Moving to the Netherlands? That’s fantastic news, most people love it. When I heard about our move here and started asking around, all I got was positive feedback. Almost 4 months in and I can only agree, it is a great place to live in. But before you do anything else, here are 3 “must do’s” you absolutely need to comply with in order to enjoy your day-to-day life in The Netherlands.
1. Download the “Buienalarm” app, the #1 app in The Netherlands*
It is said it rains a lot in The Netherlands. To the point that my daughter told me one morning with a desperate voice “it rains everyday in this country”. Well, thinking about it, I had to admit she was quite right! It can be unsettling at first but soon you’ll get the hang of it.
Not to worry, everyone has a magic app on their phone informing them in real-time of the rain situation: “Buienalarm” will show you the intensity of the potential rain over the course of the following 2 hours. By looking at it you can easily decide when to go out and/or if embarking an umbrella on your outing would be a good idea. Never mind a tiny drizzle is not considered relevant or important enough to be shown on the app. You’ll get wet but considering the amount of water that can fall from the dark skies in a short time frame, you’ll soon look at it thinking “nah, not rain”!
2. Buy a city bike to fully grasp what freedom means in The Netherlands
There’s no place like The Netherlands to bike. Word! Find the bicycle that suits your style, visit the numerous shops and try the various models out to find your perfect match. Once acquired, make sure you customise it by adding bags in the back (useful for grocery shopping for example) or a distinctive basket in the front.
Now, why customise your bike? For one thing it is useful to have storage on your new go-to means of transport. For the other, if you ever want to find your bike when out and about and you parked it somewhere, better be able to recognise it at a glance. Indeed, it will barely ever be just your bike, trust me on that one!
Sometimes the Dutch are well organised and finding your 2 wheeled friend will be easy, you’ll just have to remember where you left it.
Other times it won’t be as fancy looking. One could even say it will look horribly messy…
Hence the need for customisation!
One more thing regarding your bike: it could be a good idea to get an extra lock to increase your chances of safely finding it. So far so good, mine was not stolen (should I say yet?): The Netherlands is not only known for its high density of bikes but also for the large amount of these being stolen.
That’s it, you’re ready to experience the true meaning of the word freedom in The Netherlands: hop on your bike and go discover the country on its many bike paths.
3. Buy a full body waterproof outfit to thoroughly enjoy The Netherlands
OK ok, now why buy a waterproof outfit as you have downloaded the “buienalarm” app and can dodge the rain you may ask. Fair enough. I’ll be honest. Sometimes, just sometimes, it rains from dawn till dusk and in-between… That’s right. So what do you do? You have this beautiful bike you love to use, you’re not gonna stay inside just because of a little bit of water, are you? Of course not! So out you go and buy a waterproof outfit.
Not a poncho, mind you, proper rain pants and a rain jacket. Admittedly you will not look at your best, no doubt about that, but you’ll stay dry. And that is priceless! On top of that I wouldn’t fret too much about it, plenty of people do wear their rain gears, it is totally normal here. I know I go out biking wearing my combo and almost feel at ease doing so! I got it at Hema but I’m sure you can pretty much find one about anywhere.
Now that you downloaded your “rain detector” app, got yourself a bike and bought a rain outfit, you’re all set to start off your life in The Netherlands. Enjoy the ride!
* I have no scientific data to confirm this statement! Just a wild guess!