Our ‘Navigate the Netherlands’ story:
– NOORIA, MUTAHHIR, MUSTAFA, AND TAIBA HAYAT –
From Islamabad, Pakistan to Amsterdam, the Netherlands
PART TWO: AFTER YOUR FIRST WEEKS IN 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 dear clients directly!
In these ‘My Navigate the Netherlands story’ series, we’ll interview one family three times during their process of moving to the Netherlands: just before they move, after their first few weeks in the Netherlands, and six months after their arrival in the country.
This is part two about the Hayat family’s move to the Netherlands. In case you have missed part 1, in which this Pakistani family explained why they were moving to the Netherlands, and how they prepared, you can read it here.
This story demonstrates that a positive attitude, curiosity, and friendliness can help accelerate the integration process. In their first couple of weeks in Amsterdam, this Pakistani family has already discovered some interesting parts of the city, found some new friends to celebrate Eid al-Adha (Festival of the Sacrifice) and Halloween with, and they were asked to be interviewed for a podcast with the Amsterdam Mamas on ‘Moving Internationally with Kids: What to Expect and How to Help Them‘.
Trick or Treat??
How would you describe your first weeks in the Netherlands?
What were your first thoughts when you landed at Schiphol Airport?
What are your first impressions of your new house, neighbourhood, and neighbors?
What do you think are the biggest differences with your home country?
What was the first Dutch word you said in public? To whom? And how did they react?
How were your first days at school and at work?
What did you bring with you from your home country?
We brought some furniture, children’s books, some cultural decoration items for the house, and clothes. We also brought spices, some cooking utensils and other things we thought we might not be able to find here. Turns out, there are a lot of Indian and Pakistani shops around Amsterdam and you can find pretty much anything you’d want to.
What do you miss most from home?
Foremost, our family. Since we haven’t bought a car yet, I think that’s a close second 🙂
What do you wish you had known before moving to the Netherlands?
We did lots of research into Netherlands before we were moving, and having visited it a few times before, we had a fair idea of what to expect. What we wish we’d known before we moved here was how little sunlight you can expect in the winters. It is something you definitely have to get used to after coming from a relatively sunny country like Pakistan. I’m not sure it would be something that would change my mind about moving to Netherlands, but definitely something that would be important to consider.
With this experience so far, do you have any other tips for international families who are preparing their move to the Netherlands?
Ok, so one of the most important things to have is a friend who knows Dutch :). Hopefully you have some nice colleagues who can help you out with the mail you get, understanding an unexpected bill from the Gemeente, and so on. There’s going to be a lot of Dutch in your mailbox.
Here are the first few steps I found to be useful:
– Go to the bank and open a bank account with that BSN
– Get a bike, and go on funda.nl
– Find a place you’d like to rent
– Make sure the contract is good (here’s where your friend who can read Dutch will come in handy too)
– Find out which health insurance you’re going to get, and apply for it (takes a bit longer than you’d expect)
– Register for utilities (electricity, water, etc.); choose a company that you like
– Get an appointment with your gemeente, and go back to gemeente for a permanent residence
– Get your company to apply for your 30% ruling (if applicable)
– Get your driver’s license exchanged for a Dutch one
This is of course an non-exhaustive list, but I feel the above are the important things you need to stay on top of.
Are you curious to find out how this beautiful family is getting on in the Netherlands? We’ll be back shortly with Part 3, after they will have settled a little more.
Would you like to connect with Nooria and Mutahhir Hayat? You may send a message to email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other stories in this series: