Reflective in Rotterdam

“No river can return to its source, yet all rivers must have a beginning.”

After being in a new country for nearly 2 weeks, there is a lot to write about! Denmark has  left a bit of a negative mark on me, but I am slowly feeling a new sense of optimism and looking forward to possible, brighter prospects. I do have healthy, unconditional and direct support from a very special Dutch guy, which is a huge boost – and I can’t imagine doing all this without him.

However, I can’t yet say that The Netherlands is the best place on earth, as I’ve not been
here long to judge objectionally enough. However, there are a number of comparisons I can draw on, which make it a better place already.

The Positives – Where do I start…?

Firstly, the fact that the centre of Rotterdam has international recruitment agencies, aimed
at non Dutch speaking staff is a good sign. The jobs listed are a little more limited than
those requiring bi/multi lingual jobs, but I have applied for 4 or 5 of them already!

I then have to mention the shops in general and choices of food – they are much like those in the UK, which is great for an English girl like me. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a great
shopper and love to sample foreign delights, I just missed the choices I had back in the UK.
They even have good old Fish and Chip shops here! And, their Frikandels are – wait for it…

The lakes and Dikes are so pretty, and everywhere! Maybe I’m lucky to be in the area I live in, but within a 5 minute walk, it is peaceful and very pretty.

They do have a lot of cycle paths here too, the downside is – I have to get used to them and
the traffic rules, as they are a little different than the ones in DK (though, still safer
than the road cycling we do in the UK).

There is a stronger sense of multi-culturism here, maybe that’s due to a difference in
population size – and I am still in DK / NL comparison mode. But, I’ve also noticed that the
people here (in general) are all very polite and seem to smile more!

I’ve met some pretty awesome people so far and have been made to feel very welcome here.  They have helped make me feel relaxed, and I know I’ll be seeing a lot more of them.

Immigration/registration seems quite easy for EU members – I just need to acquire a BSN number and I can feel free to live/work, as I please. Apparently, all that is needed are:-

  • passport or identity card,
  • birth certificate,
  • a rental / tenancy / home purchase agreement,
  • or, if lodging with someone, a copy of the identity document of the main occupant and a declaration stating his or her permission for you to live there.

In Denmark, you need to either have a job (to obtain a CPR number), or your spouse/partner needs to earn x amount and sponsor you financially, and provide proof of enough disposable income.

They have a good enough football team here (Feyenoord), for me to start supporting, and they seem to enjoy the sport! I have to admit, I have really missed watching football and my interest has been re-ignited! I can’t wait for the footie season to start again, and I will be keeping a very close eye on the English footie, a lot more. 🙂

Everybody speaks English!

The down side

Health insurance – you need to take your own insurance out, or face being fined. You also
need your BSN number to obtain your health insurance.

The Dutch language. Personally, I am finding that the Dutch language seems to be a mix of
English, German, Danish and a bit of it’s own uniqueness… They do have exactly the same
letters as the English alphabet – big bonus! I just struggle trying to say words containing
the ‘G’ and ‘CH’ letters (they are very throaty sounds).  And, I guess after trying to get my head round the Danish language, my enthusiasm to learn another language is not as it good as it could/should be.

The Euro – always hated the idea of that stupid currency and the non too apparent reasons
behind it. I preferred all European countries to stay individual, and actually enjoyed
exchanging my notes and coins when I went off travelling… As far as I’ve heard, all those
who have switched to the Euro have nothing good to say about it.

New priorities

Job first! ‘Settling in’ is important, time consuming and that is still ongoing, but it’s
definitely progressed and making the job searches/applications/potential interviews seem a little less daunting, already.

Dutch – it seems less of an issue to be required to speak the native language, so far.
Obviously speaking Dutch helps, but there are many here who have managed to get by without it. In time, Dutch will be my next biggest priority, but right now I am picking that up at a more relaxed and leisurely pace.

Making time to study something new, for better career prospects again. Thanks to a new
friend I have begun to practise using the Eclipse application and created a few Java projects. I’m going at snail pace at the moment and not sure I have the aptitude for it – but willing to try, there are always other projects I can pick up if this is not the right one for me…

Having fun! Finally, winter is over and I’ve got a lot of sightseeing to do and new people
to meet/relax with!

In short, I don’t know if my views of Rotterdam or The Netherlands are going to change too much, I know I went through a ‘honeymoon’ period in Denmark.  I doubt they will and I hope the future is much more promising, but time will tell of course… 😉

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