November 2023: 7 things expats in the Netherlands need to know
It’s November already, and that means there are more changes coming for expats living in the Netherlands! Here’s a quick run-down of what you need to know this month!
The IamExpat Fair heads to The Hague
Our team is once again heading off the interweb and into real life to meet up with the expat community in The Hague. On November 4, from 10am to 5pm, the IamExpat Fair will be taking place in the Grote Kerk in The Hague, where you can find free workshops on every expat-relevant subject you could ever hope for, from housing and mortgages to finding a job and meeting with recruiters.
With opportunities to speak to experts from companies such as ABN AMRO, Expat Mortgages and UvA Talen, you can ask all the questions you need to help you settle and integrate into life in the Netherlands, as well as having a great opportunity to network with other expats and share tips and tricks about living the Dutch life. Sign up now for your free ticket and book in your favourite free workshops to avoid disappointment!
Netherlands Election takes place on November 22
Next up: politics. November is not usually such a big month in the Dutch political calendar, but this year there’s one big reason why: the Dutch general election 2023. Taking place on November 22, the Dutch will head to the polls and cast their votes to decide which party or parties will run the agenda for the next four years.
In the national elections, only Dutch citizens will be allowed to vote, unlike in other elections in the Netherlands. Some of the political parties currently climbing in the polls are the NSC, VVD, PvdA-GL, PVV, BBB and D66.
ETIAS is postponed (again!)
If you’ve been following the drama of the EU’s new ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System), you might be expecting the new electronic authorisation system of the European Union for visa-exempt visitors to be coming into force right about now…
However, after postponing the visa waiver’s implementation in 2022 to May 2023, and then November 2023, the EU has now announced that the system won’t be coming into force until the end of 2024. So while this change is less of an actual “change”, than a “change of schedule”, you and your visitors no longer have to worry about forking out seven euros at the airport to get your visa waived for the time being.
Sinterklaas heads to the Netherlands
In more fun news, since the pumpkins have gone away, it’s time to start preparing for the upcoming Christmas festivities here in the Netherlands, starting with the arrival of Sinterklaas in the country. While Sinterklaas itself is not celebrated until December 5, many children in the Netherlands love to welcome Saint Nicholas on his journey to the Netherlands from Spain.
This year, Sinterklaas will land in the city of Gorinchem, on November 18. You can find out more about the arrival of Sinterklaas on the Gemeente Gorinchem website in the run-up to the big day.
Children in the Netherlands celebrate Sint-Maarten
Another family celebration taking place in November is Sint-Maarten. On November 11, many Dutch children will head from house to house with homemade lanterns and singing songs, in the hopes that they can get some snoep (sweets).
You can find out more about the history of Sint-Maarten’s day here in the Netherlands in this article, and also learn some songs ahead of the big day. It might also be a good idea to grab a bag of sweets next time you’re getting your groceries, just in case some children ring your doorbell and treat you to a lovely Sint-Maarten song!
Meta launches ad-free version of Facebook and Instagram in the EU
For the expats sick and tired of online ads, there could now be a solution for you: ad-free subscriptions for Facebook and Instagram. The companies’ parent organisation Meta has announced that for 9,99 euros per month on web, and 12,99 euros a month on mobile.
Too steep for you? Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to access your normal Instagram and Facebook accounts with ads for free.
Health insurance premiums to be announced for 2024
Finally, November also means that it's time to revisit the topic of health insurance in the Netherlands. All health insurance providers have a deadline of November 12 to announce their 2024 monthly premiums, with the prices at most companies expected to rise next year.
Thankfully, it’s still possible to change your health insurance provider until the New Year, so if your insurer has gotten a little too pricey, this month or next is the time to switch!
Thumb image credit: Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock.com