Packing to leave for a new country can be fun and exciting but also tedious. While trying to make space in your luggage for outfits to impress your future classmates, favourite books to pass alone time or your childhood toy to ease the lonely nights, you may start stressing about not leaving anything important behind.
Do not despair, for we are here to remind you of some of the essentials that you will need to make your stay in the Netherlands more enjoyable!
Finalise Your Enrollment
Depending on what type of education you had just completed before enrolling in a University in the Netherlands, you may still need to send a couple of certificates to the university, finish paying your tuition fee or to apply for student finance.
Thus, do not forget to double-check if you have completed all these steps. After all, we all know that the Dutch higher education system can be rather complex and each institute may have a different application procedure requiring different documents.
What to bring when moving to the Netherlands
Passport, Birth Certificate and other official documents
The first thing you should do before waving goodbye to your friends and family is checking if you have your passport, identity card, birth certificate and health insurance.
While your health insurance seems like an obvious document to bring, especially if you are coming from a country that is part of the EU, you may wonder why would you need both your identity card and passport?
From losing your passport to completing a CV for an unexpected job application, it is always useful to bring all these documents just in case you might need them.
If you believe that you will end up working in the Netherlands, you may have to prepare your CV. To prove your range of skills, do not forget to bring, if you own them, valid language certificates and a couple of diplomas obtained from participation in important extracurricular activities.
TIP: If you are in fear of losing your documents, try investing in a practical folder to keep them organised, all in the same place.
Although the Netherlands is one of the European countries that has invested considerably in implementing card payments among a few other payment methods for all sorts of services, you may be shocked to find out that the card from your home country may not be accepted in every Dutch shop.
While we encourage you in the near future to open a Dutch bank account, having some euros in cash in your first few months in the Netherlands may spare you of the awkward moment at the checkout when your card is declined and you have to run to the nearest ATM.
As you may also want to visit pubs and restaurants with your newly-made friends or buy various home supplies, having around 800-900 euros is advisable. The cost of living in the Netherlands as a student is about 500 euros per month, rent excluded.
Clothes for all seasons and occasions
As you have probably heard of before, in the Netherlands it does rain quite a lot. Even if you come from a country with a similar climate you may be still overwhelmed by the terrible combination of wind and raindrops that feel like needles piercing through your skin.
Consequently, a must-have for surviving in the Dutch weather is a sturdy, reliable raincoat. You can also bring an umbrella but it may turn out to be a futile investment as the strong wind in the Netherlands can easily break it. If your backpack is not waterproof, consider buying a rainfly for it, otherwise your books may be soggy after a day of wandering in the Dutch rain.
Additionally, a good pair of boots and/or wellingtons would be useful to keep your feet warm and dry. Furthermore, while cycling you will need a pair of gloves in order to protect your skin from drying out due to the wind.
However, after ruthless months of cold, the sun will start shining again sometime in spring and during the summer; and because of the insane amounts of water channels spread across most of the Netherlands, it will be, depending on what type of climate you are accustomed to, unbearably humid.
Therefore, we warmly advise you to pack some cotton t-shirts and even a pair of shorts, so you will not end up sweating on such days.
If you worry about how to dress for university, you should know that there is no strictly imposed uniform. As long as you do not opt for outrageous outfits, you are free to rock dreadlocks and pink hair, piercings and hats, colourful surfer shirts and heels.
If you plan on going out at night to a pub or a club, you can make room in your suitcase for some ‘fancier’ outfits. Nevertheless, considering your personality and, of course, your cultural background, if you do not want to stand out, you should know that you can often spot Dutch people wearing t-shirts or pullovers and jeans, even to clubs.
Unless you know that you will attend a graduation party, or other formal events, do not worry about filling your luggage with a gown or a costume.
Your Laptop, Phone and Chargers
Probably another obvious one, but regardless of the study programme, you will most likely need to complete a range of assignments or coursework on a laptop or computer. Whether it is for writing, researching, or accessing your student account on the website of your University to check your grades, having a laptop is of paramount importance. Furthermore, although it is highly unlikely nowadays for one to leave behind their phone, we gently remind you not to forget to bring your phone and charger with you so that you can quickly communicate with your folks.
If you love reading but want to save some money, you could also bring a kindle or any other type of e-book/ tablet. Furthermore, if you fancy photography and own a camera yourself, do not leave it at home as the Netherlands is full of aesthetically pleasing streets, museums and sceneries worth preserving in your own collection of photographs.
One last important matter to take into consideration is the type of sockets. More precisely, in the Netherlands, the power plugs and sockets are of type C and F. If you come from the outside of Europe you may need to buy a socket adaptor in order to charge your devices.