SETTLING IN TO LIFE IN THE NETHERLANDS…
By Tracey Taylor
If you are an expat like me, then you’ll know the difficulties that come with moving to a new country. There are always going to be some pesky challenges to deal with – be it cultural differences, language barriers, getting to grips with the local lifestyle or simply finding your way around.
As more and more of us are choosing to make the Netherlands our home – whether on a temporary or permanent basis and whether for work or love – the need for some solid assistance to help build that new life has become an essential element toward its success.
A prominent leader in this field is ACCESS, a knowledgeable and experienced team that has matured into the foremost expatriate support group in the Netherlands today.
ACCESS all areas
ACCESS is an independent (not-for-profit) organization with the key aim to enable and assist the wider expat population who has chosen to make the Netherlands their home.
Established in 1987, some 30 years on, the world in which we live and interact has changed in many ways. However at the heart of ACCESS, one constant has remained which is having expats help expats.
ACCESS relies heavily on an indispensable [English-speaking] international and Dutch volunteer community. It currently has a whopping 165 volunteers and all of them have experienced the relocation process first-hand.
With 47 different nationalities represented, this strong and empathetic volunteer base helps folks adjust to life in the Netherlands, facilitates integration into the Dutch culture and arranges networking events to make new friends.
ACCESS also offers a Helpdesk which is reachable via e-mail, phone and in-person; the Counseling Services Network; the Trainer Network and FAQ Guides. And that’s just for starters!
ACCESS for you
If you are new or recently moved to the Netherlands, ACCESS should certainly be on your radar. They have a wealth of useful tips and handy connections to aid your transition.
And looking ahead, the future seems bright and positive for ACCESS. Their goal to continue to deliver essential, comprehensive and unique support to expats of all nationalities and creeds is a promising one.
ACCESS and me
Now in addition to the helpful amenities that ACCESS provide, they also produce a stylish and informative (free) quarterly magazine that is well worth a read.
I myself have the pleasure to write for the publication from time to time and I’d like to thank the team for that opportunity – in particular, Mandie van der Meer-Danielski (Editor-in-Chief) and Deborah Valentine (Executive Director).
I actually caught up with Mandie van der Meer-Danielski, to ask her thoughts about the ACCESS organization:
“Finding ACCESS changed my life entirely for the better. I have the opportunity to develop my professional skills, to engage with people of cultures from around the world, and to learn about the Netherlands and about myself”, she says.
Mandie goes on to add that “working with ACCESS has given me confidence in both my working life and my personal life. I’ve made friends and network connections that will last many years to come. I highly recommend getting involved!”
I’ll leave things on that very positive note!
ACCESS offices can be found in The Hague, Utrecht, Amsterdam and Leiden and can be reached via e-mail, telephone or by simply popping by.
Full details and lots more info can be found on the ACCESS website. http://www.access-nl.org
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
For tips on fabulous eats in & around Maastricht, below a link to my “Lekker Limburg” article which was originally published in ACCESS magazine in the Spring 2016 edition.
ACCESS Spring 2016 edition – Lekker Limburg article
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tracey Taylor is a freelance writer who loves food, wine and life in Limburg. Originally from Ireland, now residing in beautiful Maastricht with her darling Dave and their fancy cat, Tubbs.