You might want to visit The Netherlands on vacation, or move to The Netherlands for studies or as an expatriate. Here are a few tips for you to be able to blend in sooner than you expect.

The major language spoken is Dutch but don’t be scared about a barrier in communication, almost everyone or should i say 98% of Dutch people understand English, not all are perfect but for a native English speaker, you will always understand what they are trying to say if the spoken words is not clear enough. Communication is never always an issue.

As a Nigerian, riding a bicycle as an adult seems awkward as it is not very common in the country as a means of transportation but here in Netherlands, every dutch citizen I know and have come across knows how to ride a bicycle right from a very young age up until their adulthood and in some cases, you see older people from 60 – 70 years riding bicycles from their houses to shops, work, school, and other places within the municipality or a certain distance. Obviously,you cannot travel from one city to the other except you are on a mission. *lol* The most surprisingly part of it is the way they have motorways or lanes for cars, it is also applicable for bicycles, they have bicycle lanes as well. Bicycles is commonly called a bike. For people living outside the Netherlands where riding bicycles is not common especially to my people from Nigeria *winks*, it is advisable to learn how to ride one if you intend visiting the country or staying for more than a month because it is going to come in very handy.

To move in freely at a cheaper rate with the transport system, there is what is called an OV-chipkaart. It is the new public transport payment system that can be used all over the country for trams, metro and buses. There are three types of OV-chipkaart namely: Disposable OV-chipkaart which is mostly used by tourists and can be used once a day or for the whole day with unlimited travel depending on your choice and can be gotten from vending machines at the station. it cannot be recharged There is also the Anonymous OV-chipkaart which can be gotten from vending machines at the station or counter of carriers or in some convenience stores and supermarkets as well. The anonymous card can be reloaded and it can be used by people who intend to stay for up to two weeks or more as it saves you more than buying a ticket each time you want to want to move within a city or country. Lastly, there is the personal OV-chipkaart which includes a photo, name and date of birth, this is advisable for people going to live in the Netherlands for a longer period. The personal OV-chipkaart can also be loaded with an off-peak hours train travel discount from NS (Dutch Railway). it is also possible to load the card with season tickets and other products. All cards are required to be checked in and out of every trip made otherwise, for the disposable card, it becomes invalid and for the anonymous and personal card, it keeps reading until u have no money left in it. Students have a travel package that entitles them to choose to travel during the week or weekends for free except you travel outside of the free travel period, the university or educational board will give more information on that package.

When you finally settle in as regards accommodation and this information is probable useful for those living for a long period of time. You should try to locate the Town Hall to register for a citizen service number BSN (Burgerservicenummer). The documents needed are; International passport with a valid visa in it or residence card, legalized/notarized birth certificate gotten from the local government where you were born (for Nigerians), I’m not sure about citizens of other countries, accommodation contract and a proof of being a student or worker. The number is ready in about a week or two depending on the case. The number is always required to open a bank account, to register for health insurance and any other registration needed by the Government, School or Organization as it is your personal number. The number is recorded on your passport, driving licence and identity card.
To open a bank account in The Netherlands, You need to have your identity card, for foreigners which is your international passport, with your visa in it or residence card, whichever the case applies to you, if you are a student or worker, a proof is required and a BSN number.
That is enough information for now,,, You can leave a comment and will reply accordingly…
*winks* E.A.

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