The frustrating thing about a different system…

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system, Netherlands, moving overseas

The other day I had a slightly frustrating day fighting the system. I guess it was because too many things went wrong. Add to this the list of all other things that are laborious already and you may get the gist.

I am going to list some of my frustrations and before you say something, it is not because of the weather. I am taking the countless shades of grey with a constant drizzle or down pour with a smile on my face 😛

Because it is what it is – this Dutch weather! I even washed my sister’s car in the rain yesterday. I was waiting for a dry sunny day but I realised it might never come!

It actually did the day after I washed the car!

system, Groningen, weather
Gorgeous blue skies do exist as you can see here!

No, my irritations stem from the tedious organising of things that are so difficult in this country yet could be so much easier. I am sure most Dutch people do not even realise this and therefore, as a Dutch remigrant, I like to get this off my chest:

My list of ‘ system’ frustrations

  • The Dutch don’t like Visa. A debit card with a Visa symbol is frowned upon and widely NOT accepted. The fact that it is a French card (ONE Europe) does not matter. What matters is that it is not a Dutch card.
  • They constantly call my DEBIT card a credit card. It is not! I have no credit and can only spend if there is money in my account. It has a VISA facility to make it easier to make payments online. Primarily it is what the Dutch call a “pin’ card.
  • The public transport system work with a OV-Chip kaart. For UK people similar to an Oyster card and for Brisbane Aussies like a Go-card. You can buy them in a News Agency but funnily these shops don’t offer a charging facility. There are machines to charge in several supermarkets but guess what,  they don’t accept cash nor my French Visa card…
  • There are good parking facilities in many smaller towns around the city of Groningen. They have machines to buy a ticket. No cash payments, no Visa nor Master cards accepted, only cards with the symbol Maestro. Do I want a fine, NO, then how do I pay?

Looking at my list it seems the majority of my frustrations has to do with the banking system in the Netherlands. Although I have never had an issue in any other city in this country. Not in Amsterdam, Apeldoorn, Haarlem nor in Rotterdam. I won’t bore you with other bureaucratic matters as I have done that already!

I realise that Australia has a very advanced banking system. We have facilities that are not yet in existence in Europe and I am used to having those. I am willing to learn about the Dutch system but many times it is impossible to get ahead. Whatever we come with is not accepted but we can’t get the Dutch equivalent.

The Dutch weather system

system, weather
A damp misty day in The Netherlands
system, weather
You have to take extra time to sort this out
system, weather
A storm is brewing. This is quite a familiar sight for someone who lived in brisbane

I like to add a little bit about the weather. No whinge but just a mention that I admire the Dutch for being able to live with this weather. I used to do it myself but I left, after all! If you have spent a day at work, the last thing you would want is jump on your bike and cycle home through wind and rain. Yet the Dutch take that in their stride without a complaint (it seems). It is unfortunately part of their daily lives.

I am so ‘weather spoilt’ when it comes to that. In Brisbane the sky is usually blue while in The Netherlands the sky is usually grey. As I said before, the weather is what it is and I am just accepting it as part of my current life.

I only have to fork out a bit more money for the countless umbrellas that seem to last one storm. Apparently there is a special storm umbrella that can’t blow inside out. The costs are around 60-80 Euro. I may have to invest in one of those one of these days….

Officially registering in the Dutch system

A couple of days ago we have registered Zoe, our youngest as a resident in Holland. She will soon get ( between 2-3 weeks) her ‘Burger Service Number’, open a Dutch bank account and get her a Dutch medical insurance. Exciting for her because she finally will be able to get paid. She has been working but they can’t pay her yet as she needs a bank account and……

Yep, that vicious circle again.

Hopefully this registration will go straightforward! I registered myself on Dec 17th 2017 and my request is still pending! Somehow I have this image of a Happy Potter style ‘Hogwarts’ filing system with people going into the dungeons of The Hague and look through boxes of dusty files. One of them has to be mine!

You have to laugh, don’t you!

The Netherlands, setting in



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