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How to Make Friends and Feel at Home in the Netherlands

Five tips to help you

Published on : 02-07-2015, 12:52 by InterNations

Before moving to the Netherlands you were probably reassured by the fact that the average Dutch citizen has a good level of English. However, a relative lack of language barrier does not guarantee immediate friendships or, for that matter, eliminate homesickness. Here are five tips to help you feel at home and make friends in the Netherlands:


  1. 1.       Meet other expats and establish friendships.

  2. A personal support network can make all the difference when you’re new in town. Fortunately, being part of the expat community means you are not the only one looking to feel at home abroad. One platform bringing expats together is InterNations which has already established eight communities across the Netherlands. Even if your city does not yet have an InterNations Community, let’s face it, in the Netherlands the nearest one is never far away. Join their social events and before you know it you will have built up a network of new expat friends. To ease the process of settling in, take advantage of InterNations’ guide to the Netherlands to answer any questions you might have about your new home.


  1. 2.       Sign the kids up for field hockey practice.

  2. There’s nothing quite like the bond between two teeth-chattering parents standing by the sidelines on a Saturday morning cheering on their kids during the final match of the season. In the Netherlands sport clubs are run independently from schools and are a great way to immerse your family in a quintessential part of Dutch culture and get to know the people in your community. Both football and hockey are very popular, but among the expat community hockey is definitely number one.

  4. 3.       Reach out to expat clubs at work.

  5. The Netherlands is bursting with international organizations, which in turn are full of expats looking for friends. Many of these organizations will have clubs set up by their expatriate employees and/or their respective partners. Choirs, sport teams, and excursions are only some examples of ways expats and, in particular, their partners, make new friends abroad.

  1. 4.       Join the festivities.

  2. Don’t let a foreign nationality hold you back from joining festivities such as Kingsday and the craziness prompted by international football tournaments. Once you’ve got a good case of the oranjekoorts (‘orange fever’), you’ll feel right at home and any reservations you might have had about wearing an orange cowboy hat equipped with beer holders on the rim will have disappeared.  What should you do when your national team is playing ‘het elftal’ (the Dutch national team)? Gather your countrymen and take refuge in one of the Irish pubs in town which cater to the expat community in these situations.

  1. 5.       Simply bike.

  2. This is where the newcomers are separated from the seasoned residents, those playing the game (and winning) from those who prefer the safety of the sidelines. Tell-tale signs that you are more comfortable in a vehicle than on a bike include slowing down when the light turns yellow (or has only just turned red, for that matter), giving way to pedestrians, and — the cardinal sin — wearing a helmet.


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