An insiders view
Whether you are moving from another town in the Netherlands or
from abroad, the key to settling in swiftly and successfully lies in planning
We would therefore like to provide you with some local information, a few tips for getting organised prior to arrival, useful website addresses and to introduce you already to our new International School Welcome Team and explain how they can help you.
Rijnlands is located in Oegstgeest, a town neighbouring the beautiful, historic City of Leiden. Oegstgeest covers an area of nearly 8km squared and has a population of 23 810 (2017). It is extremely well connected to Leiden by bus and of course easily reachable by bike or even on foot. Leiden train station is on the Oegstgeest side of Leiden and thus also provides nationwide train connections. Other local towns such as Sassenheim, Noordwijk, Wassenaar, Voorschoten, Leiderdorp, Voorhout and Warmond are also commutable on public transport along with towns further afield such as Den Haag (The Hague) and Gouda. In addition, our school is right next to the A44 motorway exit providing easy access to Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport.
Amongst the towns mentioned above, Wassenaar is by far the most International with 33% of its population of non-Dutch origin. Leiden also has an international feel partly due to the large student population. Oegstgeest is no exception with 24% of its population with at least one family member born abroad. In Oegstgeest the main non-Dutch nationalities most represented are Indonesia, Germany, France, Italy, UK and USA.
Oegstgeest is a very pleasant place to live, in fact it was voted ‘Best Place to Live” in the Netherlands in March 2014. Readers of the Telegraaf were asked to answer questions on a varied number of subjects including housing, schools, shopping and medical facilities, etc. Oegstgeest does cater for all with a mixture of architecture styles – new and old, varied types of housing, two main shopping centres and an abundance of sports clubs and playgrounds.
Getting organised prior to arrival
As soon as the last piece of the puzzle falls into place, be it the confirmation that your child has a place in the school or your signed job contract, this is the time to start making plans, no matter how early it seems!
We strongly advise you to start searching for a home immediately. The easiest way to do this is by signing up for alerts on www.funda.nl. This is a website jointly used by (Real) Estate Agents throughout The Netherlands to offer houses for sale and for rent. The site now exists in English but the three most useful words to know are “makelaar” (estate agent), “te koop” (for sale) and “te huur” (for rent)!
It is not easy to decide where to live, especially if you are two adults working in different areas and maybe even with children of varied ages and needs. For this reason we suggest that you take a look at our “Supplementary Guide for Parents” where we have listed towns in the local area where Rijnlands International families tend to live. This can be sent to you on request.
Once you are decided on a specific town/area your next step should be investigating any other required Schools and/or Childcare options. We also suggest that you contact several and ensure that your child is placed on waiting lists. There is also a section in the Guide covering different Childcare options and will shortly also include schools. In the meantime, if you are seeking Primary Education in English we suggest that you contact Elckerlyc International School, Leiderdorp www.elckerlyc-international.nl or HSV in Den Haag www.hsvdenhaag.nl (depending on where you will be living) as these schools traditionally feed into our school.
ISRLO Welcome Team
For all School specific questions your main point of contact remains Karen Roest, ISRLO School Administrator. For all other, “settling in” questions, our school has a well-established and active “Welcome Team” working on a volunteer basis. Julie Joly (Jules), a school parent since 2015, is our Welcome Team Coordinator. She is fortunate to be assisted by a growing number of families who have agreed to be volunteers on a Family Helpline List. This allows them to provide extra specific support maybe in your mother-tongue language, from a future colleague in your new company, a new neighbour on your street or from a parent at your younger child’s new school……
The Welcome Team has a general purpose of providing assistance and support to New Families during the application process, before arrival and on an on-going basis until the new family has well and truly settled in!
In conjunction with Elckerlyc International School, they have also put together a “Supplementary Information Guide for Parents” as mentioned above, covering all those non-school specific topics (where should I live? Where can my son do guitar lessons after-school, how can I find childcare for my 2 year old? Do I need to sign up at a Doctors Surgery, etc?). In this Guide there are also many websites listed of organisations whose sole purpose is to help new arrivals in The Netherlands.
This Guide is continually in the process of being reviewed, updated and modified to reflect ISRLO New Family needs and the aim is to eventually include a FAQs sheet.
The Welcome Team does not claim to be specialists on all subjects but they will certainly do their best to help you directly or, if unable or more appropriate, find someone else who can.
You may already request the current version of the ISRLO
Supplementary Guide for Parents or contact them with your questions.
Please contact the Welcome Team Coordinator, Jules, at: email@example.com