Making The Right Connections – How To Feel At Home In The Netherlands

Meeting new people and getting settled in a new country can be challenging – especially when you don’t speak the local language. But you’re not alone. 

Many InAxtion employees are newcomers to the Netherlands from other EU countries. With the right knowledge, they quickly connect with local communities and social networks to feel more at home. 

Here are our top tips for living in the Netherlands.

Get active outdoors 

You’ve probably already noticed two things about the Dutch landscape: it’s flat and there’s a lot of water! That means there are many easy-to-access, outdoor activities on offer. In fact, there are over 20 national parks in the Netherlands, including Nationaal Park De Biesbosch, near Rotterdam. Here, you can do things like hire a boat or go river walking.

Spring is a popular time to visit the gardens of Keukenhof – home to millions of spring bulbs alongside sculptures and other works of art. Visitors come to this part of the country – Lisse – to see the iconic windmills and tulip fields.  

Spending time outdoors in nature is a popular pastime in the Netherlands. Many InAxtion employees enjoy activities like cycling, hiking, and fishing in their spare time. Interested in going fishing? Check the regions you can fish in your area and make sure you have a fish pass – Vispas – available at for around €20. 

Join a community group

As you may have already discovered from working on one of our projects, there are many different nationalities living and working in the Netherlands. Expats from different countries tend to build their own community groups. These groups are often organized through Facebook.  For example, some of our workers from Poland arrange picnics to socialize and meet new people. 

Local neighborhoods also organize community events, like street parties. These celebrations often mark national holidays, such as Kingsday – Koningsdag – which honors King Willem-Alexander’s birthday on April 27th. You’ll also find many Dutch communities have a group chat on WhatsApp to share news about what’s going on in the local area, practical things like road closures, lost pets, and other information. 

Taking classes in Dutch is another way to meet new people. If you’re interested in learning the local language, InAxtion can help you find the right course. We also recommend learning the basics on a free app like Duolingo.

Plan social events in advance

If you want to integrate with the local Dutch community, or have plans to stay living here longer term, you may need to get used to planning social events in advance. In general, Dutch people like to plan social events ahead of time. 

Even going to meet someone for a coffee might need planning weeks before. Just dropping in to see someone, without arranging it beforehand, is unusual. WhatsApp or text message ahead is always appreciated! 

Take part in company events

Many InAxtion employees get opportunities to meet new people through events hosted by their company or the local industry – such as the oil refineries. Training events and company social activities – like bowling – are a chance to meet new people, including those from your home country.  

Here at InAxtion, we run two main social events each year: a summer barbecue and a Christmas party. This is a chance for employees to mingle and see each other, especially when they’re no longer working on the same project, or living in a different area, and haven’t seen each other in a while. 

We also have a Facebook group – with over 90 members – where we share handy information for employees, including things they need to know. For example, did you know that in the Netherlands, although many companies close for the day, Good Friday is not a national holiday?

Interested to discover more about living in the Netherlands? You might like these blogs: