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Moving away from the place you’ve known your whole life or for years is very hard. This is especially true when moving to a country where it’s always raining, and making friends isn’t always the easiest. But there are ways to feel a little bit more at home when you first move to the Netherlands. The faster you integrate and familiarize yourself with your new surroundings, the faster you’ll feel like you belong. Here are some things I recommend you buy when moving to the Netherlands.
1. Rain Poncho
Considering that it rains the majority of the year, a rain poncho is a must. This is especially true if you cycle like most people in this country. You may want to have one disposable rain poncho in your bag at all times. This way you’ll never get soaked if it suddenly rains. In addition, you can keep a better quality poncho at home and take it with you on the days it’s supposed to rain.
You probably figured this one out already as the Netherlands is known for being one of the best countries for biking. I absolutely love my Cortina bike. I’ve had it for over 3 years and haven’t had any issues with it. My bike works well, doesn’t break down, and gets me to where I need to be. Be very careful about buying used bikes off of places like Facebook and Marktplaats. Those bikes may be stolen. I got my used bike from a bike shop in Wouw, Noord Brabant.
A kaasschaaf is a cheese slicer. If you live here, then you’re probably going to become a cheese lover, if you aren’t one already. Cheese is put on bread, in all sorts of dishes, and just eaten cubed. A cheese slicer will help you get the perfect slices of cheese for your sandwich or just to snack on.
4. Water Bottle
Don’t be a tourist and pay for water. Get yourself a sturdy water bottle and fill it up wherever you go. Sometimes cafes will fill it for free. But you can always fill it up in the toilet. The water is just as drinkable from the toilet sinks as your kitchen sink. You’ll save so much money by not buying water wherever you go.
5. Lunch Box
The majority of Dutch people bring their own lunch to work every day. A lot of people even bring lunch when they go to places like the zoo, museums, and such. Spending money wisely is one thing Dutch people are great at. So never spend money on lunch again. Get a sturdy lunch box and fill it with your homemade lunch.
6. A Birthday Calendar
The Dutch birthday calendar, or verjaardagskalender, is no ordinary calendar. This calendar has all the dates of the month, but the dates aren’t on a specific day of the week. That way you can reuse the calendar every year. This special calendar is where you mark all of your family and friends’ birthdays. Hang it in the toilet room like a true Dutch person. You’ll never forget a birthday again.
7. An Orange Suitcase
One of my favorite pieces of luggage in my home is my partner Kevin’s and my orange suitcase. Technically he bought it long before I ever moved in, but now I use it from time to time. The suitcase is completely bright orange. Then down the middle of the suitcase we have, there is a Dutch flag. This unique colored suitcase is sturdy and just makes me happy.
8. Stuff to Put in Front of Your Windows
If you have windows that people can look into, consider buying things to put in the windows. A lot of Dutch people have various plants, candles, or small items like a mini bikes, ceramic bells or ceramic clogs, and more. Dutch people do this so there is still some sense of privacy in the home.
What are some things you brought from your home country to the Netherlands when moving here? I love seeing how people bring a piece of their home to their new home. Integrating can be very hard, especially in the Netherlands. Make your home feel like a place you want to spend time in. With time, you’ll start to feel like the Netherlands is home to you. Buying some of the stuff above will help you feel more integrated.
Which of the things above do you still need to buy?