2Family Living;- in AmsterdamAmsterdams thriving city life has much to offer expat families. Despite areputation built primarily on nightlife, a busy restaurant scene, and a liberalattitude, Amsterdams many public playgrounds, parks, facilities and activitiesgeared towards children make it an ideal place to relocate and raise a family.This article describes the citys best places for expats with kids wishing to livecomfortably, conveniently, and to make the most of their Amsterdam experience.Amsterdam is a city extremely well-equipped for kids, offering countlessfacilities, kid-centric activities, green areas and a liberal scattering of publicplaygrounds. However, while expat singles and couples tend to focus on findinghousing in busy areas such as the historic centre, Jordaan and the Pijp, livingspaces are typically small, canal house stairways are steep, and parking islimited.There are several areas of Amsterdam with more living space and great familyaccommodation, which are still close to the major parks and a short tram orcycle ride from the downtown area. Old South, Old West and the Rivierenbuurt,in particular, also tend to house a larger expat community, driven in part by theirclose proximity to the citys international schools.Old South is roughly demarcated by the Museumplein to the north, theVondelpark to the west, the Beethovenstraat to the east, and theAmstelveenseweg and Stadionweg to the south. This is one of Amsterdams moststylish districts and is priced accordingly. The Vondelpark, the citys large centraloasis, is a haven for children and contains several playgrounds, a very child-friendly cafe, a small water play area for hot summer days, as well as a numberof fields and paths for exploring.Old South offers big living spaces- a large percentage of which aresingle family homes with gardensand ground floor access - and nowaiting time for parking permitsin certain areas. The nearbyMuseum Quarter and anabundance of chic cafes,restaurants and boutiques makethe area especially attractive, andthe expat community here isextensive.Vondelpark during winter
3Old West is situated directly west of the Vondelpark and extends to theNaussaukade in the north, the De Clercqstraat in the west and theKostverlorenvaart canal to the south. Until recently, Old West was not so firmlyestablished on the expat radar. However, recent regeneration efforts and aninflux of money to the area have meant it is now a buzzing and sought afterdistrict. While not as traditionally grand as the Old South neighbourhood, theVondelpark is also a quick trip away and further towards the De Clercqstraatthere are several (enclosed) childrens outdoor play areas and petting zoos.Families looking in this area can expect relatively smaller, multi-family houseswhen compared with Old South. Many still have typical Amsterdam (steep)stairways, but this is gradually changing as buildings are being redeveloped andupgraded. In Old West there is generally a wait to get a parking permit - at themoment the waiting list for on-street parking is approximately two years.The Rivierenbuurt is a large neighbourhood approximately bounded to thenorth and east by the Amstel River, and the Amstelkanaal and the A10 ring road,respectively, to the west and south. The Rivierenbuurt is slightly further outsidethe old city centre than Old South and Old West and is well-equipped for families.Houses are larger here and generally cheaper than those closer to theVondelpark. The Martin Luther Kingpark, an abundance of smaller parks andquick access to the large Amstelpark just outside the ring road make this one ofthe greener areas of the city, extremely well-suited for children. Easy access tothe highway also makes this a great place for commuting outside the city.Waiting times for parking permits vary: some places in the neighbourhood havea short wait, while in other places permits are granted immediately.Further afield, there are a number of neighbourhoods with spacious, single familyliving options. Watergraafsmeer, North Amsterdam and Sloten, for example, allhouse more typical family-oriented,Dutch "city outskirts" communities.These neighbourhoods are traditionallyconsidered less attractive to temporaryexpats because they do not providethe same unique old Amsterdamexperience that areas closer to the citycentre provide, but they do offer achance to integrate more closely withDutch society.
4- in AmstelveenAmstelveen is a quiet, green residential suburb located to the south ofAmsterdam. This suburb is a leafy, prosperous, family-oriented which has asignificant population of international residents. The largest group comes fromJapan and the area is increasingly popular with expats from India and China whohave displaced the Americans and Germans in the top four.Prices are slightly cheaper than Amsterdam but theres more family-style housingwith gardens. The International School of Amstelveen is located here and thebeautiful Amsterdam Forest provides a haven for dog walkers, cyclists, joggersand anyone looking for an escape to nature. Amstelveen has several largeshopping centres and is well connected by public transport to Amsterdams citycentre and Schiphol Airport (10 minutes by car). Parking in the area is generallyfree and parking permits, where required, are typically available immediately.The Old Village (Het Oude Dorp) is the ancient hub of the originalsettlement (1278) with the Amsterdamse Bos to the west and the town centre tothe east. Theres a mix of older detached houses, farms, terraced houses andapartments.Westwijk is a relatively new area of Amstelveen which is more modern andspacious and lined with small canals. The one central shopping zone in the centreof the neighbourhood preserves the feeling of a residential area. Larger detachedfamily homes and villas are available here, in a green and tranquil setting thatoffers a lot of individual privacy. These are premium properties, so expect to paypremium prices.“Im glad Im living in Amstelveen;its greener than Amsterdam, but youstill have the advantage of living nextto a big city.” G.B., Latvian,Amstelveen”
5- in The HagueThe Hague offers a diverse set of neighbourhoods for expats relocating to thearea to choose from. The city is divided into eight districts, each of which isfurther partitioned into different neighbourhoods. In general, the moreprosperous areas are found in the northwest of the city, while less affluent areasare typically located in the south and east.Approximately 14,000 people reside in the Bomen and Bloemenbuurtneighborhood, located to the north-west of the center. Several parks are close athand, as well as a number of sports clubs and recreational areas. The districtconsists of three neighborhoods: the Bomenbuurt, TheBloemenbuurt and Bloemenbuurt East. The Bomen-enBloemenbuurt area is close to the sea and offers easyaccess to the city centre. The most important shoppingstreets are: Fahrenheitstraat, Thomsonlaan andGoudenregenstraat. This district is home to a varietyof building styles, and especially the gables of thehouses along the Laan van Meerdervoort and Beeklaanhave been carried out with particular attention todetail.The Statenkwartier in The Hague is a neighborhood which evolved for the mostpart between 1900 and 1915. It is characterized by a diagonal street layout, withlarge squares at cross streets and a prevalence of Art Nouveau building styles.Many exteriors of houses, as well as the interiors, are elaborately decorated.Some houses, for instance on theStatenlaan and Statenplein, have beenplaced under the protection of the"Netherlands Department forConservation" (Monumentenzorg).Recently the entire neighborhood wasnamed a "Protected Urban Area"(Beschermd Stadsgezicht).Typical Statenkwartier view
6The Duinoord neighborhood was largely built in the early 20th-century with amixture of broad avenues and stately town-houses, and narrower streets andfamily accommodation. Bohemian atmosphere and charming but typically smaller(than those in the Statenkwartier neighborhood) houses many of which dateback to the late 19th century. The monumental character and pleasantcombination of living and working makes this an attractive area to live.Sweelinckplein, DuinoordThe Benoordenhout area is a stately, attractive residential neighborhood to theeast of The Hagues center. The houses are typically spacious and comfortable,with a mix of villas, townhouses, family houses, and apartments. In the Nassauregion of the neighborhood some townhouses (herenhuizen) have beenconverted to prime location offices. This district offers an interesting mix ofurbanity and nature close to the city centre with easy access to the motorwaysand plentiful parking. This affluent area has a number of exclusive stores andboutiques, charming cafes and restaurants.
7- in WassenaarGreen oasis Wassenaar is situated to the north of The Hague and Scheveningenand to the south west of Leiden. It is known as one of the most beautiful villagesof the Dutch North Sea shore area. The coastline of Wassenaar is over 8kilometers long and covers an area over 60 square kilometers. Wassenaar hasapprox. 26.000 inhabitants, 3.400 inhabitants have a different nationality thanthe Dutch. Wassenaar is a village surrounded by dunes and a wooded area withmany villas and mansions. Many of these houses use to be old estates, summerhomes for wealthy urbanites. I addition to many wealthy residents offeringshelter to companies and consulates, Prince Willem-Alexander and PrincessMáxima have their house on the estate Eikenhorst. The town has a green andrustic character and hardly has any industry. There is a very nice and cosycenter, restaurants and the American School.De Kieviet is another district in the municipaility of Wassenaar. The district wascreated in 1908 as a residential area southwest of Wassenaar, north of the GrootHaesebroekseweg and is near Meijendel. According to ‘Planet’ is De Kieviet thethird district in the Netherlands with the highest millionaire rate. Directly north ofDe Kieviet is the Kieviets dune.Futuristic building; American school in Wassenaar
8- in HilversumThe town is often called media city since it is the principal centre for radio andtelevision broadcasting in the Netherlands. Because of its attractive location, thecity is surrounded by forests, moors and lakes (Loosdrecht), and at only 30kilometres from Amsterdam, Hilversum has become the center of one of themost exclusive areas in The Netherlands called t Gooi.Easy commute is possible by train; 20 minutes intercity to Amsterdam Central,25 minutes intercity to Amsterdam WTC, 20 minutes to Utrecht Central and 20minutes to Amersfoort. Most international corporate companies are locatedwithin these areas. Nike has its European headquarter located in Hilversum,which employs many expats. Hilversum is known for its spacious family houseswith private gardens. International education is offered with two internationalprimary schools and one international secondary school.Nike headquarter Hilversum- in HaarlemHaarlem is a beautiful old city, close to the beach, and only 15 minutes by trainfrom Amsterdam Central Station. Haarlem, the capital of the province of NoordHolland, has a population of over 150,000 inhabitants.Haarlem offers varied accommodation and is more costly in the city centre.Living in the old city centre is popular, although houses tend to be smaller andless viable for families. Popular areas for families due to space and location ofschools include Kleverparkbuurt, Leidesbuurt, Garenkokerskwartier, Bosch enVaart, and Koninginnebuurt. The surrounding towns of Bloemendaal, Heemstedeand Aerdenhout are also popular, although usually more pricey choices.
9- in RotterdamThere are plenty ofneighbourhoods to consider inthe city and surroundingvillages, each with its own localhighlights, hotspots and charm.Expats typically tend to settle inthe city centre or one ofRotterdams beautiful greensuburbs. Many expats, forexample, find their way to thetrendy Kop van Zuidneighbourhood, the bustlingPrins Alexander district, or canbe found further afield in the exclusive Hillegersberg area.Prinsenland - Affordable expat housingLocated in the bustling Prins Alexander district, this is an up-and-coming expatneighbourhood east of the centre. Prices here are relatively more affordable thandowntown, and its child-friendly reputation attracts many families . The area isclose to Rotterdams largest shopping centre, the Alexandrium Shopping Centre,the Erasmus University Campus and several international schools.Ommoord / Zevenkamp - Child-friendly expat neighbourhoodOmmoord/Zevenkamp is popular with expats thanks to its quiet, peacefulatmosphere. Child-friendly and green, this neighbourhood boosts numerousplaygrounds and is well-connected to public transport. The city centre is 20minutes away by metro, and the renowned Alexandrium mall is easily accessible.Maritime Quarter / NieuweWerk - Upscale expat apartmentsThis upmarket neighbourhood is one of the countrys most affluent. Luxuryapartments, magnificently transformed warehouses, museums and some of thecitys best restaurants line the streets surrounding the historic harbour.Rotterdams main recreational area, simply called The Park, and the nearbyMuseum Park, lend a suburban feel to this central neighbourhood.While you will pay accordingly for the pleasure of living here, the breathtakingviews over the Maas River and the central location may make it worth theexpense.Hillegersberg - Upmarket expat livingThis beautiful, green suburb north-east of the city is extremely popular withexpats with families and locals alike. House prices reflect its attractiveness andits chic, upmarket reputation. Several international schools are located here, andthe commute to the city centre is a mere 10 minutes by public transport.