Gelderland, Home, Netherlands

How is Life in the Achterhoek?

We have been living in the Achterhoek for nearly two months now and as of today there is a sense of normalcy returning to our lives. How are we finding life on the other side of the Netherlands, in the Achterhoek? Here’s a bit of a long overdue update.

My husband starts his new job today so family life returns to normal. The kids have certainly got used to papa being home (having taken a long break from work over the summer months to concentrate on the house move and the work that needed to be done on the new house) so it’s an adjustment we all need to get used to. An adjustment back to normal life!

How is Life in the Achterhoek?Meanwhile the work on the house continues. My husband timed his return to work beautifully. This month will see the placing of new windows and doors in our house, work on the electrics and removal of and work on various radiators and pipes, the placing of a new ceiling in the kitchen and dining room and as a grand finale to the month the fitting of a new kitchen. Somewhere amongst all that there’s the creation of a bathroom (in a space that was a storage room) to look forward to too. And the attic needs to be converted to a usable space.

Oh and my youngest turns six this coming weekend and there’s a party to organise.

In other words, I have my hands full this month.

But life in the Achterhoek? Loving it.

Absolutely loving village life.

Loving our home, despite the constant mess due to the ongoing renovations.

I love the freedom my sons have to play, to run about, to be children.

I love the small village school they attend, which lets a child know they are seen and that they are an individual and unique.

I love the enthusiasm my boys have for activities outside school.

I love the sense of community in our new woonplaats.

I love how active the community is.

I love how we have been welcomed in to the community.

I love how friendly and interested everyone is.

I love that we can be a part of something, and contribute, even in small ways.

I love how we don’t feel lost in the crowd.

Life in the Achterhoek? It’s good.

Planning this house move was stressful. Packing up the old house was a nightmare I would rather not go through again any time soon. The administration and paperwork around the move was overwhelming at times. The process was at certain points painful.

There were certainly sleepless nights.

Swapping everything you know for the unknown is downright scary.

Forcing your children to say goodbye to everything they know is a big ask. Leaving behind friends and family to move to a place where you know no one seems like madness.

Starting from scratch takes some balls. But we did it. We have come through unscathed.

Change is scary. But I cannot tell you just how much we all needed this momentous change in our lives. We have been through our share of challenges the last eighteen months. There have been unpleasant, stressful incidents at the hands of vengeful unstable neighbours this year. My children have struggled in many ways in overfull classrooms and my husband was job searching as his work contract came to an end in May.

We spent many months in survival mode with uncertainty hanging over our heads – and then we had the opportunity to make a dramatic house move.

Yes, change is scary. But sometimes change is needed. Life can become stagnant and starting over in a new place is sometimes just what we need. But I guess that’s something that expats already know.

I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. Every struggle was worth the end result. Life in the Achterhoek? We are loving it.



6 thoughts on “How is Life in the Achterhoek?”

  1. So glad you made the right decision, it must have been quite terrifying moving your sensitive children to a completely new environment but maybe it’s just what they needed….a quieter place, a slower pace, and still some excitement with an unfinished house but in a supportive loving family environment. It sounds as if you are all doing just fine. Just not time to ungrit your teeth just yet 😏


    1. That’s a great way of putting it. Got to hear this week that the window frames are all ready but the glass hasn’t been delivered. So next week they have to fit the frames in the kitchen and then board them up – because otherwise the kitchen fitting will be delayed. Grit teeth. Breath. Repeat. It was the right move but there are bumps to getnover before I relax completely!


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