9 reasons retirees love the Netherlands


According to Global finance magazine, the Netherlands is number 5 on the list of the happiest countries in Europe to live. This is a very good ranking, and you will see why retirees, locals and foreigners love to spend their later lives in this beautiful European country. The Netherlands is a small country: it’s a little less than twice the size of New Jersey, and the UK is six times the size. It is bordered to the east by Germany, to the south by Belgium and to the north and west by the North Sea. The location is responsible for the moderate maritime climate which generally means mild winters and cool summers.

That’s not to say that there can’t be snowfall, hot summer days, and rain showers all year round. The Netherlands is a kingdom and its current king, Willem-Alexander, and Queen Maxima (born in Argentina) are very popular with their people. So if retirees like a little glitz and a few colorful festivals, they’ll love the Netherlands.

Westerkerk Tower in Amsterdam (Photo credit: Wut_Moppie / Shutterstock.com)

1. Open-minded society

The Netherlands may be a small country, but it is incredibly diverse. Since the 17th century, large cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam have been a hub of international trade, and therefore the center of influence of various cultures and religions across the world. These influences came mainly from the Far East, Africa and the Caribbean. This means that no one will blink an eye at people who look different from them – the Netherlands is a truly international nation. Opinions can and are freely expressed, and offense is very rarely taken. On the other hand, the Dutch are pretty blunt, which an expat might have to get used to – but once they do, they’ll appreciate it.

English / Dutch sign in Amsterdam
English / Dutch sign in Amsterdam (Photo credit: ale_rizzo / Shutterstock.com)

2. No language problem

An expatriate in a country other than his own depends heavily on his ability to communicate. After all, there is a big difference between going on vacation to an exotic place for a few weeks and settling there and living there. The good news is that there is no language problem in the Netherlands for English speakers. Dutch is the official language, but over a population of 16.8 million people, 91 percent speak English.

Dutch ambulance in Rotterdam
Laurens Jobse / Shutterstock.com

3. Excellent health care

The Netherlands is known for its excellent standard of healthcare and is considered to be one of the best healthcare systems in the world. However, health care is not free. The government requires all adults living and / or working in the country to have basic health insurance. A visit to the doctor, for example, costs around $ 55, but an emergency room visit costs you $ 300, so private health insurance makes perfect sense, even if some expenses aren’t covered or must be prepaid. . Yet, compared to the costs of medical treatment in the United States, the Netherlands is very reasonable.

Bikes near the canal in Amsterdam
JeniFoto / Shutterstock.com

4. Inexpensive and sustainable transport

Of course, there are cars in the Netherlands, but the favorite means of transport for the Dutch are their feet and their bikes. One of the first things you will notice if you visit a big city like Amsterdam are the crowded bike stands (I often wonder how people can find their bikes) and the cyclists who far outnumber the pedestrians. . A curiosity: they rarely wear helmets, sit upright like chopsticks, and wear their usual clothing, including heels. But walking from A to B is also popular, both in town and in the countryside.

Retirees, even if they are in good shape, are happy to see that the country is flat – no mountains in sight that need to be pumped up and pumped up. Then, of course, there are the many canals and waterways on which many types of boats navigate. Longer distances are covered by bus or train, all of which run frequently and are inexpensive. Ultimately, Amsterdam Schiphol is one of the busiest airports in the world, with flights to almost anywhere in the world, so retirees, if they need or want it, can quickly return to their home countries. ‘origin.

Modern residential area in the Netherlands
hans engbers / Shutterstock.com

5. Easy to buy property if you have the money

Retirees may want to invest their savings in property of their own in the Netherlands. They can, whether they are residents or not, and they can also rent it. Obviously, house prices in a remote area of ​​the countryside will be cheaper than, say, an apartment in Amsterdam, but it’s still not a cheap country. As for a mortgage, there are several different requirements, depending on your status.

Landscape of tulips and windmills in the Netherlands
Olena Z / Shutterstock.com

6. Perfect landscapes

With the exception of the mountains, the Netherlands has it all. Starting with the North Sea coast, this part of the country is divided into Noord Holland and Zuid Holland, and each has several beaches to suit all tastes. Retirees love to spend many summer days here. The municipality of Zandvoort aan Zee is Amsterdam’s favorite getaway. For dune lovers, there is Bloemendal aan Zee and the island of Texel, just offshore. Zuid Holland is the location of Scheveningen’s popular spa and beach, and Hoek van Holland is Rotterdam’s favorite.

Further inland are fields, pastures and meadows populated by the famous Frisian cows responsible for Dutch cheeses, interspersed with countless windmills, all straight out of the paintings of the old Dutch masters.

The icing on the cake are the acres and acres of colorful tulips, the most famous being Keukenhof, the largest flower park in the world with more than 7 million tulips, in coordinated colors and in full bloom in spring.

Never far away are canals and waterways with barges and barges floating along them. To remember Giethoorn, a village on peat islands totally closed to cars. (Giethoorn made our list of enchanting places where cars aren’t allowed.)

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (Photo credit: Wut_Moppie / Shutterstock.com)

7. Art and culture in big cities

Retirees have no chance of being bored in the Netherlands, even if they decide to live in the countryside because it is cheaper. Big cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht or Groningen are never far away. That’s the advantage of living in a small country. Every city has its exciting art, culture and entertainment. Amsterdam alone has more than 50 museums.

The art scene begins at the airport with a “branch” of the Rijksmuseum exhibiting original works by Dutch masters. Canal boat rides and Amsterdam Noord attractions, with the world’s tallest and tallest swing, complete the picture. For lovers of crazy architecture, there are Rotterdam’s Cube Houses and the exciting harbor. Groningen is a smaller city but has a lot to offer: parks, museums, botanical gardens, and lively cuisine and festival stage.

Erwtensoep (pea soup)
Erwtensoep (Fanfo / Shutterstock.com)

8. Delicious Dutch cuisine

What would be the point of retiring to a country where food is boring? This is certainly not the case in the Netherlands. Everyone knows that the Netherlands is the land of cows, and therefore of milk, cheese and butter. There is a wide variety of cheeses and dairy products. Those with food allergies don’t have to despair. The Dutch love hearty, warming dishes, and two examples are Stamppot, mashed potatoes mixed with root vegetables, and erwtensoep, a thick pea soup with cut sausage. Of course, being by the sea there are a lot of fish and seafood dishes, with fresh or pickled herring being a Dutch specialty. For the sweet tooth, there are the famous chocolates and other delicious desserts, such as pancakes sprinkled with sugar or sprinkled with syrup. Much of Dutch cuisine is Asian, especially Indonesian cuisine, which has to do with the history of the role of the Netherlands in Indonesia. Delicious and hearty Indonesian Rijsttafel abound in Amsterdam.

The Dutch are beer drinkers, but they are also fond of a good variety of spirits. The best known is juniper, a clear and very strong schnapps often called the father of gin. Others are eggnog, like Advocaat, and Blue and Orange Curacao. As for non-alcoholic drinks, the Dutch drink tea and coffee in equal amounts. And, of course… milk!

Produce section of a Dutch supermarket
defotoberg / Shutterstock.com

9. The cost of living is not that bad

As we have said before, the Netherlands is not cheap, but not as expensive as Switzerland, for example. On the other hand, the higher cost buys the quality of life. You need to have a good pension, independent income or savings to enable you to retire in the Netherlands, especially if you are in a relationship.

Here are some statistics and prices: The cost of living in the Netherlands is 8.81% higher than in the United States, but the rent is 12.59% lower. It is estimated that the monthly cost of living for a single person is 2,216 euros (approximately $ 2,500), excluding rent. This site also shows a good breakdown of the costs of rented furnished apartments, Amsterdam being the most expensive location. Groningen, for example, is cheaper. Basic food is not expensive, but utilities are. There are many different companies that provide electricity, so shop around. However, there is only one water supplier.

Many Dutch people live in houses that have been in the family for generations. If you are thinking of buying a property, you must have deep pockets, especially in the cities. If you are adventurous, an alternative can be a barge. If you are interested, you can rent or buy.

The Netherlands is a safe country. The overall crime rate is 8 times higher in the United States than in the Netherlands. But like everywhere in the world, common sense and precautions must be taken to avoid being assaulted or robbed.

More interesting information about the Netherlands:


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