I have an EU passport, but have lived in the USA for many years, considering taking a job in Amsterdam with my company. Hoping to hear from locals their thoughts on the good and bad of living in Netherlands. I have a wife and 2 young children.
Netherlands - 4 Answers
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Depending on where your company is based in Amsterdam - i`d base my choice for home on somewhere child friendly. Considering public transport is pretty good, you are never really far from the city anyway. I`m not sure what would be good or bad - as i dont really know you or your values. In general though: Good - relaxed people, nice sites, plenty to see and do for all ages. Bad - economy (government is causing recession) and therefore jobs are minimal. tension between certain groups. bad - lots of less desirable weather. EDIT: I forgot - since i use public transport - but indeed, traffic can be a nightmare - possibly due to lousy drivers. Other than that - Around Amsterdam is enough to find, house wise. In the city i would not really want to live.
The Netherlands is actually a very good country for families and you will find that the ethos is more family related than work related with a lot of rights encouraging parents to spend time with their family than in the US (e.g. paternity/maternity leave, parental leave, (sometimes) the option to work part-time etc. People generally enjoy spending time with their families here. It has actually come out top on a couple of recent surveys for this kind of thing http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6360517.stm Speaking as a mum (of two youngsters) then I guess I have mixed opinions. Living in the Netherlands being a positive, but living in Amsterdam itself not so positive. The Netherlands is a great country to bring up kids, but personally, unless you have a very good income, I don't think that Amsterdam is the best place for it. In actual fact we moved last year from Amsterdam, further south, and this was because it was nigh impossible (expensive) to get a house in a nice area with space and a garden (which are the pre-req's for me and bringing up a family. However, commuting brings it's own hurdles unless you are on a direct route with public transport. Public transport is excellent and reasonably priced, but driving by car can be a nightmare in rush hour traffic, so you need to check this out when weighing up where to live. So as USS_ mentioned, it is really personal as to what you find good and bad Good - family life and how children are brought up and respected here - respect & tolerance for other people - more relaxed approach to life - I think the Netherlands is on of the more easy countries in Europe (of course apart from the UK & Ireland) for a non-native speaker to live in e.g. compared with France - A lot of things for families to partake in, events, sports, tourist attractions etc - especially in & around Amsterdam - good education and childcare facilities (although long lists also sometimes in Amsterdam) Bad - contracting economy causing tension and concern (like many countries though of course) - tension about immigration (like most Western European countries) - small country with lots of people means space and peace & quiet is a premium - rush hour traffic a nightmare - weather - be prepared to enjoy rain! Of course this kind of thing is very subjective so it is hard to base your views on only a couple of answers. There are a lot of expats based in and around A'dam and Den Haag and there are several sites which have a lot of info such as http://www.expatica.com/nl/main.html which is a good one to read. On the positive side, living in a different country can really broaden your horizons. Speaking as a relative vetran (having lived in 3 countries albeit all in (North)Western Europe, it can be a really enjoyable experience and you can grow as a person and a family with this kind of experience, but it needs planning, understanding and willingness of all your family to making it a success, as it can be difficult in the beginning. I would suggest that you take a holiday to the Netherlands and Amsterdam first before making any decisions. Stay here with a view to looking at the place as a local. Talk to people, look at areas to live. Get a real feel for the place with your family Anyway, best of luck with your decision. EDIT - please note that both 'USS Enterprise' and I live in the Netherlands and have both lived/living in Amsterdam and know it well, plus we have both worked for international companies where many expats work, of course interact with them and are familiar with their experiences.. It would be appreciated if other answerer could also explain their creditionals as a "local" (as specified by the asker) in order for him to validate this other than based on Lonely Planet holiday guides which is not the same thing as living in a country.
Netherlands is an alright place overall but I have mixed opinions ( good and bad ones ) about Amsterdam ... maybe you shouldn't live in the city but close to it ( on the outskirts or something ) ? You have a family ... not that Amsterdam is hostile to families or anything ( most of them aren't ) but there are just some things there that I dislike and don't find appropriate http://www.lonelyplanet.com/maps/europe/netherlands/
I am an american that moved to the Netherlands after visiting many times. Amsterdam is a great city, though I don't think it would be good for children. I live in Leiden which is a smaller city about 30 minutes by train from Amsterdam. It's nice, quiet, not nearly as crowded as Amsterdam and there seems to be more parks, bike paths and outdoor space for children to play. But if you want you children to experience a city life much like New York then Amsterdam would be ok. As for moving from the US here, it's a great idea! Life in the US is not that great these days with the economy on the skids and the crime rate. I think employees are treated better in NL, there seems to be less commercialism here, and the quality of life is much better. Your children (if not already) will become bilingual and get to experience a different culture. Doesn't seem to be as much bad stuff going on here, there's less violence, and children can still play outside without adult supervision safely. Aside from the crap weather it's a fabulous place to live. If you have a chance to live and work here, jump on it.
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