Moving to the Netherlands was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I left a community that was always there for me. I left everything I’ve ever known to be with the man I love. The decision to move abroad was not an easy one. Uprooting your life is never easy. The first year and a half were especially difficult for me. But now I’ve lived in the Netherlands for four years, and I’m really enjoying it. Of course, every place has its pros and cons, so here are mine.
1. Pro: Being Frugal Isn’t Looked Down Upon
I’ve always been called a cheap person. My family and friends love saying that I’m being stingy and frugal. Most people in the USA didn’t understand why I didn’t just want to spend on everyone and everything. Now I live in a country where being frugal is not only appreciated but the norm. Being responsible with money and thinking ahead should be something that’s a norm, not something that’s frowned upon.
2. Con: Paracetamol Is A Cure All
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’m not the biggest fan of the Dutch healthcare system. Preventative medicine isn’t common, and paracetamol is the cure for everything. The doctors will fight you tooth and nail before agreeing to conduct any tests. They do this to save the healthcare system money. But you’re left frustrated and in pain for months or even years. To me, that’s not proper healthcare.
3. Pro: People Appreciate You For You
I come from a culture that values how you look, how much money you appear to make, what university you went to, and what your job is over who you are as a person. In the Netherlands, I am rarely asked where I went to school or what degree I obtained. People seem to appreciate how you treat others and who you are more than class and money.
4. Con: The Cold Attitude
People say that the more north you go, the colder people get. And I completely agree with that statement. Dutch people are very nice and helpful. But they aren’t warm people. They won’t invite you into their home unless you’re their friend or something. When you spend time with them, you don’t usually feel like you can be absolutely yourself.
In the USA, people are so extremely nice and friendly, it’s ingrained into the culture. How people treat you can really change how you’re feeling for the better. To me, being kind and caring isn’t something that requires effort; it’s natural.
5. Pro: The Healthy Lifestyle
It is undeniable that the lifestyle in the Netherlands is a pretty healthy one. People use their bicycles as a primary mode of transportation. Cities are extremely walkable. Your personal time is valued and isn’t infringed on. For example, if you have a day off, your colleagues or boss most likely won’t bother you. In addition, the whole hierarchy system at work isn’t really that common. So you can speak to your boss openly, and that helps you actually enjoy your work. There isn’t the whole fear culture.
6. Con: The Housing Crisis
The Netherlands is ridiculously overpopulated, and the government doesn’t seem to care about it. Due to overpopulation and lack of permits and space to build, there is an extreme housing crisis. Although I personally am not affected by this housing crisis, I know many people that are. It’s not ok that we are living in a time of advanced technology and a rich economy, and people are struggling to find adequate housing.
7. Pro: The Country Is Beautiful
To end on a positive note, this country is absolutely beautiful. I recently made a video about how incredibly clean and nice the Netherlands is. I think many Dutch people take for granted how well-maintained all the infrastructure is. The bike paths and roads are perfect, the buildings are perfect, and the trains are really great, no matter how much you want to complain about them. When you go outside, you aren’t met with tons of trash and homeless people living outside your door.
Every Place Has Its Ups and Downs
There is no perfect place. No matter where you live, there will always be things you like and don’t like. The most important thing is that it works for you. For me, the pros generously outweigh the cons. So the Netherlands is the right place for me. I just ask that if you’re having a hard time here, give it a few years and actually make an effort to integrate and make friends before giving up and moving someplace else. Feeling at home in a new place takes time.
If you want tips for living in the Netherlands or to learn more about living here, follow me on my Instagram, Facebook, and Tiktok.
The featured photo was taken by Sara Podbielski.
What are your pros and cons of living in the Netherlands?
16 People reacted on this
Thank you very much for sharing your perspective on this! Im happy to hear, that overall you have a good time here.
I’m a dutchie, but my partner (from Greece) came here to live our lives together here, like you came with your love. That’s why I’m always interested in the other perpective, and for a while now I follow you also on TikTok. Im a biketourguide and occasionally I have a tour with ‘fresh’ 😄expats, with whom I can transfer / share some experiences similar to what you write. Thank you for your mild honesty in the cons, and for highlighting the pro’s! Keep being happy here. I follow your ecperiences with interest! Warm regards
Thank you so much for reading and being here!
Are you from Germany ?
Where are you from ?
I think you have to change doctors..
Agree with all except for the paracetamol comment- I’ve been to doctors twice and not once was I given paracetamol in fact they call me and ask how I was feeling then said they need to send me for more testing. So it’s been good.
I’m so glad you had better experiences than a lot of other foreigners, including myself.
I think you have to change doctors..
I’d like add one very important PRO: Everybody speaks English and they are pretty much willing to do that! For someone who doesn’t speak Dutch yet this is highly appreciated from my side. I don’t have to mention how many administrative things one expat, especially with kids, has to complete.
I couldn’t agree more with this comments!
You must be one of the lucky ones. I have a chronic illness and since I started living in this country as a student, it got really bad. Even when I see a new sign of my condition flaring up and I go to the doctor to complain, they keep telling me to go home that the new thing coming up is part of the condition. They would not bother to do further checks unless I insist. Its frustrating. They are the professionals who should know better.
Cons: the weather 🥶 (I’m from south), sometimes ‘stugge’ mentality (coldish reserved people), suburbs are dead after 8PM (no street life, not social in the evenings)
Pros: beautiful nature for such a small country with huge population, generally a good healthcare, elderly care and social support if you are a low income or a single mum.
It is good to live with the memories of past days which I spent in Netherlands 22 years back.culture of ” paracetamol”no market after five,weather of Netherlands everything which you mentioned is 100%true.please write something about people like me .I went there with my partner but he left me so I had to come back.No one was there to help me.Please write about those girls .
My husband was born in the Netherlands and we have been over many times to visit family. We have considered moving over there because we could live nicely on our social security. The VidCon would be the healthcare, as we have witnessed tragedy for a family member and his death was a healthcare mistake. I agree with all your pros and love the country and culture.
I cannot agree that’s it beautiful. It’s flat and dull. Beautiful is one thing it is not at all.
The people love to be ‘direct’ but are quite easily insulted when you’re very direct in return. On top people are cold and quite overly impressed with anything Dutch which only seems to involve being bland and / or orange. They send a ‘Tikke’ for a couple of Euros (oh please…) 🙄
The roads are a treat to drive on and the surface is extremely good.
Law and order seem to be better than in most countries and I never feel nervous walking past a group of Dutch youth when in UK I’d watch my back and expect some kind of abuse.
Personally, I find the Netherlands extremely beautiful. Flat maybe, but the countryside and houses , especially on the canals, are gorgeous. I love the cleanliness, the atmosphere in eating establishments, the service and food arr a,delight for me.
I live in Australia and go over very 2yrs if possible and would love to move there. Australian eateries are so cold and bland, no atmosphere at all unless it’s an Italian restaurant.