replied to the thread Getting my GF to the Netherlands
on the Netherlands forum on February 25, 2014:
I hope you can help! I have just got a job in Zwolle, Netherlands and will be moving there in 2 months time. Only problem is I want my girlfriend to come with me.
How easy is this to do? does she need to secure a job in NL before she can come over? She is a qualified graphic designer but we are having trouble trying to find a job for her in that field. What are our options?
your help would be really appreciated!
replied on February 25, 2014 with:
It depends what nationality your gf is. Its quite easy to move to NL if she's from Australia/Canada/New Zealand/US.
Im not sure if she needs a job first to move here as most likely you will be her sponsorship. There are though some requirement to be a sponsorship of someone.
This website can help you more https://ind.nl/EN/individuals/residence-wizard/procedure
Indeed it can be difficult to find a job here esp Zwolle is not really a big city (read wikipedia). Its never wrong to learn the language first to increase chances to get a job.
Being self employed as graphic designer (working online) also maybe can be an option.
replied to the thread The 'Dark Side' to Integration
on the Netherlands forum:
Full disclosure first: I am Dutch, I live in the Netherlands. So I am not an expat.
I am married to an American. She has been living here for well over a year now, and she enjoys living here. By and large. Apparently, it is difficult for her to discuss with me why integrating here is so problematic for her. She accuses me of being too cavalier about the whole thing, and that I'm being too defensive when she feels otherized by the Dutch. I'll qualify that word below.
Apparently, I'm entirely stuck in my opinion that it is quite easy to get settled, and find your footing, in the Netherlands. Yes, people will look at you when they hear an accent. Yes, people will ask you where you're from a thousand times and volunteer their experiences with your country, and not always in a subtle manner. Yes, people will strike up a conversation, simply based on you not being from here (including the inescapable "And when will you go back?" question). I've read The Undutchables, I get all of that.
To me, as a Dutchman, that is mostly innocent, welcoming, understandably annoying, but not in any way vicious or otherist. Therefore, I cannot seem to address this issue without getting into a very mutually defensive fencing match with my wife. But I need to get this right.
According to my wife, there is a much darker, much more insidious nature to the otherism in the Netherlands. No matter how well-known your culture is (and, let's face it, Americans are considered well-known), no matter how well you learn and/or speak the language (my wife hasn't done that yet), no matter how social or sociable you are (we both are not, really), there is a perceptible, not always hidden, undertone of otherism in Dutch society that is disconcerting, offputting, disheartening.
It is my wife's contention that, no matter how well you integrate and adapt in the Netherlands, you will always be other, you will always be an outsider, always non-Dutch. People don't see you as a person, but as (in this case) an American person living here, and any conversation will immediately focus on that aspect. And it has a discriminating effect. It sets you apart, and not in an extraordinary way, but in an extraneous way, so to speak.
I'd love to know more about this, but my wife keeps telling me that I get defensive and apologetic, that I downplay anything negative she brings to the table. And I probably do all of that, because I come from a background of 'If it ain't Dutch, it ain't much, and the Olympics aren't helping'.
But I need to understand this, or it will break us.
So, please tell me, and don't hold back. What is the dark side of life in the Netherlands as an expat? What is negative, insidious, disheartening about trying to fit in here? Is it really impossible to just be accepted into Dutch society, or even to just be considered 'Dutch enough not to be noticed for your otherness'? Or is an expat in the Netherlands always just that? An expat, an extra, an extraneous?
Help me understand. Thank you.
P.S. have a look at http://letterfromthenetherlands.blogspot.nl/2011/05/expat-unfriendly-netherlands.html -- does that ring a bell?
replied most recently with:
In reply to reply: Hi,
I felt the same way-even though not so profoundly but I did feel that somehow I was to blame for George Bush too like I put him office when I never voted for the either and I didn't like him either! Everyone would smile when I changed the subject and told them I came from and was born in Wisconsin where-Erik Heiden grew up the speedskating medalist-I'm a Dutchie at heart and I know we didnt fit in at least I didn't I'm short and dark everone is tall there! accept the turkish and oriental/Indians-those men were not our SOUL mates if they were they would have nevr let us part The family of the man I was stying with was angry at me because they had planned for gthey father to die I didnt know that-it wasn't my fault when I left the first time back they put a date on his euthanasia and he died and after that when I returned the second time with my children (mine) they were glad I was there till the end is family made me feel they wanted me to stay - but he was wanting already another woman to move in and I wasn't gone!
Dutchman-you need to stick with your choice of partner and stand up for her and love her and love is never easy for anyone~ the LOVE part IS difficult it's not supposed to be easy and its better to have differences it would be really a bland world if everyone did and said and wore the same things and we all had purple hair and wore the same clothes now wouldnt it? Love your American wife and keep her there
I should add a couple of things: my wife and I are both not social animals, and have no desire to be. She has no need for a network of local friends, whether they're locals or other expats. She's actually quite content with being left alone.
What she _is_ bothered by is the feeling that she's being 'followed down the street' by neighbors, all of whom know everybody else, and know everybody else's business. She feels like she's being watched and discussed by other people. We do live in a village now (and happily), but she said the same thing about living in the center of Rotterdam, where we lived before, even though it's a much more anonymous environment. She still spied the Dutch social cohesion: small circles, inward-looking circles of people, shunning outsiders.
She also dreads going to the supermarket or any other public place, because as soon as someone notices she's an American, the remarks, uninvited opinions, and interrogations begin. She says she's even been talked about behind her back, by people who think she does not understand Dutch (which she does to quite a startling degree, she just doesn't speak it yet).
This was an eye-opener to me, because nothing of the sort happens with me around, even when we both speak English in a supermarket, and I speak it fluently enough to pass for non-Dutch. Apparently, they leave 'us' alone, but they jump on her as soon as they notice she's not Dutch. She experiences this as very oppressive and almost threatening. She feels judged and observed. From what I read on that blog post, speaking Dutch in any shape or form doesn't really make a difference: you will still betray the fact that you're not Dutch, inviting in more scrutiny.
Do note that she's not unhappy at all. She absolutely loves the land, the cleanliness, the organization, the skies, how everything 'just works', and even the weird Dutch disrespect for personal space (no orderly queues here, especially when entering public transport, etc.). She understands that an overcrowded society like the Netherlands needs to run like a well-oiled machine, and that people need to play a specific role to keep everything from exploding (or imploding). When I described the typical Dutch 'autonomous circles of families and friends' as cogs that are interlocking smoothly to keep everything up and running, she agrees. Not like robots, or automatons, but very aware of who needs to do what.
She has no desire to leave, but she does feel that almost entirely withdrawing from public life (of which she is not the biggest fan anyway) may be her only viable option. Which leaves me worrying over her never leaving the house alone, never going out alone, and only talking to people over the Internet. That doesn't feel right, although _I_ don't mind living that way myself. I guess I'm just 'worried vicariously'.
Maybe she's actually cracked it: as an expat in the Netherlands: you either need to be a contented and self-sufficient hermit (yes, he knits and gardens), or an absolute social butterfly. And no, Amsterdam is not an option.. ever. ;)
We are considering moving to Amsterdam but would want to put our 2 kids in a good school. Could not afford full private school fees so would look at the Amsterdam International Community School, however I have now read 2 not so complimentary reviews. Please can anyone feedback about their experiences of this school?
For rent starting 1st of March 2014. Bright and well-kept 1 room apartment near Westerpark, excellent rental conditions!!
replied to the thread Seeking new friends!
on the Netherlands forum:
Hi everybody, I just moved here from the US and I don't know anybody. My fiance has a job at the University of Twente so I often find myself sitting around the house, bored. If you are in a similar situation, maybe we can get together for coffee and commiserate so we don't have to be so bored anymore! I look forward to meeting you :-)
I hope to move back in May or June. Looking for housing now.
hi, am from kenya ,28 years old and just moved to Uden in netherlands, a mother of 1 year old girl would love to meet some new friends as am in desparate need of girltalk and friends. please email me email@example.com.