My life in the Netherlands so far

This week included my birthday on Tuesday, which is the second time I celebrated in the Netherlands. It makes me look back and think of how I did in the past. And this blog post is the bulk of these thoughts.

Dom Tower, Utrecht
From the days where Dom Tower was without scaffolding.

More than one and a half year of my life is passed in the Netherlands. The first 14 months were in the 2016-2017 season, and the rest has been since December 2022. I will focus on the rest, the recent.


First of all, it was a very luxury landing for me and my wife. Our flight was in the front row, we spent very little time in the passport control, and after picking up our luggage, we were greeted by the airport taxi, which was granted due to our accommodation. So we were driven to the place we would stay for at least a week in Utrecht, and finally arrived in the small apartment. Perfect intro, except for we stopping the taxi a few blocks before the destination.

Then the problems are listed. Small problems, big problems… Bicycle, SIM card, registration in the municipality, opening bank account, finding a house, finding a job, etc. Small problems were solved easily. We found SIM card for free and activated it while sitting at Olivier cafe. I got my bike 5 years after staying in rust and dust in the garden of our friend’s family. Then we went to Bedo Bikes, the bike shop we knew from our previous stay. My bike Kuheylan returned to life in Bedo’s hands and we bought a small bike for my wife as well. And some other small problems that I cannot remember are solved.

The big problem was a vicious circle. We needed a house to rent as soon as possible as the temporary accommodation was too expensive. But the rental agencies and landlords were asking for our jobs in order to rent their house. If we could find a job immediately, we needed a bank account. To open a bank account, we needed BSN number which is used for governmental services. To get a BSN number, we needed a house to live in. To find a house, we need… You get the idea.


We broke the vicious circle by learning that we could register at the municipality by making at least a-month-long contract with the place we were staying. It was not a hotel, it was a managed apartment. So we made the contract, guaranteed our first month to stay there. Then the problem was that the earliest appointment given by the municipality was 3 months later, which is an impossible date for us. But sometimes some appointments were cancelled and if one was lucky enough, a closer appointment could be caught. We were lucky as my wife found two. So we got our BSN numbers, apparently the exact same with the ones we had 6 years ago. We opened our bank accounts, in a bit painful process but it was accomplished.

Finding a house took us exactly 2 months. It was a big stress, and we could achieve that only by commissioning a real estate agent to find a house for us with an extra charge added to the first rent and deposit. So it was an expensive one but we needed to accept it to end the never-ending search for housing. We ended up in Zeist, a small town to the east of Utrecht.

Speaking of jobs

At this point, my wife returned back to Turkey to arrange her work and studies there, and I stayed alone in the new apartment until mid-April. Now that the house was found, I started looking for jobs. I did that in two tracks: one for temporary jobs based on hourly rates, one for a job from my own field such as web design, web development, and visual communication design. I managed to find a temporary job by the end of March, but the other has not been easy. At the time of writing this, I still look for that job of my skills.

It has been 7-8 months since I arrived at the Netherlands for the second time. Some job applications took me to the interviews. Most of them were rejected before an interview. Most of the rejections were based on automated text. Some rejections had the excuse that I was not fluent at Dutch language yet. Some said my experience was not a fit. So, I am professionally at the same point where I stand since the end of March. I work in a job that requires no specialisation and I look for one based on my specialisation.

It is a really tough process psychologically. Since the real reason for rejection is not always explained, one can easily fall into impostor syndrome. There are times I fall into that, but then I change strategy and fail again until I find the right one. This is how it goes. It is getting more stressful as my residence permit is until December 2023 and based on Orientation Year, which cannot technically be extended but can be transformed in terms of the purpose of stay. To change that purpose, I need to either find a job that would sponsor me for IND, or set-up my own business. Getting a permit with a sponsor is easier than the other. But finding a job is harder than founding a personal business, as far as I observe.

Concluding quickly

This birthday of mine last Tuesday made me think of this process and become a bit anxious as my near future is not clear yet. I hope I can find a job in the following weeks and get the visa for the next year. Now that would be a late birthday present for me!

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