By Nadia Nikolaidou. Article originally published on IamGreek.nl
The last 5 years the population of Greeks in the Netherlands has grown at least 5 times. Unfortunately there are no official numbers, but we estimate that before 2011 the number was less than 5000 and we are now counting more than 30,000, of which at least 2,000 are students of Dutch universities.
For those of us who came here from the beginning (2011), we didn’t find any information online or offline in the Greek language. So slowly, with great effort and giving a lot of our free time, always voluntarily, we managed to set up an information network online and support groups in order to inform those who are interested to come, to welcome and advise newcomers and also to help and to solve problems of Greeks that already live here.
I have no choice but to leave Greece
I don’t have anything to lose, I am looking for a job, can you find me one?
Do you have a friend that can give me a room until i find a job?
Can you find me a job and a house?
These are some of the messages that we are receiving daily, messages full of agony, anxiety and despair.
The truth is that we can’t do anything from the above. The number of Greeks living in the Netherlands, as I mentioned before is small, entrepreneurs Greeks are still seting up their business and it is difficult for them to hire employees. The houses that they live are very small and expensive (!) and it is very costly to accommodate extra people without taking money of them.
When a house with one room in Amsterdam costs at least € 1000, if you want to accommodate someone (for free) will cost you at least 500 euro, plus other costs (electricity, internet, food). Most Greeks are living in rooms of big apartments with other roommates and those who are lucky and have been able to rent their own house when they have a space room, find the opportunity to rent it and fill holes of the expensive life of the Netherlands.
Through special pages on the internet and groups and pages on Facebook, we are informing daily many Greeks (or not), how to migrate to the Netherlands. We try to be objective and to present them with the true situation without feelings, giving them the real picture so when they come here they will not be disappointed. Some appreciate that honesty, others think that we don’t want them here.
- It is good to have with you at least 3,000 – 5,000 euro if you want to come and make a new start
- If I had 3,000 euro I wouldn’t have sent you a message
…is one of the most common answers we receive.
I wish you didn’t need that money, but the truth is that without money aside in the beginning and without any help from friends or relatives, many who did this step with empty pockets found themselves on the street or left the country without even getting started.
The Netherlands is the country of directness and honesty and we trying to follow this model. We would like to have more Greeks staying here, so we can demand more things, but we want them to be happy, with a job, with a roof over their heads, with insurance in case something happens and a desire to build their future.
I don’t have anything to lose
… Is one of the most frequent answers.
And yet you do. You can lose your money, your mental health, sink into depression and even find a way out with alcohol and drugs. The Netherlands is not Greece, it is unforgiving, leaves you in the cold and exploitation is a fact.
Without speaking the dutch language it is difficult to find a job if you are not at the industry of IT, finance, marketing. Especially if you don’t have good working experience in combination with very good English (and not the english you have learned 15 years ago when you got your degree and never spoke again). Exploitation in the Horeca sector (restaurants, hotels) where you don’t need dutch to work and they offer you housing and registration in the municipality (supposedly) is real, and we feel unable to do anything effective about it yet.
We try to respond to everyone personally, talking on skype, writing articles, to fill the groups with useful information, organize events so we can gather together. With few sources of income, a little support from volunteers, giving our precious time with great love, we hope to help anyone that is seriously seeking to move to the Netherlands.
We may not be able to find you a house and job, we may not have all the answers and solutions, but we have the desire to run, to speak, to organize, help and above all to be there when someone has need for our help.
We are alone here, without any help from the Greek government, without the right to vote, without an organised Embassy and sometimes with a lot of anger inside. We try to do the best we can. Not to complain, not to cry, not to get discouraged but look forward with desire to overcome all these difficulties and in order to improve our lifestyle and also the image of Greece.
We are not the Greeks that everybody thinks. We don’t break dishes, eat pita gyro and drink ouzo all day, we don’t dance the Zorba. We are not lazy and do not bask all day in the sun (what sun;) with a frappe. We are fresh professional, hard-working employees, adventurers on the land of humidity.
Help us to help you. Keep an open mind for our advices. Nobody told us anything when we moved here. We learned that the hard way. And now we try to transfer all the information to you so you would know better.
Ask information after you make your own research. In the Netherlands google is your friend, use it.
And remember that the more organised you come the easier and less painful the beginning will be. You need at least 6 months to 1 year to really get into the system, to find a normal house or room, to find a job and make some new friends. You will come to a different country, with different weather, food, people and logic. Don’t expect someone else to search things for you, take your life in your hands and be grateful that so many people are here to help you without asking anything in return.
A big thank you to those who give their time and knowledge and help daily dozens of Greeks whom are interested to emigrate in the Netherlands. They know who they are. Well done guys!
Useful groups and pages
Newcommers in the Netherlands, Newcommers in the Netherlands on Facebook,Meeting in Rotterdam: Every Tuesday 19.00 – 21.00 at Goudseplein/Goudse Rijweg 707, 3031 CG, Meeting in Amsterdam: Every Tuesday 19.00 – 21.00 at De Wittenkade 111, 1052 AG, Meeting in Utrecht: Every Wednesday 19.30 – 21.30 at Stan & Co Ganzenmarkt 16A 3512 GD.
Greek Embassy in den Haag Visit the site for more information.
Survive in the Netherlands Blog with useful information.
Facebook page of iamgreek.nl Iamgreek on Facebook.
Group on Facebook ONLY for Greeks that live in the Netherlands Έλληνες στην Ολλανδία.
Looking for a job? Greeks are looking for a job in the Netherlands
Greek events in the Netherlands Grieks uitgaan
Group for students
Groups with Greeks
Articles that are good to read before requesting general information
How to get a job
There are NOT any Greek schools in the Netherlands. For Greek language courses read here: Greek Schools in the Netherlands
Studying in the Netherlands
Φοιτητής στην Ολλανδία