Kissing the Netherlands good-bye? Moving home can be as daunting as moving abroad but adhering to a few guidelines can save you a lot of stress when relocating.
Just as you finally settled into life in the Netherlands, you, or your employer, decides that it’s time you return home or on to your next assignment in another foreign country.
It may feel as though you have just unpacked and now you have to start packing all your belongings up again. If you are in luck, your employer may arrange and pay for a removal company. If not, you will have to arrange it yourself.
Planning the move
Don’t wait. Once you know you are leaving, start arranging your affairs.
You will need to hire a removal service to ensure your belongings are out of the house or apartment, and on their way to your new residence in good time. Make sure you have plenty of boxes and that everything is itemised.
All of this is self-evident really. But it is the little things like the forgotten phone bill, newspaper subscriptions and bank account that can cause problems. This is where the importance of planning comes in.
Book time off work to arrange the move as it is going to take time. You will be able to cancel a lot of things by email but for certainty, you should ring too.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that it will take 30 minutes to make all the necessary phone calls. (You should get paid time off even if it means using your holidays.)
Two months before the move
- Take your time to draw up a complete list of the people, companies and services you need to contact. Do this regularly right up to the time you leave to ensure you don’t miss one.
- Contact your local government office (gemeente) and de-register. Remember you pay local and national taxes so are some bills outstanding? On their way? If you don’t say you are going, the local authorities may happily keep billing you.
- Tell your landlord or speak to mortgage provider. (If you own a house and intend to sell it, it’s best if you can start planning six months or more in advance.)
- Contact your telephone company to arrange to have the phone disconnected by the time you leave. The same applies to your mobile phone, though it could be very useful on the day of the move, so best not to set the cancellation date too early.
- Arrange to cancel your contract with your Dutch Internet provider. Some of the help desks are useless, so when you get to speak to a person, ask for an email address to send a confirmation in writing.
- Contact UPC or any other television, digital, or cable television providers to cancel your service(s). Some often require a cancellation request, in writing, at least a month in advance.
- Fix a cancellation date for the electricity, water (you are probably paying water rates), and gas.
- If you have children, you should give them a letter explaining the situation to the school. The head teacher can then help you through any formalities, including the provision of exam results and evaluations etc. Don’t forget to contact the baby’s nursery.
- If you have a cleaner or a babysitter, you need to give them adequate notice and arrange for them to return house keys.
- Cancel subscriptions to gyms, art classes, etc.
A month before the move, at the latest:
- Go to your local post office (or surf to www.verhuisservice.nl) to order their moving service. You can order cards to inform friends of your new address and use the service to inform 250 commonly-used companies you are leaving. However, if the relationship involves money, contact the company directly.
- The post office’s moving service also gives you free mail forwarding for a month to anywhere in the world (save war zones, places in the grips of the plague etc). After the first 30 days, you have to pay EUR 3.60 (incl. BTW) per week for delivery in Europe and EUR 6.95 (incl. BTW) per week for the rest of the world.
So, that is it? Not quite.
- to tell your doctor, the dentist (what about little Jimmy’s appointment on the 19th?). You might want records of any procedures undertaken while in the Netherlands.
- Insurance is a biggy: ziekenfondsor private health insurance, car insurance, house insurance. Make a list so you don’t forget one. If you do, the company won’t and it will keep billing you and/or taking money directly from your account if you have signed a direct debit.
- Your bank/credit car company needs to know. The bank might be able to help you with cancelling the insurances, etc. You should think carefully about when to deactivate and close your account(s). Bear in mind that your last wages may come in after you leave (unless you arranged that properly) and you may have some late bills to pay.
- One more check to ensure you have cancelled all your mail order subscriptions.
If in doubt about whether you have already cancelled a service, ring them again. It is better to be safe than sorry. Sure, you are leaving and any outstanding bills may never catch up with you, but you might want to come back, if only for a visit, and it’s best not to have to return to any surprises!