Expat life in the laid-back Netherlands

Expat life in the laid-back Netherlands

Expat life in the laid-back Netherlands

If you’re convinced your future lies outside your country of birth, the Netherlands is well worth a second look.

The latter part of this century will surely become known in world history as a celebration of expatriation, as leaving home for unknown cultures half-way across the world has become the hallmark of the lifestyle change undertaken by literally millions of expats. One of the most popular European destinations, especially for UK expats, is the Netherlands, just a short trip from the familiarity of the home country.

However much online research is done before a final decision is made, for newly-arrived expats seeing is believing, even if conversation in the new language isn’t yet possible. Dutch isn’t that difficult, but it has some surprises for new learners. For example, it has many different words for rain – simply because it has so many types of the wet stuff, which tends to fall on a majority of days in the year.

The Netherlands is famous for its peoples’ usage of the bicycle as a main means of transport, with some 18 million Dutch people collectively owning some 22 million bikes – 13 per person. The reason for the Dutch obsession with two-wheeled transportation is the Netherlands’ fame as the flattest country on earth with not even one small hill which requires hard work to transverse.

One major attraction for Brit expats is the totally laid-back attitude of the vast majority of Netherlands citizens, for whom stressing out is simply not acceptable. Newly-arrived expat entrepreneurs may find this frustrating at best, especially when deadlines aren’t adhered to and replies to queries take for ever. Nevertheless, for those who’ve adjusted to the Dutch way of life, the realisation that a lack of stress allows the brain freedom to concentrate on more important issues is a life-changer.

Yet another huge plus-point for expats is the friendliness of the Dutch people towards strangers in their midst, many of whom come from far less chummy countries. All told, relocating to the Netherlands may well cause culture shock for those from more uptight lands, as it's one of the happiest places in the world for expats who’re determined to enjoy their new lives as well as chasing after the elusive business success they’ve always dreamed about.

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