Hi Faizel, when did you arrive in the Netherlands?
My wife, three children (14, 11 and 6 years old at the time) and I arrived on the 18th of December 2021.
How did you experience the first few months in the Netherlands?
The first few months were very busy, lots of things sort out and admin tasks to complete but also very exciting. We arrived during Covid and the Netherlands was on a complete lockdown during the first month. So the first month had a few unique challenges. Most places were closed and we were not able to explore and do much but when the lockdown ended things got much more interesting. We got orientated in our new country, learnt the processes and how things work and took it step by step one day at a time. We did a lot of exploring to other cities and towns in the Netherlands and did a bit of traveling to other countries in Europe.
Does it feel like home?
Yes, it took almost two years, but it does feel like home now. Our children have adjusted well and are settled and happy at school, my wife and I enjoy our jobs and the work/life balance we have and we bought a house that we were able to make our own.
Do you still live in the same house as in the beginning?
No, when we arrived we stayed in an unfurnished house in Barneveld. summit developers assisted with acquiring the essential furniture like beds before we arrived and the rest we bought online after we arrived. Fortunately, we were able to buy a house in Amersfoort within the first year where we now live.
How was it to learn the language? Was it easier or harder than expected?
It’s harder than expected. Knowing Afrikaans helps, but becoming fluent in Dutch requires practice and the Dutch speak English really well and in most cases will immediately switch to English when having a conversation with you. Having an Afrikaans background helps with reading and understanding Dutch, but speaking and writing Dutch is harder than expected.
What do you miss most about South Africa?
Family and friends. The food and variety of food, restaurants and fast food options. The abundance and variety of quality meat in South Arica.
What appeals to you most in the Netherlands?
The safety, independence, prospects, possibilities and future for my children appeals the most.