So much has happened in the last month that I felt I had little time to write a blogpost. I ended my last one with ‘to be continued’ and here we are a month later. We are in the far North of The Netherlands in a small hamlet called Bunne. Just some 10 k south of the city of Groningen. Bunne however is in a different province called Drenthe.
Settling in The Netherlands
Gorgeous country side in The Netherlands but could someone please do something about the weather? The colour scheme here is green, variations of browns and greys. The sun does not seem to shine here. You can see why the Dutch like to flock to the South European beaches on the search for sun and blue skies.
My sister has fled this grey scene to sunnier horizons and we man her house for the time being. Our youngest has expressed the wish to study in Groningen so we are helping her to settle in Dutch life. Strange to all of us, even me, who lived more than 30 years elsewhere.
At the moment we are filling our days with sorting out how to go about this. After a week of doing this I can disclose that bureaucracy exists everywhere. They warned me for the French. Well, let me introduce you to the Dutch variety. Everything you need to do is part of a vicious circle but no-one knows the way in.
Vicious circles of document shuffling
We need to start with a social number, even I don’t have that as it did not exist when I lived in this country. You get that number when you register on an address. In order to register you need a place to live but you can’t get a place to live without the number. You need a job to get a place to live but. See the circles…?
Citizens from countries are usually not aware of this first step because they never had to do it. I can remember getting a social security number in the UK a 30 years ago. It took me two full days of queueing at the Home Office in London. I recently asked some Brits if they knew how and where to get a social insurance number. They had no idea! They get it at birth.
Despite the fact that I am Dutch, I find it hard to organise things. For instance English people need to provide a birth certificate that is more recent than 6 months. It also has to have an Apostille seal on the back. For some reason UK is the only country in Europe that is required to do so. Revenge on Brexit, maybe? At least I speak the local language and have a Dutch birth certificate.
Our next step in The Netherlands?
To be honest I am not entirely sure what will happen next. Zoe likes to live with us at least until she starts university next year. But not in France because that is ‘boring’ according to her. So as good parents we intend to stay with her in Holland for a while. This means getting a job, finding a place to live and more of that stuff. It means finding an entry in that circle…..
Who would have ever thought this sequence of events? Me, who had it in the blood to leave this pancake country called The Netherlands. After all I love and prefer mountains, space, ruggedness and sun.
For now though it will be flat country side, organised in green patches and ditches, densely populated, grey skies and no sun! What you don’t do for your children…..
I keep plugging at it with a smile on my face… 😀
See you next time!