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4 Good Tips for Assimilating to Dutch Culture
As an expat, moving to a new country could mean learning a new culture and way of life. The further you go from your home country, the more different the way of life can be in some cases. In this article we go over 4 tips for assimilating in to the Dutch culture. Good luck!
1. Learn the Language
Whichever country you go to, if the people predominantly speak a language different than the one you speak, it will make a lot of sense to learn the language– and it will help you. A good way to do this is to get started before you leave. Downloading a language app such as Duolingo or Babbel may help get started. But don’t stop there. Enroll in a part time or full time language course once you are in the country to get you skills up to par. It may take time but it will be worth it. Learning a language is something you could always have with you. Also, speak the language as much as you can! Find a conversation partner, or just have conversations whenever you can. The more conversations you have, the better you will become faster!
2. Understand the Dutch Social Circle
According to some expats, making friends in the Netherlands is different in America. The Dutch tend to have a close social circle of about 5 or so friends and that is it. They view friendship differently and don’t tend to interest in making friends aside from their circle. This may be difficult for an expat moving to the country but there are ways to overcome. Mentioned earlier, in a language you may make friends who are in your situation. Additionally, find other groups such as hobby groups, sports, or other organizations where you can meet people. Sooner or later you will build a big network and connect with others.
3. See a New Way to Work
The Dutch might like to enjoy their time off of work. In fact, the average work week in the Netherlands is 36 hours compared to the US’ 40. Additionally, a lot of Dutch only work 4 days a week compared to the standard 5. Adjusting to this could help!
4. Choose an Appropriate Place to Live
Depending on your work, choosing an appropriate place to live will make a big difference assimilating to Dutch culture. You might have to choose from a rural area to a popular city. In addition, according to some US expats living in the Netherlands, there are some expat enclaves in the city where expats go to live. You might want to live there or fully immerse yourself in the Dutch city and culture and live normally. In addition, the Dutch love public transportation. So living by public transportation may be useful because it is really robust.
In all, moving to a new country and culture is not easy. But there are some tips which can help you in the transition. Additionally, speak with other expats who live in the Netherlands or perhaps some that successfully lived there and are now back in the US. They will share stories which help. Good luck in your transition!