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Interview with David H - an American in the Netherlands

Updated 16 Feb 2010

David R. Hampton, PhD is an experienced global leader in medical device innovation and new business development, creating profitable new products for diagnostic and informatics markets. He lives in Maastricht and writes the blog Random Walks in the Low Countries where he documents his occasional thoughts and observations on the expatriate experience.

Read more about expat life in the Netherlands in our Expat Arrivals country guide to the Netherlands or read more expat experiences in the Netherlands.

About David

Q: Where are you originally from?

A: Seattle, USA

Q: Where are you living now?

A: Maastricht, the Netherlands

Q: How long you have you lived here?

A: 1 year in England; 4 years Netherlands

Q: Did you move with a spouse/children?

A: Nope

Q: Why did you move; what do you do?

A: England to take a business degree at the University of Cambridge, then a corporate expat assignment in the Netherlands. Left corporate to start my own businesses one year ago here in the Netherlands.

About the Netherlands

Q: What do you enjoy most about your host city, how’s the quality of life in the Netherlands?

A: The cultural and national diversity: there are always festivals and events that highlight the people of the area.

Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home?

A: There is no sense of urgency to customer service here; getting a phone or internet connection made, a workman to drop around, is a real chore.

Q: Is the city safe?

A: Yes.

About living in the Netherlands

Q: Which are the best places/suburbs to live in the city as an expat?

A: Along the river, close to the city or in the countryside away from the industrial areas.

Q: How do you rate the standard of accommodation in the Netherlands?

A: Adequate.

Q: What’s the cost of living in the Netherlands compared to America? What is cheap or expensive in particular?

A: Housing is expensive, food is comparable, autos are expensive, trains are cheap.

Q: What are the locals like; do you mix mainly with other expats?

A: Once they become friends, locals are warm and outgoing, delightful people.

Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends?

A:  Not a lot of venues for non-students to meet other non-students.

About working here

Q: Did you have a problem getting a work visa/permit?

A: Nope.

Q: What’s the economic climate like in the city, is there plenty of work?

A: Seems good, but I work for myself

Q: How does the work culture differ from home?

A: People are more punctual, draw much stricter lines between work and not-work time.

Q: Did a relocation company help you with your move?

A: Yes.

Family and children

Q: How would you rate the healthcare?

A: Comparable to the US; no complaints, and much more reasonably priced

And finally…

Q: Is there any other advice you like to offer new expat arrivals?

A: Persist, keep a sense of humour, and make the effort to learn some Dutch: all of these will create successes that boost your confidence and lead to more successes.

– Interviewed February 2010

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