going from USA to Holland

Discussion in 'Community' started by rainman::|:|, Nov 7, 2004.

  1. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Location:
    iowa
    #1
    Hi All,

    My partner and I are very seriously considering moving from Iowa, USA to the Netherlands, most likely Amsterdam (I'd spend so much of my time there, it would be silly to live anywhere else). This is the first international move for either of us, and information about Amsterdam seems to be conflicted right now. I'm hoping people familiar with the Netherlands will be able to shed some insight on the questions below, and anything else you think we should know.

    -Is the employment situation in Amsterdam really so bad? To start with, we're both willing to take entry-level jobs in just about any industry. Obviously we'll be hunting for jobs that allow for English-only people, until we pick up enough Dutch (and we will be trying to learn some before we go). Also we'll be looking for jobs that will help us get a work permit. I'm going to try to transfer there in my current company, which would solve this problem, but I doubt that will work. My partner has an English degree and I have an IT background, tho no degree (i may resume my studies there).

    -Can we get a decent, 3-room (or more) apartment anywhere between Oosterpark, Westerpark and Vondelpark for less than EUR 1.000? I'd really like to be inside the centre circle, if possible, but I have a feeling this is going to be expensive. I don't mind living in a seedy (bad) neighborhood, at least to start with.

    -Are the foreign police really as bad as everyone says? Are they going to deny me residence and work permits?

    -What is the current view of American expatriates? We aren't going to insert ourselves in Dutch politics, which I know is a point of contention. You guys do your thing, we just want to quietly live there. Will we be treated well or will we need to watch our backs?

    Like I said, anything else you can tell us is most appreciated.

    Thanks!
    paul
     
  2. iJon macrumors 604

    iJon

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    #2
    That's so awesome Paul. I love Amsterdam and Holland in general. I know absolutely nothing about what you want to know, only that I am jealous :). I live such a lavish life provided by parents here in the States, but nothing seems cooler to me than just being on my own in some other country just making ends meet and having a good time. Hope you figure everything out. How soon do you guys plan on moving?

    iJon
     
  3. rainman::|:| thread starter macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Location:
    iowa
    #3
    Thanks for the kind words :) Amsterdam is such a vibrant city, so full of culture... I've always wanted to live somewhere with more than 300 years of history. Not to mention it's one of the most socially progressive places on Earth, and that has to be amazing to see. I know what you mean, we're both settled into a nice middle-class lifestyle here with the beginnings of careers, and we'd be starting from scratch over there-- but i think it would be worth it, i know too many old people that wish they had done things like this in their youth.

    We're targeting June as a move date, but that's flexible and may get pushed back a bit. I doubt I'll settle there forever, but 5-10 years would be great. Move back here after, or keep going and move to Rome or Mexico City or someplace... just keep picking up history and languages as I travel... that lifestyle has an undeniable appeal :)

    paul
     
  4. MacNeXT macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2004
    #4
    I don't participate in the job market (i'm studying), nor do I live in Amsterdam (I live in the north of the Netherlands). Employment situation has been bad but it's starting to get better. I think it won't be a problem to get a job, you may need a bit of patience. I frequently see job vacancies in the papers that specifically ask for people who speak english. On the other hand, dutch people generally have a good level of ESL.

    I think it's possible. Look at www.woningnet.nl, to get an indication on rent prices (or possibly find an apartment). You'll need a dutch-english dictionary to find your way around that website.

    I think you'll find dutch people to be nice and open minded towards foreigners. Dutch people praise themselves for being tolerant. However, there has been a lot of public and political debate lately, about immigrants that fail to integrate into the dutch culture, which has culminated last week with the assasin of a muslim critic opinion and film maker Theo van Gogh. Everyone is still a bit confused about how that could happen. This discussion however focusses at a part of the muslim population, so it's got nothing to do with you.

    If you think I can help you in any other way, feel free to PM me.
     
  5. rainman::|:| thread starter macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
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    iowa
    #5
    Whew, thanks for the reply MacNeXT... good to know the job situation is recovering, your message helped allay a lot of tensions. I'm curious as to studying in NL... most students I've heard from don't work, so how do you support yourselves? If you don't mind me asking. Is room and board included as part of college? Do you guys have student loans over there like we do? Like I said, I may be interested in attending college while living there, but making the initial move is the hard part. Hopefully by the time we move in June, one of us will have found a job... that's the goal. I don't want to move both of us over there with no prospects, that sounds scary.

    Thanks!
    paul
     
  6. vouder17 macrumors 6502a

    vouder17

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2003
    Location:
    Home
    #6
    Cool i am also moving to Nl, but i am moving in less than a month to utrecht for now. I will be going to study, i have to see where i am going to live depending on which university takes me, gronignen, maastricht or Utrecht. Well all i know about holland is that in general it is quite easy to get around holland being english. the people are very friendly and helpful. The culture is very diverse, which seems to interest you, well i wish you all the luck. i am sure you will love it.

    DjVoTeZ
     
  7. evil_santa macrumors 6502a

    evil_santa

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #7
    You might want to talk to your Dutch Embassy about work visa, in the UK you need to get an employer to sponsor you for a work permit, they have to make a case for why they need you over a local person. So I would imagine that a potential employer would not be willing to do this for a lower paid job (especially it cost $$$ for the visa). I work for a US company in London & we have a few American work in the office, I think some of the senior people get round the work visa, as they are on a 2-3 year placement & some are still paid in the US.

    found this on the internet,

    Does The Candidate Qualify for a Netherlands Work Permit?


    To qualify for a Netherlands work permit, the candidate should be a professional and have the skill set and qualifications necessary to fill a position that has already been unsuccessfully advertised in the Netherlands, or which is subject to recognised shortages. There is a legal requirement that the candidate is between 18 and 45 years of age, although it is unlikely that a candidate under the age of 23 would have the relevant experience or skills necessary to fill a professional position.


    If the you are a non-Netherlands company supplying services to a Netherlands based client, then the candidate should usually have been employed by you outside the Netherlands for at least six months.


    The salary paid to the candidate should be greater than the minimum wage level outlined in previous section about Netherlands work permits.


    Candidates who are nationals of the following countries are exempted from the requirement to obtain a Netherlands residence visa (MVV), but should obtain a residence permit (VTV) if remaining in the Netherlands for longer than six months.

    All EU countries

    Norway

    Iceland

    Liechtenstein

    Switzerland

    Japan

    New Zealand

    Australia

    Canada

    United States



    For nationals of all other countries, the candidate should apply for a residence permit (MVV) at the Royal Netherlands Embassy in their normal country of residence before a work permit application is made. The candidate is then prohibited from travelling to any Schengen state until a decision is made on the application. Once the work permit is approved, the MVV is granted by the Embassy within a period of a few days to several months, in the cases of certain countries.


    NB: A Netherlands work permit is employer-specific. If a candidate has a permit to work for one company, and they want to work for another Netherlands company, this would not be possible – unless/until the new company has obtained another work permit in their name.

    http://www.workpermit.com/netherlands/employer4.htm?PHPSESSID=dfa272dbfbe562d96d82a1e8e1909850


    also check out

    http://www.netherlands-embassy.org
     
  8. evil_santa macrumors 6502a

    evil_santa

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #8
    My employer checks passports of all employees when they start work, I don't know if this is just the company i work for or is it is EU law. With out a valid work permit you will only get a visitors Visa, that will not allow you to work in any way.

    The situation is much the same in the UK if we want to work in the USA. When my partner (duel nationality us/uk) was living in the USA I use to get a lot of questions from the US immigration staff, especially when i went to the USA 3 time in in a few months. Since we got married it is a lot easier.
     
  9. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #9
    Paul, it has been a while since I covered any of this, so my information may be somewhat inaccurate. Do take with a grain of salt, or two, since some is merely anecdotal and from memory. Which might be good, since I feel you might have an uphill battle.

    As for emigrating to Holland, as evil santa outlined in his post, is fairly difficult. Securing a work-visa as a non-professional and as a non-dutch speaker may prove difficult. It is also my general understanding that Americans are not regarded favorably in the judgement policy, perhaps in retribution for our own rather strict immigration/visa policy. Considering the popularity of Amsterdam with international tourists, especially Americans, you may find it difficult.

    Last time I was in Amsterdam, there was an apartment shortage, I do not know if that has changed or to what degree, but that probably does not bode well for housing prices. I can recommend an excellent small hostel with private rooms available, though. (I stayed there for three months). You may be able to find a job under-the-table, but a lack of dutch may hurt you both.

    As for speaking/learning Dutch, I found it to be a difficult language to pick up, especially in pronunciation. Somewhat like German, many of the sounds required do not come easy to a tongue used to English, or even French or Spanish. Perhaps you are better with languages than I am, however.

    Personally, Paul, I would recommend another country if you are looking to escape the US. The UK, while having it's own plusses and minuses, might be a good bet, as it has a fairly good economy and unemployment rate (it was the best in Europe) and a fairly liberal immigration policy (at least recently). I might also consider Spain, Italy or France, based on the ease of picking up the language and the quality of culture in those countries. I do not believe they have the greatest economies, however. I might also consider Australia and New Zealand. Perhaps people on this board from those countries could fill in the blanks and/or be willing to sponser you, I don't know. One thing to consider is if you are in this for the long-haul, eventually you will be able to move freely among the EU countries for work and residence.

    Oh, the Czech republic is also somewhere to look into (Prague), although the language is particularily difficult. An avenue you might consider, if you have some money to spend up front, is TOEFL (teaching English as a foreign language). It often allows you to stay in countries indefinitely and pays a wage that while not much, is passable if you are frugal and allows you to get to know where you live and find other economic opportunities, above and below the table. A friend of mine did just that in Prague for two years.

    Good Luck, and keep us posted.
     
  10. MacNeXT macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2004
    #10
    As others have pointed out, it may be difficult to get a visum. I don't know about that. I'm going to Spain for half a year to study and there is nothing to arrange as far as getting a visum, because of the EU. Regarding the cost of study, we get help in different ways:

    1 - Schools are aided by the government, the cost to study is (only) about 1500 euro for one year (no room and board). This is with some exceptions the same for all colleges and universities. Foreigners pay nothing more than the same as we do, if i'm not mistaken.
    2 - Study grants (studiefinanciering) which is paid per month and depends on the income of your parents. We have the right to have the grant for as long as the length of the course, which is 4, 5 or 6 years. After that there is:
    3 - A loan, either completely (after the grant stops) or on top of the grant.

    I don't know if you can get a grant, check www.ibgroep.nl > international visitors. ibgroep is the organization that gives out grants.
     
  11. rainman::|:| thread starter macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Location:
    iowa
    #11
    Thanks for all the info guys, keep it coming. The work permit issue has been on my mind a lot lately, and clearly this is not going to be easy. I've been seeing a lot of technical-helpdesk jobs, which would be perfect except most require a second language. Perhaps RJ's english degree will lead to a professional job, because it appears that only one of us needs a work permit right away. Still not clear on that whole thing. The NL embassy forwarded me on to several generic websites instead of answering my questions, no doubt they get a lot of inquiries like this...

    I've thought about other countries, NZ and UK and the like... but i'm really sold on the idea of full gay rights, the history/art/culture, and the drug laws. The last one is a bit silly perhaps, but I don't want to be at odds with the police anymore. Moving to Amsterdam has been a dream for me since i was a kid. If it's going to be impossible, so be it... but I'll try everything i can...

    :)
    paul
     
  12. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #12
    Paul, in reference to your desire to reside in a Country that affords it's residents more in the way of gay-rights and freedoms (including those pertaining to drug usage/possession), it is important to remember that almost all Western countries are more liberal in this regard than the US.
    Regarding Drug Laws, although the Dutch are the most widely-recognized country for Liberal interpretation/enforcement of drug laws, they are by no means alone. Australia, Austria, Greece, Ireland and the UK all have mechanisms in place that merely issue tickets, warnings or treatment options to drug offenders, particularily marijuana (which I assume is most relevant).
    In addition, many countries while having harsh drug laws on the books, actually have de facto decriminaliztion to free up the court system, among other reasons. These include: Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland and Germany, with the Swiss perhaps moving more toward an even more permissive policy.
    There are also several countries which have decriminalized marijuana. These include: Italy, Spain and Portugal (and Canada).

    As for Gay Rights, again, many countries are much more progressive than the US. New Zealand and Denmark come close, if not arrive at, de facto full rights for homosexuals w/in their borders, the latter particularily so. In addition, Spain and the Czech Republic (probably others) allow most of the rights associated with civil unions, including property/inheritance rights and hospital visitation. France and Portugal are somewhat more restrictive, but still allow more rights than available in the US. I was unable to find any relevant data about the UK.

    I would keep this in mind, as you look at options. The Dutch do have a fine history/Culture as does much of Europe, so I feel you would likely be happy anywhere on the continent.

    I would caution, however, as a new member of any of these countries, not to push your luck on the above issues, as they are primarily afforded to Citizens and long-term residents. This, of course, also applies to the Netherlands.

    BTW, I might also suggest looking into Costa Rica, if you like Spanish and enjoy that kind of country. Their laws are also pretty Liberal in the areas that interest you and they have wonderful weather and people, depending on your preferences.

    FWIW.
     
  13. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    Reality
    #13
    Paul, I don't have any information to offer, only congratulations on your decision. I'm sure you and your partner can find the right country that would accommodate you better than the U.S.

    I myself am considering moving out of the U.S., but at this point it's only in the contemplation stage. Jobs in my field are always hard to find, and in foreign countries it will probably be worse. I see that as my main obstacle.
     
  14. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #14
    I was wondering when someone was going to mention the jazz cigarettes...

    These are all great reasons to live in Holland. I lived there for 5 years but in Eindhoven...

    As with all emigration, a little language goes a long way. Bit like the hash...
    :)
     
  15. evil_santa macrumors 6502a

    evil_santa

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #15
    Do you speak Dutch? It will be easier for both of you to get jobs if you have fairly good grasp of the Dutch language.
    One a previous employer (an Italian company in London) decided it would be a good idea (cheap) to send over some Italians who didn't speak english & did not feel they needed to learn English. They were impossible to work with as we could not communicate with them, and got sent back to Italy quite quickly!

    You might need something like this...
    [​IMG]
     
  16. rainman::|:| thread starter macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Location:
    iowa
    #16
    hey, thanks evilsanta :) that looks like a very interesting program, will have to pick it up. It looks like becoming at least passably familiar with Dutch is my best option in getting a job... Thanks blackfox, you point out some great alternatives that I hadn't thought of. It's nice to know there are other places to go if this doesn't work out... less stressful.

    Just about every time i start a thread (which is rare), i get a reminder of what a great, diverse group we have at MR. The info and kind words you're all giving are much appreciated :)

    paul
     
  17. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Location:
    Penryn
    #17
    A couple of forums that you may be interested in:
    expatica.com
    toytownmunich.com

    the Expatica forums are filled with flame wars (mostly Americans) but the site has a lot of very good information about living abroad.

    toytownmunich although based in munich is a board for english speakers in munich and many of the members are brits who've lived and worked in different countries throughout the world. Most of them are in IT and I think you'd find a lot of good information relating to EU laws there. Many of them seem to work in companies/offices where English is the language of choice. Speaking dutch is going to get you a job faster than not speaking it but I don't think it is absolutely essential. I'm sure there must be similar forums in The Netherlands as well.

    Also, regarding language tapes, you can buy this at the iTMS. Check out shoutcast for Dutch radio stations, talk shows are a great way to learn a language.

    Although your heart is set on The Netherlands, I would cast your net as far as possible. With the expansion of the EU, Brussels is booming. Check out northern Germany, France and Denmark as well.

    With the current political climate, being an American could well be a liability and your reasons for moving abroad may well be suspect. If at all possible, I would recomment that you spend a week or so in The Netherlands before you move there so you can get a better idea of what people are looking for. There are major differences between US and northern European styles of management, working habits, etc. I've heard a lot of people complain about the shock of having to change their work habits to suit their new place of employment.
     
  18. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    #18
    Dutch is an awesome sounding language.

    That said, I think you may want to take a good look North at Canada. Even in Saskatchewan a court recently ruled that gay marriage must be allowed.

    That means unless you move to Alberta, the NW Territories or Nunavut, you'd have your civil rights.

    I'm going to work for the Democratic Senate challenger from my home state in 2006. Really work, like 20+ hours/week. If my state fails to reject hate-monger Santorum and/or the Senate doesn't swing away from this single-party dictatorship we've got brewing, I'm heading out. I'm paying off my debts this year. Next year I'll be applying for Canadian citizenship, so that if our country doesn't make a turn for the better, I'm able to quickly leave for colder (but warmer) environs as my application should be processed about the same time.
     
  19. aricher macrumors 68020

    aricher

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Location:
    Chi-il
    #19
    Damn - Ugg beat me to the expatica.com site - very good info on exactly what you need to get over there - my wife and I have been toying with the idea for a few years now. As long as one member of the couple is employed full-time the other can also receive benefits. Finding work may be harder than you think - depending on what you want to do.

    I have a friend that lives in Haarlem and he said that being an American might be of benefit because of the upswing of the EU. he said everyone is trying to figure out how to do business the American way. he also said it's very sad because unline several years ago Amsterdam, Haarlem, etc. now are becoming yuppie havens with Starbucks and Gaps everywhere - ah, follow the leader is a double edged sword sometimes.

    The Netherlands is supposedly the easiest place to get EU citizenship, meaning that you can then live and work anywhere in the EU. You need to live in the Netherlands for 5 consecutive years, be fluent in Dutch and take a citizenship test.

    Good luck to you - any place in Europe is better than Des Moines.
     
  20. MacNeXT macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2004
    #20
    Paul,

    Earlier in this thread I told you I think it would be possible to get an apartment for <1000 euros. I think I should make a note about this. Today I saw a documentary about shortage of houses and apartments in Amsterdam and how people make use of that to rip off people. Especially foreigners. Be careful! If you pursue your plans, be sure to deal with bonafide people and preferably larger organizations, when you're getting an apartment.
     
  21. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #21
    blackfox, may be you could provide some more help. My lover and I (I am 46 and he is 42) thought of leaving the US. Australia was a thought, but my age limits the jobs I can get there. He does speak French quite fluently (he taught French at both child and adult level in a community school setting). He has a degree from College, I from the school of hard knocks (meaning I am a retail manager and now an advertising manager - DTP). I also have skills as a photorapher. We also have a house to sell here in the states, but would not rather sell till we had a new country that we could move to.

    I wish I could move the hands of time back 10 to 20 years ago and do what Paul is wanting to do. It would be a little easier I think.
     
  22. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #22
    What is surprising is that Paul and I are not alone. Teddy mentioned the possibility to some co-workers of his, and they were thinking of moving their "hetro-families" to Canada. IT seems that there are many that are not happy with the direction of the country over not just the next four years, but the next twenty. When 20% of the nation says that "morals" are the reason that they voted 80% towards Bush, there seems to be a disconnect between the nation.
     
  23. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #23
    paul, congrats on your decision. funny how you, p'brit, chip, b'fox and i are all having similar thoughts.

    i don't have much to add that hasn't already been said. except that i got along pretty well in NL w/ english and broken german. lots of english spoken there.

    keep us up to date. i hope this works out for you.
     
  24. Hoef macrumors 6502a

    Hoef

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2004
    Location:
    Houston, TX..... (keep walking)
    #24
    Hey there, I am a Dutch native and actually hired a US guy when I was at a large blue computer company. It wasn't easy but I must admit a lot easier than getting hired myself here in the states. Eventhough he got hired he had to show up at the police office every month or so for quite a while (let me see if I can dig up his contact info for you). Further, I tend to agree with what Macnext mentioned before.

    The town I am from, The Hague, Den Haag, 's-Gravenhage or La Haye (depending where you from) it swamped with internationals and especially Americans.

    With some patience it should be possible to get hired and get a work visa.


    Ps... Attending college/university is cheap compared to US
     
  25. iJon macrumors 604

    iJon

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    #25
    That's pretty interesting. When I was in Europe many of my tour guides had studied in the states and said it was a piece of cake. Are most the Euro universities harder or does it vary quite equally.

    jon
     

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