How to integrate into the Dutch society and live happily ever after

The first step: KVK registration

The first glimpse into the life of an independent entrepreneur: first, there are no weekends and off-business hours; and, second, there is a certain camaraderie between fellow entrepreneurs, which does not exist between employees and their bosses.

Starting your business during the lockdown…

I am inspired by many brave migrant female entrepreneurs I met in the Netherlands over the years. Their enormous energy, resilience and creativity give me hope that against all odds my crazy plan can actually work out.

It Takes Two to Tango

‘The Dutch are proud of their country and they deserve it. So let them be proud of themselves: their sense of commerce and trade; their art and engineering; their bikes and dikes; their beer and football’

One foot here, one foot there

‘Here, even people on the street who don’t know you can smile and say: ‘Hello’. I find it absolutely wonderful! I also smile at other people, but in my own country I never get a smile in response. Here, you can just chat with a stranger about the weather, and it feels good.’

What’s in a name?

How far should the adaptation go? Should the migrants not only learn the language, respect the law of the country they live in and contribute to society, but also completely delete their identity, including their name?

A nightmare of getting a Dutch driving license

If I don’t know how to drive, why was I allowed to drive for the first half a year after my arrival? If, otherwise, I know how to drive, why do I need to learn it? The answer is simple. They want your money. All of it.

Off to see the world

“The thing I admire about the Dutch is that they respect other cultures. They are fine with people deciding what they want. Even if they don’t understand your decision, they are still OK with it.”

Anywhere you go, you’ll miss something

“It is a very peaceful and well-structured society. And you see a lot of men with young children. I think it’s nice that children are growing up with both parents taking care of them.”

A recipe for integration

“My personal recipe for integration is: work, work and work again. This is a chance to communicate to people, to understand that you are not alone, that there are worse situations than yours.”

Dare to change

“Your culture is your roots. If you don’t pull up these roots, if you keep being attached to your old soil, then you can never grow and flourish in a different soil.”

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