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4 Good Tips for Assimilating to Dutch Culture
As an expat, moving to a new country usually means learning a new culture and way of life. The further you move from your home country, the more different that way of life can be. In this article, we go over 4 tips for assimilating into the Dutch culture. Good luck!
Learn the language
Whichever country you go to, if the people predominantly speak a language different than your own, it will make a lot of sense to learn that language. 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 you started in this way. But don’t stop there. Enroll in a part or full-time language course once you are there to get your skills up to par. It may take time but it will be worth it. Also, speak the language as much as you can! Find a conversation partner, or just have conversations whenever possible. The more conversations you have, the better you will become, faster!
Understand the Dutch social circle
According to some expats, making friends in the Netherlands is different than in America or elsewhere. The Dutch tend to have a close social circle of about 5 or so. They view friendship differently and don’t tend to have an 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 it. 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.
See a new way to work
The Dutch like to enjoy their time off of work. In fact, the average workweek in the Netherlands is 36 hours compared to the US’ 40, for example. Additionally, a lot of Dutch only work 4 days a week compared to the standard 5. Adjusting to this could help!
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. In addition, the Dutch love public transportation, so living by public transportation may be useful.
All 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 home. They will share stories that help. Good luck with your transition!