Go Back   British Expats / Living & Moving Abroad / Europe / Netherlands

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old Apr 4th 2017, 12:03 pm   #1
Semi-retired
 
BuckinghamshireBoy's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2016
Location: Thônex, Switzerland
Posts: 45
BuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond repute
Default Decisions, decisions…

Hi folk,

Things have moved along a bit since I last posted in BE. I have now taken early retirement, and am thus spending arguably far too much time researching what happens next.

The Master Plan is still to leave this jolly expensive country - needs must etc. We looked at various European locations, but have finally settled on ‘the low countries’ mostly for family and other social reasons. We’re focussing on the province of Antwerp – not the city, we don’t do cities – but somewhere to the north.

Pushing further north I discovered somewhere called the Netherlands, and now comes my dilemma; Noord Brabant in NL or Province of Antwerp in BE?

I’ve been drilling down on housing and taxation (thanks to Cynic and others for some very useful posts and links elsewhere in this forum) and am in the process of drawing up comparison spreadsheets.

Apart from various financial aspects, does anyone have any thoughts as to ‘would NL be better than BE’? I realise that’s a slightly odd question, but I’m coming from the perspective of major differences, pitfalls and the like which may have escaped my notice so far.

As far as NL is concerned, we would be looking to relocate somewhere south of Bergen op Zoom/Roosendaal/Breda, the idea being to be within easy travelling distance of 'greater Antwerp'.

Any thoughts from locals would be gratefully received.

Cheers,
Bob
BuckinghamshireBoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 4th 2017, 5:40 pm   #2
BE Enthusiast
 
calman014's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 540
calman014 has a reputation beyond reputecalman014 has a reputation beyond reputecalman014 has a reputation beyond reputecalman014 has a reputation beyond reputecalman014 has a reputation beyond reputecalman014 has a reputation beyond reputecalman014 has a reputation beyond reputecalman014 has a reputation beyond reputecalman014 has a reputation beyond reputecalman014 has a reputation beyond reputecalman014 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Decisions, decisions…

It's swings and roundabouts. Regarding taxation both countries are pretty expensive and you will have to contribute to the health system unless you have some legacy coverage from UK.
All the daily stuff like running a car, getting a mortgage etc. have subtle differences being more expensive in one than the other, likewise with insurances and the general cost of living.
Probably best to put a pin in the map and rent for a while first and accrue some knowledge.
calman014 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 4th 2017, 5:45 pm   #3
BE Enthusiast
 
Red_Wine_Fairy's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Noord Holland
Posts: 332
Red_Wine_Fairy has a reputation beyond reputeRed_Wine_Fairy has a reputation beyond reputeRed_Wine_Fairy has a reputation beyond reputeRed_Wine_Fairy has a reputation beyond reputeRed_Wine_Fairy has a reputation beyond reputeRed_Wine_Fairy has a reputation beyond reputeRed_Wine_Fairy has a reputation beyond reputeRed_Wine_Fairy has a reputation beyond reputeRed_Wine_Fairy has a reputation beyond reputeRed_Wine_Fairy has a reputation beyond reputeRed_Wine_Fairy has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Decisions, decisions…

I don't know the area too well, as in I've never lived there. I can tell you what I know of it/ impressions, and offer another suggestion.

Politically, that area is one of the (3?) strongholds of Geert Wilders. With the exception of Breda perhaps, I perceive this to be a very traditional Dutch (in words and actions) part of the country - don't expect English from everyone; the young and the professionals will speak it, but the retiree group? Not so much I would imagine.

The entire western part of the country is flat, don't expect beauty, don't even expect the odd hill. The only place I've stepped foot in there is at Hazeldonk - yes, the motorway service station surrounded by wind turbines is the psychological halfway house between home and civilisation () Cities are in short supply, there are no University towns to break up the monotony of the locals.

If, you find for whatever reason, you choose to move here, I would like to suggest a lovely larger town called Dordrecht. My colleague's wife commutes to Antwerp every day from there, I imagine its a short hop by train (he commutes to Amsterdam, around one hour away). Traditional houses, a lively market, water features , good transport links important as you grow older and prefer to drive less (I hope you don't mind me saying), a short hop from the most southerly Randstad city (Rotterdam) and the ferry to the UK, and a massive nature reserve on its doorstep called the Biesbosch which hosts events and festivals. The rental rates appear reasonable - far more so than in the cities.



Healthcare (sorry again): you are looking at a basic health insurance of around 100 euros per month each, and currently, an own-pay of 385 euros (once you reach this total, you pay nothing more for the year - health insurer and government pay the rest of any treatment you need). You cannot be refused insurance for pre-existing conditions; this is set in law I believe. You can choose to pay more for things like dental, physio, etc, or you can pay less in exchange for a much higher own-pay of 895(?).
The GPs (dentists too) vary dramatically in quality. Most have a reputation for 'paracetamol cures everything', or even 'so your leg broke in 3 places, so! what would you like me to do for you?' The Calvinistic attitude means that some dentists don't believe in (!) anaesthetic. However, I have both a good GP and a good denist: if you can, take local recommendations before registering. Hospital care varies like everywhere, but overall the life expectancy is higher than most of the world, and higher than the UK. I cannot recommend in the area you are considering though. I hope someone more local can give you better advice than I can.

Final point. If you drive, Antwerp is the bottleneck of Europe around extended peak hours. 2 km an hour at times (Mr RWF was a regular Ghent/North Holland commuter). If mobility is important to you 24/7, you might prefer to consider being somewhere on the Antwerp public transport system

Ending on a light note:




Yes! Our road surfaces are noticably far superior! (Breda excepted)

Last edited by Red_Wine_Fairy; Apr 4th 2017 at 5:58 pm.
Red_Wine_Fairy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 4th 2017, 8:17 pm   #4
Semi-retired
 
BuckinghamshireBoy's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2016
Location: Thônex, Switzerland
Posts: 45
BuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Decisions, decisions…

Huge thanks both to calman014 and Red_Wine_Fairy for your very quick responses.

@ calman014 : swings and roundabouts was what I had just about concluded. As regards both taxation and health insurance, from what I've read so far neither could be worse than "la Suisse"...

All things being equal I won't be needing a mortgage, once I sell "the pile" here.

@ Red_Wine_Fairy : Wow, thanks, I'll need to re-read that all several times to properly digest it.

On the political front, I can probably survive ok; I reckon that M. Wilders popularity ratings are currently going down and having spent 25+ years living in a country where I have no voting rights anyway I'm not too bothered. But I take your point about the situation.

Linguistically I also take your point; I do intend to learn Dutch (honest!) and we have at least a year before seriously putting the wheels in motion, so there's hope there. Every time I go shopping in Antwerp my sister-in-law reminds me "stick to English, don't ever be tempted to speak French"

Healthcare - still a heck of a lot cheaper than where I am now.

Transport... I've had my share of grief being banged up on the Antwerp Ring, and no, I don't mind you saying that I/we might prefer to be driving less over the next few years, point noted. Agreed that highways in BE are naff compared to NL. And thanks for the graphic, made me chuckle. No comment about weird music in Limburg however?

@both : Thanks again, just the kind of feedback I was hoping for.

Cheers,
Bob

Last edited by BuckinghamshireBoy; Apr 4th 2017 at 8:25 pm.
BuckinghamshireBoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 5th 2017, 7:37 am   #5
BE Enthusiast
 
Joined: Aug 2015
Location: Penang
Posts: 532
SushiFan has a reputation beyond reputeSushiFan has a reputation beyond reputeSushiFan has a reputation beyond reputeSushiFan has a reputation beyond reputeSushiFan has a reputation beyond reputeSushiFan has a reputation beyond reputeSushiFan has a reputation beyond reputeSushiFan has a reputation beyond reputeSushiFan has a reputation beyond reputeSushiFan has a reputation beyond reputeSushiFan has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Decisions, decisions…

Red_Wine_Fairy, that is a great chart of the Netherlands. Very accurate. The reference to little Havana (I guess it refers to Nijmegen) is something I don't understand however.
SushiFan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 5th 2017, 3:01 pm   #6
Cynic Male
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Sep 2015
Location: North Yorkshire
Posts: 212
Cynic is just really niceCynic is just really niceCynic is just really niceCynic is just really niceCynic is just really niceCynic is just really niceCynic is just really niceCynic is just really nice
Default Re: Decisions, decisions…

Guess I have to agree with Red Wine Fairy; we have friends in the south (Breda) and are there frequently; my experience of Belgium is a long time ago, so not relevant.

On the whole, Holland isn't that big; you can drive East to West in a couple of hours. We come from the East (Enschede - tukker country) and in general, I prefer it to the South; it is still flat and the climate is indifferent, but it has more trees and handy for popping into Germany for those "German" things we can't live without (and cheaper petrol), it also has a direct train service to Schiphol if we needed to get back to the UK for something and the local news tells us that the old RNLAF base at Twente is opening for commercial flights shortly.

Out of interest, what attracts you to the South? The only thing I can think of that's better in Belgium is the beer.
Cynic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 6th 2017, 11:42 am   #7
Semi-retired
 
BuckinghamshireBoy's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2016
Location: Thônex, Switzerland
Posts: 45
BuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Decisions, decisions…

What attracts me to the south of NL is the proximity to Antwerp.

We’re sociable people, but we don’t go hunting, we tend to be fairly self-sufficient, and relish our long standing – albeit geographically distant- mates. We’re not trying to’build a new life’ per se, more like bringing what/whom we know and love more into our ‘bigger picture’. Locally most of our friends have moved on, retired abroad, whatever, and sadly last year two of our best friends succumbed to cancer.

OH is technically Hollandaise, though she wasn’t born there nor has ever lived there. Our focus is on Antwerp for family and friends – I’ve also good mates in both Den Haag and just south of Bruxelles.

After a few further hours chatting, OH got me to see that my newfound interest in Noord Brabant was possibly based somewhat on my Celtic genes – despite being Buckinghamshire born and bred, I am half Scot; deep pockets, short arms etc. When I discovered that one has to add around 25% of house purchase price in additional charges in BE against 6% in NL my semi-native hackles went up, hence the original post. 19% of a lot of money is still a lot of money, useful for remodelling houses etc.

Maybe I should shut up and just go for BE. And with a hint of a tear try and expunge the memories of brilliant weekends – indeed weeks - spent in Zandvoort when in a previous incarnation I worked for a record company based in Haarlem. These days that company is known as Sony Music.

Slight aside on stereotypes vis-� -vis Scots; the equivalent term here in French Switzerland to describe someone of that ilk is “il a un herisson dans sa poche” – he has a hedgehog in his pocket.

Cheers,
Bob
BuckinghamshireBoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 6th 2017, 3:59 pm   #8
Cynic Male
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Sep 2015
Location: North Yorkshire
Posts: 212
Cynic is just really niceCynic is just really niceCynic is just really niceCynic is just really niceCynic is just really niceCynic is just really niceCynic is just really niceCynic is just really nice
Default Re: Decisions, decisions…

OK - I understand the emotional thing; all I'll say is that unless you intend doing the trip everyday, Holland and Belgium just ain't that big. The only other thing I can think of is assuming your OH has access to a Dutch passport, then you as a Brit (post-Brexit), may find it easier getting into and staying in Holland.

P.S. The Dutch are probably twice as tight with their money as the Scots.
Cynic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 7th 2017, 7:50 am   #9
BE Enthusiast
 
Joined: Aug 2015
Location: Penang
Posts: 532
SushiFan has a reputation beyond reputeSushiFan has a reputation beyond reputeSushiFan has a reputation beyond reputeSushiFan has a reputation beyond reputeSushiFan has a reputation beyond reputeSushiFan has a reputation beyond reputeSushiFan has a reputation beyond reputeSushiFan has a reputation beyond reputeSushiFan has a reputation beyond reputeSushiFan has a reputation beyond reputeSushiFan has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Decisions, decisions…

Quote:
Originally Posted by BuckinghamshireBoy View Post
deep pockets, short arms etc.
Yes, you're suitable for NL.
SushiFan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 7th 2017, 7:55 am   #10
Semi-retired
 
BuckinghamshireBoy's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2016
Location: Thônex, Switzerland
Posts: 45
BuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Decisions, decisions…

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynic View Post
OK - I understand the emotional thing; all I'll say is that unless you intend doing the trip everyday, Holland and Belgium just ain't that big. The only other thing I can think of is assuming your OH has access to a Dutch passport, then you as a Brit (post-Brexit), may find it easier getting into and staying in Holland.

P.S. The Dutch are probably twice as tight with their money as the Scots.
Realistically I could see the trip very quickly becoming two or three times a week - in both senses, us to them, them to us.

On the subject of tightness, OH has always said that the Scots would never do better than silver medal anyway...

She does have a valid - and current - Dutch passport.

We too have been musing over the 'what ifs' of fall-out following a possible post-Brexit lash-up.

Her take on this is that 'I am her husband, ipso facto she can take me anywhere she wants - assuming that she has right of residence'. Given the circumstances, I would honestly feel more comfortable being based in NL rather than BE. Not wishing to imply that Brexit might be the thin end of the wedge, but taking ones eye off the ball is to my mind not a good idea at this point, so thanks to you for echoing my slight concern on this.

Cheers,
Bob
BuckinghamshireBoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 9th 2017, 4:33 pm   #11
Semi-retired
 
BuckinghamshireBoy's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2016
Location: Thônex, Switzerland
Posts: 45
BuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Decisions, decisions…

I’ve had a virtual look at Dordrecht and it does look to be an interesting place. At first I thought that it may be too far from our ‘comfort zone’ but having mapped it, I’m now of the opinion that it’s do-able. Which expands my hunting zone, so I’m now seriously tending towards NL rather than BE, and come on you Celtic genes!

OH claims never to have heard of tukker-country, but there was a definite glint in her eyes with the mention of a potential 'saving' of 19%.

So, now a question on potential house purchase etiquette…

I see something on the market for X, assuming we like it, what would be the guidelines for making an offer?

For example, I just had our house here valued last week and was given three prices:

X – put it up on the market at this price.

Y – this would be an acceptable offer; it’s roughly 97% of X

Z – this being the bottom line; it’s roughly 94% of X – so don’t sell below this figure, unless the devil vomits on your duvet.

Again a bit of a generalisation, but would these ideas/percentages hold good for NL?
BuckinghamshireBoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 10th 2017, 8:12 am   #12
Cynic Male
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Sep 2015
Location: North Yorkshire
Posts: 212
Cynic is just really niceCynic is just really niceCynic is just really niceCynic is just really niceCynic is just really niceCynic is just really niceCynic is just really niceCynic is just really nice
Default Re: Decisions, decisions…

First off - for your wife, a link for Tukker.

As for buying a house; generally, it's the same in most places I've been to. However, the Dutch have a system called "kosten koper" (or K&K); which basically translates to the buyer picking up "all" of the costs. Here's a link to a web-page that explains this (and more).
Cynic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 10th 2017, 4:19 pm   #13
Semi-retired
 
BuckinghamshireBoy's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2016
Location: Thônex, Switzerland
Posts: 45
BuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Decisions, decisions…

Useful info, thanks, much appreciated.
BuckinghamshireBoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 16th 2017, 9:40 pm   #14
GeniB 
BE Forum Addict
 
GeniB's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 4,139
GeniB has a reputation beyond reputeGeniB has a reputation beyond reputeGeniB has a reputation beyond reputeGeniB has a reputation beyond reputeGeniB has a reputation beyond reputeGeniB has a reputation beyond reputeGeniB has a reputation beyond reputeGeniB has a reputation beyond reputeGeniB has a reputation beyond reputeGeniB has a reputation beyond reputeGeniB has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Decisions, decisions…

No question Buckinghamshireboy... It's Antwerp all the way... We lived in Brabant for 30yrs and whilst many of the villages were charming . Eindhoven was a decent sized town( with a University and world renowned Design School by the way) For us Antwerp was by far and away our favourite city..Wonderful restaurants,history,culture etc. In our experience anyone with any money in the Brabant area moved over to the nearest villages to Antwerp. Schilde,being a favourite .Neerpelt , and others in the area. These 'millionaires' must have found it financially advantageous to do this. You certainly got more house for your money. Many would even go over the border for medical treatment . I would have loved to live there during our yrs in NL..too far away from the job. We are retired now.. but chose the sun and Portugal as the winters in either place got me down.
GeniB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 17th 2017, 6:03 pm   #15
Semi-retired
 
BuckinghamshireBoy's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2016
Location: Thônex, Switzerland
Posts: 45
BuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond reputeBuckinghamshireBoy has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Decisions, decisions…

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeniB View Post
No question Buckinghamshireboy... It's Antwerp all the way... We lived in Brabant for 30yrs and whilst many of the villages were charming . Eindhoven was a decent sized town( with a University and world renowned Design School by the way) For us Antwerp was by far and away our favourite city..Wonderful restaurants,history,culture etc. In our experience anyone with any money in the Brabant area moved over to the nearest villages to Antwerp. Schilde,being a favourite .Neerpelt , and others in the area. These 'millionaires' must have found it financially advantageous to do this. You certainly got more house for your money. Many would even go over the border for medical treatment . I would have loved to live there during our yrs in NL..too far away from the job. We are retired now.. but chose the sun and Portugal as the winters in either place got me down.
Hmmm. Interesting stuff, thanks GeniB for the input. I have no hesitation to admit that Antwerp is one of my favourite cities as well.

OH had mentioned the cross border medical treatment; I'm now intrigued by the 'more house for your money'. This could turn out to be a decision swayer, as millionaires we are not. And if so, I'll just have to overrule my Celtic genes in respect of the additional house purchase charge difference.

We'll be heading up in a couple of months for a family 'event' being held in Noord Brabant, but we'll be based north-west of Antwerp and intend to start some serious eyes-on research at that point.

Cheers,
Bob
BuckinghamshireBoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Go Back   British Expats / Living & Moving Abroad / Europe / Netherlands


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT. The time now is 2:11 am.


Powered by vBulletin: ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 1999-2010 BritishExpats.com