So you’ve decided to make a life-changing decision. Now, it’s quite safe to say that life-changing decisions vary in intensity. A decision of this nature could be something as small as deciding to give up dairy, or you could step things up by becoming a vegan. When it comes to major life-changing decisions, however, few are able to trump relocating to another country.
You’re literally packing up and leaving behind everything you know and love and you’re heading into the unknown. The great thing about the unknown is it’s a risk and it’s likely fraught with challenges, but challenges that will shape, mould and grow your character – it’s a call to adventure. Once you’ve faced the unknown, you’ll likely thank yourself — but enough of the pseudo-psychology, let’s discuss your move to the Netherlands as an American.
1. The relocation process
How you choose about getting to the Netherlands is completely up to you – either way, you’ll face the same customs regulations. On the plus side, the Netherlands isn’t very strict in terms of importing your personal belongings. You can even bring your pet along without incurring too many issues — that’s right, Fido’s coming with you!
Surprisingly enough, food is a different story. If you’re bringing food with you, be prepared for some notable restrictions. The majority of the time, those new to the Netherlands are likely to find themselves in an unfurnished apartment – this quite common. Thus, it is recommended, and if feasible, that you bring your own furniture along.
2. Visa’s & work permits
You might find this one hard to believe, but if you’re Canadian, Australian or from the US, a visa is not an absolute necessity. However, obtaining a work and residence permit on the other hand is. You’ve got a couple of options available to you; for instance, if you opt for a highly skilled migrant status, then the work permit falls away.
If there is one thing you can be assured of when you set foot in the Netherlands, it’s that you’ll have to register at a local municipality. Aside from the various liberties already exercised in the country (we’re looking at you Amsterdam), entrepreneurs might also want to take note due to the various opportunities for self-employed individuals.
The Dutch cater to those seeking to start their own business or operate as freelancers by way of certain types of visas. In some cases you might be expected to meet a set of requirements and pay a high fee, but generally speaking a Dutch visa won’t cost you more than $330 USD. At the current exchange rate for dollars and euros, that’s certainly no train smash.
3. Healthcare sort of like back home
Unlike many of its European neighbours, the Netherlands healthcare system is reliant on the private health insurance industry. In fact, if you’re going to live there, you will be required to take out health insurance. On the whole, the healthcare system runs relatively smoothly — specialists are professional and those with critical conditions receive the care they require.
If there is a criticism worth bringing up, and this is not exclusive to the Netherlands, it’s that doctors will often prescribe over-the-counter medication to treat ailments that might need something from the scheduled medicine counter. Everything requires a referral, making all family doctors the gatekeepers to specialists. If your spouse or partner is going to give birth, it will cost $330 USD in a hospital, however, midwives are very popular and more often than not will assist. Good luck!
Have you made the big move? Tell us in the comments below!
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