Netherlands for Noobs…

Just thought I’d share some usful information and write up a little update about my 3.5 week period of life in this new country…

Firstly, I’d like to thank all of those I have met so far, who have made me feel welcome – if you’re reading this and identify yourself as one of my new Dutch friends, then give yourself a high 5 / pat on the back 🙂

Business first

Ok, so I think I wrote about how simple it was to register yourself for living / working in the Netherlands as an EU citizen, and obtaining the required BSN number… This turned out to be a little more fun than I thought. The ‘oh so kind, smiley, warm, welcoming, pleasant, friendly’ (cough…. bullshit – world’s rudest employee!) lady (cough… cow) at the Rotterdam City Hall (Deelgemeente) advised me that I needed to have a few of my documents (birth certificate and Change of Name) legalised from the country they were produced (the UK). Luckily, the passport was enough to get me the all important BSN number, but it was still necessary to legalise my docs and arrange another appointment
with them… I was advised not to raise a stink or fuss with the rude employee, so bit my tongue several times! Apart from the rude staff member, it was pretty straight forward for me to get legally registered. I was just glad that there was a happy Dutchman, wanting me to fill in a customer feedback form at the end of the ordeal with the official, who was happy to humour me and translate all the questions for me.  Revenge is so sweet, if you ask for trouble from this little Brit 😛  Once I contacted the British Embassy for some help and advice the stupid, tedious process of legalising my documents began – via payment online and posting relevant online form and my papers to the UK.

Insurance is also a ‘must’ here, and the 2 needed asap are Health and liability. You can only be insured for health, liability, funeral, household content, automobile insurances, once you have your BSN number.  I am now covered and can quite happily race into oncoming traffic, cause a major amount of damage and need substantial amounts of medical care, if I wish to… (by accident of course). More info can be found here.

Jobwise

So far, I’ve applied for half a dozen jobs and been interviewed by an International Recruitment Agency – “Undutchables”. I have also had another agency showing some interest (online only), but I guess it’s only been 3.5 weeks and I have to be a little more patient! I have now updated the CV (again) and changed all LinkedIn online details, so time will tell. I’ve also used LinkedIn to make new contacts and join a few Dutch groups – so, I’m trying, I guess.

NL v DK – trying not to make too many comparisons here, but….

Like the UK, the Dutch have their apartments, houses etc numbered. In DK the residents names are used for mailboxes, front doors and at the point of where you buzz flats to enter the apartment coomplexes. I always thought that having your name on display, for anyone to read, was a little different and for security reasons kinda bugged me.

Lets talk T.V. Apparently the Dutch have approx 10 channels of their own, a few channels from Belgium, France, Germany and the good old UK – which means I can tune into the BBC stuff and watch Eastenders! (if I wanted to…) :O  In comparison, I guess the Danes seem to have channels from Germany, Sweden and Norway, as well as their own… I was just so surprised and happy when I made the discovery about the BBC channels – it was great to hear the news in English again 😀

Tourist fun (messing about on the river…)

tulipsOk, so far we have tried to see tulips in Sassenheim, near Lisse but we were too late – they only bloom until around 8th May 😦  There is also a huge garden area, called Keukenhof in the same area – also closed until 2014. They are open for the first 4 months of the year, only.

We also drove onto a place called Leiden, for a drink and a nice boat tour. The Dutch seem to like their boats nearly as much as their cycles :O The tour lasted one hour and was a pleasant way to learn about another Dutch town, in the sun and at a very relaxed pace. It was fun to watch the tour guide onboard throw the occasional insult or 2 at other mad boaters at the same time 😉  I even heard him use the word “klootzak” a few times, my first real life experience of that word! I also tasted my first Turkish Pizza and it was simple but tasty. And, we took in an all important Frikandel at Noordwijkerhout 🙂

I am not sure how many windmills exist here, but I am spotting them nearly everywhere I go, so cute! They have a reputation for having them for a reason. Not sure I’ve seen anyone wearing the traditional clogs yet though 😀

Kralingse Bos is a great lake to cycle round, and we managed to hit that place on my first sunny day here. It was very pretty and full of Dutch people cycling, boating, skating, walking and having fun. I think it was my first long cycling day too and my bum really needs to get used to being back on the bike!

This next week or so, we are going to take trips to Gouda and Amsterdam! Will blog about that another time…

I guess more time will also be spent on the usual, looking for work and learning Dutch – need more focus maybe, but off to a good enough start for the 3.5 weeks so far, I think…  😛

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