Moving to the Netherlands: Culture shock

Edition 20 June 2017

Welcome to the Netherlands, or is it Holland? Maybe you’ve just arrived, maybe you’ve been here for a while. But the real question is, do you already feel at home?

Moving to another country can be exciting and stressful at the same time. At fi rst you think everything is great. ‘Look at all of those bikes. And the Rijksmuseum, how beautiful!’ But when you’re here for a while, homesickness might creep up on you. You’re getting used to living in Holland and you miss home. Why do other expats look so happy? Am I the only one experiencing these feelings?

Don’t worry—you’re not alone In fact, a lot of expats do share the same feelings.

There are so many cultural differences you’re not even aware of before you move to another country. Interestingly, ‘psychologist’ is the second most Googled term on the internet by expats in Holland, just after ‘kindergartens’. Clearly, a lot of expats are looking for some advice and help. Annelie Wambeek (28) from Sri Lanka just moved to Holland four months ago. “Homesickness is something a lot of people feel when they fi rst come to a country. When I went to the ‘Understanding the Dutch’ course at KIT Intercultural Professionals in Amsterdam, I saw that I was not alone in how I was feeling. Everyone has different experiences. You expect everything is going to be easy, and when it’s diffi cult you can get a bit demotivated. But after this training, I discovered that it is really normal. The honeymoon phase can come later. In the course, you learn to refl ect on things, and I found that particularly useful.”

Getting a good start in Holland

The ‘Understanding the Dutch’ course at KIT Intercultural Professionals helps people, like you, to get off to a good start. With this training you’ll feel more at home in Holland, and less likely to feel like you need to return to your native country. The training offers insights into Dutch culture and society, explores differences between the participant’s country and the Netherlands, and the infl uences that cultural differences can have on daily life. You can gain a better understanding of the Netherlands and learn how to more effectively communicate with Dutch people at work too. In addition, you gain access to practical information about housing, health and insurances, and of course you get to meet a lot of other expats living here in Holland.

You will go away from the course with a better understanding of why the Dutch business culture is different from other countries, about the culture shock and the honeymoon phases, and why you shouldn’t do crazy stuff, because ‘normal is already weird enough’. The Intercultural Professionals from the KIT Royal Tropical Institute, therefore wish to welcome you – with ‘bitterballen’, of course – to join us, so we can tell you everything you need and want to know about Dutch culture, so that you’ll feel more at home.

You can apply for the course at