Dutch Australian Living in The Hague - Interviewing Renee
|Published:||16 Apr at 9 AM|
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Here's the interview with Renee...
Where are you originally from?
Sunshine Coast, Australia
In which country and city are you living now?
The Hague, The Netherlands
How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
We've been here for 8 months (this time!) and not sure how long we'll stay
Why did you move and what do you do?
My husband is Dutch and we moved here as he was homesick and also wanted to further his career.
I have my own social media & marketing business www.zestee.com, care for our young children.
Yes - we have two children aged 3 & 5
How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
I did live here before from 2002-2007 so that made things a little easier to transition this time around, but it was still a difficult process
Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
I made a big effort to go to as many networking events as possible and connect with "locals" as well. Social is mostly expats but quite a few Dutch too.
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
There is a lot to do in The Hague and Delft (I live right between the two), depends on your interest, time, budget and time of year. Just walking around the city centres is lovely.
What do you enjoy most about living here?
Some really gorgeous buildings, the history and the multiculturalism.
Australia used to be cheaper than Europe but now I think they are about the same.
What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
Coming from Qld, Australia, I really hate European winters.
If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Establish all the basic necessities asap - such as home, drivers licence, etc so you have time to just relax and have some fun.
What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Leaving a well established life and having to start "from scratch" again, especially with 2 young children.
Sledding to School - We moved from hot Australia to cold Holland - and even had to take the sled to school for a few days!
I am not even sure where home is any more. For that reason I started a blog www.dutchaustralian.com as I imagine I will always move between the countries!
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
- Expect it to be hard for a while. Take the time to just accept and deal with that.
- Do some research before you leave so it's not all so overwhelming when you arrive.
- Go along to expat networking events asap and also network online (Facebook etc)
- Write a blog - the process of documenting stuff this way makes you look at the experience in a more positive way.
- Get out and about and discover your new environment, culture - and enjoy it.
I started blogging at Dutch Australian when I was living in Australia and have continued now I'm living back in The Netherlands. Marrying a Dutch man and having 2 bilingual children who we would like to raise with an awareness and appreciation of both countries and cultures has led me to accept that regardless of where I am in the world, I will always be a Dutch Australian!
How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
You can connect with me (and the rest of the Dutch Australian community) at www.facebook.com/dutchaustralian or via Twitter: @reneeveldman
Renee blogs at http://www.dutchaustralian.com/ which we recommend a quick visit if you haven't been already. Dutch Australian has an ExpatsBlog.com listing here so add a review if you like! If you appreciated this interview with Renee, please also drop her a quick comment below.
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Comments » There is 1 comment
Love Renée's work/efforts on the www. It is like a very positive 'gangplank' between Australia and the Netherlands. All the positives and negatives are there. Having two countries we're familiar with, which are too far apart. I'm reacting again just at a time when I'm having some issues with being a member of the board of the Federation of Netherlands Societies NSW Ltd. I was always among the youngest members of this co-hort. I am 69 and far too old to become involved with 'Dutch-Link' (mainly made up of a newer wave of mainly business-oriented Dutch, who may or may not stay). Yet!!!!!!! While "the federation" still has much to offer the ageing Dutch-Australian 'community' which was energetically established in the 50s and 60s and produced 'club-houses', a 'benefit fund', more than two retirement villages and choirs, annual 'Dutch Festivals" etc., etc.. I worry about the lack of effective embracing of the world-wide media and other connections now available. The way that Renée is handling these types of issues, with a Dutch-born husband and a young family, intrigues me. My highest academic qualification, after the Teacher's Certificate and 37 years of teaching in NSW primary schools, as well as Adult Literacy, via TAFE ( Technical and Further Education), is a Graduate Diploma, via the University of New England (UNE). The thoughts, advice, pictures and anecdotes that Renée produces give me wonderful food for thought.