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Based on my experiences as an American expat, I put together a list of the pros and cons about living in Holland for your reading pleasure. Make sure to comment below and let me know what you think. I found a bunch of cool groups on meetup. The fashion sense of Dutchies is quite impressive. And prostitution is very much regulated and contained to certain parts of the country e.

Red Light district in Amsterdam. The parties never end. Too many rules and norms. The Dutch love the phrase "doe eens normaal" which means "just do normal. Stick to the norms and you shall be accepted by the Dutchies. I felt pretty suffocated with all of the unwritten rules and norms everyone expected me to abide by.

You have to schedule "appointments" to visit friends. Not much spontaneity here. Almost no two houses are alike here. Everything is so different and the culture here is so rich. Say goodbye to boring townhouses that all look the same.

Sinks with no garbage disposals. It seems like most houses here were built before the s, so say goodbye to modern interior amenities. That happened to me several times in my apartment in Leiden. The customer service is sub-optimal. Most waiters make much more than minimum wage, so they have less incentive to deliver the best possible service. Evidently, in Holland the customer is not always right. The crime rate is very low. Not once did I feel like I was in danger.

Nearly everyone speaks English. This makes it easy to get around. This was both good and bad: Good because I had no difficulty communicating with the locals, and bad because there was no incentive for me to learn Dutch. I learned Dutch primarily by using Rosetta Stone. I found Rosetta Stone to be incredibly helpful as it uses pictures to convey Dutch words. People are very friendly. If you look lost on the street, or you have a flat tire, or an asteroid suddenly plummets on top of you, people will flock to you and offer to help.

One time, I saw a man fall off his bike, and within seconds, strangers flocked to him offering assistance. Cruising through the canals of Holland. It was a great way to spend a cool summer day in Leiden! I used to work for Philips for nearly four years, and we primarily communicated in English.

In fact, most of my colleagues were from Spain, Italy, England, India, etc and could hardly speak Dutch. A month of paid vacation days. Companies in the Netherlands provide an average of 30 days paid time off. Compare that to an average of 2 weeks of paid time off in the states When I worked at Philips, several of my colleagues got laid off and they received 9 months of full time paid unemployment. Filing for taxes can also be a bit confusing as you have to go through the Dutch tax bureau Belastingdienst which can be time-consuming and frustrating.

Consider getting expat tax services from a reputable company to save you the hassle. Or have a local walk you through the process. Exorbitant road tax has to paid no matter if you drive or not - simply owning a car means you have to pay at least 50 euros per month for using roads thanks Jericho for the tip!

Everything in Holland is done through online banking. Paper checks are a thing of the past. Very affordable expat health insurance. Since health insurance here is mandatory, there are many subsidies available for those with lower incomes. It is almost impossible to get a credit card with no fees. Thanks Jericho for the tip! Randstad is a Dutch multinational human resource consulting firm that helps expats get English speaking jobs Source 3 Education There are many universities in the Netherlands and the education system is quite advanced.

I actually got my graduate degree from Utrecht University, a top university in Holland, and found the program to be very well structured and educational. What I noticed though is that the competition level among students here is lower compared to the United States. Students feel less need to prove their worth and intellectual capacity to others. Great student life There are many groups to join, lots of activities all the time, lots of partying, lots of socializing, and did I mention lots of partying?

The government takes good care of its students by offering them generous financial aid packages. Utrecht University - one of the best universities in Europe. Source 4 Weather The weather can be unpredictable. The number of sunshine hours in Holland is on the lower end compared to the states. You can expect clouds, rain, sleet, hail, sun, and wind oftentimes on the same day! My friends and I enjoyed many beautiful summer nights on restaurant terraces sipping wine and having a nice chat.

Holland is the place to go to to capture amazing shots like this one! There are dozens of bakeries in Holland that make fresh baked, delicious and affordable bread. Toast has never tasted so good! The yogurt here is amazing. And so is the cheese. A lot of the dairy comes from organic farms, too. There are many fish trucks all over the country that sell haring and other fish snacks.

Limited selection of decent Asian restaurants. Portion sizes are small Good for your waistline, bad for your pockets. Best quality in Europe, hands down. You have to pay for water at restaurants. The Dutch celebrate local, unique restaurants that have a story to tell. The experience of eating at Dutch restaurants is always unique, and, as the Dutch say "gezellig" The Dutch have become more health conscious There are 3 health food stores around the corner from where I used to live that sell fresh, organic produce.

I personally LOVE eating this. As for shoes, everything is at least 50 euros and above. If you opt for cheap and buy a pair of sneakers for 20 euros, I guarantee the sole will fall apart after a month of use. I bought a cheap pair of pumps and the heel fell off after the second time I wore them. I had to walk heel-less back home, which was pretty embarrassing to say the least. Many stores are not even open on Sundays. Prices in the Netherlands always include tax, Thanks to DB for this suggestion People use reusable tote bags.

Plastic bags are a thing of the past! You have to pack your own bags. Grocery shopping on your bike can be a hassle. This is specially so in the winter. Need I say more? Do you want to live in the Netherlands? I would love to. I already live there. This is especially so if you live close to city centers. It was about a 5 minute walk from my house to get to the movie theater and to all the shops in town.

It connects you to almost every major city in the world. Cities are bike friendly. A car is really not necessary if you have a bike and have access to public transportation. Riding a bike is also great for your health!

I ended up losing weight and my legs got toned simply because I was riding my bike every day. Excellent public transportation Lots of options - trains, trams, metros, horses, etc. Trains can be unreliable This is especially so during the winter.

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