Personal & Social Needs; Culture & Sport

Child Day Care
The Netherlands has no formal educational provision for children under the age of 4. Outside the formal education system there are childcare facilities for younger children. The region offers plenty of choice, including agencies for in home childcare, day care centers and integrated day care in play schools & primary education schools.
Childcare is not free in the Netherlands.

The Dutch  law deals with the quality, management, and finances of childcare. It is based on the principle that childcare is a matter for parents, employers and authorities. You sign a contract with a childcare organization and pay the monthly invoice. Requesting day care allowance via the tax authorities is possible. In that case, your childcare center must be accredited and registered in the place where you live.
Registered child day care you can check here: registered child day care

In the region of Zeeuws-Vlaanderen the organisation Kinderopvang Zeeuws-Vlaanderen offers quality for every child. That is their vision and they work together with day care locations throughout the region. This organization also helps parents to fill in the necessary forms for the child care allowance. This is free of charge.

More information can be found on the official Dutch tax authorities website: My child goes to Childcare

See section I am a partner  for more information

Language Training
Language courses can be followed at professional schools.
Here you find information of the Official Inlingua website  and information of the Berlitz website.   On both websites you can read  about following language lessons on-line.

There are possibilities to follow school classes in the evening or to have one-on-one private lessons or in small groups. We have several affiliated partners for Dutch language training.

 See section I am a partner for more information

Libraries
At some libraries in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen and in Zeeland there are the so called Language Cafés. A cosy place to practice the Dutch language. The conversation is always in Dutch, so a little Dutch is an advantage. In small groups together with a leading person, conversations take place about all kind of issues, such as visiting a supermarket; the birthday of the neighbour; a parent conversation at school etc. Language Cafes are places to establish a network and meet new people.
You are free to walk in and it is free of costs.

For more information you can contact  Library Terneuzen (English site).  Also Hulst has  language cafe, as well as Kloosterzande  (information Taalcafe Kloosterzande) and Aardenburg, (information Taalcafe Aardenburg).

Culture
Zeeland has the most sun hours and is for a lot of people a wonderful holiday destination. There are beautiful beaches and the special nature areas are varied and offer unique flora and fauna. Zeeland also has a rich history, which result in museums and monuments.  The Netherlands is known as the world’s cycling leaders and in the area of Zeeland there are plenty of bicycle paths.

You will find more information on culture on the website:
Onbegrensd Zeeuwsvlaanderen   as well as on the VVV English Site.

Note: Between the area Zeeuws-Vlaanderen and Zuid Beveland a tunnel has been realized. This tunnel under the Westerschelde is 6.6 KM long and is the longest tunnel for traffic in the Netherlands. Please be informed that a toll fee needs to be paid. If wished, you can apply for a T-Tag, which gives the opportunity to pass through without waiting and the fee is less expensive.
Please see applying for T-Tag

Dutch Manners -  Meeting and Greeting the Dutch
Dutch people are very open minded. In the Netherlands in a business environment shaking hands is very important. When someone is introduced to you, he/she will shake hands with you and say his/her name. When you leave, shake hands again and thank the person for the visit or meeting.  At the next meeting, shaking hands is not necessary, but in business situations it is common.  You might be wondering whether to use your left or your right hand. The Dutch do not have a special hand for personal hygiene, eating, or praying. This also means that they do not realize they may insult you when they pass something on to you with the wrong hand.

Formal and informal:  Dutch people quickly start calling people by their first name. In the Netherlands, a younger person, a child, a relative, a friend, or an acquaintance are addressed with an informal  you ("je/jij"). The formal  you ("u")  is used to address people you do not know, or you are only slightly acquainted with. The formal "u" is used to address a higher-ranking business person, although it might soon be replaced by the informal "je”.

When you meet someone in the Netherlands, you generally call them sir or madam, but soon you will be asked to refer to them by their first name. In other countries, it takes much longer for people to associate on a first name basis. There is no special rule that tells you how to deal with this; just wait and see what the other party says. The Dutch do not use titles when they speak to someone. In writing, you can state the title, but you will only do that in an official letter.

Religion
The Netherlands is a tolerant country and every individual has a right to practice his/her own religion or conviction. You will find a variety of religions. The majority of those with a religious conviction are affiliated with a Christian church (the Roman Catholic church or the Protestant church). A number of the Dutch population practices other religions such as Reformed, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.

In Middelburg, once per month on Sunday evenings, international English spoken church services are organized. Services take place at the Gasthuiskerk, Lange Delft 94, Middelburg (start: 19:30 hrs).

Leisure Activities
In Zeeuws-Vlaanderen there is a variety of shopping possibilities. In Hulst and in Sluis, shops are also open during Sundays. In Terneuzen shops are open every last Sunday of the month. There is also a Bio Route in the Terneuzen area with bio regional food & body products, flowers, wine etc. In other parts of Zeeland there is a big variety too, such as the capital MiddelburgBigger towns just across the border into Belgium with an international character and great site seeing are Antwerp  and Gent.

The Volksuniversiteit Zeeland located in Middelburg has a yearly program with numerous courses like photography, art history, foreign languages.  Also Toonbeeld located in Terneuzen, has a variety of activities for children and adults.

Sports
If you want to get some exercise, you will surely find what you are looking for. In Zeeland, you can indulge in a variety of  different sports, in either an active or a recreational way, as member of a club, or individually.

See section I am a partner for more information

Note: the municipalities of Terneuzen, Hulst and Sluis have sport centers and information related to sport and leisure:

Terneuzen sport information

Hulst sport information
Sluis leisure information

Network & Social Clubs
Internations Netherlands
is an Expat Community in the Netherlands and a vast network of supportive, friendly and knowledgeable expats/internationals  living in the Netherlands and around the world. The community is a valuable support network of expats that can help you to make your move easier by sharing their experiences, tips, and advice with you. A lot of events are organized and the community has a lot of different nationalities. You can subscribe to this network.

For Zeeland the nearest Internations location is Breda, but also in Belgium you can join the communities of Gent, Antwerp or Brussels. Please see:  Internations Belgium

The International Community , part of  the Expat Center Zeeland, has just started. You will find information under the section EVENTS

 

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