Going Dutch: Cutting through red tape


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We’re here! We arrived in Den Haag last Friday to a warm welcome from the family we’re renting a room from. We only expected a bed to sleep in but instead we were surprised and touched to find a whole welcome basket filled with wine, cookies and other goodies waiting for us on a nearby table.

It was a sweet start but the Dutch Bureaucracy that followed wasn’t so sweet.

When we called to register as new arrivals with immigration, they asked why we were here. “To work,” we said. “You’re not allowed to be here until you have a job,” came the reply. “We’re EU citizens,” we pointed out. “We have the right to be here.” “Well, if you want to live here, then that’s something else,” was the response. Semantics. Did they think we were going to work here without living here at the same time?

Several minutes later we determined that we can stay but we have firm orders not to call back until we can prove our worthiness by getting jobs. Unemployed people, we were told, have no right to a bank account (which you can only get after registering with the government). Hopefully it won’t be long.[/column]
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Bike of the Week… This is the kind of bike you want in Holland. Garishly painted to put off thieves and a the chain guard held together with a measuring tape, just to emphasize how unworthy the bike is of being stolen. The irony? It’s probably going to cost us a good €100 to buy something like this here because bikes are in such demand.


Getting a Dutch Bike… you’d think it’d be easy to buy a bike in Holland but there are surprisingly few used ones for sale and even 2nd hand they go for nearly as much as a new one. There’s so much to say about buying a bike that we wrote a whole page on the topic. More…


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