautiful contemporary design, open minds and charming traditions. Tolerance is the watchword throughout this compact and densely populated land. Come one, come all…every cultural heritage and lifestyle finds its place, especially in Amsterdam. The easy-going Dutch, (amongst the tallest people in Europe!) are avid art-lovers and humanitarians, ready to have a chat over a coffee or beer. Making the world a better and more beautiful place is essential! Prepare for honest, challenging discussions, as the Dutch are also known for their frankness.
This windswept landscape, where the sea is kept at bay with marvellous engineering, is a cyclists’ paradise, so you can look forward to many a long ride alongside canals and fields.
Thanks to the Dutch people, moving to the Netherlands promises to be a low-stress endeavour…just don’t forget to bring your bicycle!
Outlining a budget is the crucial first step in securing accommodation in the Netherlands, since space is at a premium. Be sure you provide for the most your budget allows to ensure the best selection. For those seeking the most affordable options, the outskirts of cities are a good option, as public transport is excellent and cycle paths are everywhere. Start your rental search as early as possible since the market is tight. Some of the best properties are not advertised so use your personal network to discover ‘hidden rentals’ if you can. Remember: Huurwoningen means ‘homes for rent’.
Education is compulsory in the Netherlands between the ages of 5 and 17. The Dutch educational system is renowned for allowing a great amount of freedom to individual institutions, which is highly beneficial for expats since numerous schools offer tuition in English, although Dutch-language, state-run schools are also excellent. In fact, there is even another option: over 100 schools in the Netherlands offer completely bilingual primary or secondary courses! If keeping your child in your home school system is essential, then there are many international schools: find them listed with the ‘Foundation for International Education in the Netherlands’ (www.sio.nl).
The Netherlands has a venerable history as one of the most respectful and open-minded societies in the world, from the time before the Golden Age of the seventeenth-century, when freedom of conscience was protected in the Dutch Republic, all the way through to today. This has resulted in a supremely egalitarian society, where people address each other frequently by their first names.
This openness also takes on a fun-loving character, as the Dutch adore a street party, particularly for their fundamental, cherished holidays of King’s Day (27 April, or 26 if on a Sunday) and Carnival.
Dutch people like to share! A tradition with a resolutely Dutch spirit is the Vrijmarkt, or free market, where they trade any items they no longer need. This is not only a chance to get fabulous deals, but also a social occasion for families and a living testament to Dutch efficiency.
As you wander the markets, it is highly likely that you’ll need that rain gear! Umbrellas and rain jackets are a must here year-round, but don’t let that stop you from having fun! Simply follow the Dutch: equip yourself, and get right out there on your bicycle – rain or shine!
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