Whether or not you’re a seasoned expat, or a complete newbie to it all, when you first move to Amsterdam it can be so daunting figuring out exactly what you need to do. We all overlook things and looking back, there were definitely things that I would have done very differently if I had to do it all over again.
Getting medical insurance more quickly:
When I arrived in Amsterdam I was riddled with allergy problems, and because I didn’t have a job and was generally confused about whether I needed health insurance or not (I wasn’t sure if I was going to manage to find work, or if I was going to end up back in the UK) I didn’t get it for 3 months and ended up paying through the nose to see the doctor. In short, get health insurance. As soon as you arrive as you’ll have to backdate it anyway. It’s good if you can get some help from a Dutchie
Remembering to change my address for my student loan:
Seriously, make sure your address is up to date. Always, with everyone. I had my address registered with the Student Loan Company as my mum’s old house which she was renting out. The Student loan company sent an income assessment letter there, and the renters gave it to my mum too late and I was hit with a year’s worth of student loan repayments at once. This was about 250, which luckily at the time I could afford but it could have been a very different story.
Making more friends and having a better support group
Like many expats, I moved here to be with my partner at the time. Because he was Dutch and had his own friends, instead of putting myself out there so much, I just adopted his friends as mine. I did have some of my own friends, but in the expat community people come and go, so many friends I had made have now left Amsterdam.
Tip: Meetup is a great place to find other like-minded people.
I found this expat checklist from HiFx which is pretty comprehensive, and includes a handy timeline of when you need to start doing things.
Note that many of the employment agencies require you to have a BSN number before you can register with them, so you need to wait until you get to Amsterdam. You are better applying directly to companies in these cases and letting them know your arrival date.
What would you have done differently during your move to Amsterdam?