Pieter le Roux
Hi Pieter, when did you arrive in the Netherlands?
My wife and I arrived in the Netherlands in August 2020 in the midst of covid19 and during a heatwave in the Netherlands! We were relieved, however, to see that we did not need to wear masks when we were outside. At the end of the heatwave there was a thunderstorm which was a pleasant reminder of home.
How did you experience the first few months in the Netherlands?
The first few months were tough but we found our feet quickly. The simplest things you’ve ‘just always known’ in South Africa were new. The health system, driving, a new language etc. Luckily the Dutch people are very polite and willing to help. Everyone at summit developers were very helpful and always only a phone call away. They also supported us every step of the way to sort out all our admin after we arrived.
Does it feel like home?
After two years we can definitely call it home. We had our first child here and after returning from our first South Africa visit, it really felt like we were returning home. We were even looking forward to coming back to our own routine, surroundings and bed!
Do you still live in the same house as in the beginning?
Yes we still live in the same house. We have been tempted to move a couple of times but it is so perfectly situated and walking distance from everything we need – we sometimes forget where we parked the car! We will move in the future to a place that is a little bit bigger, especially now that we have started a family.
How was it to learn the language? Was it easier or harder than expected?
This differs for me and my wife. It is my third language and Afrikaans is my first. This helped a lot, especially in understanding it. It took me a couple of months to really become comfortable in speaking Dutch. I had to just do it and I also made the commitment to speak it at work as it is a Dutch company. Jumping into the deep end is the fastest way in my experience. I also found that the Dutch people are very accommodating in this regard. It is a little more difficult for my wife as it is her fourth language with Afrikaans as her third. But she is managing well and getting there!
What do you miss most about South Africa?
We miss the quick weekend visits with family the most, especially with our parents who are now also grandparents.
What appeals to you most in the Netherlands?
We enjoy the work-life balance culture in the Netherlands. There are also a lot of recreational places to visit with plenty of places focused on children and almost all are easily accessible to the elderly. The Netherlands are also very central in western Europe (and the world) and a road trip down to northern Italy is only 10 hours! All in all, friendly people, good work-life balance, lots of beautiful and interesting places to see and close to most European holiday destinations.