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Expat Groups in The Netherlands

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: June 2016

Holland is a small but densely populated country with around 17 million inhabitants. Around 2 millionof these are foreign nationals, most of them living in the west of the country. In this region, it will be easy to find other expats to meet with, particularly if you are from Germany, Turkey, Morocco, Indonesia or Suriname.

Nevertheless, newcomers to Holland may find that coping with the differences in way of life and change in day-to-day pace proves (considerably) more difficult than anticipated. This can easily lead to confusion or even full-blown culture shock.

Forewarned is forearmed. You can combat the effects of this confusion by learning a little about your new place of residence before you leave home. These days, the most comprehensive source of information on any given country is undoubtedly the internet, especially expat websites such as www.expatbriefing.com. There are many helpful websites aimed at expats in Holland. Such websites can explain in detail how to deal with the difficulties you may face in the country. This will help to reduce the level of culture shock you feel when you arrive in the country.

Many of these websites include expat forums, such as our own Expat Briefing. Forums such as this can put you in touch with Holland-based expats who will be able to offer you tips on a wide variety of topics first-hand. This can be a way to forestall possible problems and perhaps make friends before you arrive.

Certainly, the internet makes it much easier for people to stay in touch with friends and family they left behind in their home country. However, messaging, Skype and emails can only replace face-to-face interaction up to a point. Given the large expat community in some areas, it will be possible to meet and get to know other expats in bars, clubs, restaurants and other similar public places. This can also help to alleviate the effects of culture shock more quickly.

There are also online expat groups that can help you to meet people. These offer you the opportunity to join regular social gatherings, meeting compatriots in a relaxed setting with the chance to pick up some valuable tips. Some of these online groups are general (rather like the people you meet in a pub), and many are more specific, that is, they are united by a common home country, language or particular interest. Comprehensive expat group listings for the Netherlands can be found here: /expat-groups/netherlands.html. Examples of them include:

There is a comprehensive list of a range of forums and activities open to everyone living in Holland on the Meetup website, which covers a number of cities and areas in the country. Subjects include computers, cycling, football, and language lessons. There are also events for diverse groups such as restaurant buffs, singles, vegetarians and oenologists. Similarly, InterNations facilitates regular expat events in various locations throughout Holland, enabling people to meet and exchange views and information about life in the country.

Other expat websites are designed for individuals from a particular country. Many expat groups are open to accepting expats from other countries but will usually require the individual to speak their mother tongue and to have experience of living in that country.




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