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Raising a Family in the Netherlands: Dream vs Reality
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This post belongs to category: Expat life in the Netherlands

Raising a family in the Netherlands: dream vs reality

 

Yung girls smilign at the camera in a swimming poolLife in the Philippines is difficult and uncertain. Having lived in an impoverished environment myself, I just know that raising a kid in my home country would be painfully challenging. My friends who have kids are struggling to make ends meet and the majority of the population are still living in poverty.

Cost of living in the Philippines might be cheap but a good quality of life is very expensive. Parents need to save a lot of money in order to give their kids a better future. Good schools are expensive but still not on par with international standards. Moreover, healthcare and other government services are unreliable and inefficient.

 

Living in the Netherlands for almost 2 years now, I can’t help but compare how significantly different the Netherlands is to my homeland. It is everything my home country isn’t – much more advanced, services are reliable and organized, kid-friendly institutions, allowances for education and public transport, more healthy food options than fast food outlets, organizations dedicated to kids, and most importantly, the Netherlands is a much safer place to raise a family.

Pros and Cons of raising kids in the Netherlands

Pros

  • The government services, especially the healthcare in the Netherlands, are highly efficient and organized.
  • The government provides financial aid and subsidies to help parents raise their kids well until the age of 18.
  • Education is free in the Netherlands until the age of 16; the quality of education is excellent and some Dutch universities are among the best in the world.
  • The country is ranked high among the best and safest countries in the world for children.
  • The Dutch approach to food is generally healthier for kids.
  • The environment is clean.
  • The economy is stable and infrastructure is backed with sophisticated technology.
  • The expat community is huge and cities are filled with people from multi-cultural backgrounds.

Cons

  • Support network for expats are in their home country and so it can be difficult if something goes wrong with the pregnancy or with the relationship in general.
  • It is common for women in the Netherlands to give birth at home with no available pain relief or anesthesia and for expat women this may seem like an unpleasant situation to be in.
  • The liberal culture in the Netherlands may pose some problems to otherwise strict and conservative expats.
  • Family is not as close-knit in the Netherlands compared to other countries and divorce is legal and common and so it may look less ideal for expats from families with strong ties.
  • Finding a full-time job for expats and non-Dutch speakers is difficult.

5 male children smiling at the camera on a beachAs with every situation, the decision to leave one’s home to seek a better life somewhere else is one that should never be taken lightly.

There are still some nights when I stare at the ceiling and ask myself whether I made the right choice or if it is all worth it.

But you know what? I rest easy with a smile on my face, content in the fact that I know I am in a better place.
I don’t have kids yet but that can wait. For now, I am where I dreamt I would be.

 

Amani Gonzales, Kickstart Student

 What our students say about us

  • My experience with Kickstart has been highly beneficial in both developing language skills and improving my knowledge of the Dutch culture. Josien's support is always spot on and very intuitive in relation to personal circumstances. She spends a lot more than the official time allocated to really get to know her clients and her approach is customised accordingly. She was recommended to me by other Shell colleagues who expressed the same sentiment and I was fortunate enough to benefit from this during the time I spent with her.

    Vennasa van de Ven, Migration Manager working at Shell

  • Entering the Kickstart school premises alone gives you a push of energy and the commitment this will help to create is hardly unmatched in any other language school. The methodology and the approach used in the lessons also helps smoothly unlock the secrets of everyday Dutch. Kickstart School has helped me get in touch with the 'undutchable' culture of the Netherlands and its people. The individual language training I could experience at Kickstart School has been one of the best educational experiences I could have in Europe.

    Alessandro d’Addario, European Law Enforcement 

  • I really enjoyed my English lessons with the Kickstart School. The teacher was professional and really knew the subject. The way they teach is also great! The classes are presented in a clear and professional manner and the online exercises completed at home are very helpful. The teacher always provided useful feedback. It's a great experience to join a Kickstart course with such a friendly atmosphere of students and teachers.

    Beatriz Pedroche, Spain 

  • Kickstart has been the ideal place for me to learn. The teachers are very helpful and friendly and have always gone the "extra mile" to help me learn in a positive way. Their teaching is practical with elements that can immediately be applied to everyday living situations. Included in the lessons are cultural aspects of living in the Netherlands that make learning Dutch dynamic and fun; you learn the language and about the place and the people! The teachers took an active interest in my progress and provided valuable customized sessions that maintained my strengths and developed my weaknesses; all in a patient, fun and friendly style.

    Graeme Ting, dentist from New Zealand 

  • My first contact with Kickstart School was after 1 month of living in The Netherlands, when I started to study Dutch. At the time I didn’t have any knowledge of the language, but with their courses organized by levels I developed important language skills and learned about the Dutch culture. They all do a great job at Kickstart because their motto it’s not just a motto – they are really pleased to teach you. You learn a language in a friendly atmosphere, make new friends from all over the world, and all in a cosy building right in the heart of The Hague.

    Anca Boros, mathematics and physics teacher from Romania

  • During my time with Kickstart I have learned a lot and gained confidence. I was always challenged by the interesting assignments, but never too much. I have really enjoyed the classes!

    Sabine de Bruijn, Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

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