So, you’ve just moved to the Netherlands for love. But what do you need to know when embarking upon your new life here? We’ve provided the ultimate guide to things you should bear in mind when you move to the Netherlands for love.
It’s happened. You’ve fallen in love with a Dutchie, and in this blissful cloud of happiness and gezelligheid fueled by promises of bikes, canals, tulips, and windmills, you’ve taken the plunge and moved to Oranje. Congratulations! Welcome to The Netherlands! Everything is great here, you will love it.
Wait, not so fast. Now, what’s this? You don’t speak the language properly, you can’t ride a bike, and you aren’t sure that you enjoy the concept of constantly eating fried foods. But don’t despair fellow expatriate, I’ve been there. Here’s what I would tell myself if arriving in the Netherlands for love now.
|UPDATE 2021: Hey, there’s a pandemic (did you know?)! This article still stands, but you may have to modify some of these activities to take place online 😉|
1Be proactive in making friends
Things get lonely when you move to a new country, and this happens faster than you think — not that anyone tells you that! For the first few months, you will be drowning in the excitement of being abroad and living in this magical land, but if the only people you are interacting with on a daily basis are your partner and your dog, you may start to go stir crazy.
Plus, as much as the Dutch can be very welcoming, it can take a while to pierce their tight social circles, especially if you live in a small town like me.
So, if you aren’t working or studying yet, why not join a local sports team or a class that fills your free time with something that interests you? You will meet local people, get the giggles practising your (pitiful) Dutch, and hopefully find someone who will be happy to listen to you butcher their language. And in that case…
2Get used to being social
If you are a miserable sod (and British) like me, you’ll want to avoid other people as soon as they cross your path. But you can’t really do that here in Nederland. People talk to each other… they like each other! Weird, right?!
But have no fear. Soon you’ll be hallo-ing and hoi-ing with the best of them, socialising with your neighbours and navigating those Dutch circle parties like a native. It just may take a while.
3Moved to Holland for love? Bask in the small charms of Dutch life
Learn to cycle and take the bike everywhere; it’s so much more gezellig than walking. Travel to new cities and enjoy the fact that everything is so close together. Marvel at the windmills and endless bodies of water.
Get excited when you see that man walking his dog wearing clogs or the man shopping in the supermarket who was wearing them too. Yes, I have seen this. It really happens.
4Don’t be offended when the Dutch say how they feel. It’s just Dutch directness
As a Brit, I am used to tutting quietly and exhibiting passive-aggressive behaviour whenever another member of the human race pisses me off, but the Dutch are different. They will call you out on your mistake.
It took me a while to get used to this, as I am quite sensitive and used to being overly polite in social situations due to years of indoctrination living in the UK. Once you start to understand the Dutch language however, you’ll realise that this is not personal and just how they speak to one another. It is quite liberating, to be honest.
5Buy a fryer
This will become a staple item in your kitchen. All the Dutchies have one. Soon you will be serving bitterballen at every social occasion, and eating fries, frikandel, and kroketten with the best of them. Trust me, this is one purchase you won’t regret if you need to break into your fried food reserves in an emergency. (here’s how to still stay thin)
Any other things one should know when you moved to Holland for love? Feel free to share in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on 2 May 2017 but was updated in February 2021 for your reading pleasure.
Feature Image: Brook Cagle/Unsplash