Photo Credit: Kenny (zoompict) Teo
Dutch cities, a taste of the real Europe
If you’re in Holland, at some point you’re bound to visit one of the cities that make up the what’s known as the Randstad. Meaning ‘ring city’ in direct translation, the term refers to the major Dutch cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht which all form a conurbation with over seven million residents in total.
Take a walk around Amsterdam and you’re unmistakeably in Europe – the old buildings, the history and the inherently European feel, however, also have a cosmopolitan aspect too. When you’re in Amsterdam you’ll see people from all around the world who’re either visiting the place or resident there – it’s truly international in outlook.
And if you’re visiting from the UK, the USA, Canada or Australia – there’s one thing you’ll notice almost immediately. Amsterdam is a truly bilingual city – there’s no hesitation or sense of English being an effort to speak – in shops, bars and restaurants the staff seem able to switch instantly from Dutch language If they’re serving fellow Dutch nationals) to extremely fluent English if the customer is English speaking.
Amsterdam, Prinsengracht – Photo Credit: Megges74
Proximity to the UK
Of course, if you’re considering a move from the UK to mainland Europe, then the Netherlands is an ideal choice, since it’s only next door. In fact if you’re in London, Amsterdam is closer then Edinburgh. And it’s this proximity that has led to the familiarity between the nations.
Photo Credit: Missouri Division of Tourism
Okay, so Dutch food isn’t held up as a cuisine in the way that French and Italian are synonymous with some of the best eating in the world – but that doesn’t mean you can’t find delicious food when you’re in the country. Offering great local cheeses and some very excellent seafood as well as cuts of meat and artisan Dutch sausages, the Dutch know how to enjoy dinner in a sophisticated and very mainland European kind of way.
Photo Credit: DG EMPL
Healthcare in the Netherlands
If you’re from the UK and staying short-term in the country, you will be able to use an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) but it doesn’t cover treatment that isn’t urgent and also it only means that any treatment will be provided on the same basis as for a Dutch national, so you would also be liable to pay for any charges that may be incurred towards the cost of treatment.
Like other western European nations, the Netherlands has a highly-regarded healthcare system – if you’re intending on moving there permanently, then it’s important to find out about the necessary health insurance required for residents.
Amsterdam Journal Set 5 – Photo Credit: Erik Florin posted in flickr
Jen Jones writes on expat topics, specialising in expatriate health. Please see
http://www.axapppinternational.com/ for information on international health insurance.
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