Integrated Expat - a British expat's views on Nijmegen, Arnhem & the Dutch

Living with the Dutch by a long-term British expat


For over half my life, I’ve lived in the Netherlands and it has become my home. When I moved here in the late 1980s, I expected to stay for a couple of years then return to England when my husband changed his job. Instead, we became (almost) completely integrated, adopting the best features of Dutch life and tradition, balancing it with the best of British. Working in an international environment, we always had Dutch, English and international friends. Becoming a stay-at-home mum, our children went to Dutch schools, but we kept up the international connections by joining an expat club, which I’m still committed to, nearly 20 years down the line. Why socialise with other expats if I’m so integrated? There’s nothing like a shared experience to bind people together and no matter where people come from and how well they speak their host language, speaking your mother tongue is something we all need from time to time.

At school, my French homework was always the first I did. I dreamed of being an interpreter and living abroad, but went for the safe option of being a librarian. I had some “interesting” jobs when I first moved here, then was lucky enough to work as a project assistant for an international project and a marketing assistant, both for a technical company. Now I’m living the dream, in the Netherlands with a near-bilingual proficiency in Dutch and translating Dutch to English, proofreading and editing. I also enjoy writing newsletters, whether that’s the annual family letter at Christmas, the departmental newsletter or articles for the expat club.

My book obsession is fed by active membership of and I review the books I read at Goodreads. I’ve also discovered a love of gardening so I have had an allotment for about 5 years and have become really interested in the environment and organic ways of growing your own food. About 2 years ago I became a vegetarian, mostly as a way of reducing my carbon footprint. You would never have described me as “sporty” in the past, but in a bid to lose weight, I joined a gym and have never looked back. I’ve tried everything from 1980s aerobics, Tae Bo and Callanetics, but my favourites at the moment are Gladiator, Steps, spinning and pilates and I’ve been running, off and on, for just over a year. Speed is not one of my attributes: I came in last in the only event I ran, but it was a great feeling crossing the finishing line. I’ve always been a cyclist; true joy is speeding head down with the wind behind you on a country lane or on top of a dike. One of the things I love about the Netherlands is how easy it is to live without a car on a day-to-day basis so I don’t drive (but I’m glad my husband does).

Welcome to my blog! I expect to be writing about life in Holland, Dutch language, traditions, expat life. I live near Nijmegen, so I will try to include information about things to do, places to see and events in the Nijmegen / Arnhem region of Gelderland.


6 thoughts on “About

  1. I’ve been to the Netherlands a couple of times and felt that there was a great quality of life there. Visited Winschoten in the north and was impressed with how stylish it was with a lovely peaceful feel.

  2. The Netherlands always fares well in the happiness league. Most people have a good work – life balance and there seems less keeping up with the Jones than in the UK or US. The Dutch are mostly down-to-earth and family-oriented and that makes people contented. I’ve had good experiences with the healthcare and primary and secondary education systems with my family, too. I also like the innovative and positive mindset of many people, and I really do feel like it’s my home.

  3. You are right about innovation. Many years ago I employed a Dutch accountant; she had never carried out a bank reconciliation because the Dutch had done away with cheques and all banking transactions were immediate. We like to think of London as the financial centre of Europe – we are still in the dark ages.

  4. Thank you for stopping by and following my blog! I really appreciate it. I also really like that you give feedback! I have a really soft spot for the Dutch and am looking forward to reading more over here.

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