If you are considering whether to live in the Netherlands, this article will provide you deep insights on living standards and quality of life, helping you to make the decision.
I lived in the NL for 1.5 years and the best decision I’ve ever made is to move out from there and never come back. I loved the liberal mindset of people and the fact that you can bike everywhere but it had way more downsides than upsides.
It’s just a tiny bit too crowded in the Amsterdam, Live in the Netherlands
Statistically speaking the density of the NL is higher (410 person/km2) than the density of India(404 person/km2). And I really felt it. That awesome vibrant life of Amsterdam disappears once you move there. It’s like a festival: It’s great for some days, but you don’t want to live in a festival. But ok, so far I’m just whining on unimportant things.
Work as Expat in Netherlands (as per Quora Answers)?
If you are skilled IT professional, engineer or finance professional or you enjoy washing dishes or doing some other things in restaurants or hotels then it’s great. For any other job you, as foreigner will not be hired. I learned Dutch intensively and applied to around 90 jobs to find the kind of office work I did at home. Did not find any.
No public health care
You are obliged by law to pay private health insurance. The cheapest one cost 100E a month and covers basically nothing, but that was the only one I could afford from my low-end salary.
That’s right. Not that they can’t speak English, it’s just they are not allowed to. English is not officially a minority.
Living in Amsterdam as an Expat → Devastating struggle for affordable housing
Amsterdam is notorious for lack of housing. 90% of everyone I met struggled with this a LOT. If you are lucky you will spend only 2 months intensively looking, you can find a room in a shared apartment that will cost you like half of your salary and will likely to be rented illegally (you cannot register your address there, no rental contract, etc.) because the owner will not want to pay extra taxes after you living there. Splendid. Of course, why didn’t I move to some boring small town instead where there are no shortage of housing, you are right.
Disclaimer: I don’t doubt there are people who love living the NL. I’m pretty sure it’s possible. Link
2. Living in Netherlands
I don’t really like the way the question is written. It isn’t bad, at all. Quite the opposite, it’s an amazing place to live. But there is stuff that could be better. I’ll talk about the negative stuff first, then the positive.
The cons (from what I think it’s important to less important):
- The health care system here
You cannot go to a medical specialist by yourself, you have first to get a reference from your family doctor who most of the times will just send you home to try to solve your pain via lots of paracetamol. It’s the common opinion among the expats that I know that the GPs here are poorly trained and will never believe in you.
We hear a lot of bad tales of diseases that escalated due to this and for this cost (now 100 euros a month-2018) I could have a pretty good insurance in my country with waaaay better care than here. People are genuinely scared and are taking trains to Belgium and Germany to solve their problems out of their pockets.
Also zero preventative medicine, check-ups are not common, gynecological check-ups are every 5 years after you’re 30 and only the very basic. Some vaccines in WHO’s guideline are not given to children here: tuberculosis, rotavirus, chickenpox. You just see a pediatrician every other appointment and tbh my country’s pedis seemed way more trained too.
Healthcare is top quality in terms of costs. What I mean by that: you are not afraid of getting old and having to pay a huge sum.
Meat and restaurants: it’s very difficult to find good restaurants here, the Dutch gastronomy is not so appealing too (mashed potatoes with something, or french fries, mostly snacks…). We are still on a quest to find good pizza deliveries and burgers.
And they are expensive (going out is at least 20 euros pp in any place). Meat taste is terrible and most butchers think they know some cut, but if you know your meat you can say they don’t, finding meat cuts in the supermarket is hard, the “affordable” meat is just labeled “piece of cow”.
Housing: We are in a seller market now, prices are insane and it’s very difficult to find an affordable rent since the landlords receive a lot of propositions from the huge influx of expats. Amsterdam is +- 2200 euros for a 3 bedroom place (2018) per month.
Smokers everywhere: A lot of them won’t respect the no smoking signs in some stations too. Eating outside in restaurants is a second-hand smoke experience.
The directiveness: it doesn’t happen as much as you think, but when it happens most of the times it’s just rudeness, but with a weird proud of it.
Littering in the streets and dog poo everywhere. Good thing the city cleaning service is good.
People talking during the movies: All the time. And they don’t care if you complain, the theater is an extension of their living room.
Not my experience, but I heard a lot about it: Sexism in services. You hire a contractor and he’ll ask to talk to your husband even if you’re in charge.
Very personal opinion: Dutch is hard to learn and master to a degree that will make a difference in your resume. And if you don’t work in IT, it’s kinda hard to find a job without good dutch.
Not something I find a problem, but it’s for many people: Obviously the weather (keep in mind we had a big hot summer this year).
Now that you think I hate the country, the reasons why I actually love it and will stay here for good (in no particular order):
Good free education and affordable colleges.
For American people: You are not afraid of having problems with out-of-insurance-policy stuff. Also, delivering here is great, no pushing for C-section and very very humanized (although the prenatal exams are minimum I must say), the postpartum is AMAZING: you’ll have someone helping and teaching you for the first 8–10 days in your home, the health services will come to your place to check your kid (no need to get out, you’re recovering after all).
Everybody speaks almost perfect English.
A lot of green areas, parks etc and a country that is committed to becoming more sustainable.
Multicultural cities. You can hear many languages on the streets and see different races and ethnicities. Same for LGBTI.
Amazing work/life balance: There is no pressure to do unpaid extra hours as in many cultures. You can clock out in your contract time. You can find part-time jobs here too and it’s not frowned upon. Just so you know maternity leave is mandatory and vacation time is usually 20 something days. Also, after you’re a permanent employer, the law is very much in your side.
The landlord is responsible for maintaining the house in good shape. Something broke because it was old or faulty? Not your problem. Most houses come with basic appliances too (fridge, oven, washing machine, dishwasher). Although sometimes you have to put flooring I must say, and not all landlords are easy to deal with, anyway, the law is very much in the renter’s side.
Public libraries everywhere.
Public servants are very polite and you can solve a lot of stuff online already. It’s very cool that you can solve an insurance problem via WhatsApp or *gasp* send an email to your city hall. The taxes are expensive but well used. The city works.
Dutch people are super friendly: It’s hard to make friends since they have their groups formed since they are little or so, but they are super chill and fun to talk with. And they don’t care about what you’re wearing in the streets. I dress like a hobo and nobody bats an eye.
Security in Netherlands
Only someone who came from a country where women don’t like to walk alone at night will understand how amazing it’s to bike in the middle of the center at midnight and don’t feel the paranoia anymore. You can also feel that when you see little children biking alone. The country is super safe, mostly you just fear for your bike.
Transportation in Netherlands
Transportation is expensive, but it’s worth every penny. Everything is connected by trams, treins, bus and they have a good frequency. You know when they’ll arrive and the delays are nothing compared to my country’s (tops 15 minutes here and there, unless you’re taking the international train, they have been canceling a lot lately…shame on you NS).
And of course: bike lanes everywhere, they are free and healthy and faster. The country is flat which is amazing for elderly and people with disabilities, they are not stuck in their homes as in my country.
Many types of cheese. God bless cheese. Link