How long have you been living in the Netherlands and what brought you here?
I've lived in the Netherlands for two years. I came here from the U.S. as a highly skilled migrant (kennismigrant). The kennismigrant program allows Dutch companies to hire non-EU citizens who are uniquely qualified for particular jobs.
Do you plan to stay in the Netherlands, move back to your home country, or try somewhere else?
I plan to stay in the Netherlands for a while. I haven't explored nearly enough of the country, not to mention the rest of Europe. I'm open to trying another country in the future, but legal emigration can be hard for an American citizen. I'm fortunate that the kennismigrant program enables me to live and work in the Netherlands.
What do you do during the day (job, stay at home mom, entrepreneur, student, etc)?
I'm a technical writer for a software company.
What’s the most notable difference between your home country and the Netherlands?
The political spectrum in the Netherlands is quite different. Generally, conservative Dutch politicians are more liberal than American Republicans (with the possible exception of the ChristenUnie party). The Dutch political party system is also more flexible than the American two-party system. For example, here you can vote for a party that is fiscally conservative but socially liberal, while in the States, such distinctions are usually lost.
Where is your favorite place to visit in the Netherlands?
I recently fell in love with the Hoge Veluwe National Park in Gelderland. The whole Veluwe area is beautiful and perfect for bike riding (although it's not as flat as most other places). Also, the park is home to the Kröller-Müller Museum, an excellent art museum with a huge sculpture garden.
Give us one thing you love about the Netherlands and one thing you loathe.
I love Dutch art and design, from the early Netherlandish painters to Tord Boontje and Droog. I loathe the weather.
What’s one thing you’ve had to adjust to since coming to the Netherlands and how did you adjust (or are you still working on it)?
In the Netherlands, I rely on public transportation, my bike, and my feet to get around. In the States, I lived in a very car-oriented city and drove everywhere. Fortunately, it hasn't been hard for me to adjust. As much as we commuters like to complain about late trains and overcrowded metros, Dutch public transportation is very good. I rarely feel limited in what I can do without a car.
Do you have an embarrassing moment since you’ve moved that you would like to share with us (an unfortunate language blunder, or a funny getting-back-on-the-bike story)?
I can't think of a particular embarrassing moment! I have had my share of uncomfortable encounters, but so far I've managed to avoid offending anyone with my terrible Dutch or falling off my bike in front of anyone besides my boyfriend (who, of course, is not allowed to laugh at me).
What’s the best piece of advice you received that you would like to pass along to anyone coming to the Netherlands?
Do lots of research before you decide where to live. There are many factors to consider: housing prices, amenities (like secure bike storage!), noise, traffic (especially if you will be in the Randstad), access to public transportation, access to parks, and the English skills of the people who live and work around you. Housing in the Netherlands can be hard to find, and it's tempting to grab the first place that is available. But your location will have a huge impact on your expat experience, so it's important to choose carefully.
Do you have any blogs or websites that you would like to recommend?
- design.nl, a great resource for current events in Dutch fashion and design
- utrecht-pics.blogspot.com, daily photos from the beautiful city of Utrecht
- learndutch.org, free online language lessons
- taalthuis.com, more free online language lessons
- omoda.nl, the closest thing to a Dutch zappos.com that I have found!
Images courtesy of Amy
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The opinions and content within this post are solely those of the guest poster and in no way reflect the views of the Clogs and Tulips blog or its blogger.