September 15, 2007 1:17:24 AM CEST
I have a few questions regarding life in the Netherlands. We are a British couple living currently in VA/U.S.A. have 4 kids and 2 dogs. My husband has been offered a job in the Netherlands and we are in the process of making a visit to NL sometime next week. The company has been very accommodating and they are trying their best to make this transition less painful (we have moved from West Sussex 8 years ago). He has been offered a high salary, all I can say that it is 30% more than he makes now, 50% of the kids school payed for and 50% for rent payed for 2 years. My main concern is the schools and lifestyle (for this to work, we all need to feel happy and comfortable). My daughter will be entering HS and my son will be finishing middle school. The little ones will be entering kindergarten. So here we go!
1) Can anyone tell me about the schools in the Hague? Specially The International of the Hague, how good it is, student and teacher ratio (we have a low ratio in our current school and lots of ext0ra help after class).
There are several international schools in the area - the American School (in Wassenaar), the British School (in Voorschoten), the International School of The Hague (in the South of The Hague) and Het Rijnlands Lyceum. All are good schools with good reputations. My wife teaches at the ISH and used to teach at Het Rijnlands Lyceum. You can't go wrong at any of them.
2) What about the Het Rijnlands Lyceum International school? Same concern as above and how far is the school from Wassenaar and Den Haag?
A good school, but probably 4th in reputation out of the above - but still good. 5 minutes from Wassenaar, 20 minutes from The Hague.
3) We have lived all our lives near cities, therefore I cannot even imagine living in the countryside. How is life in Den Haag- Do they have good restaurants, ballet school ( my two little darlings are enrolled in ballet/tap and gymnastics), gymnastics, swimming?
Yep - all this stuff is available. Obviously in Dutch mainly, but places like Wassenaar have a very high expat community, so many classes cater for English and Dutch.
4) Soccer/Football we are CRAZY about soccer and do they have the same sort of soccer organization, at the moment my older son plays for LYSA and he has to continue playing soccer-it is his passion.
I can't abide football - but the Dutch enthusiasm for it is similar to the English. I can't imagine there's a problem here.
5)How easy is to make friends in the area? I don't want to make any assumptions about the Dutch culture, but how friendly are they? Friendly and friends are two different things, we are looking into making lifetime friends, I truly would appreciate any help on this one. We are very friendly and open minded people, with a good sense of humor. We love to meet new people. I can also speak, write and read fluently 2 languages: Portuguese and Spanish and can speak on a intermediate level French. I am looking forward to learning Dutch, and I am confident that I can do it. For integration purposes, I am willing to take the extra mile.
There are loads of expat organisations and clubs around The Hague and the Dutch are very friendly and accommodating to non speakers too.
6)We both have UK driver's license, I have read somewhere on this forum that we don't need to take the test, is that right?
Your license can be exchanged without any test, etc.
7)How long does a EU citizen needs to wait in order to purchase a home? I don't want to buy straight away and would like save as much as we can for later on-we still need to sell our home here in VA (God knows how long it will take with the current market Rolling Eyes )
You can buy straight away.
Cool What about sailing clubs? I would like to join one and maybe a diving club too-I am a certified diver.
Swimming and sailing are two Dutch passions. No problems here.
9)How quiet is life is Arnhem? Knowing a little bit about what I have said about our personalities, do you think it will be a good match for us?
No idea - but it's about 2-3 hrs from The Hague!
10) What about the dogs, how easy/difficult it will be to bring them over? I am not considering living them behind.
No problem - I have colleagues who have done this.
11) Jobs for me: I have a degree in BA in Spanish with a BS in Marine and Estuarine science. How difficult it is to find a job in the science field? I am a environmentalist in the sense because everything that I do in life, I try to cut my carbon emission.
There are many international organisations around The Hague and Amsterdam which work in English. However, you may find difficulties working in your field without learning Dutch first. Having done that, I would imagine your BS is very relevant here.
Do they have stores that sell organic produce and if so how much it would cost to by a 2 pounds of chicken for example? Here I buy at a place Wholefoods and they sell organic food and eco-friendly products: toilet paper, dishwasher tablets, etc.
The Dutch are 20 years ahead of the US in terms of eco friendliness...
I think I have asked a lot of questions, and please try to answer as much as you can, I really appreciate all of your opinions and ideas. I also have posted the same question on the American forum.
Hope this helps.