Advantages of living in a small country is probably more thank you think. I have written this from experience of living in the Netherlands, but also with a little comparison of the pretty UK home town too. The population of the Netherlands is just over 17million people within the 12 provinces.
Advantages of Living In A Small Country
Unlike my visits back home on the Isle of Wight in the UK, there is a decent phone coverage in the Netherlands. Not one time I have ever been in an area where I have lost coverage. There might be a few places I simply don’t know about, but I think its a lot less than my usual UK experiences. As per May 2020, there is also 5G coverage!
Post Delivered Next Day
Again, comparing to my life on the Isle of Wight with this one. There the post would never be delivered the next day – unless when buying local from an island store. Getting deliveries delivered within one day is pretty much a normal luxury these days. This has also been really beneficial during the intelligent lockdown that the Netherlands has been experiencing.
The transportation systems run really well in the Netherlands, with trains, trams, buses and boats being used for daily commuting. There are many types of trains to travel on, some being faster than others and getting you to places like Schiphol Airport quick. Big cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam have good metro systems in place. Else you can grab a tram and look out to the window! As for the boats, check yourself in on the Waterbus in Rotterdam for a day trip to Kinderdijk or the cute old city of Dordrecht.
P.S If you really want to travel around, you can also get on a cruise ship in Amsterdam or Rotterdam!
One Travel Card For All
With the transportation companies in the Netherlands, you can use only one card for your train, tram, bus and boat transportation. This is super nice if you are making a day trip or visiting friends from another city. You can top this card up yourself, or have it automated from your bank account when it becomes at a low balance.
Not Needing Your Own Car
In the Netherlands it is not really needed to have your own car, unless you really do live on a farm location or a small village. It is super easily to borrow someone else’s in the Netherlands. This is a nice advantage, like when you need a car to visit the local Ikea or garden center. If you do not need a car for daily use, then why have the extra costs right? In the Netherlands, the car must be insured, not the driver to the car. So that means that the driver is not limited to being the only driver, but anyone can drive the insurance car. As long as they have driving license of course!
Easy To Join All Events In The Country
Taking the train from the north of the country, like from city Groningen to the south of the country, like from city Maastricht (basically the whole Netherlands) takes under 3.5 hours with only a few train changes, whereas taking the car even quicker! So when there is a cool event or party, its technically not that far away from anything!
Plus, you can be in Germany or Belgium for a day trip very easily!
Good For Internationals
Yep! The Netherlands is a great place for those that speak English. Getting around the Netherlands is super easy in English, with many locals very happy to help out if you get a little lost. Whether you are in a supermarket, at an event or shopping in a busy city – it will be no problem to find things. I think Dutch people have the best English as second language, based on the amount of English influence they have while growing up. As their second language in school and used in daily life, you should find it pretty easy to communicate together.
As a Brit I have found that living in the Netherlands has been really nice for an English person. Even though I was learning Dutch right from the start, many locals wanted to speak English to me that it was extremely welcoming (but didn’t help learning Dutch). Only one thing I can think that I used to struggle with was doing the yearly taxes, but thats about it!
Since the Netherlands is a lot smaller country than many others, you can see first hand the good infrastructure. A good example is the Port of Rotterdam, which is the largest seaport in Europe.
For example, driving on the roads in the UK, it wont be long until you find yourself driving through potholes and damaged roads that haven’t been repaired in years. Whereas the Netherlands has pretty decent roads and hardly come across a road that it badly damaged.
All The Shops You Need
Being in such a small country means you have pretty much access to all the shops you need. Within in the cities, there are loads of mini supermarkets (see next point), all the international shops you can think of as well as cute local brands.
This is also perfect for 2nd hand shopping too. The Netherlands has an online Dutch Ebay style website called Marktplaats. However there are plenty of 2nd hand stores and boutiques within each city for those secret treasures. If you are looking for something specific, it’s likely being sold by someone also close by to pick up too.
More Nature Areas Than You Think
Did you know the Netherlands has 21 National Parks? That’s crazy a lot for a small country! These beautiful national parks, every large city has a park area for picnics, dog walking and relaxation. Most parks offer free (or rental) bikes, has a nearby restaurant (like a typical pancake house) and surrounding beautiful places to stay the night.
Because there is not much space for huge supermarkets within the Netherlands, there are lots of mini supermarkets all around. This is super convenient for when you need products on a weekly basis. In other countries it is more common to buy supermarket food per month, but here within cities its more common to buy food from supermarkets every few days. Within my Dutch location of Rotterdam I can think of 10 within a 25 minute walk!
Great place for exercise
The Netherlands is a great place for cycling, as you probably already know. With its’ gorgeous green flat countrysides to bike-pathed cities, you can enjoy cycling everywhere. There are also many outdoor parks and recreation areas with outside gyms. You can also find yourself hiking in one of the pretty National parks (see next point!).
The Netherlands has a good life balance too, putting hobbies, fun and time for yourself equal to work life. Balancing life and work in a country where its actually easy to do is really nice for your own wellbeing.
Check Out My Other Expat Posts
Advantages of living in a small country was more than I expected when writing this post. When living in a big city like Amsterdam, The Hague or Rotterdam, you definitely don’t think of the Netherlands being a small country.
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Thanks for sharing!