Visiting to see if we want to move. How can we best spend our time??

Hallo allemaal,

My wife and I live in the United States but have contemplated what a move to the Netherlands would look like (where her family is from) for a few years on-and-off. We visited for about 12 days back in 2013 but largely explored neighboring towns and did the typical Amsterdam touristy thing.

We are wanting to revisit the city within the next few months to get a better sense of what it would feel like to move and live there. We are not seriously limited by time or money but want to make the best use of the time we do spend in the city. We also have a 4 1/2 month old little girl and want to be realistic.

Our current wish-list of activities includes:
• Meeting with other expat families (at least 3 that relocated from the USA)
• Meeting with someone in education (my wife has a Master's in Education) to discuss ESL opportunities
• Meet with an estate brokerage (we sell Real Estate in the US)
• Run typical errands: grocery shopping, home goods, etc.
• Visiting family in Tiel

We have the ability to stay for up to 1 month in the city, but are wondering if this may be too long--especially with an infant and with our goal of getting a sense of living there. How long should we stay, and what else would be worthwhile, immersive activities for a family of potential expats?

Thank you in advance,

Hi - erm .................. you forgot to tell us your name, so hi Idoa86. :)

Welcome to the Forum.  At the top of the page are some tabs; if you click on Handy tools, you'll get a drop down menu and select Expat guide, you'll get a whole load of links to articles written by expats about things you may find useful.

To try and answer your questions; on the whole I applaud what you're doing.  Assuming your wife is Dutch, speaks it fluently and still has her passport, you shouldn't have any problems getting into the country and pursuing her career in ESL; although I'd check whether there is a market for it in Holland as English is taught in all schools and many speak it pretty well.

Real Estate is a bit different in Holland, they use a system known as "Makelaar's"; this link will take you to a web-page that claims to list every single one in Holland (although I'd take that claim with a pinch of salt).  It will give you a start place to make some contacts.

Amsterdam is expensive; the further away you live from there, you'll get a lot more house for your $.

Hope this helps; if you have any more specific questions after reading the guides, please come back to us.

Best of luck.

Hi, thanks for the quick reply! I will read up on those resources you mentioned.

To address some of your points:

No, my wife is not a native Dutch. Her Oma and Opa immigrated to the United States back in the 1950's. She does not speak much Dutch but I have a moderate proficiency at this point (courses and self-study, still plenty to learn). We both understand this would be a requirement if we were to have the opportunity to immigrate.

The ESL work my wife would be interested in would be for private tutoring, but maybe the educational support system is strong enough on its own to where that work is not needed? Here in the US, our children's classes are so crowded that many parents have to supplement their children's learning with private tutoring, especially if they are having difficulty.

We do have the resources and capital to start a business in the Netherlands, reserves to cover our living expenses in Amsterdam concurrently for 1-2 years (it is actually a little less expensive for us than where we currently live), and have a non-immediate family member who could potentially be our required facilitator--he runs a successful business out of Rotterdam in a similar industry. I know the Dutch government requires that a foreign entrepreneur's business be "innovative," so I don't know if an e-commerce/import business qualifies under that language?

Assuming you want to retain your US nationality, then you'll both need to go through the immigration process; word of warning, watch out for US state tax liability after you leave; as US citizens, you still have to file a tax return with IRS after you leave.  I'm not sure if there is a double-taxation agreement between NL/US, but I know that as a Brit, it got a bit complicated for us due to the tax definitions in Holland (social taxes are compulsory and not generally included in any DTA).

Luckily, as US citizens, you don't need to take the Civic Integration Exam before you can start; that said, it's good you are learning Dutch, I think it's very important as though many speak English, your whole life around you is in Dutch.

You need to consider whether you'll ever return to the US, as your daughters education may become an issue and perhaps you should consider sending her to one of the International Schools in Holland (we didn't do that, it was very expensive).  We found the Dutch state schools to be excellent.

With regards to teaching ESL; one important factor is that your wife will need to speak Dutch (or the mother tongue of the person she's teaching - the majority of people who are learning ESL in Holland aren't Dutch people - they all learnt it in school).

I can't really help you with regards setting up a business - I've never done it.  I've just Googled it and found lots of links, many are to other Expat organisations and Forums; you'll forgive me if I don't advertise the opposition. :)

Best of luck; any more questions, please come back.


It's a wonderful idea to explore Netherlands before you decide to actually settle and work here.  From my point of view, it's not too difficult to start a business here if you have all your documents and papers well prepared. You can go and check out at the KvK office for further details. They are really helpful and clarify any doubts you have. You can get the address and some more details online via Google. You can also download their form and set up an appointment to avoid any hassles. 
As far as settling down here, we found Hilversum a really good place since they have one of the best International School here. For the same reason, there are a huge number of expat families here from different parts of the world.  You can plan going to the KvK office and exploring Hilversum as part of your agenda during your first trip here. Hopefully this can help you to start planning. Good luck.

Hi I thought I would post a reply to give you some advice.

Please look at this link about working in the Netherlands: … ermit.aspx

Hi! I moved here 6+ years ago from Southern California, motivated by love for the city and its lifestyle, and have never looked back. You should be able to get temporary residency for 5 years with an entrepreneur visa, just as I did with a small freelance writing business (nothing too innovative). You must maintain a balance of 9K (4.5 each) in euros in a Dutch bank account and make quarterly reports to authorities. Whatever you do, avoid con-man Christian Barth, an American lawyer who preys on unwitting immigrants. After being taken by him back in 2010, I'm working with Stephan Roelofs,  a Dutch lawyer specializing in immigration, for permanent residency. He can also help you out with temporary residency. Hope you'll check out UnClogged in Amsterdam: An American Expat Plumbs Holland in the meantime. Good luck!

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