Moving to the Netherlands


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The expat who moves to the Netherlands will discover a modern state long at the forefront of global trends in government, banking and commerce. The Dutch were the originators of the stock market and the corporation. They were a democracy at a time where most of Europe still considered their kings as chosen gods. This means that anyone moving to the Netherlands will have the pleasure of integrating into a society at ease with all the rigours of 21st century living. 

The Netherlands is highly regarded for its tolerance and liberal ideals. This famously flat country of clogs, tulips, dykes and windmills is inhabited by a people as deeply cultivated as the land itself. Cool and easy-going, it is difficult for an expat or foreigner to offend a Dutchman, or even find a social taboo to break. Expats will find the Dutch an open and accepting nation.

It is not for nothing that one of the most famous stories from the Netherlands is that of the small boy saving a town by bravely pressing his finger into a dyke. These sea walls, like the extensive waterways, canals and rivers that crisscross the country, are a dominant feature of Dutch life. Most of the population lives on land that is well below sea level and has been drained and reclaimed from the ocean. Whether the tale of the boy is true or not, at any time in history had too many of the dykes failed, almost the entire country would have been washed away.

The Netherlands has a variety of expat communities. While 80 percent of the population is of Dutch origin, there are notable communities from Suriname, Morocco, Indonesia, Turkey and Germany. The Netherlands is a secular state, with only 20 percent of the population regularly attending church. However, respect for religion is high, and Islamic and Christian schools still receive state subsidies.
 
Expats moving to the Netherlands will find a country of middle-sized towns. Even Amsterdam, the capital, has a population of around 780,000 people. However, the dense rail network covering the country allows people to commute to work from all over. The Randstad, the area containing Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, is populated by nearly 8 million people. 
 
The Netherlands is considered by some as the legal capital of the world. The Hague, the de facto centre of government, holds five international courts and tribunals, as well as the headquarters of the European police. It is a genuinely international city, in an international nation. While ‘free’ is a quality that all the world’s countries would like to claim, few go so far as the Dutch to make this ideal a reality. 

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