No matter where you live or move, there will always be good and bad things about that place. No country is a utopia. The most important thing is to weigh the pros and cons to decide whether that place is the best option for you. I moved to the Netherlands for love 4 ½ years ago, and that decision wasn’t made easily. My first year and a half here was tough, but now the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Here are some more pros and cons of living in the Netherlands.
1. Pro: The Work Culture
Unlike in the USA and certain other countries, employees aren’t disposable here. You don’t have the fear of being fired for things like being a little late or having a family emergency. This also means the hiring process takes longer because employers want to ensure you fit into the team. That way, they’ll know pretty well if you’re a good fit and will be the right person for the job.
If you’re struggling to find a job in the Netherlands and need help with your CV and cover letter, feel free to reach out to me. I’d love to help you!
2. Con: The Food
If you’re looking for good food and a variety of it, the Netherlands is not the place to go. While some produce tastes delicious, like strawberries when they are in season, others have no taste. I personally am very sad that the avocados always either taste like water or rubber bands. There are also few restaurant options outside of Amsterdam and such.
When it comes to the Dutch cuisine, you aren’t missing much. I live in a city that is more like a village. There are no tourists here and not many internationals. I don’t live in the Randstad or any big Dutch city. My Dutch partner has a massive family who we often visit. So my opinion is based on the Dutch people I’ve met over the years and his Dutch family members. If you follow me on social media, you’ve seen that I’ve shared my experiences attending Dutch gatherings.
3. Pro: Affordable Living
While Dutch people love to complain about how expensive everything is, the Netherlands is actually very affordable in relation to how much you earn. And unlike in the States, where everything and anything that is remotely healthy or trendy is overpriced, here it is the opposite. For example, I drink non-dairy milk (and use other non-dairy products) for medical reasons. I find the non-dairy options so much more affordable here. The only thing (or maybe I’m missing something) that is really overpriced here is houses.
4. Con: Customer Service
I swear it’s like Dutch people aren’t interested in making money. For example, I’m planning my wedding right now. Venues take forever to respond, and some cannot even provide basic things like photos of previous weddings. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want to know what the space will look like on my wedding day.
I do agree that maybe the babying of customers is a bit extreme in the US, but it’s on the other extreme in the Netherlands. I myself am a business owner and understand that without my clients, I have no business. The same goes for any business in any country. Without customers/clients, you will have no business. So it doesn’t hurt to treat them well and hear them out.
5. Pro: Easy To Travel
I am extremely lucky to live near a major international airport (1 ½ hours away). I can always fly direct to visit my family in the USA. Taking a stopover somewhere is rarely necessary for me. I can travel direct to so many places around the world affordably. If I don’t want to fly, there are so many other ways I can see Europe, like by train or boat. It’s amazing!
6. Con: The Language
I found that learning Dutch is hard. But not for the reason you’re probably thinking. I think Dutch is tough to learn because everyone responds to you in English. How can you learn a language if you can’t practice it? I know that Dutch people are trying to help us or maybe just trying to speed up the conversation, but it doesn’t help us. We want to learn your language. Please let us try. If we need help, we’ll let you know. Please don’t answer us in English. You’re only making things worse.
What have been your major pros and cons of living in the Netherlands?