Chunk, on 01 August 2011 - 07:39 PM, said:
Utrecht and Amsterdam are very pricey for renters. I live in South Holland which is relatively cheap - especially as I get a tax break on my mortgage. Most companies in Holland pay for public transport costs which is a big plus if you have to commute.
A few downsides to living in Holland is that the income tax is high (52% for me), health insurance is compulsory (about 130 eur per month) and general food/consumer goods are far more expensive than in the UK.
The grass isn't always greener. I'm coming home next year.
We came very close to moving to The Netherlands about two years ago.
Then we moved to a rural area. It's like living in a different country. In just about every respect. I've never rated any of our cities and I don't think we do urban living very well over here. We do have some stunning countryside, though.
It isn't congested. People say hello to you. You don't bitch with neighbours about parking. You can't hear the neighbour through the wall when they go to the toilet. The sky is actually dark at night. It is quiet - no traffic noise. There is community spirit. There is almost no crime. It feels safe walking around at night in pitch darkness. Neighbours look out for each other. The GP surgery is excellent. There are two superb pubs. Lots of wildlife. The nearest town is only four miles away and it's lovely.
It's expensive though. At least this bit of rural Hampshire is.
I've always loved Amsterdam and Utrecht (apart from the train station, which has a very British kind of concrete monstrosity look to it - but at least it's only one building, not the general standard!) is very pretty, Delft also.
And of all the countries in the world I've always thought the Netherlands and Germany are most similar to the UK culturally (the former being very rich in culture, never been to the latter so can't comment)
The UK and the Netherlands swapped over, so the UK is now Europe's most densely populated country. That said, NL looks "organised" or "planned" - it's obvious from the air. Most of our urban areas look like it was all dropped out of the sky and left wherever it fell.
We did the maths, and we wouldn't have been any better off in Amsterdam then, suspect it hasn't changed all that much now. Though, do be aware that the price of groceries over here is inflating by about 20% a year if our weekly shop is anything to go by.
We now have two cats so city living isn't an option (I know lots of people in Amsterdam do have cats, but our pair are very much outdoor cats) and as the UK literally falls to bits before our very eyes we've started looking at this again, more towards the south of the country.
Perhaps we might cross at the ferry terminal