India to the Netherlands: a checklist from departure to arrival

Clothes

What and how many clothes you bring and buy here in the Netherlands will depend on the duration of your stay in the Netherlands, whether you will be here for just a year, or for longer. 

On the whole, you will need clothes to accommodate all the weather conditions and seasons. More information of the climate on the Netherlands can be found in the next tab (or however this is split.) 

Additionally it is vital that you have a raincoat or some form of rain proof clothing because while the weather may be unpredictable, rain is always guaranteed in the Netherlands. 

However, as a general guideline would be clothing for Winter and Summer weather. These will also serve as ideal clothing for the Spring and Autumn. 

Many clothes for the Winter can be purchased here. Here is a small list of reasonably priced clothing stores;

  • Hema (Low priced, great for basics)
  • Primark  (Low to reasonably priced, clothes for all situations)
  • C&A (Reasonably priced, clothes for all situations)
  • H&M (Reasonably to high priced, clothes for all situations)

Seasons

You will get the chance to explore the traditional four seasons of Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer. Although there is a high chance you will experience days where all four happen within the span of a day. 

Your arrival to the Netherlands will most likely be amidst the transition from Summer to Autumn. When you arrive in August/September you will witness the spectacular time where Summer transforms beautifully, albeit with frequent rainy days, into the picturesque Autumn where the sparkling sun departs sooner each passing day and the leaves begin to change colour. 

Winters are quite cold in the Netherlands, with temperatures definitively staying in the single figures and dropping below freezing now and then. Typically below freezing weather is observed anywhere between December to February, although there are exceptions to this.

Spring is generally a very pleasant time. Temperatures generally stay in the ten’s. 

While Dutch Summers are not as hot as those in India, temperatures can reach the mid 30’s.Moreover, it goes without saying that all of this is accompanied with bouts of rain. 

Registration at your local municipality

Regardless of how long you plan on staying in the Netherlands, if that time exceeds 4 months, it is compulsory to register (inschrijven) at the town hall of the municipality (gemeente) that comes in the locality of where you are living. The address of your registrations needs to be your home address. 

Two of the most important reasons to get registered are; to allow the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP) to handle emergency situations, track the size of the Dutch population amongst other important factors related to the Dutch demographic data. Secondly, it is only after registration that you will get your BSN number (your personal public service number). This is the number you will need for any and all administrative processes in the Netherlands including but not limited to;

  • Opening a bank account
  • Receiving your salary
  • Visiting a doctor
  • Getting health insurance & more
Process of registration

In most cases, you are required to register within the first 5 days of your arrival in the Netherlands. However, if you do not yet have a fixed address, you should register as soon as you have a finalised rental contract. 

If you are unsure about the registration process with your gemeente then please call your local gemeente and ask for an appointment for "registration from abroad" (inschrijven vanuit het buitenland). You will usually receive confirmation by post or email which will also list the documents you need to bring with you. The numbers of various town halls and other registration details are posted in the link Iamexpat.nl.

The above link is also applicable for the sections required documents, quick tips registration and renting in NL and deregistering.

If your home address changes at any time, this needs to be reported to the gemeente as soon as the change is finalised. However, each gemeente has slight differences in their approach and process, so the best way forwards would be to contact the relevant gemeente beforehand and ask them any outstanding questions you may have. 

Required Documents
  • Valid passport or ID card (not a driving license)
  • Residence permit (if applicable, or a sticker in your passport, a plastic ID card, or a letter from the Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst or IND)
  • Your rental contract
  • A certified copy of your birth certificate
  • (If applicable) your foreign marriage certificate

“Please note that the gemeente only accept official documents in Dutch, English, French or German, so you may need to get an official translation for other languages. Some documents, such as your birth certificate, may also require proof of authenticity (legalisatie) such as an apostille, which you will need to get before leaving your home country.” (Source)

Quick tips - Registration and Renting in The Netherlands

Before renting a room or apartment, check that you are able to register at that address. This is important to watch out for as there are house owners who may not allow registration to avoid paying additional tax. 

There are severe penalties in place in the form of fines that can amount up to 325 Euros depending on the Gemeente if one has not registered.

Deregistering

You will need to deregister from the gemeente about a month before you leave the Netherlands. Like with registering, this is also free of cost

Groceries

There is no denial that one of the most important necessities to survive is food! In the past decade, the Netherland's food palette has developed and grown a global taste. Below you will find a list of the popular groceries in the Netherlands rated on the basis of price and quality. 

Price Quality
Good Medium
Low Lidl Aldi
Reasonable Albert Heijn, Jumbo -
High Spar -

For specific Indian foods, there are several chains available depending on the city that will have what you need. Several south Asian, and south east Asian shops exist to help with Indian food needs

Digital Identification (DigiID)

What it this? It is short for Digital Identification. While this is not required for international students, it can prove to be very useful. 

DigiD is an online ID system that allows for one to access many government portals and make changes to or update your personal information online. You need a DigiD if you want to do any online administration in the Netherlands. 

How to apply? Step by step guide 

Tips, Tricks and Additional Information

Dinner times

The Dutch like to have their dinner early at about 18:00, keep that in mind when making plans with Dutch friends or if you plan on eating out someday.

In case of theft

Firstly, it is always a good idea to be careful with your belongings and remember to lock your room when you are away. 

That being said, while theft is not all too common, it is always good to have an idea of what to do if it does happen to you.

From laptops to your bicycle, in case of theft, the first thing you should to is report this to the police. Please do mention as many details as possible in the event of a theft. It will make it easier for the investigating officer to help detect stolen items. Depending on your insurance policy, you may be able to receive a compensation for your loss. However, this depends on the type of insurance you have, and you would need to check this with them. 

Bicycles

Always lock your bicycle and take care where you park it, if you park it in a no parking zone, it is very likely that it will be towed away. 

Make sure you keep your bicycle’s tires well maintained, check at least every two weeks if your tires have enough air in them. 

Pressure Cookers

This tip might be slightly bizarre, however, based on the experience of students here, still an important one to include. 

While cooking food with a pressure cooker is second nature to us Indians, it is very uncommon here in the Netherlands. To avoid frightening your international housemates, a friendly warning before using your pressure cooker is a good idea. Who knows, they may be inspired to use the pressure cooker to cook their own meals!

Emergency and Non-Emergency

The emergency services in the Netherlands respond to the number 112. This is in case you have an emergence that can be addressed by the Fire services, Police, or Ambulance. 

It is important to stress that this number should only be used for real emergencies, if this number is misused, there is a possibility of punishment. For an adult, this can mean a fine, or jail time. 

Police complaints can be done online, however there are also non-emergency numbers region based for these services. 

Non-emergency Police number: 0900-8844 

Please check for the regional numbers with your local gemeente.

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