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Tag: Emigration

I have now been in the Netherlands for 10 days now, and have enjoyed every second of it. Following my full-fledged immersion in Dutch society, there are some things that just stand out for me.

The excellent public transport
I come from a country where you risk your life if you try use what little public transport there is. The Netherlands is a refreshing change to this. I have thoroughly enjoyed using the very efficient busses and trains here.

I have just raved about the public transport but I think that cycling is even one better. The Dutch landscape is totally flat, making cycling a pleasure, especially considering that there seem to be more cycle paths than roads here. In fact, it takes me less time to cycle into the centre of Haarlem from where I am staying than using the very efficient us service. And on top of all this, cycling is safe, free and good excercise.

The food
I have heard a lot of people complain about the food in the Netherlands, but I will be the first to disagree with that. I love the food here.

I have tried stroopwafels, Dutch cheese, mayonnaise on chips, an assortment of Dutch biscuits and I have no need to complain at all. And then just looking at the sweets and chocolates available makes me feel like a little kid in a candy store.

Trappist beer
I am not much of a beer drinker. I do have a weakness though, and that is Belgian beer, and I have found my favourite amongst these. I tried some Trappist beer and have fallen in love with it. Now I just need to go on a Trappist tasting session….

The Dutch people
Out of all the people I have met I like the Dutch the most. They are decent honest people, and very tolerant of others. In addition to this, the average Dutch person has a good knowledge of English, so communication is so much easier. I do want to learn Dutch fluently, but am finding it easy to make myself understood until then.

Fanta Cassis
One of my favourite drinks in SA was Fanta Grape and Fanta Strawberry. Both of these are unfortunately not available in the Netherlands, but I did find one even better. Fanta Cassis, which is essentially blackberry flavoured Fanta, which is so good, that my memories of Grape and Strawberry will very quickly fade from my memory.


In 10 days time, we hop on a plane, first spending the weekend in Johannesburg, before flying on to Amsterdam. That is if that volcano in Iceland the name of which only an Icelander could pronounce decides to quieten down a little.

The runup to our departure has been a little bit on the stressful side.

Last Thursday, just before I was about to sell my car, I rear-ended someone in the traffic on the way home from work. Not the sort of thing you want happening with two weeks left to get insurance and repairs sorted, let alone having to sell the car.

Then that volcano bringing the European airspace to its knees is not exactly good news for me either. It would not be a problem if the closure was only very brief, but latest reports are showing that despite every effort to open up European airspace, Mother Nature seems intent on keeping everyone grounded.

It has not reached crisis point for me yet, but every day that ash cloud lingers causes me to stress just that little bit more.

At least all the other stress of the move is dying down a little. Our shipping is sorted, and pets all taken care of – Noisette waiting to come join us in Europe, and Garfield settling in nicely in his new home.

Now we just need to get there….Emigration is certainly not for the faint of heart


I must firstly apologise to all my readers, as I have not had much time to blog much in the last few weeks, or even to respond to some of the comments. Life has been rather hectic with the emigration plans.

Preparations for our emigration to the Netherlands has taken top priority, and our tickets are booked, and are making steady progress in sorting out our affairs here in South Africa before we leave.

Today though was the most difficult day of all so far. Noisette, our dog, will eventually join us in the Netherlands in several months time, but in the mean time she has to stay with my sister who lives on the other side of the country.

This morning we dropped her off at the airport travel agency, and as I type this she is on her way by plane to Durban. It was heartbreaking to have to part with her, since she does not understand that we will see her again in a few months.

We are going to miss her terribly, but, alas, this is a necessary step in getting ourselves over to the Netherlands. I look forward to seeing her excited reaction when she sees us again.


It is now safe to do this, since I have informed the company I work for already, so the latest news flash is that myself, Claudia and Cole are going to be emigrating from South Africa to the Netherlands in a few months time.

Currently our planned departure date is set at the end of April, largely to give us enough time to get all our passports sorted out before we go.

So, now I am sure the first question you may be wanting to ask is, “Why would a South African want to go live in the Netherlands?”

Well, the reasons are many, but one very powerful driver of our move, is that I have dual Belgian/South African citizenship, and Claudia (and by implication, Cole) has dual Swiss/South African citizenship, so making a move to Europe is very easy for us. Since Switzerland has very close ties to the EU, and me beign an EU citizen, there is no issue at all for us to move over. Very little paperwork to worry about.

This still does not answer fully why we chose the Netherlands though, since most South Africans heading off for Europe tend to centre around the UK. Well, firstly, my mother and brother already stay in Haarlem (near Amsterdam if you are wondering where that is), which gives us a free couch to sleep on until we get settled.

The Dutch are also very easy going, and many of them speak pretty good English to boot, and for an English speaker, I have the greatest probability of success there, outside of the UK.

And in addition to that, Dutch would be one of the easiest European languages for me to learn, as in South Africa, Afrikaans is one of the major languages, which I did 7 years worth of at school. Afrikaans is a closely related language to Dutch, and originated in the early Dutch settlers in South Africa. The pronunciation and spelling are slightly different, and there are a few minor differences in vocabulary, but the two languages are very close to each other, to the point where, based solely on my fluency in Afrikaans, I am able to understand most written Dutch, and spoken Dutch when spoken slowly and clearly.

As to the reasons we are leaving South Africa, well, my entire goal is to provide the best life that I can to my family, and that is becoming increasingly difficult in South Africa. If I start naming reasons, I will start to look like one of the many whingers we have in South Africa. Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved South Africa as a country, but the problems we have here are starting to become too much for me, and it is now time to seek a better life.

There will be many things I am going to miss, but what I am looking forward to is decent public transport, and fast cheap internet, over everything else.
As the move comes together I will blog more about the experience of uprooting ourselves and planting ourselves in a foreign land.