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Whilst emigration may seem like an easy step to take, many Dutch emigrants soon realise that their lives will never be quite the same again. Of course, most people don’t just emigrate on a whim; they usually move to another country in order to embark upon a fresh career challenge, to be with their foreign partner, or because they’ve fallen in love with a particular country. But even if your heart already lies in your new home, it’s worth remembering that many aspects of your life will change, sometimes irrevocably, upon emigration. Below is a small overview of what you can expect.
1. You’ll learn to adapt to different customs and practices
It’s a fact that some countries are more bureaucratic than others – it can be much more complicated and time-consuming to renew your driver’s license, fill in your tax return or request a building permit for example, than it is back home. Rather than getting wound up about these perceived inconveniences, try to go with the flow. If you learn to let go, you’ll become more flexible and patient in other aspects of your life too.
2. You’ll feel like a ‘foreigner’
No matter how well you integrate, you’ll still feel like a foreigner at times. Perhaps it’s your typical Dutch name that new friends and colleagues struggle to pronounce, or maybe it’s your Dutch passport that’s eyed with curiosity at the airport? Regardless, there will always be some moments that remind you that you’re living in a foreign country.
3. You’ll become multilingual
You probably didn’t speak a word before you emigrated, but if you choose to remain in your new home permanently, sooner or later you’ll need to learn the language. The best way to learn a foreign language is to follow an official language course and to practice with newly acquired friends, neighbours and colleagues at every opportunity.
4. You’ll no longer be able to visit family and friends on a whim
You may have been accustomed to popping by friends and family for a coffee and a chat whenever the fancy took. After emigration though, these ‘spur of the moment’ visits will no longer be possible, and you’ll need to plan your trips well in advance. On a positive note however, you will make new friends who’ll help to keep your social life well and truly alive.
5. You’ll be forever saying ‘goodbye’
If there’s one thing that you’ll become an expert in after emigration, then it’s saying ‘goodbye’. Regardless of whether you’re on a trip back home, or Dutch family and friends are visiting you in your new country of residence, you’ll ultimately have to part. Fortunately, these painful separations are only temporary, and you can always catch up between visits via Skype!
6. You’ll feel like a tourist in your own country
Should you visit the Netherlands after emigration, you’ll quickly conclude that time hasn’t exactly stood still in your absence. Your favourite shop or café might have disappeared for example, whilst your old neighbourhood may feel disappointingly unfamiliar. You’ll probably no longer own a house in Holland either, and will likely be staying with friends, family or even in a hotel. And all of these factors result in the rather unsettling feeling of being a tourist in your own country.
7. You’ll suffer from unexpected bouts of nostalgia
You may not have considered yourself overly sentimental or especially attached to traditional Dutch customs, but post emigration you may find yourself hankering after Dutch television or typical Dutch products, including chocolate sprinkles, breakfast cake, Dutch liquorice or pea soup. No matter – there’s no harm in indulging in a little nostalgia from time to time, and it’s only right that the Netherlands continues to hold such a special place in your heart!
Have other things changed since you emigrated? Why not share your emigration experiences with others by adding your comments below?
Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then visit our sister blog, Heimwee.info, which is specifically intended for Dutch emigrants.