Expat Voices: Alex on living in Badhoevedorp
South African expat Alex finds some aspects of living in the Netherlands challenging, but enjoys the career opportunities the country has provided him.
Nationality: German / South African
Country of residence: Netherlands
Lived in the Netherlands: 2.5 years
City/town of residence: Badhoevedorp
Date of birth: 1974-8-15
Civil status: Married
Occupation: Director Dutch Aerospace Company
Reason for moving to your new country of residence: I received an attractive job invitation.
What was your first impression of your new country of residence?
That it's similar to Germany in many ways.
What do you think of the food?
The foreign food is always good, but I cannot stand the unhealthy take-aways.
What do you think of the shopping?
Poor in terms of opening times and there's a weird fashion sense.
What do you appreciate about living in your new country of residence?
The safety and the low cost of internet.
What do you find most frustrating about living in your new country of residence?
The behaviour of the Dutch neighbours who have problems with foreigners living next to them, the unruly, loud behaviour of children, and bicyclists and drivers swerving from right to left on the highway in an instant. Also, due to the high cost of operating a car, ranging from the price of fuel to wegenbelasting, it is no fun to drive a sporty, heavy fuel guzzler as a passion in the Netherlands.
What puzzles you the most and what do you miss the most since you've moved here?
I am shocked about the stubbornness of the Dutch at times, particularly how they are prepared to go down with the ship rather than apologise, or give in and close the case. I miss respecting one another.
How does the quality of life here compare to the quality of life in other countries that you've lived in?
Very poor compared to Germany and South Africa in terms of entertainment and outgoing dynamics (not talking about Amsterdam). It can be boring after a while, with things always feeling the same and public places, like famous museums, being too expensive. Also, the country can be intolerant at times, and there are too many issues and problems with various things and people. People here can also be aggravated quickly and easily. The young people are totally bored on Friday and Saturday nights in residential areas because there is nothing to do, leaving them to make loud noises with their scooters and behave aggressively.
If you could change anything about your new country of residence, what would it be?
I would like more respect shown to each other in the neighbourhood in terms of noise, keeping the volume low, good behaviour, etc., and on the road. The behaviour neighbours and kids around older people is also mostly unacceptable.
What advice would you give to a newcomer?
Don't come unless you are single and want to hang out at classic cafes in a unique town like Amsterdam.
Would you like to add anything that we haven't addressed in the questionnaire?
What I've said above should be taken as a general guidelines, as there is not sufficient space for more detailed descriptions.
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