Simone from Italy
How was the process of moving from Italy to the Netherlands for you and your family?
The most difficult part is to take the decision to move, because it is never easy to leave your country, your friends, your relatives, your “comfort zone”. However, once the decision is taken, it is just a matter to make proper planning of moving. In our case, we had strong motivation to move because we would like to improve our family life quality. We have been supported by Apollo, by Vera and by Expat Center, we visited the city two times before coming, we had the opportunity to speak with many people (expat and Dutch) and then the process itself has been very smooth.
Was it easy to find a place to live and to arrange everything, like social security number, health insurance, etc.?
With the help provided by Apollo, it was OK. Regarding social security numbers, health insurance and other papers/documents, it was pretty fast. Regarding house, I have to say that Dutch typical house is different from Italian one and, even if many houses/apartments were available at that time, to find the proper house, in line with our needs, was not so simple: we visited more than 15 houses/apartments and just a couple were corresponding to our requirements. Moreover, we had an inconvenient because the landlord of one house we decided (and paid!) in advance, few days before our arrival broke the contract and we have been in trouble for a while: fortunately, with help of Apollo, we found immediately another house and we haven’t postponed or modified our plans.
Let me also add that, after less than 6 months, we decided to buy a house and we have almost completed the process in a very smooth and easy way.
How was the relocation to the Netherlands for your family (wife and 4 year old daughter)? You had to find a school for your daughter for instance.
Relocation was pretty easy: arranging papers and documents were fast, moving of our furnitures went smooth and the selected company was very professional.
Regarding school for our 4 years old daughter, we visited some schools in Enschede and, eventually, we opted for a public school specialized in teaching Dutch to foreign children (and we are very happy of that decision because, after few months, our daughter started to understand and speak Dutch, moreover that school arranges free Dutch lessons for parents, very helpful!)
Do you feel at home in the Netherlands and especially in the city of Enschede?
Yes, we feel at home and we like living in Enschede. It is a small city (comparing to our previous city in Italy, Rome) but with almost everything you need: restaurants, bars, shops, library, playgrounds, theater, music hall and many activities for children (our daughter is very happy!); there is also a very big market every Saturday where you can find very good and fresh fruits and vegetables. Moreover, every place is reachable by feet or by bike and we really improved our quality of life!
What activities do you like the most in the region of Twente / Enschede?
We are enjoying music concerts (in music hall and outdoor), festivals (street food festival, beer festival, Halloween Kermis, Christmas Winter Wonderland…), activities for children (indoor and outdoor, very often for free) and we are also enjoying the nature (parks, lakes) surrounding Enschede!
What surprises you about the Dutch people or the Netherlands?
Biking: how the country is well organized for biking and for bikers is something that we were not really expecting and we are enjoying this a lot. Also the love and the respect for the nature is something that we like very much.
What tips or advice would you give someone who’s relocating to the Netherlands?
Not so many, because the Netherlands is one of the best organized countries in the world, it is very oriented to children and family, it is almost bilingual (most of the people can speak very good English): it is easy to relocate!