The Hague, The Netherlands Report of what it's like to live there - 07/19/10
Personal Experiences from The Hague, The Netherlands
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
Sixth overseas tour.
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
Seven hours direct flight from USA.
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Singles and couples without kids live in the city center, families with kids live in Wassenaar - 30 minutes away. Housing is great. Everyone seems happy who have arrived during the last year or so. The housing board has really made some good decisions on housing.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
It is slightly expensive, but the COLA covers it.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
I can find everything here.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
All fast food chains are here.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
Very few - some spiders, flies in the summer.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
DPO at the embassy.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Approx 10 - 15 euros per hour.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
In the embassy there is a gym, and there are private clubs.
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
Credit cards are accepted.
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?
TV is in English.
7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
None - everyone speaks English, but Dutch is appreciated.
8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
Public transportation would be difficult, as would housing. Very few homes are on one floor.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
All cars are OK, but smaller cars are easier to park.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Available - approx 50 euros per month.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?
2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Nice casual to business.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Good health care, but very holistic. It is hard to get medicine.
3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
It does rain quite often, but life goes on.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
American School in the Hague ASH. I have no experience with the school.
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?
4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
2. Morale among expats:
3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
One must be proactive, but one can make friends here.
4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
Yes - for everyone! There is always something to do.
5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Traveling in the country and in Europe.
8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
Charming cities, concerts, the beach, museums, everything!
9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
This is an amazing city and country. The people are friendly, the opportunities to explore and learn a new culture are fabulous.
11. Can you save money?
A little, but it is fun to spend in Europe.
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
3. But don't forget your: