The Hague, The Netherlands

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By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Sep 24, 2021

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in The Hague, Netherlands: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.

What do I need to know about living in The Hague?

Live in The Hague? Answer this Question

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to The Hague, they said:

"With its international flavor and resources supporting expats, The Hague is what I think is a relatively easy city in which to find your way. It's also an easy starting place to travel throughout the Netherlands and a great place from which to visit other countries," added another expat who made the move to The Hague.

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How do I meet people in The Hague?

Live in The Hague? Answer this Question

When we asked people living in The Hague about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"I'd start with ACCESS (access-nl.org) and The Hague Online (thehagueonline.com), and go from there," remarked another expat living in The Hague, Netherlands.

What is life like in The Hague?

Live in The Hague? Answer this Question

When we asked people living in The Hague what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"The Hague is the seat of government for the Netherlands. So in addition to the Queen, Ministries and Dutch Parliament, it is home to foreign embassies and a host of international organizations (many UN) as well as international businesses. I think of it as a capital city with a small town feel. Lots of greenery and park land, with beautiful dune beaches along the North Sea. Plenty to do, with fewer tourists than in Amsterdam," mentioned another expat in The Hague.

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Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in The Hague accepting of differences?

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"The Hague is quite diverse on all levels, with lots of expats. It seems to be more accepting of differences than some places outside the Randstad (the area in which Amersterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Rotterdam are located)," remarked another expat who made the move to The Hague.

What are the schools in The Hague like?

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"Date: April 2017 Every school has issues and so has ISH. The school is big and growing; Secondary currently has 8 classes per year group. Having said that, my children feel at home at ISH. I am impressed with the way the school has responded to issues I raised. Their response was professional, efficient and personal. I can only recommend this school. Just make sure to sign up in time, the waiting-list can be long," said another expat in The Hague with children at International School of The Hague (ISH).

"Seriously consider all other alternatives. Send you kids to the American School if you can afford it," remarked another parent with kids at International School of The Hague in The Hague.

"I will just write about my experience with the primary school; you can refer to the other reports on this web site if you are interested in the secondary school. I regret very much putting my child in the International School. The communication with parents is awful: you do not know what records are being placed in your child’s file, measures that affect your child are being implemented without informing you, measures are implemented even after your specific disapproval, etc. If you dare to raise questions to the school administration about their policies and/or practices, you are likely to get a very disrespectful treatment and a ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ attitude. The current principal (Mr. Kevin Rae) has mastered this attitude to a point that borders insanity. Luckily, he is leaving in August 2015 and many parents are hopeful that things will improve afterwards. I have some doubts about this. The problem is that most of the staff consists of temps and part-times. This is clearly reflected in their work motivation. There are some motivated and skilled teachers, but these seem to be the minority. I do not expect that this situation will change much with the new principal. The bottom line is that I will be taking my child out of this school once the school year is over. My advice to other parents is: i) If you do not have financial concerns, go for the American School (take a look at the great reviews they have at this web site) ii) If money is a concern, consider the European School. Unfortunately, unless you work for a European organization, they have a long waiting line. iii) Judging by the experience of my friends, I would not put my child in the British School: they seem to have some of the same issues as the International School," explained one expat living in The Hague, Netherlands.

"The primary is fantastic, you're lucky if your child gets in (huge waiting list) The secondary is a big international school (70 nationalities, with mainly European, only a few Dutch, teachers) which suffered from the transition of IGCSE's to MYP, but has improved over the last year. There is a rich atmosphere & a lot of dedicated teachers. The communication between the staff & parents could still be improved though, as now you need to be on top of things yourself. This also has to do with the MYP-system which is kind of difficult to get the hang of, but is taught all over the world. IB results have been above average for years," said another parent with children at International school of The Hague in The Hague.

"For primary school no issues but secondary school I would think twice and try to obtain more feedback about the current situation. The atmosphere between teaching staff and students is defintely one of no trust with no respect for each other. There are a lot of organisational issues within the school with respect to attracting staff, communication, proper planning of class schedules and interaction with students. The teaching staff is made up of probably more than 70% part timers, which put pressure on scheduling and communication within the school. Quite a few students have left ISH and opted for RISS in Rotterdam, which appearantly has a much better atmosphere and program. The MYP program offered at ISH is also a farce as, in Holland , MYP is not a recognised program, therefor if a student fails IB in ISH , all he will get is a diploma equivalent to the lowest form of secondary eduction (VMBO). There has been very little openess from the school with regard to options available to children in Holland should they fail the IB program or do not get admitted to the IB program. If you do have long term plans in Holland and you do question your childs academic abilities (there is no stimulance provided by ISH to perform), then IGCSE's is probabably a better option for your child as at least your get certificates with which you still can go to college. We have been in Holland for 3 years and sincerely regret having choosen ISH as school for our children during that time," commented one expat when asked about International School of The Hague in The Hague.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 8 Best Places to Live in Croatia and the Living in Mexico Guide. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Netherlands Forum Netherlands Forum
Join our Netherlands forum to meet other people living in The Hague, Netherlands.

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Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in The Hague.

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