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Are you happy in the Netherlands?

Hello everyone!

According to the 2016 UN World Happiness Survey, Denmark, Switzerland and Iceland are the happiest countries on earth.

How about you? Are you happy in the Netherlands? Do you feel happier today in your host country than before in your home country? What has contributed to the change?

In your opinion, are locals in the Netherlands happy? How can you tell?

Please share your experience!

Ha! I was *miserable* when I lived in Switzerland! I lived in Geneva. The city felt soulless, a banking capital where everyone left at the weekends and during the summer holidays and over Christmas. If you didn't ski, and didn't eat cheese, and didn't socialise with your work colleagues, there was very little social contact you could have. And I was a freelancer who worked in-company, around the city. I barely saw my colleagues. In Geneva, people barely smile on the street. People are polite, and the quality of life is good, but making social connections is *very* hard. If you don't start a family, you aren't a ski nut, or a workaholic, there is just NO reason for you to stay, if you like socialising.

I will say that Geneva has truly beautiful scenery, and fantastic food, and wonderful weather. For introverts who truly value their privacy and solitude, it is a wonderful place to live. For everyone else... Well, the suicide rate is surprisingly high in Switzerland, and I chalk it up to just how difficult it is to make social connections, unless it's through school/university/work. You can't even connect to people through your own friends. Friends of friends will pretty much *never* become *your* friend.

I was moderately happy when I lived in the UK (not so happy when I lived in London, as it's difficult to maintain friendships because of the sheer size of the city).

I'm very happy now living in the Netherlands. People smile, it's easy to meet people, and people are usually very direct about saying yes or no. The wages aren't so high compared to Switzerland, but given the nightlife and the friendliness, me and my husband were extremely happy to move to Amsterdam despite the 30% cut in wages.

Not at All....Too Many Fake people.

I just downloaded the report (Google it); interesting to see that Holland is 7th in the table, but is trending down (slightly).  The UK, where I really come from, is 23rd, also trending down.  The report grades things based on six factors:

GDP per capita,
Healthy years of life expectancy,
Social support,
Trust (measured by a perceived absence of corruption in government/business, Perceived freedom to make life decisions,
Generosity

Myself - Holland intrigued me when I first visited (when I think back, it seemed like home).  Mrs C is Dutch, I've virtually lived there from 1984 in so much as it's where I went whenever I wasn't working somewhere else in the world.  I speak the language (badly), our daughter has moved back there and it will be where we live when I finish working.

It's had its moments (good and bad), but I've never been unhappy there; I can see the attraction to people seeking a better life, but it's not easy to get in and those trying from outside Schengen and the EFTA, get frustrated by the red-tape (Holland likes having rules for everything).  Once you get there, the tax-system is frustrating for the first year; apart from that, it's great.

I am sorry still I am from Sri Lanka. Netherlands is one of my dream destination in the world.In my point of view happiness comes when your life fulfills your needs or when you feel satisfied & fulfilled.Happiness is a feeling of contentment.
But according to the Buddha,the path to happiness starts from an understanding of the root causes of suffering.In short we can never be completely happy. :)

Hi, I cant say that I am happy here. Mentality of people is different from Eastern Europe, society is egocentric .. Of course there are lots of positive things, in life you have to concentrate on them, but I don't feel happy in this country.

agree totally

I can't say I'm very happy here.

Before NL I lived in Ireland since a young age. I loved it there and the people were friendly and genuine. When I moved to NL to study, I was in for an unpleasant surprise. I put in a lot of effort trying to make friends with Dutch people, but to no avail. They may be friendly to you one day, and the next they pretend like they don't even know you.
I also find them to be hypocritical when it comes to directness. They pride themselves in being direct, but when you are direct back to them, they become offended.
Furthermore, the university I studied in (Utrecht) claimed that they're happy about being so international, but in reality they offer very little help to foreign students. I, and many of my fellow foreign students, often felt left out of events, meetings, etc.

Of course these are generalisations. I have met some Dutch people who very lovely! But overall, my experience with Dutch culture has not been positive.

There are positives in this country in other areas. For example, the infrastructure here is fantastic in comparison to Ireland.

Overall, I'm happy for having this experience, but I do not plan to build my life here.

Hello to you all.
Love to see different experiences and opinions. I come from Serbia,beautiful country where corruption destroyed everything. It`s gorgeous nature and warm people can not come true because they are tired of struggling to survive a day. I have a lot of friends there and still speak very often to all of them. Social media is allowing us that but I see they are going deeper in that misery. I lived there for 37 years and I can say that I love this country (Holland) more than I love Serbia. I do love people here and there but generally speaking Dutch people are polite and most of them are nice. Of course there are warm people everywhere so I wouldn`t say that all Serbs or Dutch are cold or warm. Happiness comes from inside. You have to be satisfied with your own life to be able to be happy anywhere. One thing that makes me very happy is that we live in small village where people still have contact with each other and it`s definitely warmer than in big cities. I came here with my husband and daughter so of course it`s easier. I did develop some nice friendships here also but I really have big circle of people that I can talk with and socialise. I think honestly that you can not run from yourself and if you don`t find peace inside yourself you won`t be happy anywhere. Every country have pro and cons.
In Holland I enjoy walking on the street and seeing people laughing to you back without even knowing you. Life is much easier when you are surrounded with positive energy. Since I am in a gym for very long time I can say that energy there is also much more respectful and relaxed. We chooses Holland because of culture and we are all more than happy here. Small thing that make big difference is your expectations. It depends how you define happiness. For me that is my family and friends,small peaceful house and a lot of animals. As far as possible from all noise and city rush. And God blessed us exactly with that.
One big hug from me to all positive and good heart people where ever you are or come from!!! :heart:

No, I don't feel happy in the Netherlands, perhaps the cultural difference or mentality :)

Happiness in a foreign country is highly dependent on what each person is looking for when leaving their home country and what the expectations are from their host country.

I cannot say that I am fully satisfied with my life in the Netherlands for several reasons:

It is very hard to be friends with Dutch people as I find them to be quite narrow minded (even racist depending on your country of origin) and they do not easily accept foreigners into their lives, unless they have themselves lived abroad.

Although everyone speaks impressivelly good English, there is still enough aspects where Dutch is absolutely necessary. Don't get me wrong, I am not talking about getting a job, where it makes sense that a certain level of Dutch is expected to be mandatory, but also in places where you are a customer (such as a bank). Depending on the urgency of your request, this might get very frustrating.

Getting a job (if you are willing to do any job) is relatively easy, but as a foreigner, you should expect to get lower salaries than locals, even when higher educated (that is at least my personal experience with a masters degree in my field). I always thought that if they hire a foreigner, there ususally is a reason, which is not his higher, compared to the Dutch, education, but the fact that they are most likely to agree to any working condition/ agreement (e.g. zero hour contracts etc.).

In every day life, you might get nasty comments about your origin (depending on your home country again), which I personally find them to be very hurtful as I do miss my home country when I m abroad and it bothers me having to listen to people throwing comments about it so often.

A big part of my disatisfaction lies on the housing market as well. I am willing to pay quite a lot of money for the right place to stay, but even with an extraordinary amount, which way exceeds 1/3 of my salary, I still need to share, live illegally (no registration) and be quite far from work. I am of course not even talking about living in the centre of Amsterdam, where I am located.

Other than that, yes, it is nice to be able to use your bike everywhere and having even some job opportunities in your field of studies, but in my opinion, life in the Netherlands for an expat is far from ideal and having lived in more countries than Holland and my home country, I would not include it in the list with the countries that can provide a foreigner with a happy life. It is though definitely a countrty that can provide you with a decent life, so that should definitely be considered as it is not always the case.

Switzerland is the only place I have been to in 30 or more countries that felt "dead", lifeless, and not only on the one occasion. That was the sensation in both Geneva and Zurich but not in any other place I have ever visited! As for Denmark, it can be so horribly right-wing that it starts to approach Austria as a place that might be purposely avoided for this reason.

I am happy in the Netherlands though of course there are good and bad to living here.

The architecture is beautiful, so moving around is not just about A and B but the journey itself. When you get out of Amsterdam, you find that the Dutch are not the blunt, tactless, harsh people you thought they were, with the worst possible shop customer service. Spend any time in Maastricht, and you find total strangers saying hello as they walk by on the street. In Haarlem, shopkeepers are by and large friendly, considerate and even apt to include something for free to make sure you leave their premises happy. The other side of the tactlessness is that with their straightforward natures, the Dutch are unpretentious. They ride around on their battered bikes, hair flying. Their unpretentiousness lends a sense of freedom. Such freedom is missing from this aspect of society in the UK for instance where stigma means a bike rider is either wearing lycra or is someone who is considered a loser. The Dutch straightforwardness is also refreshing, doing away with the complicated interactions that politeness necessitates. The people here are thought of as "liberal" but maybe they just meet things head on and with their minds rather than their gut. Unfortunately, the country has shifted radically towards racism with as many people in the country now supporters of Gert Wilders' party as they are of the actual government. This is a grotesque side of the Dutch character manifesting itself, and hopefully, Wilders can be convicted of inciting hate for foreigners.

The health service is poor in the Netherlands in that a large sum needs to be paid every month despite the fact that a person may have perhaps a single appointment in a year. Then when something is actually wrong, unless you paid even more than the large sum you pay as standard, you will be in "own risk" territory, meaning you have to pay for treatment even though you are already paying the high basic sum each month. So, basically, other than doctors appointments being free, you pay this sum just for the privilege of not receiving a fine for not having health insurance rather than to cover yourselves in times of ill-health. Also, the Netherlands has a high rate of breast cancer - 4th place in the world and yet they continue to refuse to change their slack checking regime, such as the age in a woman's life from which they start checking. A country like Sweden, which is all over this problem in terms of their regime of checks isn't even in the top 20 in the world for the incidence of breast cancer. As for childbirth, epidurals are not routinely offered (10 percent of women have them compared to 60 percent in Belgium and above 30 percent in the UK) because of the still popular tradition of giving birth at home (30 percent in the Netherlands, 2 percent in the UK). After-birth care is generally excellent, though, with weeks of visits by the warm, caring "kramzorg" carer and baby care expert instead of the extended hospital stay of other countries. The care around childbirth is generally excellent in the Netherlands, midwife organisations undeserving of the stigma that can be directed towards them in the U.S. for instance. Epidurals will be organised if done so beforehand.

Amsterdam is a great city during the summertime as it doesn't close down for people who want to stay put rather than go away. In this way, it has the advantage over Stockholm, say, where an institution like their equivalent of the Eye cinema will close for the entire summer in total disregard of its public. It is a busy town because of being crammed with so many people, but walk away from the main roads and the pretty canal streets see far, far fewer cars to impede the view of gorgeous architecture, canals, houseboats, trees along the canals and bike riding flying Dutchmen and women.

The Netherlands may not have the great coffee of Itay, France, Portugal, but it certainly has a cafe culture, letting everyone relax. The food here is really bad - what has Dutch cuisine got to compare to France, Itay, China, Japan, etc., with their huge, sophisticated cuisines and love of food? "It is often said that unlike the French, who live to eat, the Dutch eat to live". But the whole of Germanic Europe is the same - the UK, Sweden etc., are no better.

The landscape can be very beautiful in how the fields glisten under a blue sky and the sky itself is huge by not being obscured by hills. The huge skyscape reminds of paintings from hundreds of years ago where the skies are so very vivid rather than something above and unseen.

For children, the Netherlands is apparently what Switzerland and Denmark are for adults, the place where they are most happy (according to UNICEF). The Netherlands and Dutch people generally aren't as obsessively safety-conscious as in the UK for instance, sucking the life out of fun things that should be a thrill and source of learning by boundaries being tested. It is also not a patriarchal system with decisions made for the people as if they aren't "of age" like in Sweden, say.

I do agree with you regarding couple things.
Living in big city or small village is very,very different. I personally I think that in big city it`s very hard to really meet Dutch people since there are so many foreigners in shops and restaurants working that basically you can not judge them by that experience.
Regarding racism I still didn`t find anyone judging me based on my country of origin (I am not saying that is not happening) and I come from most judged nation in Europe. I believe it all depends if they see you as someone trying to respect and accept their culture or someone being "buitenlander" and using their country. You have to admit that a lot of people are taking advantage of their system and country and it`s reasonable to have reservation when meeting new people. If you look at France where they don`t even want to give you a bread if you don`t say it in French ,I think Dutch people are holding them self's very well.
We created friendships with Dutch people and respect in village where we live. It`s our experience not universal rule,off course.
Also if you are coming from country with also healthy system and society,your expectation will be higher. I believe in every country you could hear some bad stories about same issues.

Hi!

I didn't mean foreigners working in shops in Amsterdam, I meant Dutch people. I also mean Dutch people working in shops in Haarlem. Amsterdam - mostly bad experiences. Haarlem - mostly good experiences.

About racism, this is at the root of the support for Gert Wilders party. The figures for sympathy for his party show as many people in support of it as in support of the government, which is an ugly fact. France has a quarter of its voting public in support of the extreme right party. It seems the Netherlands has perhaps an even worse problem if you compare the statistics.

As for the health system, I am looking at good and bad, the reasons why, and comparisons with other systems I know well.

In every country, there will be good and bad and my look at the Netherlands is full of good and bad I think! If there are bad things, these should be talked about not just disregarded because of all countries having good and bad. The good things should be looked at too of course and celebrated.

Absolutely!! Coming to Netherlands was our first overseas job transfer experience. Glad to say, it was and still stays a positive step all the way for us. The authorities concerned; starting from getting our ICards to registering at the Gemeente were quite helpful and; ready to clarify any doubts or questions we had. Another memory is of our landlady, who welcomed us to our rented house by baking a delicious apple pie for us still makes you feel nostalgic. It was our first interaction with a Dutch local lady and an absolutely amazing relationship formed between us; which still continues to date. 
Now it's 3 years here and it's almost like a second home in Netherlands; with the bikes and tulips among my favorites here!!

nice to hear,

but let's talk about your experience after 10-15 years in the country, when your kids would be bulled at school, you and your husband would face the career stagnation, disacrimination at work, gossips and quarrel with neighbors and some other lovely dutch treats..........

rinav :

nice to hear,

but let's talk about your experience after 10-15 years in the country, when your kids would be bulled at school, you and your husband would face the career stagnation, disacrimination at work, gossips and quarrel with neighbors and some other lovely dutch treats..........

I'm sorry to hear this! But I don't think this is a Netherlands-only issue. Gossip/quarrels/school bulling happen in every part of the world, while foreigners often face discrimination in whatever other country they moved to. I wouldn't solely blame NL for this.

That is extremely unfortunate.

My own experience has been kids not bullied at at all despite being ones that might be the perfect targets. Such bullying is even almost unheard of at their school, the one or two kids acting this way being well known. Smaller instances have been tackled head on and dealt with thoroughly then moved passed.

My street is mostly Dutch and people say hello to each other, smile warmly and feel no need to go further into each others business. When we moved here, the neighbour over the road gave us a pot with bulbs in that we grew on the windowsill for a long time.

It can also be the other immigrants in the street that are the difficult ones to deal with rather than the Dutch majority, or can be that anywhere has its gossips.

The Dutch workplace is famous for being difficult, though, with even Dutch people complaining about it and expressing relief when they are in an international environment rather than having to face the skewed Dutch workingplace take on correct treatment of one another and intolerance of courtesy/politeness.

There are many "Dutch treats" to be found but nowhere is perfect, its just hopefully closer to what is best for you than anywhere else.

Living here in Netherlands is my choice so yes, i am very happy despite some normal issues that I have to get use to for example weather and languague. 

Learning Nederlands language is important.  There are pleanty of friendly people everywhere.  Conversation can start even when you choose a vegetables and not be able to respond especially to the old lady or man can be a frustration.   The cold weather is something i expected and ready for but wet day is really not nice to deal with.

I also believe in having a friend.  No matter how much your new family welcome you, to have a friend is very important.   He or she is someone you can talk to about something else because it can be a bit difficult to do that with new family member.  They usually have many topics to talk to you in such a short time meeting each other; from kids to grandkids, school, sport achievement or the career success thus one can get stuck in the conversation for hours.

nataneu :
rinav :

nice to hear,

but let's talk about your experience after 10-15 years in the country, when your kids would be bulled at school, you and your husband would face the career stagnation, disacrimination at work, gossips and quarrel with neighbors and some other lovely dutch treats..........

I'm sorry to hear this! But I don't think this is a Netherlands-only issue. Gossip/quarrels/school bulling happen in every part of the world, while foreigners often face discrimination in whatever other country they moved to. I wouldn't solely blame NL for this.

Dear Nataneu ( I guess Natasha  ;) ),

don't be sorry, I am a big girl  :cool: , but all mentioned above is a great part of the dutch mentality, especially the bullying at dutch schools and do not forget the part when the schools interacting to separate the families from their kids.

Please take a look at the links below about the "dark part" of low lands

http://www.thejournal.ie/dutch-school-b … 7-Apr2014/
http://nltimes.nl/2015/05/20/unicef-net … ns-rights/
https://www.change.org/p/unicef-nederla … al-workers

what do you think of this article?

" For several years social workers pursue our family instead of providing the necessary assistance to our son. They made children afraid of losing their brother and parents. They ignore that urgent medical assistance to our child with autism was not provided and force parents to abandon the need for appropriate for our child care and assistance, as well as his right for education. They are forcing parents to send their teenager in "kindergarten" where specialists do not have the necessary certificates. Now they even imposed the family guardian over us instead of replacing a worker who did not speak English and whose job was to help us.

We are international family, living in the Netherlands, we have three teenage sons. The elder son has an autism, he hardly speaks. Since moving to the Netherlands, our son was unable to attend school because the Dutch language will be the fourth for him, and all the international schools in the Netherlands have refused to accept it.

We had to arrange to help him at home on their own, choosing the best possible therapies used for autism worldwide and pledged several educational facilities to accept him for free.

In the Netherlands, much of our son's health deteriorated, he began to have chronic otitis, mastoiditis, holeasteatoma, underwent 2 operations. His doctor told us that he has more practically no tools for the treatment of a child in such a case, and it is unclear when this situation occurs.

To treat our son, we use all the possibilities, giving him treatment in various European countries in various clinics as medical care in the Netherlands has not been effective for him, despite our numerous attempts.

As a result of failure to provide prompt psychiatric post-operative care in the Netherlands, the operation the child was made much later than necessary, so that the child has lost 90% of hearing and had a Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome.  But local administration instead of reporting that centrum that refused to provide him urgent help used the report from this centrum as a basis for their own report. Those who wre responsible for his pain ans suffering were accepted as good experts!
More than that - we were advised by social services not to report that centrum! Till now this centrum acts and offers their "care" to other children.

We found, trained and pay for home helpers and found a school for him in another country, but instead they without us (illegally) decided to send our child to a kindergarten (not in school) what is contrary to his right to be educated in the school according to EU resolution on autism from 2007.

On the top local administration acted against local Dutch law that forbids them to refuse parents help that they refer for their child and give budget with conditions.

We are told that we are great parents and need help. But we did  not ask for it and do not understand why do we need it then.

We always do get education on the latest therapies, which are paid as we ourselves have trained them at his own expense in the US according to the best international standards (ABA) of domestic helpers, but local social services, claiming that we are wrong to organized assistance, which is necessary to the child.

Our children are afraid of social workers, as some times they reported that, if we do not sign their decision, they will deprived us of parental rights or take away children.

Social workers have always come at a time when children were returning from school that scares them even more. We have repeatedly pointed out that their intervention is not only not help, but, on the contrary, a negative effect on the atmosphere in the family, creating stress and tension in children, but our information is ignored.
The psychologist found that children suffers psychological trauma from social workers and from that situation. Children contacted children organisations, pledged judges to release them from that "help", but their voices are ignored. Our arguments are not specified in the reports until the indication of non-existent facts.

We hope that our children's rights are not violated, as often happens in the Netherlands, according to reports by UNICEF and advocate for children who report that 2,000 children are waiting for assistance. Commissioner for Human Rights noted that many children with disabilities seggregated from their peers in the Dutch education system. KDC is the exact form of seggregation of disabled chidren from their neurotypic peers.

We ask all supporters to sign a petition against the tyranny of social services in the Netherlands against our son with autism and cessation of harassment of the family based on the assumptions in this problem of incompetent workers.If you do not help us, children can be picked from loving parents or deprive us of the opportunity to decide their fate, and even provide them with the necessary medical care, and the older child with autism may be left without needed therapy, without the possibility of communication, seggregated by society and excluded from the education system."

one more article to consider............
" ‘Miep is Ziek’, zo noemt de inspectie het
De huidige wet zegt: een kind moet naar school In het rapport Van Leerplicht naar
leerr echt van Kinderombudsman Marc Dullaert, dat vorige maand
verscheen, staat:Ieder kind heeft recht op onderwijs, dat is gericht op een zo volledig
mogelijke ontplooiing van zijn persoonlijkheid,zijn talenten en geestelijke
en lichamelijke vermogens.Dat staat in de artikelen 28 en 29
van het Internationaal Verdrag inzake de Rechten van het Kind (IVRK). Dit recht op onderwijs is niet expliciet opgenomen in de Nederlandse (Grond)wet. In Nederland wordt het onderwijs alleen geregeld in de Leerplichtwet. Ondanks het IVRK zitten in Nederland nog steeds duizenden leerplichtige kinderen voor langere tijd thuis. De Kinderombudsman wil dat tegengaan. Hij pleit voor onderwijs op maat voor kinderen die extra zorg nodig hebben. „Desnoods moet hiervoor de schoolplicht worden losgelaten. Dit maakt andere vormen van onderwijs mogelijk, waaronder onderwijs aan huis.” De Leerplichtwet schrijft voor dat kinderen onderwijs moeten volgen
op scholen die aan wettelijk voorgeschreven kwaliteitseisen voldoen. Onderwijs thuis of op andere plaatsen dan school voldoet niet aan deze eisen. De voornaamste reden hiervan is dat volgens de Leerplichtwet kinderen moeten staan ingeschreven op een school en deze school geregeld moeten bezoeken. Volgens de Leerplichtwet moet een kind een minimaal aantal uren fysiek op school aanwezig zijn, vijf dagen per week. De bekostiging van het onderwijs voor dit kind keert de staat alleen uit aan de school waar het kind is ingeschreven. Zodoende kunnen ouders geen geld krijgen om onderwijs thuis te financieren." 

to be continued

continuation...........................

" Duizenden kinderen kunnen niet naar school, maar thuis blijven mag ook niet. Maar af en toe geeft het ministerie er een paar een regeling krijgen.Volstrekte willekeur, vindt een advocaat.Door onze redacteur Juliette Vasterman Den Haag. Na jaren gesteggel is het de ouders gelukt: hun chronisch zieke kind volgt onderwijs thuis. De kosten hiervoor declareren zij bij een school waar het kind staat ingeschreven, maar niet fysiek naartoe gaat. Het lijkt een simpele en mooie constructie. Maar het is zeer de vraag of deze is toegestaan. De constructie en de bijbehorende afspraken staan zwart-op-wit in een zogenoemd ‘Miep Ziek’- contract tussen ouders en school. De overeenkomst is opgesteld door de Inspectie van het Onderwijs,met goedkeuring van hetministerie van Onderwijs.De moeder van het zieke kind zegt dat ze mondeling een geheimhoudingsplicht opgelegd heeft gekregen. Ze wil omdie reden niet met haar naam
in de krant. Sterker nog: ze voelt zich zo onder druk gezet („de betrokkenen hebben ons uitdrukkelijk verzocht geen media-aandacht te zoeken”) dat ze heeft besloten dat deze
krant niet te veel details mag publiceren. „Straks zijn we alles kwijt.” Wat is er aan de hand? Nederland telt circa 5.000 ‘thuiszitters’, zo bleek onlangs uit een rapport van de Kinderombudsman. Het gaat om kinderen die extra zorg nodig hebben omdat ze bijvoorbeeld lichamelijke of psychische problemen hebben. Of omdat ze hoogbegaafd zijn of gepest worden. Soms kunnen
de leerlingen geen school vinden omdat scholen liever geen probleemgevallen
aannemen. Soms kunnen de kinderen niet fulltime naar school vanwege hun beperkingen. En dat is een probleem, zo kaartte de Kinderombudsman in zijn rapport aan, want in de Leerplichtwet staat dat kinderen vijf dagen in de week op school aanwezig moeten zijn. Het is zonder vrijstelling niet toegestaan om(deels) onderwijs thuis te volgen. Tenzij ouders in het bezit zijn van een speciaal contract. Kinderen die extra zorg nodig hebben gaan doorgaans naar speciaal of clusteronderwijs. Maar dat is geen garantie tot succes, vertellen verschillende moeders. Eentje heeft een autistische zoon die werd opgesloten „als de leerkrachten niet meer wisten wat zemet hem aanmoesten”. De ander vertelt dat haar kind de hele dag op „een bankje in de hoek van het lokaal lag”. De kinderen kwamen vervolgens thuis te zitten. Thuiszitters krijgen temaken met leerplichtambtenaren. Die kunnen boetes uitschrijven en meldingen
doen bij het Advies en Meldpunt Kindermishandeling. Dat gebeurde ook bij de geïnterviewde moeders, die daarom ook anoniem willen blijven.Bang dat hun kind „straks uit huis wordt geplaatst” of om „nog meer gedoe”met Jeugdzorg en de Kinderbescherming te voorkomen. Of omdat straks het contract wordt „afgepakt”.
Want als het écht niet meer gaat, en je hebt als ouder mazzel, dan valt er wel degelijk iets te regelen. Namelijk: onderwijs thuis, heimelijk toegestaan én gefinancierd. Soms zijn er scholen die de constructie zelf aanbieden, maar meestal gaat het via het
zogenoemde ‘Miep Ziek’- contract. Een speciaal contract gemaakt door
de Inspectie van het Onderwijs, met Onderwijs Het ministerie en de Inspectie van het Onderwijs keuren jaarlijks een aantal constructies goed voor thuisonderwijs, die bij wet mogelijk verboden zijn ‘Miep is Ziek’, zo noemt de inspectie het Duizenden kinderen
kunnen niet naar school, maar thuis blijven mag ook niet. Maar af en toe geeft het ministerie er een paar een regeling krijgen. Volstrekte willekeur, vindt een advocaat. De huidige wet zegt: een kind moet naar school In het rapport Van Leerplicht naar leerr echt van Kinderombudsman Marc Dullaert, dat vorige maand verscheen, staat: Ieder kind heeft recht op onderwijs, dat is gericht op een zo volledig mogelijke ontplooiing van zijn persoonlijkheid, zijn talenten en geestelijke en lichamelijke vermogens. Dat staat in de artikelen 28 en 29 van het Internationaal Verdrag inzake de Rechten van het Kind (IVRK). Dit recht op onderwijs is niet expliciet opgenomen in de Nederlandse (Grond)wet. In Nederland wordt het onderwijs alleen geregeld in de Leerplichtwet. Ondanks het IVRK zitten in Nederland nog steeds duizenden leerplichtige kinderen voor langere tijd thuis. De Kinderombudsman wil dat tegengaan. Hij pleit voor onderwijs op maat voor kinderen die extra zorg nodig hebben. „Desnoods moet hiervoor de schoolplicht worden losgelaten. Dit maakt andere vormen van onderwijs mogelijk, waaronder onderwijs aan huis.” De Leerplichtwet schrijft voor dat kinderen onderwijs moeten volgen op scholen die aan wettelijk voorgeschreven kwaliteitseisen voldoen. Onderwijs thuis of op andere plaatsen dan school voldoet niet
aan deze eisen. De voornaamste reden hiervan is dat volgens de Leerplichtwet kinderen moeten staan ingeschreven op een school en deze school geregeld moeten
bezoeken. Volgens de Leerplichtwet moet een kind een minimaal aantal uren fysiek op school aanwezig zijn, vijf dagen per week. De bekostiging van het onderwijs voor dit kind
keert de staat alleen uit aan de school waar het kind is ingeschreven.Zodoende kunnen ouders geen geld krijgen om onderwijs thuis te financieren. Het ‘Miep is Ziek’ modelcontract  in het bezit van deze krant Contracten voor ‘bijzondere situatie’ goedkeuring van de directie Jeugd, Onderwijs en Zorg van het ministerie van Onderwijs – want die tekent voor gezien. In het contract, tussen de school en de ouder, staat dat de school geld beschikbaar stelt voor onderwijs thuis.De ouder declareert de kosten: basisonderwijs thuis kost ruim 3.000 euro per jaar en voortgezet onderwijs ruim 5.000 euro. Het kind moet dan ingeschreven staan op de desbetreffende school (terwijl het er dus niet heengaat) anders ontvangt de onderwijsinstelling geen geld van de staat. De inspectie zegt in een reactie: „De term Miep-Ziek is geen termdie de onderwijsinspectie hanteert.” In een modelcontract wordt de term ‘Miep Ziek’ echter meermalen gebruikt.
Miep staat voor elke willekeurige leerling en Ziek voor te ziek om naar school te gaan of ziek worden van onderwijs volgen, zegt onderwijsadvocaat Katinka Slump, die meerdere keren voor een thuiszittend kind zo’n contract heeft geregeld. Hoe kom je aan zo’n Miep Ziekcontract? Er zijn waarschijnlijk drie wegen. Een daarvan gaat dus via Slump, die al jaren opkomt voor thuiszitters. De andere twee lopen via de themadirectie Jeugd, Onderwijs en Zorg van het ministerie van Onderwijs, weet Slump van haar cliënten. De derde route, volgens de inspectie de enige route, kan ook weer via twee manieren. De eerste gaat via de leerplichtambtenaar, en de tweede gaat via het bureau Onderwijsconsulenten – die, vergoed door de overheid, kosteloos advies en begeleiding
geven aan kinderen die extra zorg nodig hebben en geen passende school kunnen vinden. Iedereen komt volgens Slump en de geïnterviewde moeders bij dezelfde
man uit: de ‘o n d e r w ij s i n s p e c t e u r bijzondere opdrachten’ van de Inspectie
van het Onderwijs. Deze stelt de ‘Miep Ziek’-contracten sinds een jaar of tien op, schat Slump. Er zouden maar 20 kinderen in totaal in Nederland zo’n overeenkomst hebben.
De inspectie heeft het over jaarlijks niet meer dan 10 kinderen met een speciale regeling. „Deze groep is klein vanwege de zeer uitzonderlijke situatie waarin de individuele kinderen zich bevinden”, zegt de inspectie. Wie bij de onderwijsinspecteur
bijzondere opdrachten uitkomt, krijgt niet per definitie een contract. Wie er wel voor in aanmerking komt en wie niet, lijkt compleet willekeurig. De ene moeder kreeg te horen dat de constructie voor onderwijs thuis niet bestond, de andere moeder kreeg gewoon „uit het niets” een aanbod waar ze uiteindelijk geen gebruik van hoefde te maken.
Dat ging zo: ze mailde het ministerie meerdere malen over haar hoogbegaafde
kind dat dreigde thuis te moeten blijven door een conflict met school. Het bleef lang stil tot ze op een dag werd benaderd door de inspecteur bijzondere opdrachten. Hij
liet haar weten dat er honderden mails in de mailbak stonden en dat hij er „af en toe eentje uitplukte”. „Die dag waren wij de gelukkigen.”
Of deze bewering klopt, daarop
gaat de inspectie niet in. De inspectie
erkent wel dat er „geen vooraf gestelde
regels” zijn om te bepalen wie er in
aanmerking komt voor een speciale
regeling. Het ministerie van Onderwijs
bevestigt dit. „Het gaat hier niet
om een specifieke regeling met criteria
maar om maatwerkoplossingen
voor uitzonderlijke gevallen.”
Maar mag dit zomaar? Het ministerie
en de inspectie zeggen dat er
geen wettelijke regeling is voor de
speciale contracten. De inspectie
zegt wel te beoordelen „of het past
binnen de wet- en regelgeving”. En
het ministerie zegt dat het traject
„niet in strijd mag zijn met de wet- en
regelgeving”.
Maar de Kinderombudsman
schrijft in zijn rapport dat onderwijs
thuis in strijd ismet dewet. En advocaat
Katinka Slump zegt: „De overeenkomst
is niet binnen de wettelijke
kaders. De overeenkomst is onethisch
en dus in strijd met de wet.
Daarom is er de geheimhoudingsplicht
voor ouders.”
De geïnterviewde ouders zeggen
dat zij van de inspectie niet mogen
praten over het contract. De inspectie
ontkent dit. „Ouders wordt dringend
gevraagd om zorgvuldig met de
informatie omte gaan omdat het om
maatwerk gaat en gemaakte afspraken
geen blauwdruk zijn voor andere
s i t u a t i e s. ” Maar volgens Slump is er
wél een geheimhoudingsplicht. „Zo
ziet niemand dat de inspectie op illegale
wijze werkt aan nog een beetje
onderwijs voor wat trieste gevallen.
Bovendien wordt de groep op deze
manier zo klein mogelijk houden. Zo
blijft het onder de radar. Want straks
staan er rijen van ouders die dit willen.”
Slump overhandigt deze krant een
modelcontract, gemaakt door de onderwijsinspecteur
en de krant mag
een echt contract inzien. Slump heeft
de afgelopen jaren vijf contracten
voorbij zien komen. Er staat vrijwel
altijd in dat de school de overeenkomst
ieder jaar opnieuw bekijkt; als
de leerling geen vorderingen maakt
kan het contract ontbondenworden.
Dit om, als de resultaten van ‘Miep’
niet goed zijn, de ouders de school
niet aansprakelijk kunnen stellen en
geen claim kunnen indienen.
De inspectie zegt dat deze passage
is opgenomen „omdat de school vanwege
onderwijs thuis geen volle verantwoordelijkheid
kan dragen voor
o n d e r w ij s r e s u l t a t e n ”. Slump noemt
het wurgcontracten. „Ouders hebben
niets te zeggen en scholen kunnen
zo onder de gemaakte afspraken
uitkomen.”
Onderwijsadvocaat Slump hoopt
dat er iets gaat veranderen, zeker nu
de Kinderombudsman in zijn rapport
ook pleit voor thuisonderwijs voor kinderen met extra zorg. „Het is onrechtvaardig dat er maar een paar kinderen per jaar geholpen worden terwijl er duizenden kinderen thuis zitten die ook baat zouden hebben bij onderwijs thuis.” De contracten zijn haar al jaren een doorn in het oog. „Je hebt de eed afgelegd en ondertussen hou je je bezig met dit soort schimmige trajecten, waarbij ouders verplichtingen krijgen opgelegd die niet door de beugel kunnen.” De moeder van het chronisch zieke kind, die de details van haar verhaal niet in de krantwil hebben omdat ze bang is dat haar contract in de prullenbak verdwijnt, schrijft: „Ik hoop dat ondanks dat ons gehele stuk niet wordt geplaatst, het datgene teweeg brengt wat het te weeg moet brengen. En dat er een oplossing komt voor alle thuiszitters. Zodat we weer kunnen leven in plaats van overleven in angst.”Officieel mag het niet, maar heb je als ouder mazzel, dan valt er wel degelijk iets te regelen. Namelijk: onderwijs thuis, heimelijk toegestaan én gefinancierd door het ministerie Ouders krijgen een oplossing aangereikt, maar moeten hun mond houden over de illegale constructie. Het ministerie en de inspectie ontkennen dat dit gevraagd wordt

I understand your frustrations about the lack of good quality education in the Netherlands but this can be discussed in another topic.

You tend to get off topic so please let's go to the original topic which is if you are happy in the Netherlands.

Primadonna :

I understand your frustrations about the lack of good quality education in the Netherlands but this can be discussed in another topic.

You tend to get off topic so please let's go to the original topic which is if you are happy in the Netherlands.

sorry, you are right, it get off the topic a little, but only because I do not like tea-table talks, I prefer to provide the evidence accordingly  ;)

Once again, living in another country changes you forever. You will never be the same and will never see things the same way again, but I am not happy in the Netherlands  ( living here since 1998) and would gladly go back to my home country, but unfortunately my children and my husband are here.  :cool:

You're right, you will be never be the same again.  And I feel you as I am not always happy  by myself in the country where I am living now.

Your husband and children are not willing to think about a eventually move?  Or another kind of comprise where all agree too?

I must say am happy. I have been livimg here for three years and i must say dutch people are friendly but also very direct. Its yes or no or i like you or i dont like you. There is no two way about it. I worked and during lunch hour i realised workers from same origin sit in groups. Eg one table had turks, another pools, another dutch, anothr asia. The table tht was easy to mingle or social with was dutch and asia people.I come from africa and we were only 3 afrikaans at tht time and our lunch breaks were at different times. I must say attitude matters. With the right attitude you will find Netherlands good and you will be happy.

I think happiness must be found in yourself and not in the country where you are.
Everywhere are good and bad so you must focus on the good. There is a little to nothing you can do about the bad. You can't change a whole society for your own good. 

Count your blessings one for one and then you know you have more than you think.

Disagree,   :/  the happiness depend on many factors and one of them is the environment ( country and people surround you)

according to Carl Jund;“All factors which are generally assumed to make for happiness can, under certain circumstances, produce the contrary. No matter how ideal your situation may be, it does not necessarily guarantee happiness.”

The quote means it is in you not your surroundings doesnt it?

not really, it mean something different, because surrounding is only one of the factors, but the major one  ;) otherwise I know the place with a lot of happy people, the center for mental health.

C. Jung also said, “The more you deliberately seek happiness the more sure you are not to find it.

rinav :

Disagree,   :/  the happiness depend on many factors and one of them is the environment ( country and people surround you)

according to Carl Jund;“All factors which are generally assumed to make for happiness can, under certain circumstances, produce the contrary. No matter how ideal your situation may be, it does not necessarily guarantee happiness.”

Interesting - thank you; personally, I think I agree with your link to happiness being a result of the environment around you.

According to Gretchen Rubin from the Happiness Project, the "factors" he was referring to in that statement were:

1.  Good physical and mental health.
2.  Good personal and intimate relationships, such as those of marriage, the family, and friendships.
3.  The faculty for perceiving beauty in art and nature.
4.  Reasonable standards of living and satisfactory work.
5.  A philosophic or religious point of view capable of coping successfully with the vicissitudes of life

I'm assuming it's the 4th that you're referring to in as much that not much seems to be catered for with regards to those like yourself who came to Holland later on in your life and the effect of that on your family - that detracts from the 4th?

The only comment I would make from what I've read (I make no claim to knowing much about it), was that early psychiatrists (such as Jung, Freud etc) tended to make their evaluations in the clinical context - so based on what they found before them, not society in general - maybe you have a different view? 

Perhaps this explains some of the issues that immigrants in general, experience when moving to a new country?  Perhaps they will never be happy.

For others who may be interested in Jung and/or child psychology; here is a link to a web-page that looks at that.

To me it's a combination of all.
You can have a beautiful house with beautiful furniture and high tech appliances but if you can't buy food I don't think you're happy.
Do you?

Sometimes you can find happiness in a hug from a loved one or in a nice hot cup of tea.

No not really. But I am happy for my children growing up in Netherlands

:) just wait for a while until your kids turn 9-10 years old, I assume your children are bilingual. They can learn two languages at home, at school, or in the community.

I agree...

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