Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, 3 hours away from Paris by train, 5 hours by car.
The first time I ever step foot in this city was 3 years ago. I’ve been back 4 times since, with my boyfriend, and we plan to settle there. It’s been a while since we have thought about living abroad and Amsterdam seems to be what better fits us. But why, you should ask ?
• Why Amsterdam and the Netherlands ?
The Europe seems like a good compromise between living abroad, but not too far. Our desire to live in a different country than ours is a desire to leave what we know to see something different, but without necessarily going all around the world. At least not for a first time.
We want new, but we want to like it too. The point is not to go just to go and go all around the world just because if you don’t you’re not really living abroad. The Europe is very diversified, so we had choices. We’ve already been to Italy, England, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Greece, Portugal … and Netherlands. We wanted to choose a country we’ve already been, even if there are so many other places we’re like to go, to choose a place to live, we had to have been there. Ultimately, it was a 20 days trip to Amsterdam this summer that confirmed our choice. We’re going to Amsterdam !
Netherlands is in Europe, ok what else ?
Amsterdam is a dynamic city, a capital even, but it’s still humain scale. It’s a city without the disadvantages of a city. You can walk or bike through the city, there not much pollution, there are lots of green spaces … Amsterdam is beautiful and lovely whatever the season is. Even though the temperature can be really low, the city stays warm and you can do lots of activities.
If you compare Amsterdam and Paris, the cost of life isn’t really different, especially if you consider the quality of life in Amsterdam.
The Dutch, at least the ones we met, are really nice, open-minded, welcoming and simple, which is really appreciate. And finally, I love the city atmosphere which can’t really be explained.
• How ?
If you are a citizen of the European union, Switzerland, Norway or Liechtenstein, it’s pretty easy (compared to the french administration). During our last stay, we’ve been to the city hall to ask for pieces of information. We took an appointment for 30 minutes laters. When we came out of the city hall we had all the information we wanted and more.
If you want to live in the Netherlands for more than 4 months, you are qualified as a resident. If you want to stay less than 4 months, you are a non-resident. What’s the difference ?
The residents have rights and obligation. They have to pay a municipal tax but they have the rights to receive rent benefit, to enrol their children in a school …
We are planning on staying more than 4 months, so we will be residents. To do so, you have to go to your city hall within the 5 days of your arrival in Netherlands. You have to make an appointment, you can do so on the city hall website.
You have to go to this appointment with your passport or ID card and a proof that you have a location in the city you apply for. It can be a location contract, a letter from your owner … You can also live at someone else place for a while, all you have to do is to bring a letter for this person that assure that you live with them and an ID photocopy.
So, to live in Netherlands, you need an address in the county so you can have your BSN number.
What’s a BSN number ? Also called « Burgerservicenummer », this number is personal, unique and gave to anyone that register to the Netherlands municipality It’s used by the public services to identify you.
Why do you need it ? Because without it, you can’t work. It also allows you to open a bank account (you have to do so if you want to work in the country), buy a car, access health care…
Now that you are registered, you have to subscribe to a health assurance within 3 months. You have the choice between a few of them, at the city hall, they advise us to compare the prices and to only take the basics services. But it’s up to you. Here two website to compare heath assurance : Kiesbeter.nl and Independer.nl. This website, was advised to us if we needed any other information.
Bonus, the Amsterdam city hall offer free dutch class for any new resident.
That’s it for this first article about Amsterdam. We are going back in the end of January, can’t wait !
If you have more questions or some things to add, don’t hesitate to leave a message.