I often get asked how I made friends in the Netherlands. Well, I’m here to say that it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life. My advice to everyone looking to make friends is to find a hobby, join a club, and take a class. I underestimated the importance of having a hobby. In the Netherlands, one of the main ways people make friends is through their mutual love of something.
There are so many things you can try, from art classes and dance classes to tennis and swimming. Honestly, it doesn’t even matter what it is. As long as you put yourself out there to try something. If you already love something like tennis, then join the local tennis group. If you are not sure about what you like, then try different things. Be open to it. I know it can be very scary to try new things and even meet new people. I’ve been there. But I promise you, when you dedicate yourself, you won’t regret it.
Making Friends as an Adult Is Challenging
One of the main ways Dutch people and international people make friends is through hobbies. You go once or twice a week to do something that you all like in common. Sometimes the groups will chat before and maybe even go out after. If you ever talk to Dutch people, you’ll find that the majority of them have some sort of hobby. This is not only in the Netherlands. An easy way to make friends in a lot of countries is by sharing what you love with others.
Making friends as an adult can be challenging, especially if you’re not a student. Having a hobby and being part of a group is a way to have a social life and feel part of a community. When you have friends and are part of a community, that is when you really feel at home. This is especially true if you came here for a partner. Their life cannot be your whole life. You also need to have your own friends and your own interests.
I Finally Dived in and Am So Glad I Did
A few months ago I decided to finally take a leap and try a dance class. It was hard. I am definitely not a natural dancer. I don’t have much rhythm. I’m not athletic. But I can say with certainty that I’m so happy I joined. The most important thing is that I enjoy it. I currently take a modern jazz dance class at the local cultuurhuis (culture house) every Wednesday. I told myself that if I stuck with it for a few months, I’d reward myself with a new sports bra. The one I use is the only decent one I have. If rewarding yourself will convince you to stick with it, then do it.
I’ve been also wanting to try a boxing class for a while. Every time I said I would go, I would just make excuses for myself. But enough is enough! I’m determined to go to a class very soon. I even put one on my agenda to keep myself accountable. That’s why I’m writing about it here. Whatever will make you go, do it. However afraid you may be, that fear is usually nothing. When you step into that class or group, most people will be so nice that you’ll be left wondering why the heck didn’t I go earlier.
Trying Something New Was Fun
I recently attended an art and wine event. This is something I’ve been wanting to try for ages. Let’s just say I’m definitely not going to be the next Van Gogh, but I had a lovely time and met some nice people. I found this event through the expat ladies in Breda group. Would I try it again? Perhaps. Sadly we were not given much direction about how to draw/paint. So I’d probably try it again if it’s a more structured class.
There are many ways to find things to be interested in. There’s an app called MeetUp. You can search for your local cultuurhuis (culture house). Mine has all different types of classes from singing to photography. This is also a great way to learn Dutch. You can ask in your local and expat Facebook and Whatsapp groups if anyone knows of anything. You can also just search for something like “tennis club in my area” on Google. Ask your neighbors too, I’m sure they know of something.
Making Friends Is Possible Here
There are so many ways to make friends. If you need more guidance, read my blog post “how the heck do I make friends in the Netherlands.” I urge you not to be afraid and try new things. That fear that’s holding you back is just fear. When you finally go to that event, class, or whatever, you’ll find that you were afraid for no reason. I’ve been there. That’s why I’m trying to overcome that fear and urge you to do the same. You should enjoy this time in your life. It’s beautiful to meet new people and learn about a whole new culture.
What’s something that you’ve been wanting to try and what’s holding you back?