Marco is in the Netherlands since April 2019. He came together with his wife Chenee, and their children Lana and Stephen.
Marco, why did you emigrate to the Netherlands?
The biggest contributing factor for us was the safety and future of our children. My wife wanted to have more time with our children as well and here it is very common for mothers (and sometimes fathers) to be at home with the kids. Public schools and medical aid are free for children and enables my wife to spend more time with them.
How do you like the Netherlands? What are the biggest differences with South Africa?
The Netherlands is a very organised country if i can put it that way. Most things work extremely well and structured. There is (almost) a website or application for everything. It is very safe and not uncommon to see people riding their bike late in the evenings. For us it was a big adjustment to just be able to let our kids go to the play-park close to our home without worrying (too much) if they are safe. The weather is completely different here. Spring in the Netherlands is like a mild SA winter, but it can also get very warm here. We have experienced temperatures of 35+ degrees Celsius. Dutch houses are also smaller compared to SA, but you get used to it and actually start to appreciate the practicality and coziness. The Netherlands has excellent highways; well maintained and pothole free! The dutch are generally private, but extremely friendly people and always willing to help and give guidance. We have had encounters with not so friendly and sometimes rude dutch people, but those were the minority..we sometimes confuse the dutch directness with rudeness. Something we still have to get used to 🙂
Please tell us something about the projects you are currently working on
I currently work on a project for the biggest delivery service in The Netherlands. It is a big project with systems and services being developed using various technologies like .NET, MVC, WebApi, React.js, AWS Lambda, Docker, xUnit, SqlServer, MySql. We are currently migrating many of the systems over to .NET Standard and .NET Core as well as Git with an end-to-end CI/CD pipeline. With such a big system, test automation is also playing a big part on the way we develop as testing manually is just not an option. Serverless development is also on the rise with AWS Lambda. It is a very interesting project.
How did the process of emigration go?
The process went very smoothly. There is a lot of admin around emigrating, but we knew exactly where we were in the process and what was required of us, every step of the way. It can all happen very quickly. The things that took the most time, was applying for all the documentation from Home Affairs in SA. Tip: Make use of a third party that provide such services. They take the headache out of the entire process and in many cases you get it sooner. When we arrived, we received a crash course in everything Dutch from shopping for food, parking and paying for parking to driving on the right (or wrong) side of the road. It is new and can be very different sometimes, but don’t feel overwhelmed, it gets better and easier.
Can you explain to the South Africans who are considering to go overseas how you did experience the support from us?
Ton, Matthijs and the team guided us every step of the way. They were always a Whatsapp or email away. If unsure of anything or have a question, just ask! They helped with finding a house to rent, a good school for the children and even a car. They came to pick us up at the airport when we arrived and took us to our new home. Everything was already organised and setup.