My love affair with the Netherlands started 6 years ago, when I went to Europe from Australia for the first time – on a Contiki tour! My first stop was Amsterdam, before Berlin, Prague, Rome, Florence, Venice, and London. I can remember immediately liking Amsterdam, and that it was much more beautiful than I had imagined! My time was short, with a whirlwind 2 days participating in super touristy activities from riding bikes in Edam, visiting a Clog maker, eating cheese, sampling Heineken and sampling more Heineken in the Red Light District. After these 2 days in Holland, where I also ate the best fries in a cone of my life, I hoped in the future I could return for another much calmer visit.
Fast Forward to 2014. I had moved to London a year earlier to work and travel Europe on my weekends. On my first bigger trip (6 days in Morocco) with friends, I was fortunate enough to meet 2 lovely Dutch blokes over breakfast in my hostel. As hostels are the easiest places in the world to make friends (even if only for a day), my group of 4 friends and the 2 Dutch blokes decided to hang out for the day and sight-see Marrakech.
By dinner time that day, one of the Dutch blokes and I had become quite friendly and it was here, in the Jemaa el-Fnaa night market, that I realised I’d be going to Amsterdam again very soon!
And so 3 months later I flew to Amsterdam to visit my new Dutch friend and love blossomed. We embarked on a long-distance relationship between London and Amsterdam, exploring each-others cities on our weekends, or meeting up in new European cities in order to travel and see each other at the same time. Many of these travels feature on my travel blog Everywhere Bucket List.
Eventually, the discussions came about “Where are WE going to live?”. With my parents in Australia and his so close in Amsterdam, we made the decision that I would move to The Netherlands, where I didn’t speak the language, or have a job, or friends. Sounds like a good idea right?!
Well, it was the best idea ever! I love exploring my new city, and finding ways to feel at home even though things are more foreign to me here than in London. I love riding my bicycle to get around and enjoy how funny it still is to me when my bike is loaded up with groceries, plants, and even pots and pans! I have fallen into a deep love with Bitterballen that not even my fiercest new year’s resolutions can tame, and I’ve become part of a Dutch family that welcomes me into all of the interesting and quirky Dutch traditions.
I miss Australian weather and the ease of watching any television station and know what is going on immediately. Being able to pick up a newspaper, and listen to the radio djs discussing newsworthy topics (I’m taking more Dutch lessons soon though!). And I miss my family. We keep in touch regularly via whatsapp and we have a Skype date every Sunday, which keeps me connected so I don’t feel as far away as I am.
My Dutchie and I also live quite close to Drovers Dog – the Australian café – so when I’m feeling particularly needy for a dose of Aussie food and an accent, we head there for brunch and see if we can score a homemade lamington!
I don’t know what is to come for us or where we will settle down and have a family. We both enjoy living in Europe and having taken my Dutchie down to Australia last Christmas – he likes it there too! With positives and negatives for both places, I think that when the time comes to really decide where we will end up – that is not going to be easy! I love living in The Netherlands and feel privileged to be able to call it my home, and also call Australia home! Being in a two-nationality relationship gives us Australia and Holland as both of our homes forever, and I am alright with that!
I’m Lenise – an Australian living in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, with my Dutch husband and two young kids. We’ve been here since mid 2014, and after having no luck finding full time work, I realized I needed to make things happen rather than waiting for something to fall in my lap.
And so in the shower, where all good ideas happen, I had a brainwave. I love sport. I love writing. Join the two and I was sorted.
Let me take a few steps back. Eindhoven isn’t a huge city, but it does have a huge international community. Because of this, you can find all kinds of information in English – anything and everything about design, technology, art, education, work, health, news, and of course, tourist information. But when it comes to sport, it’s rare to find anything at all in English (unless of course it’s about PSV). So what happens to all the internationals when at first (or many moons later) their Dutch isn’t the best? Do they have to miss out on all the great sporting opportunities that are available to them right on their doorstep?
I’ve also lived in a number of other countries, and sport and exercise have always been a constant. Not only can I get rid of the stress that can come with life abroad, but it also affords me the opportunity to meet new people, help with learning the language of the country I’m in, try something new, and have some fun. In my eyes, it’s a win-win.
And so my blog, Eindhoven in Motion, was born. It’s a kind of one stop shop for information and reviews about different sports clubs / organizations and events in and around Eindhoven. It’s still in the early stages but of course I have grand plans for it! Hopefully it will grow to include other areas in the Netherlands but for now I’m focusing on my new hometown. So come one over and have a read, follow the Facebook page, and pass it on ☺ https://eindhoveninmotion.wordpress.com/
I am a Dutch student, born and raised here but I want to explore the world! Therefore I have been studying in Canada over the last 6 months, and Australia is my desired next stop. I can’t wait to explore the other side of the world ;)
Hereby I would like to do my internship in Australia next year, but I have difficulties finding one, as people don’t know me yet. I wonder if anyone knows any Australians that might be interested in a passionate intern for their company? Or do you have any tips regarding companies that I can address?
I can be a valuable asset in the field of organizing, TV and film Production, connecting, PR, networking, promoting, marketing and presenting!
My ultimate dream is to make documentaries that cover societal and cultural elements so I would love to make videos. But I am also interested in organizing and promoting event, politics, charity….any job that I can be of help basically!
To get a better understanding of who I am I created this video:
Welcome to another post in the “meet Dutch Australian people” series”. Today I’m delighted to introduce Angela Robson, a talented artist who currently lives in Leiden, The Netherlands. She was born in Indonesia to Australian parents. Here’s her (email) interview:
Connections to Australia: My parents are Australian.
Connections to The Netherlands: My dad was invited over to teach at the University of Leiden and do research here.
What is your level of fluency in English/Nederlands? Native English speaker and now bilingual.
Family background: I came here (to the Netherlands) when I was three, and went to a Dutch kindy and primary school. Because I was different, I got bullied so my parents decided to let me go to the British school in Voorschoten for my high school years. My parents got divorced when I was 16 and my dad left to go to Melbourne for a new job and life. I had to stay here to finish my schooling. I did go live with him after I finished school but I got homesick for Leiden so went back! Went to uni here and worked in international publishing houses. I married a Dutch guy who is an Anglophile and here we are!
If you have children where were they born? We have two boys aged 10 and 8. Born in Leiderdorp and Leiden resp. in the hospitals there.
If you have children are you raising them bilingually? I try and speak English to them most of the time; very difficult to be consistent. But they understand English, although they speak Dutch back. I hope in time that they will speak English back.
What are your feelings about Australia? Australia is one of my homes. I view the place romantically; a holiday destination and a place where my family is. I often wonder if we can go there for a year… just to see if we can hack it. It’s so beautiful there and the smell of the gumtrees just makes me swoon.
What are your feelings about The Netherlands? It’s home. And a place I can’t go without. If I am not here, I feel homesick. So a bit ambivalent. I wish we had the money to have a house here and in Sydney where most of my family is.
Depending on which country you are based in, do you visit Australia/The Netherlands at all? I haven’t been to Australia since 2005. I do want to go, with the whole family, it’s just so bloody expensive.
How do you communicate with family in the other country? How regularly? I skype with my dad every Sunday. I have FB contact with my half sister and cousin.
Do you celebrate Dutch/Australian holidays/traditions if you are living in the alternate country? I do mark Australia Day and ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day, the latter more as it’s also on the BBC. We do Sinterklaas and all that for the kids.
Any other information you’d like to share on your Dutch/Australian connections?
I am also a Dutch/Australian artist; painting landscapes and seascapes. Also of Australia. See my website for more information!
My relationship with the Netherlands goes back over 20 years, when as an adventurous 22 year old I followed the tradition of many other twenty-something Australians, and joined a whirlwind Contiki tour of Europe covering some 13 countries in 20 days. The last stop of this tour before returning to London was Amsterdam and it left an indelible impression on me. It wasn’t just the bitterballen, haring, canals, and coffee shops. The most significant impression that my 24 hours in Amsterdam left on me was the people – honest, open and fun-loving.
5 years later I was re-introduced to the Dutch culture when I started dating a Dutch lady, Edith, in Perth. Edith moved to Perth wanting to escape the Northern European winters for a few years. Ultimately her stay in Australia would be for 12 years, and she would meet the man of her dreams (me!), get married, give birth to our first two children, and become an Aussie citizen (on Australia Day).
I had always wanted to live and work in Europe, but the timing had never been right. Since starting to date Edith in 2002, we would regularly travel to the Netherlands for holidays and my appreciation of the Dutch and Dutch culture further developed. However, after our second child was born we were both at a cross roads in our careers, and the timing was right to pack up stumps and head to Holland. Three years later, we are still in the Netherlands (living in The Hague), had a third child, and enjoying everything the Netherlands and Europe has to offer. When my Dutch language skills improve further, I hope to be able to pass the requirements to obtain Dutch citizenship, and join the rest of my family as a dual Dutch-Australian citizen.
Not everything in our move to Holland went smoothly however. Although we spent quite some time thinking about and planning our move to the Netherlands, we never fully researched all the tax and financial implications. I usually take an active interest in my tax and personal finances, however with two young children and so many things to do before leaving Australia I barely had any spare time. As a result I relied on my accountant to advise us on the relevant tax issues. Unfortunately, it was only 12 months later that I realised our accountant did not provide a complete assessment of our situation, and we were scrambling to resolve a number of issues regarding tax implications on our investments, compliance issues with our superannuation, and whether or not we would still be considered Australian residents for tax purposes.
All of this inspired me to start The Australian Expat Investor, a company dedicated to empowering Australian Expats with the knowledge and tools to optimise their international tax obligations and maximise their wealth while living abroad. You can find more information about me, and download my free ebook (9 Painful Financial Surprises That Could Cost Australian Expats Thousands of Dollars), at www.austexpatinvestor.com.
I grew up on a dairy farm in country Victoria, Australia. I loved growing up on a farm and was very close with my parents and three younger sisters. Sixteen years ago, as a very naive nineteen year old, I boarded a plane for the first time and flew to Europe to work on cruise ships. A small girl in a big world, and I was excited to discover it.
During my first day onboard the Holland American Line cruise ship, the MS Statendam, I met a Dutch man. He was completing his apprenticeship onboard as an officer/engineer. We worked hard and played hard. Our first date was in Acapulco, Mexico and our second date was in Maui, Hawaii. Quite soon, we realised that our relationship was serious and, so began, the ten year long dilemma of “Where to Live – Australia or The Netherlands?”. Both countries are great in their own ways. We actually had a luxury problem, two wonderful countries to choose from.
In the first few years, we just went with the flow, living back and forth between Australia, The Netherlands and onboard various cruise ships. We just went with what worked for us at that point in time and tried not to think too much about where our long term future may lie.
After seven years together, we were married in Australia and the urge to ‘settle down’ became stronger. But where? We were in love with both countries, we had family in both countries and we could see many positives (and negatives) for each country. Both of our families of course wanted us to stay with them, in the country we each grew up in. We knew we could never make both sides of the family happy and that eventually, we would have to choose one country or the other. My worst fear was that we would end up continuously moving back and forth and would then, as a consequence, feel as though we didn’t belong anywhere. I needed to plant some roots. Friends and family would make their point of view clear, pointing out the negatives of the ‘other’ country, hoping to persuade us in their favour. The pressure of trying to make the ‘correct’ choice was, at times, unbearable. We were living in limbo, and the guilt of knowing that one day, we would hurt those we love by moving to the other side of the world was chewing away at my insides.
After ten years of indecisiveness, and two children later, we realised that we could not make the decision for everyone else. We had to do what was best for us at that time. What was best for our little family. No one else. Just us four.
We had two young children under three at the time when we sold our house in Sydney and relocated to the Netherlands. We realised that we could make a better life for ourselves in the Netherlands due to the work opportunities for my husband and other various factors. Turns out there were not all that many opportunities in the maritime industry in Australia. In addition, my husband had worked hard at university for his marine engineering degree and it was not recognised in Australia. The land-based maritime employment opportunities in the Netherlands were endless with Europe’s largest harbour being in Rotterdam.
During our fifteen years together, we have lived 50% of that time in Australia and 50% in the Netherlands. We now feel that we have a good feeling of what it is like to live in both countries and have thoroughly enjoyed our time in both. However, I am the one who has left my family and friends behind and I still feel a pang of guilt at times. These are the moments when I just need to focus on the positives of the Netherlands and remind myself that we did what was best for our little family.
Everyone is quick to judge. When people here ask me where I am from and I tell them Australia, I always get the same reaction with a look of disbelief, “Why on earth are you living here in the Netherlands?!”. Many of the dutch know Australia only as a holiday destination and relate to this experience. Sometimes it is difficult to stay positive, especially during this time of the year when we are headed into a long, dark winter here in the Netherlands and I see all the sunny pool and beach photos from my family and friends in Australia on Facebook. But of course, the European winter also has its charms to it. I am looking forward to things such as the arrival of Sinterklaas, snow sledding with the kids, the warmth of an open fire place, the gezelligheid of fairy lights everywhere and the smell of a real Christmas tree in our living room.
Everyone wants to justify why they chose the country they chose to relocate to. I am not going to do that. We now know that there was no right or wrong choice. Home is where you make it. We have come to the conclusion that both countries are just as good as each other. They are both wonderful, wonderful countries and I feel privileged that I have been able to experience living in both.