If you think settling in The Netherlands is straightforward, think again!

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traditions, Groningen, center, law faculty

A while back I started this post with a smirk on my face. Since then I have discovered that bureaucracy in The Netherlands is a touch worse than the French and Australian version combined. Who would have ever thought that?

bureaucracy, The Netherlands, settling in

Bureaucracy in The Netherlands

It seems virtually impossible to get things done in The Netherlands. At least for newcomers that are not refugees! I have spent the larger part of December researching how to settle and ‘resettle‘ for me in the Netherlands. Much of the time through forums and the surprising news is that a popular opinion is NOT to settle in The Netherlands.

Apparently many ‘remigrants’ leave again soon after arrival to escape this Dutch paper shuffling. These people returned in the hope that it might be better in The Netherlands but soon found out it was not more than a ‘flaw’ in their mind. I, myself, have a hard time to stay motivated and it reminded me WHY I left Holland all these years ago.

Here, I had to say it! 😕 

Studying in The Netherlands

Time to get serious as my youngest daughter still wants to study in The Netherlands. To be honest she has not really experienced the frustrations we have had so far. In fact we are presenting things to her ‘quite nicely’ on a platter. The (her) progress is as follows:

  • She got a job. Not a dream job but a job where she does not need to be speaking Dutch. The promise is though that she could progress when her Dutch improves. You have to know that this job is in a very popular cafe/restaurant in the center of Groningen. And yes, she had a bit of help!
  • She needs a bank account to receive her wages. That is going to be a bit more complicated but we are in the process of seeking it out.
  • She has a place to live for the first month or so.

Not bad for starters!

Registering in The Netherlands

The Netherlands, settling in, bureaucracy
A typical farm house in the North of The Netherlands – our home at the moment. This is a converted barn.

We on the other hand are in a worse state although we do have a place to live thanks to my gorgeous sister. We are still in the process for that initial entry in the vicious circle. The one where you need always something else to get started. However you can’t get it because you haven’t got what you are trying to get.

It appears that we can stay in Holland for 4 out of 6 months without getting registered unless we find work. In that case we have to get onto the ‘admin ladder’. Decision time!

On the one hand it could be quite an adventure to live here for a bit. It is relatively easy to live temporarily in the UK and Australia provided you have a visa. You just come and work and when you had enough, you leave.

Holland with its registration system requires more ‘officialness’. You need to register on an address in order to open a bank account, work, enter a phone contract or get a rental lease. So in fact my only option to organise any of the above is to register and get all these other things in motion.

First of all I need a Dutch bank account. I do have a French account but for some reason The Dutch do not like that one. On numerous occasions I have found myself ready to pay the bill only to find out that my French bank card is not accepted. Several of the big Dutch shopping chains reject all international cards including European. Where does that leave one Europe??

I wonder how the Dutch react if their bank card is rejected during their holiday in Spain, Italy and Greece….

The charm of The Netherlands

bureaucracy, setting-in, The Netherlands
Gorgeous Dutch countryside near the city of Groningen in the North of The Netherlands
The Netherlands, settling in, lifestyle
The Hoge AA, canals like this make The Netherlands so charming.

Putting all this paper shuffling and the weather aside, this low country has charm. To be honest if you don’t make yourself any illusions about the weather it is indeed very acceptable. Say to yourself: sun is overrated and you live a lovely life in The Netherlands. If you need the sun, stay clear!

So what is next? That is the thing we ask ourselves… Become officially Dutch citizens with everything that comes with it or settle in the kid and move on?

At the moment the kid has expressed that she likes us to be around for a bit longer. We know her well enough to realise that she will be asking us to leave when she feels more confident comfortable. Normal for teenagers, I suppose!

Also we did get a couple of rental enquiries for our French house. It was for September and October 2018. For the moment we have decided that we ourselves are going to be living there at that time. You have to draw the line somewhere!

The fight continues…..

The Netherlands, settling in, bureaucracy
Our Christmas table this year. Awaiting an onslaught of 20 people including a baby and a toddler

So after a short break in London to celebrate Christmas we are back in The Netherlands to continue fighting the fight. My registration is in process. The local council took all my official documents except my passport and is on the search for my file. Someone put it away over 30 years ago…….!

Deep down I have to laugh at the situation because the local council does not really know how to deal with my case. I have left The Netherlands before they introduced a new system. A system where every citizen gets a number – a so-called citizen service number that is also noted in your passport. I haven’t got such a number so they are a bit stuck what to do with me…….

The lady at the council went step by step through the process and eliminated the possibility that I was not Dutch. This was based on the fact that I do have a Dutch passport. So lucky for me I did not have to prove that I am Dutch 🙄

Zoe actually has to proof that, but that is material for another rant!

New Year’s eve has come and gone and I like to wish you all the best for 2018. I hope it will be a great year with lots of adventures. Somehow I think that will be the case!

Love to you all!

The Netherlands, setting in




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