Our ‘Navigate the Netherlands’ story:
– Lincoln, Kelly, Carter and Nolan Davidson –
From Alpharetta, Georgia in the United States to Amsterdam, the Netherlands
PART ONE: JUST BEFORE THEIR MOVE TO THE NETHERLANDS
New2nl wants to connect with our readers. We want to know where they live, what they do, what their family looks like, and most of all, what brings them to the Netherlands. The best way to do this? Ask our fantastic clients directly!
In this ‘Our Navigate the Netherlands story’ series, we’ll interview a family three times during their process of moving to the Netherlands: just before they move, after their first few weeks in the Netherlands, and a couple of months after their arrival.
Are you planning on moving to the Netherlands too?
This is how Lincoln, Kelly, Carter and Nolan Davidson from the United States have prepared themselves. Hopefully you’ll find some inspiration here.
When children are six or older and don’t speak Dutch, they are often required to follow a Dutch immersion program before they can transfer to a regular school. At this specialized school, the pupils are taught in small groups until they are capable and confident enough to follow the classes at a regular Dutch school.
Often this immersion class, or newcomer class, is located separately from the regular school. The Davidson family has discovered that this process can become extra complicated if you also have a younger child who is allowed to start Dutch regular school straight away.
Hello! Our names are Lincoln and Kelly Davidson, and we met when we were sixteen and seventeen years old! We have been married for eleven years and have two sons, Carter (age 7) and Nolan (age 4). Carter just completed first grade at our local elementary school and Nolan is in preschool. Lincoln is a video game developer and will be opening an office in the Netherlands. Kelly was a teacher but now stays at home with the boys and works part time as a photographer. She also designs flyers, promotional products, and shirts for the local elementary schools. We all love playing tennis and swimming!
WHAT ARE YOUR REASONS FOR MOVING TO THE NETHERLANDS?
After living in the same town for 27 years, we decided to make a huge leap of faith and try something new! An opportunity with Lincoln’s company arose and we decided to go for it!
WHAT PREPARATIONS HAVE YOU MADE FOR YOUR MOVE?
We have been working for weeks to prepare our house to move. We have purged, sold, and stored most of our belongings—friends, family, and neighbors have all helped us. Lincoln has been doing paperwork for weeks, we have been catching up on doctor’s and dentist’s appointments before we leave, and of course saying goodbye to all our dearest friends!
HOW LONG AGO DID YOU START PREPARING?
We decided to move forward with relocating in April, which triggered a long trail of paperwork and documentation to get everything set up to leave the U.S. We had to prepare our house to put it on the market, but thankfully we received an offer within the first two weeks.
HAVE YOU BEEN TO THE NETHERLANDS BEFORE?
In April 2017, before making our decision to move, the entire family and our business partner traveled to the Netherlands to see it for the very first time. We fell in love!
DO YOU ALREADY SPEAK SOME DUTCH?
Aside from “I’m sorry!” and a few other quick phrases, we do not speak Dutch! We expect the boys will learn Dutch at school as they are both enrolled in a local Dutch school. Lincoln and I will take courses in order to become fluent.
WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING FROM YOUR NEW HOME TOWN – AMSTERDAM?
We would like to be as close to the new school as possible and ease ourselves into the lifestyle of walking and biking everywhere. We come from a car-only town where even just to go across the street to the food store we load up in our vehicle. Biking everywhere (especially in all weather conditions) will be brand new!
We hope there will be some English-speaking families in our home town to help with adjusting to this new lifestyle. We have been very fortunate to have some Dutch friends in our current neighborhood who have put us in contact with friends in Amsterdam. I hope there are children for our boys to play with and that the neighbors are friendly and respectful.
HOW AND WHERE HAVE YOU GATHERED INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR RELOCATION?
I have spent hours reading online to learn as much about moving abroad as possible. We have spoken with friends who have moved internationally and trained to gain as much insight as we can before leaving!
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL MISS MOST FROM YOUR HOME COUNTRY?
Most of our extended family lives very close to us, so it will be incredibly hard to leave them. We have also spent the better part of a decade cultivating friendships and meeting people. I think leaving a piece of our hearts behind in Georgia will be very challenging.
Something we will miss a lot…our neighborhood pool! We spent countless hours here swimming, playing, and socializing. We have met some of our very best friends here and will miss them dearly!
HOW LONG DO YOU EXPECT TO STAY IN THE NETHERLANDS?
This adventure is completely open ended, and we have no idea how long we will be living abroad!
WHAT KIND OF SCHOOL WILL YOUR CHILDREN GO TO?
The boys will attend a regular Dutch school where Carter will be in the newcomers’ class and Nolan will finish his last year of kindergarten.
HOW HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED THE PROCESS OF FINDING A SUITABLE SCHOOL?
We had no idea where to begin to find a school. In our town, if you live in a neighborhood, you go to the neighborhood school. Even if it is too crowded there is always room for your child. This made me very anxious as I knew Amsterdam had a lottery system and we were already way behind in terms of timing. Numerous acquaintances and message boards recommended we contact Annebet and New2nl to help us in finding the right school. One of our requirements was that the boys were able to stay together. As we were moving for the first time, and especially to somewhere we were completely unfamiliar with, we did not want to have to deal with multiple campuses, varying school schedules, and navigating multiple parts of the city. Annebet contacted the schools for us and was able to find the boys a place together. We were very thankful for her taking charge and being the liaison between us and the school.
BASED ON YOUR EXPERIENCES SO FAR, DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR INTERNATIONAL FAMILIES WHO ARE PREPARING THEIR MOVE TO THE NETHERLANDS?
My tips for moving would be to join as many Facebook groups as possible and start “meeting” people online. We already have a few contacts once we arrive to help us become familiar with the city and feel more comfortable. I would also start preparing as early as possible so to not make the process even more stressful than it already is! Leave yourself plenty of time to pack, purge, and decide what comes and what stays. <
Are you curious to find out how this beautiful family is getting on in the Netherlands? We’ll be back shortly with Part 2 of their Navigate the Netherlands story!
Would you like to connect with Lincoln and Kelly Davidson? You may send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make sure to pass it on.
Have you also worked with New2nl and would you like to be featured in the next ‘Navigate the Netherlands’ story? Please answer the above questions and send them together with some high-res pictures of your family and some favorite places of yours in your home country to email@example.com.
Other stories in this series: