Hi Marco, when did you arrive in the Netherlands?
We arrived in the Netherlands 02 April 2019.
How did you experience the first few months in the Netherlands?
The first few months were a combination of excitement, happiness, worry and frustration. Excitement, because we are in this beautiful new country to explore and experience. Happiness, because we felt lucky and privileged to have this opportunity. Worried, because sometimes we wondered if we and our children would be able to adapt (less sun, less family / friends, the language and of course less braaing!!) Frustration, because we basically started from scratch and that means new everything, from identification numbers, cellphone numbers, bank accounts, doctor, etc. And with all of these new things come admin and more admin. I think the admin did not stop for the first 6 months.
Does it feel like home?
It takes quite some time to adjust and for the first 2 years or so we really missed South Africa, but now after more than 2 years the Netherlands is starting to feel like home. We are used to this lifestyle now. Going on walks or bike rides without worry. Planning a holiday in some new unexplored part of the Netherlands or just simply going to another country. There are so many things we love about the Netherlands. Our children go play unattended. We can cycle everywhere. Nature! Sometimes I think that should we move back to SA for some reason, it may be an even bigger adjustment than when we moved here. The biggest drawback for us still is not having our family close by, but we have a great “community” of South Africans here in Barneveld and we support each other when it sometimes gets tough.
Do you still live in the same house as in the beginning?
No, we rented for a year and then bought our own house.
How was it to learn the language? Was it easier or harder than expected?
Learning Dutch is much more difficult than you think, but on the other hand it’s also way easier for us than learning e.g. French 🙂
What do you miss most about South Africa?
What appeals to you most in the Netherlands?
There is so much but the main things are:
1) Safety and freedom for us and our children.
2) The ease of travel.
3) It’s peaceful.
4) All things considered it’s quite easy to integrate.