So, you moved to the Netherlands for love! (Welcome! But…)

You’ve just moved to the Netherlands for love and are ready to live out your Dutch fairytale. 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. Succes! 

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’ll absolutely 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 international, I’ve been there. Here’s what I would tell myself if arriving in the Netherlands for love now.

Coronavirus update: 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. 😉

Be 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’ll 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 in the Netherlands yet, why not join a local sports team or take a Dutch (or some other) class that fills your free time with something that interests you? You’ll 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…

Get 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.

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.

Don’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.

READ MORE | Dutch directness: 5 questions you’ll get in the Netherlands in 2021 (and how to answer them)

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.

Buy 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.

Do you have any tips for moving to the Netherlands for love? Tell us in the comments below!

Image: fokkebok/Depositphotos

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in May 2017, but was fully updated in October 2021 for your reading pleasure. 

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What do you think?


  1. […] Once all the excitement of the engagement settles, you will need to plan your wedding in Netherlands. Most brides find wedding planning to be pretty stressful as it is, but add on a foreign country and you could definitely find yourself in a bit of a planning pickle. Don’t fret! Getting married in Netherlands is actually more simple than you think. […]

  2. No-one having curtains and your Dutch neighbours moaning if someone leaves a light on.
    Yeah, we shouldn’t forget to turn lights out, but if it bothers you put a fucking curtain up like every other nation!

    I wouldn’t care so much, but the neighbour concerned (who also has a habit of leaving his lights and tele on) seemed to think it acceptable to stare through my window and beckon me out to speak to him. Direct I’m fine with, I’m from North Lincolnshire which (like Yorkshire) specialises in that and despises all that Southern “If you wouldn’t mind … ” (=I don’t actually care whether you mind), “I’m not being rude, but” (=here is me being incredibly rude) … just as back home, there are incivil people, and they immediately hide behind Dutch directness as an excuse for being gobby shitbags.

  3. Just be yourself. People are people no matter where you live in this world. I’m a 60+ American living here NL with Dutch/American Hubby. I fallow no one rule. I don’t understand how people can write things that people from Netherlands can fit a general mold. Be yourself and go for it. Try what youu like. But please stop thinking that you can read things and they are true. You don’t survive you live. Come on people take it from this old girl. Don’t generalize people


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