August 10, 2007 5:34:07 PM CEST
I can't really answer your questions, but it sounds like your last move did not go smoothly. As someone who just made a second international move within the last month, I can say that for me at least, the second one was much easier. I also think you need to look at what was difficult about your first one and try to fix those problems.
Ditto!! I cannot express this enough, our move to the US was not an easy one and we still, almost 9 years after, paying for the consequences today. For example, in the UK there is no such thing as credit history(not in the same way). We had our account with Barclay's since we both got out of college and from them on we arranged our finances. Had an account with MBNA there, didn't matter here. If we knew this before hand, we would still be in our little semi-detached home in West Sussex. We were promised help from the current company, they only payed the relocation package--just the moving of the furniture, which they asked us to leave behind, luckily I stuck to my guns and thank God we brought our bed, dinner table, kids beds and toys with us. We were using our credit in England, paying for the fees and earning in dollars.
I thought that the Hague was a nice place to live in many ways. I think the question of where to live depends on what you are looking for and where your children go to school. I would probably pick a school first, then the area. We lived in the centrum of The Hague. I found that with the traffic in the Hague, it could take way too long to get places by car. Going 2.5 miles to my child's school could take 30 minutes by car on certain days (usually it took 10-15) depending on what road detours had popped up, etc. Bike was a much preferrable option when it was possible. It might be nice to be close enough to whatever school you choose that you/your children can go by bike (especially if your employer is not picking up the school bus costs).
I don't have personal experience with ISH, but I know a couple familes that had children there who were happy. Most families I know have their children at either the British School or the American School. People seemed to be very happy with both of those. The British School has a articularly good "kindergarten" (nursury/reception) program. I think it also depends on what you are looking for and where you intend to end up. By that I mean, if you intend to go back to the UK, you may prefer to have your child on the British Curriculum or you may prefer an IB diploma (available at ISH and ASH). If you are planning to stay in NL, you may prefer ISH because, from what I have heard, the curriculum is more "Dutch."
My nieces go to a private school in Reigate, and their school is also changing to IB, from what I heard from my sister-in-law, the private schools there are moving towards this program. Problem with the American and British school is the costs with 4 kids we'll be paying 80.000 per year.
As for football, there are tons of clubs. If you prefer English speaking, the American Baseball Foundation (ABF) in Wassenaar has soccer from age 3 or 4 up. They have travelling teams for the older kids that play in the Dutch league. The facilities are nice and people are very friendly.
I saw that!!! We have to get the kids involve as soon as we go, and the ABF will be great for all of us. Thanks for the advice.
There are many dance schools. I know of at least 2 that teach in English, but I'm sure there are more. If your children end up learning Dutch, then you will have even more options.
The Hague has its share of frustrations, but overall, I found it a nice place to live for the most part. Do your homework, though. Moving from the states, I was shocked at the rents and the cost of living. You might go on www.funda.nl and take a look to get an idea. One of the other areas suggested may be cheaper for rent than The Hague or Wassenaar. I perceive that the rents in those areas are artificially inflated beacuase of all of the ex pats that live there. But if you find comfort in living with a bunch of ex pats, then somewhere like Wassenaar might be for you -- there's nothing wrong with it, it's all about your comfort level and happiness.
Exactly, my husband will settle easily, no doubt about it. It happened here, but for me it was difficult. I wasn't allowed to work for the first 3 years and that drove me nuts. Therefore, I said that I NEEDED TO BE HAPPY, otherwise the family will suffer ;-).
As for friends, I met most of mine through my activities, my employer, my spouse's employer and my children's school. My experiences with my Dutch neighbors were not wholly positive, but I have friends who got along great with their neighbors, so I think it's luck of the draw. I think it's probably just easier to make friends with ex pats because everyone is new and looking for contacts, whereas people that have lived there their whole lives already have established networks and may not have the energy for people who they know will leave in a few years. I agree with Ratkat's comments. I found the "service" everywhere to be essentially non-existant. I felt like I was constantly being hindered instead of helped. It can be very frustrating.
We have very few friends here. Both my husband and I felt that the area that we are living has some negative things regarding making friends with people. I don't have one American friend, most of them were Brit expat or from some other country. I think people here are too busy with their lives and I understand that they may not have time to have a drink or come for dinner sometime, however we tried numerous time to get people over and nothing happened. I think Northern VA is a bit like that, no one has roots here, most people move every 4 years somewhere else. It is good to know that it won't be easy and we need to make up our minds and see with all the information that everyone has put in, if it is worth it.
I hope you enjoy living in the Netherlands. Don't forget your bike (and your raingear)!
Rain!! Sounds familiar.... not the bike tough.. Thank you so much for spending your time giving me all the information!!!