Saulo from Brazil
How was the process of moving from Brazil to the Netherlands for you and your family (wife and son)?
It was terrifying :-), When we left Brazil our son (first one) was only 6 months old, and we came to such a different country, far from our families and friends. I came for a visit before and my wife and I loved the city, really calm, the people here are receptive, I had no problem using only English.
My wife was concerned that people would not have patience with her (she came with no knowledge of English). But after we arrived here, and we walked on the streets in the evening with no fear…it was love on the first walk around! Even for my wife.
Was it easy to find a place to live and to arrange everything, like social security number, health insurance, etc.?
The company paid an advisor to help me with all of this. When I came for the interview I already visited 3 places and rented one of these places. When we moved here, we stayed in the hotel for just a few days (while the stores were delivering our beds and some furniture). One thing that I realized later is that we were lucky to find an apartment so quick. Our colleagues had to wait for two or three months for a place to rent.
In our second day here we already got our residence permits and BSN numbers at the “gemeente”, and also opened our bank account. Regarding health insurance I didn’t found a lot of differences between them, so I choose the one I thought the communication in English was the easiest.
Do you feel at home in the Netherlands and especially in the city of Enschede?
This is a difficult point. Sometimes I think that we’ll never feel “really at home” again, even if we go back to Brazil. We are here for one year and six months and we already moved two times. The second time we moved we bought a house and this is one of the most important things to make we feel home again. Now we can paint the walls, hang frames and do whatever we want. In our current house we feel at home.
One topic that is off the question, is “Buying a house in the Netherlands”. It is really easy (to buy, not finding….this is indeed really difficult), don’t be afraid.
What activities do you like the most in the region of Twente / Enschede?
As a real Brazilian, it couldn’t be different. We really enjoyed watching some soccer matches at De Grolsch (luckily FC Twente had a good season LAST YEAR). We also went to Rotterdam for some Feyenoord matches. We visited almost every touristic place in the Netherlands (including the tulip fields – it is amazing, everybody should go at least once), also some places in Germany and Belgium. My wife and I love road trips, the highways here are a big plus for us.
What surprises you about the Dutch people or the Netherlands?
First thing is the English level spoken here. It is amazing how fluent Dutch people are in so many languages.
But there is one point that makes me wanna live here forever:
How they split life between work and family. There are no extra hours on work, after 18h families are together having dinner. In Brazil we were taught to live to work and here people work to live. “Welfare” is the word to define the Dutch way of life.
What tips or advice would you give someone who’s relocating to the Netherlands?
Forget everything you heard about Dutch people and culture, come here and experience it yourself.
Never trust in “this is the only house available in this city, you should rent it now!”. Keep calm, search carefully and you’ll find a great place.
Rent a place for 6 months, maximum 1 year. If you like the city/neighbourhood, try to buy something! The rental costs in the Netherlands are crazy, and the mortgage interests are ridiculously low. Buying a place can save you 35% in your monthly costs for housing.