Finding expat family happiness in Het Gooi
With the surging property prices and harder access to Amsterdam, why not relocate and live in the picturesque Het Gooi area — one of the Netherlands' hidden gems? [Contributed by OurEndeavour]
For any newly arrived family in the Netherlands, the makings of a happy life could be found 20km southeast of Amsterdam and 20km north of Utrecht in the region of Het Gooi. The area is comprised of several quaint towns namely Hilversum, Naarden-Bussum and Laren — each with their own unique characters.
OurEndeavour, a locally tailored relocation and property company, gives insight into Het Gooi, a hidden gem in the Netherlands.
Upon arriving in Hilversum, you initially get the impression that there's more to it than meets the eye. Once you start exploring and delving deeper into its culture, you will immediately discover a delightful mix of modern and traditional Dutch living.
Satisfy your retail craving at any of Hilversum’s six shopping centres, which was recognized as the third most varied shopping area in the country for featuring a great mix of high street and boutique shops. Or if you’re looking for a taste of home, why not tickle your taste buds in the numerous bars and restaurants offering international cuisines
If you’re lseeking some relaxation, however, picturesque lakes, woodlands and heaths are also just a 10-minute bicycle ride from the centre’s hustle and bustle. Although the city centre gives Hilversum a major city feel, the area has a number of smaller neighbourhoods that maintain a ‘village atmosphere’. A prime example is Gijsbrecht van Amstelstraat, which is filled with small charming boutique shops.
The city also has two international schools that cater to both primary and secondary International Baccalaureate students. Hilversum offers a real local community feel for expats with families from all over the world by combining all these aspects to create a wonderfully cultural mix.
Naarden is one of the most beautiful towns in the Netherlands. Its crowning glory is the Netherlands Fortress Museum, which, shaped like a star, is complete with fortified walls and a moat. Both have been restored and are in excellent condition, making it a perfect spot for family outings with younger kids.
It is also well-known for its wide selection of antique shops and national events, which have led Naarden to be labelled as a ‘lifestyle town’. You will also find many cozy restaurants catering to a variety of tastes in the area.
Its twin town of Bussum, on the other hand, attracts a different crowd with it being home to many music clubs, an independent cinema and a more youthful shopping scene. Like Naarden, it also has a broad range of restaurants.
Sitting around 5km northeast of Hilversum is the town of Laren — one the oldest and most appealing villages within the Het Gooi region. Today, Laren is known as one of the most affluent areas within the Netherlands.
Like its neighbour Hilversum, it's also surrounded by scenic heaths that are ideal for nature or animal lovers. A unique feature of Laren is that, unlike other towns, it still has a brink, a traditional green courtyard in the middle of its city centre. The brink is complete with a duck pond and fountains that add a gezelligheid touch to the city.
Laren is also renowned throughout the Gooi for having some of the best boutiques and designer stores in the region. Coupled with an excellent array of cafes and restaurants, it’s easy to see why it attracts some of the wealthiest people in the Netherlands.
In terms of facilities, Laren is equipped with a number of fitness centres, a swimming pool and is also home to the Larensche Mixed Hockey Club, the SV Laren 99 football club and two tennis clubs.
The whole area is well-serviced with excellent infrastructure, rail links and the A27 and A1 motorways, providing quick 30-minute access to Amsterdam, Utrecht and the Schiphol International Airport.
Het Gooi has a growing expat community that is both welcoming and helpful to newcomers. It presents expats with a varied choice in lifestyles whether it be country living in Laren or the Hilversum' more village feel.
With the rising cost of properties and harder ease of access to Amsterdam, Het Gooi is perhaps the best place to relocate with a family in the Netherlands.
Contributed by OurEndeavour
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