Careful moving to the Netherlands with his wife. Part 3: work, colleagues and other life

    In 2017-2018, I was looking for work in Europe and found in the Netherlands (you can read about it here ). In the summer of 2018, my wife and I gradually moved from the Moscow Region to the suburbs of Eindhoven and more or less settled there (this is described here ).

    Since then, a year has passed. On the one hand - a little, and on the other - enough to share their experiences and observations. I share under the cut.

    Bondarchuk’s shotgun Mortgage is still there, but I won’t tell anything about it :)


    I would not call the Netherlands a leader in high or information technology. There are no development offices of world giants such as Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft. There are local offices with a smaller rank and ... the low popularity of the profession of developer. Perhaps that is why the law allows you to easily import the right specialist.

    I’m from the couch - because already in the Netherlands myself I wasn’t looking for work, I just lazily flipped through vacancies when it was boring - and so, from the couch it seems to me that most of all IT work is in Amsterdam. And there work is more connected in the web and SaaS (Uber, Bucking - everything in Amsterdam). The second place with a high concentration of vacancies is Eindhoven, a city in the south of the Netherlands, here basically every Embedded and Automotive. There is work in other cities, large and not very, but already noticeably smaller. Even in Rotterdam, IT is not a lot of vacancies.

    Types of Labor Relations

    In the Netherlands, I have come across the following ways of hiring IT professionals for work:

    1. Permanent, he is a perpetual contract. More than others, it is similar to the standard method of employment in Russia. Pros: the migration service issues a residence permit immediately for 5 years, banks issue a mortgage, it is difficult to dismiss an employee. Minus: not the highest salary.
    2. Temporary contract, from 3 to 12 months. Cons: a residence permit seems to be issued only for the duration of the contract, the contract may not be renewed, the bank most likely will not give a mortgage if the contract is shorter than 1 year. Plus: they pay more for the risk of losing their jobs.
    3. The combination of the previous two. The intermediary office concludes a permanent contract with the employee and leases the specialist to the employer itself. Contracts between offices are concluded for short periods - months by 3. Plus for the employee: even if the final employer doesn’t do very well and doesn’t renew the next contract, the employee will continue to receive a full salary. Minus as in any bodyshop: they sell you as an expert, but pay you as an intern.

    By the way, I heard that a person was fired without waiting for the end of the contract. With a notice of 2 months, but still.


    They like Scrum very much, well, just really. It happens that the descriptions of local vacancies mention Lean and / or Kanban, but the vast majority - Scrum. Some companies are just starting to implement it at home (yes, in 2018-2019). Some use it so violently that it takes the form of a cargo cult.

    I refer my office to the latter. We have daily planning meetings, retrospectives, sprint planning, planning large iterations (for 3-4 months), detailed team reviews of upcoming tasks, separate rallies for scrum-masters, separate rallies for technical experts, rallies of technical committee, rallies of competency owners, etc. P. I used to play scrum in Russia, but there wasn’t such meaningless observance of all the rituals.

    Periodically, people complain about the dominance of rallies, but they do not become smaller. Another example of meaninglessness is the team happiness index, compiled in each retrospective. The team itself takes it rather seriously, many simply say with smiles that they are unhappy, they can even arrange a flash mob (who said “conspiracy”?). I once asked the Scrum master why this is necessary at all? He replied that management is carefully looking at this index and is trying to maintain the team in high spirits. How exactly he does this - I did not ask.

    International team

    This is my case. In my environment, 3 main groups can be distinguished: the Dutch, the Russians (or rather the Russian speakers, for the locals Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians are all Russians) and Indians (for all others they are just Indians, they distinguish themselves by many criteria). The next largest national “groups” are: Indonesians (Indonesia was a colony of the Netherlands, its inhabitants often come to study, integrate easily and stay), Romanians and Turks. There are still British, Belgians, Spaniards, Chinese, Colombians.

    The common language is English. Although the Dutch do not hesitate to discuss among themselves both working and non-working topics in the Dutch language (in the open space, i.e. for all). At first it surprised me, but now I myself can ask something in Russian. All others in this regard are not far behind.

    Understanding English with some emphasis requires effort from me. These are, for example, some Hindu accents and Spanish. There are no Frenchmen in my unit, but sometimes I have to listen on Skype to our remote Frenchman. It’s still very difficult for me to understand the French accent.

    Netherlands team

    This is the wife at work. 90% are local. With non-native they speak English, among themselves - in Dutch. The average age is higher than in a Russian IT company, relations are much more business-like.

    Work style

    I would say the same as in Moscow. I have heard that the Dutch, they say, like robots, work from and to, not distracted by anything. No, they drive teas, and they stick on the phone, and they look at Facebook and YouTube, and all sorts of pictures are posted to the general chat.

    But the work schedule is different from Moscow. I remember that in Moscow I came to 12 of one of my works and was one of the first. Here I am usually at the workplace at 8:15, and many of my Dutch colleagues have been in the office for an hour. But they go home at 4 pm.

    Processing happens, but very rarely. A normal Dutchman spends exactly 8 hours in the office, plus a lunch break (no more than an hour, but less can be). There is no strict time control, but if you stupidly skip the day, they will notice and remember (one of the local did this and did not receive an extension of the contract).

    Another difference from Russia is that a 36- or 32-hour work week is normal here. Salaries are reduced proportionally, but for young parents, for example, it is still more profitable than paying day care for children for the whole week. This is in IT, and so there are jobs with one working day per week. I think these are echoes of the old order. Working women here have become the norm recently - in the 80s. Previously, a girl, having married, stopped working and was engaged exclusively in household chores.

    A life

    I must say right away - neither my wife nor I had any cultural shock. Yes, much is arranged differently here, but there are no grandiose differences. In any case, it is not scary to make a mistake. I often behaved stupidly and / or incorrectly (I tried to take the scanner out of the stand in the supermarket, without clicking on the desired button, I tried to take a picture of the controller in the bus, etc.), and they simply corrected me politely.


    The official language, of course, is Dutch. The vast majority of residents know English very well and can easily speak it. For the whole year I met only two who spoke poor English. This is the owner of my rented apartment and a repairman who came to repair a hurricane damaged roof.

    The Dutch may have a slight accent in English, a tendency to lisp (for example, " first " can be pronounced " foresht "). But this is absolutely not a problem. It's funny that they can speak English using Dutch grammar. For example, to find out the name of the person in question, one of my colleagues once asked, “How is he called?” But firstly, this rarely happens, and secondly, whose cow would mumble.

    The Dutch language, although uncomplicated (similar to both English and German), has some sounds that the Russian people can’t reproduce, but cannot hear correctly. My colleague for a long time tried to teach us, Russian-speakers, to pronounce trui correctly , but we didn’t succeed. On the other hand, they do not have much of a difference between f and in , with , and z , and our cathedral , a fence and constipation sound about the same.

    Another feature that makes learning a language difficult is that everyday pronunciation is different from spelling. Consonants are reduced and voiced, extra vowels may appear, but may not appear. Plus a bunch of local accents in a very small country.

    Bureaucracy and documents

    If in oral communication you can always switch to English, then all official letters and documents have to be read in Dutch. Notification of registration at the place of residence, lease agreement, referral to a doctor, tax reminder, etc. etc. - everything is in Dutch. I can’t imagine what I would do without a Google translator.


    I'll start with the stereotype. Yes, there are a lot of cyclists. But if in the center of Amsterdam you have to constantly dodge them, then in Eindhoven and the surrounding area there are fewer of them than motorists.

    Many have a car. They drive to work by car (sometimes even beyond 100 km.), For shopping, and carry children to schools and circles. Everything is found on the roads - from twenty-year compact cars to huge American pickups, from vintage Beetles to the brand-new Tesla (by the way, they are produced here - in Tilburg). I asked my colleagues: a car costs about € 200 per month, 100 for gasoline, 100 for insurance.

    From public transport in my area only buses. On popular routes, the usual interval is 10-15 minutes, the schedule is respected. My bus runs once every half an hour and is always 3-10 minutes late. It is most convenient to have a registered transport card (OV-chipkaart) and attach it to a bank account. On it you can buy different discounts. For example, in the morning my trip to work costs about € 2.5, and in the evening home - € 1.5. Total per month, my transportation costs are approximately € 85-90, the same for my wife.

    For traveling around the country there are trains (expensive, they often go and punctually) and FlixBus buses (cheap, but several times a day at best). The latter go all over Europe, but shaking on the bus for more than 2 hours is a dubious pleasure, in my opinion.

    The medicine

    Have you heard that in the Netherlands everyone is treated with long walks and paracetamol? It is not far from the truth. The locals themselves are not averse to joking about this topic.

    The choice of drugs that you can buy without a prescription is very, very limited compared to those in Russia. To get to a specialist doctor, you need to go to a family doctor several times to no avail (aka huisarts, aka GP - general practitioner). Here he also can send to drink paracetamol from all diseases.

    Housearts receives money from the insurance simply because the person is assigned to it. But you can change the family doctor at any time. There are even family doctors especially for expats. To this we go and my wife. All communication in English, of course, the doctor himself is quite adequate, I have never offered paracetamol. But from the first complaint to the visit to the specialist, 1-2 months pass, which are spent on taking tests and selecting medications (“Use such an ointment, if it does not help, come in a couple of weeks”).

    The recipe from our expats: if you suspect something is bad, and local doctors do not even want to conduct an examination - fly to your homeland (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Minsk, etc.), get a diagnosis there, translate it, show it here. They say it works. My wife brought a bunch of her medical papers with a translation, so I quickly got to the right doctors here and got prescriptions for the right medicines.

    I can’t say anything about dentistry. Before moving, we went to our Russian dentists, treated our teeth. And when we are in Russia, we go at least for a routine inspection. One colleague, a Pakistani, went to a Dutch dentist because of the simplicity of his soul, he treated either 3 or 4 teeth. At € 700.


    From the good: all visits to the family doctor and some medications are fully covered by health insurance. And if you pay, then part of the cost of dentistry.

    Medical insurance itself is compulsory, costs an average of € 115 per person, depending on the options chosen. One of the most important options is the franchise value (eigen risico). The insurance does not cover some things, you have to pay yourself. But only until the sum of such expenses for the year does not exceed this deductible. All further expenses are fully covered by insurance. Accordingly, the higher the deductible, the cheaper the insurance. For those who have health problems and are forced to closely monitor their own carcass, it is more profitable to have a small franchise.

    I already talked about liability insurance - the only insurance (besides medical insurance) that I have. If I damage other people's property, insurance will cover it. In general, there are many insurances: for a car, for housing, for a lawyer in case of a sudden lawsuit, for damage to one's own property, etc. The latter, incidentally, the Dutch are trying not to abuse, otherwise the insurance simply denies the insurance itself.

    Entertainment and leisure

    I am not a theater-goer and not a fan of museums; therefore, I do not suffer from the absence of the former, and I do not go to the latter. Therefore, I will not say anything about it.

    The most important art for us is cinema. There is complete order with this. Most films are available for rent in English with Dutch subtitles. A ticket costs an average of € 15. But for regular customers (like my wife, for example), movie theaters offer subscriptions. € 20-30 per month (depending on the “tolerance level”) - and watch how many films you want (but only once).

    Bars with mostly beer, but there are also cocktail. The price of a cocktail is from € 7 to € 15, about 3 times more expensive than in Moscow.

    There are always all kinds of thematic fairs (for example, pumpkin in the fall) and educational exhibitions for children where you can touch the robot. My colleagues with children are very fond of such events. But here we already need a car, because you have to go to some village 30 kilometers from the city.

    Food and Products

    Local cuisine is not distinguished by sophistication. Actually, apart from the stamppot (mashed potatoes with herbs and / or vegetables) and barely salty herring, I can’t remember anything purely Dutch.

    But local vegetables - the highest grade! Tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, carrots and other, and other - everything is local and very tasty. And expensive, very good tomatoes - about € 5 per kilo. Fruits are mainly imported, as in Russia. Berries - and so, and so, there are local, there are Spanish, for example.

    Fresh meat is sold in every supermarket. This is mainly pork, chicken and beef. Pork is the cheapest, from € 8 per kilo.

    Very few sausages. Uncooked German sausages are good; smoked and boiled sausages are bad. In general, for my taste, everything that is made from minced meat turns out badly. I will eat local sausages only if I am in a hurry and there is no other food. Hamon, probably, is, but I was not interested.

    There are no problems with cheese (I was interested :). Gouda, Camembert, Brie, Parmesan, Dor Blue - for every taste, € 10-25 per kilogram.

    Buckwheat, by the way, is in ordinary supermarkets. True, unroasted. Milk with a fat content of 1.5% and 3%. Instead of sour cream and cottage cheese - many options for local kwark'a .

    In supermarkets there are constantly discounts on certain products. Thrift is a national trait of the Dutch, so there is nothing shameful in the active purchase of promotional goods. Even if they are not really needed :)

    Income and expenses

    Our family of 2 spends a minimum of € 3,000 a month on living. This includes rental housing (€ 1100), payment of all utilities (€ 250), insurance (€ 250), travel expenses (€ 200), meals (€ 400), clothing and low-cost entertainment (movies, cafes, trips to neighboring cities ) The combined income of two working people allows you to pay for all this, sometimes to make larger purchases (I bought 2 monitors, a TV, 2 lenses here) and save money.

    Salaries are different, in IT they are higher than the national average. The main thing to remember is that all the amounts discussed are pre-tax and most likely subject to vacation pay. One of my Asian colleagues was unpleasantly surprised when it turned out that taxes were taken from his salary. Holidays are 8% of the annual salary and are always paid in May. Therefore, in order to get the monthly salary from the annual salary, it is necessary to divide not by 12, but by 12.96.

    Taxes in the Netherlands are high compared to Russia. The progressive scale. The rules for calculating net income are nontrivial. In addition to the income tax itself, there are also pension contributions and a tax credit - this thing reduces the tax base and, accordingly, the tax. tax calculator gives you the right idea of ​​net pay.

    I will repeat the truth: before moving it is important to imagine the level of expenses and salaries in a new place. It turns out that not all my colleagues knew about this. Someone was lucky, and the company offered more money than they requested. To whom - no, and after a couple of months they had to look for another job, because the salary was too small.


    When I left for the Netherlands, I really hoped to get rid of the long and dull Moscow winter. Last summer there was +35, in October +20 - beauty! But in November, almost the same gray and cold gloom came. In February, 2 spring weeks happened: +15 and the sun. Then again gloomy until April. In general, although the winter here is much warmer than in Moscow, it is just as dull.

    But here it’s clean, very clean. Despite the fact that everywhere there are lawns and parks, i.e. there is enough soil, even after heavy rain there is no dirt.

    Garbage and its sorting

    In the previous part, I mentioned that I did not have to sort the garbage in a temporary apartment. And now it is necessary. I divide it into: paper, glass, food waste, plastic and metal, old clothes and shoes, batteries and chemical waste, everything else. There is a site for a local garbage disposal company where you can find out what type of garbage belongs.

    Each type of garbage is taken out separately according to the schedule. Food waste - every week, paper, etc. - once a month, chemical waste - twice a year.

    In general, everything related to household waste depends on the municipality. Somewhere garbage is not sorted at all, they are all dumped into underground containers (as in the centers of big cities), somewhere there are only 4 types of garbage, and somewhere around 7, like mine.

    Moreover, the Dutch themselves do not really believe in all this sorting of waste. My colleagues have repeatedly suggested that all the garbage is simply exported to China, India, Africa (underline as necessary) and there it stupidly falls into huge heaps.

    Law and order

    I did not have to communicate with the police either in Russia or in the Netherlands. Therefore, I can’t compare, and everything described below is from the words of my colleagues.

    The police here are not omnipotent and quite asleep. A colleague stole something from a car parked near the house three times, but contacting the police never yielded results. Bicycles also steal the only way. Therefore, many go to junk, which is not a pity.

    On the other hand, it’s quite safe here. During the year of my life, I met only one person who behaved indecently (not even aggressively).

    And there is such a thing as gedogen . This is like a light version of our "if you can’t, but really want to, then you can." Gedogen admits contradictions between laws and looks through some fingers at some violations.

    For example, marijuana can be bought, but not sold. But they sell it. Well then, gedogen . Or someone owes taxes to the state, but less than € 50. Then figs with him, gedogen . Or a local holiday in the city, contrary to the traffic rules, a bunch of children are taken in a simple cart not fastened under the supervision of only a tractor driver. Well, a holiday, gedogen .


    Here you have to pay for a lot, and this is not cheap. But any work here is paid quite well. There is no tenfold difference between the salary of a programmer and a cleaning lady (and accordingly the programmer will not receive a salary 5-6 times the median salary).

    The developer’s income, although not bad even by Dutch standards, is far behind that in the United States. And there are almost no prestigious IT-employers here.

    But in the Netherlands it is easy to invite a foreign specialist to work, so there are many of us here. Many use such work as a springboard to move to the States or the richer parts of Europe (London, Zurich).

    For a comfortable life, knowledge of English alone is sufficient. At least in the first few years. The climate, although milder than in central Russia, is also capable of causing winter depression.

    In general, the Netherlands is neither heaven nor hell. This is a country with its lifestyle, calm and unhurried. It is clean on the streets, there is no domestic Russophobia and there is moderate gouging. Life here is not the ultimate dream, but quite comfortable.

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