Expat Voices: Chris Bradley on living in the Netherlands
Retired police officer Chris Bradley sees the standard of driving across the Netherlands declining, but the Dutch as a predominantly modern and thoughtful society.
Name: Chris Bradley
City of residence: Hogebeintum, Friesland
Date of birth: 8 September 1940
Civil status: Married
Occupation: Retired police officer
Lived in the Netherlands for: 10 years
Reason for moving to the Netherlands:
Through the International Police Association, we had been coming here for 20 years and we liked it – and the air here is clean. Each time we came to visit, we picked-up more friends, from all across the Netherlands. Eventually we had more friends here than in the UK, and we thought about retiring here eventually. After I retired, we lived in a large house in Witney; our two sons had left home, and it was expensive living there. I had to go back out to work just to live there, so we had to sell that house. Rather than buy another house in England just for a few years, we moved out here.
What was your first impression of the Netherlands?
We first moved to Oude Bildtzijl, level with Leeuwarden and towards the sea. We found the people friendly, and enjoyed being there. Unfortunately the previous owner misled us about the house, and I had to work almost non-stop for 18 months to put things right -- even the Rechts Hulp office gave us the wrong advice. So we sold and moved up here. Unfortunately this corner of Friesland is off the beaten track, and quite a few of the original locals object to intruders–that includes people who come up from Holland.
What do you think of the food?
Quite nice–one or two bits we miss. But the Albert Hein Extra line of goods is virtually identical to the Tesco Excellence range.
What do you think of the shopping in the Netherlands?
We find it easy. We can pay by bank card or VISA/Mastercard in most places.
What do you appreciate about living in the Netherlands?
The clean air, you can cycle anywhere, and, apart from this pocket we live in, everyone is friendly and most speak good English.
What do you find most frustrating about living in the Netherlands?
Some people here insist on speaking only Fries (Frisian); and it’s a long way back to Oxford to visit family and ex-colleagues.
What puzzles you about the Netherlands and what do you miss since you’ve moved here?
No puzzles, but I miss contact with family and friends.
How does the quality of life in the Netherlands compare to the quality of life in other countries that you’ve lived in?
Very well; our experience is of a predominantly modern, thoughtful society.
If you could change anything about the Netherlands, what would it be?
Don’t know – I’m used to it all now.
What advice would you give to a newcomer?
Learn Dutch and get good tax advice.
Sunrise © Chris Bradley
Would you like to add anything?
Visible policing should be increased – we’ve noticed a worsening standard of driving here, and litter is increasing as well. If anyone considers moving to the Netherlands, think about the exact location. Go somewhere where they have contact with the outside world.
Joining Expat Voices
If you would like to share your perspective about life in the Netherlands and contribute to Expat Voices, send an email to editorNL@expatica.com with 'Please send me an Expat Voices questionnaire' in the subject line. If you would like to share your perspective about life in the Netherlands and contribute to Expat Voices, send an email to editorNL@expatica.com with 'Please send me an Expat Voices questionnaire' in the subject line.
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