Intrigued by the Dutch way of life? The Netherlands has a global reputation for being a safe and friendly environment, where the locals enjoy active and healthy lifestyles and a good standard of living. Their relaxed and positive view of the world has expats flocking there every year to begin a new chapter in life.
Everyday Life in the Financial Centre
Getting around Amsterdam is easy, the tram and buses are quick and cheap, and there’s over 400km of bike paths and an unparalleled canal network.
It has immediately recognisable architectural style, and the largest number of monuments in all of the Netherlands, most of which can be found in its historic centre. Your daily life will take in many beautiful sights, bustling squares and historic buildings nestling up against ultra-modernity.
The Netherlands has an excellent education system. There is a range of public, private and international schools, and it is compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 18 to stay in education. The Netherlands is rated #1 for School Quality on the HBSC Expat Explorer Survey.
The healthcare system is also very good. Medical insurance is used to pay for short-term treatment, but hospitals and long-term treatment are funded by the government through tax. Both public and private hospitals are of a high standard.
Business in the Netherlands
The work/ life balance is another one of the highlights of the country. Employees are expected to have a life outside of work, getting into the office at 7am and staying until 8pm is not expected and is even frowned upon in some businesses. It is even common in some companies for professionals to only work four-day weeks, especially those with families.
Nevertheless, the Dutch are very hard-working and tend to be quite formal in the business environment. Punctuality is very important and small talk is usually kept to a minimum during meetings, they would rather get straight down to business.
Where to go, what to see
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Amsterdam is the Anne Frank House. The building is the real-life home of the Jewish wartime diarist, turned into a biographical museum. During World War II, Anne Frank hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms, known as the Secret Annex. Her father, Otto Frank, was the only survivor. In 1947, the diary was published and Otto oversaw its transition to stage and screen.
The museum was opened on May 3rd 1960 and preserves the family’s hiding place, has a permanent exhibition depicting the life of Anne Frank and also features exhibitions about persecution and discrimination. It is one of the most-visited museums in the Netherlands.
For the nature lovers, the Keukenhof’s flower extravaganza is certainly worth a visit. It is located about half an hour away from Amsterdam. The gorgeous garden is open for a limited time (late March to May) and blows guests away with its vast variety of flowers, including the Netherlands’ famous tulips (800 varieties). Over 7 million bulbs will bloom next spring, featuring beautiful flowers of every colour of the rainbow. The 32-acre park also hosts different events throughout the spring and also features a petting zoo, maze and playground.
Another popular museum is the Van Gogh Museum, an art museum dedicated to the works of Vincent Van Gogh. It opened on June 2nd 1973 and houses the largest collection of the artist’s paintings and drawings in the world. In 2017, it was the most visited museum in the Netherlands, with 2.3 million visitors.
Yearly events/ festivals
January – Tulip Day – Dutch tulip growers build a huge garden on Dam Square, with approximately 200,000 tulips. The festival includes countless surprises and promotions from the growers. You can even pick a free bouquet of flowers!
January – Chinese New Year – A big celebration in Amsterdam’s China Town with fireworks, dragon dances and delicious food.
April – King’s Day – A national holiday where the Dutch dress in orange and party to celebrate King Willem Alexander’s birthday.
July-August – Amsterdam Gay Pride – A festival for LGBT+ people with street parties, exhibitions and cultural events. The highlight is the Canal Parade, where extravagant floats and boats drift along the canal.
September – Heritage Day – Around 4,000 historical buildings open their doors to the public for two days throughout the Netherlands. This is the only chance to take a look inside luxury canal houses, castles, palaces, old farmhouses and forgotten factories.
November-January – Christmas Markets – Perfect for Christmas shopping, ice-skating and hot chocolate drinking!
December-January – Light Festival – Artists, architects and designers from across the globe bring their light artworks and installations alive. The works are placed along two routes because each has a different theme.
Get in touch today to find out more about opportunities in the Netherlands!