Adjusting to expat life in the Netherlands can be a challenge. On top of the regular considerations that must be made with any move, you must factor in the language issues that will surely crop up when establishing your new home. Make your life a little easier by knowing where to shop to furnish your home from home.
White Goods and Electronics
If you need to make an investment in a refrigerator, washer, dryer, or microwave, your best bet is either BCC or Media Markt. Both offer online shopping as well as delivery and installation of these large appliances (at an extra cost). Along with Dixons, they’re some of Holland’s biggest retailers for electrical items such as computers, mobiles, photos, videos, and gaming as well.
Furniture and Home Accessories
Headquartered in Leiden, Netherlands, the household retailer IKEA needs little introduction. IKEA is a great option if you’re looking to find a wide range of furnishings and home accessories on the cheap—from mattresses and desk lamps to cabinets and worktops. The main disadvantage is that IKEA Netherlands does not offer online shopping, so you’ll have to make a list and take it to the store to find your items. Once there, it’s possible to arrange collection, transport, and furniture assembly services.
Online shoppers will have better luck with Achica Homeware, a website that offers daily promotions on luxury designer goods ranging from furniture to tableware to artwork. You must create an account to take advantage of the offers and have your items shipped to your new international address.
On the transportation front, we all know that biking is the number one way to get around Holland. Look for a used bike on Marktplaats, or, if you’re living in Amsterdam, check out Recycled Bicycles to avoid paying big prices for your new bicycle.
If you’re handy around the house or simply want to give your walls a fresh coat of paint, you’ll want to head to one of Holland’s leading DIY chains. Formido, Gamma, Praxis, and Karwei are the big names in DIY retail. The biggest hassle, of course, is that you have to buy your products on location, so make sure to create a shopping list and brush up on your vocabulary before you go.
The Expat Scene
Getting started in a new city is always a bit easier if you have support. Fortunately, Holland has an extensive list of expat resources to help you adjust to the move. Expatica, AngloInfo, and IAmExpat are all great English-speaking resources; you may have some luck meeting friends and business contacts through JustLanded, Meetup, Conversation Exchange, and other expat-oriented community websites.