Best place in NRW to commute to the Netherlands

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Hello fellow TT'ers,

 

I am currently in UK but planning to move to NRW in the nexy 6/12 months and look for work in the Netherlands.

 

Why would I want to do that? I speak both German and Dutch but I am not fluent and I want to improve in both languages; wages tend to be slightly better in the Netherlands and Dutch employers seem to offer full travel expense refund from anywhere (at least it was so a couple of years ago when I worked in Maastricht).

 

I am pretty sure my destination would be NWR but I am undecided between these three cities/towns:

 

1) Köln - my favourite destination. What keeps me from moving there: distance from major Dutch cities (2 hrs train) and possibly higher rents.

 

2) Aachen - very close to Maastricht and Belgium, low rents. What keeps me from moving there: I was there before and it feels a bit gloomy and Maastricht is not my favourite place in NL.

 

3) Gronau - never been there, close to Enschede, easily reached by bus, train or bicycle, possibly low rents.

 

Has anybody got any input about this and any recent news about the Dutch job market? I have worked in IT and logistics and that's where I would focus my job search. Thank you

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You want to move to NRW to work in Holland? Why not just move to Holland?

 

Aachen is a lovely city to live in and only 30 minutes or so from Maastricht by bus. I have lived in a few cities in Belgium and Germany in recent years and Aachen is by far my favourite. It definitely doesn't feel more gloomy than Cologne (I have lived in both). Cologne to the Netherlands daily might be just about doable for the right salary but what's the point? You'll be too wrecked to do anything or learn any German by the time you get home. I know some colleagues who do it in the opposite direction but they have good family reasons.

 

I spent 2ish years commuting to Cologne from Belgium daily and now very very happy it's is over. Only now do I realise how bad it really was.

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You want to move to NRW to work in Holland? Why not just move to Holland?

 

Yes, good point. In my past and limited experience, rents and cost of living are higher in Holland. German employers don't usually pay travel refund if you live west of the border but the opposite is often true. And then I would rather live in Germany. That's it.

 

I don't despise Aachen at all by the way but when I visited it it gave me a bad impression. It's still under consideration.

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Aachen gave me a nice impression tbh, perhaps you had bad luck? It´s a typical university-city, thus if you go there during the semester, there´s a clear "youth-y" vibe which I personally find enjoyable.

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Aachen gave me a nice impression tbh, perhaps you had bad luck?

 

In fact I was mobbed by a group of teenagers (mit Migrationshintergrund, as it were) near Theaterplatz.

 

Nothing serious, they could have killed me if they had wanted but I wasn't used to this as I lived in peaceful and sleepy Maastricht at the time.

 

Next day at work my Dutch colleagues said to me: "Ah! Aaachen!" as if it was the most horrible place on earth. That's probably where I picked up this thing about Aachen.

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Having lived in both countries, and had a vastly more positive experience in the netherlands, I can't fathom why someone would want to live voluntarily in germany when they have a job in the netherlands - but each to their own.

 

Rent may be cheaper in germany but did you factor in commuting costs - german trains are expensive, and rent in cologne is also expensive.

 

Also, you should check out the 30% rule. "Highly skilled" foreign workers may be eligible to receive 30% of their salary tax-free in the netherlands for ?5 years after arrival, to compensate for the expenses associated with relocating. I guess you already know this if you worked in NL before. I don't think you will be eligible for this if you're living in germany, but you should check.

 

My only experience of gronau is standing on the platform at the station for half an hour whilst waiting to change trains. That was enough to make me feel depressed and have no desire to live there... but maybe once you step outside the station it's actually a really nice place?

 

EDIT: My disposable income is basically identical in the two countries for doing the same job. So, if you prefer germany, why not just get a job in germany?

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Rent may be cheaper in germany but did you factor in commuting costs - german trains are expensive, and rent in cologne is also expensive.

 

As I said in my experience if you have a permanent job many Dutch employers will happily refund 100% of commuting costs if by public transport or up to €130 per month by car, or maybe this rule was specific for Limburg. Many of my colleagues in Maastricht relocated to Aachen from Maastricht, including a few Hollanders.

 

 

Do you have experience of long distance commuting on a daily basis?

 

Yes but not recently.

 

Another point to factor in is that my German is not ready for production and in Holland I could work as a call centre worker in either Italian or English. I know, call centre work is not great but it would be a starting point.

 

In any case I would look for work in both countries. So my choice at the moment is between Aachen and Cologne or maybe somewhere in the middle.

 

Thanks for the input.

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As I said in my experience if you have a permanent job many Dutch employers will happily refund 100% of commuting costs if by public transport or up to €130 per month by car, or maybe this rule was specific for Limburg.

€130 will come quite far from covering the monthly commuting costs from Cologne to Maastricht / Eindhoven / other 'nearby' city you might be thinking about. I have 2.5 years of experience commuting in the opposite direction (Euregio region to Cologne) and I would need a very very good reason to do it again.

 

I can't think of any other town between Cologne and Aachen worth living in. Many are spoiled by a big coal mine in the Dueren area.

 

Aachen to Maastricht is a reasonable commute but still puts you quite far from your colleagues (these might be a way of building a social life when you start living in a new place).

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I'm also wondering... If you live in germany but get paid (and presumably pay your taxes) in the netherlands, are you covered by dutch or german health insurance? Might make a difference to your salary, worth checking out.

 

A full price day-return train ticket from cologne to maastricht (for example) costs about 40-60 euros. You could cut it down to 30-ish per day with a bahncard. Reimbursement of travel expenses from aachen to maastricht (short bus journey) is one thing, but from cologne (c. 1-2 hour train journey?) is quite another, and I'd be surprised if an employer would cover these sorts of costs for a job such as call-centre work.

 

I hope this doesn't come across as too cynical. I am heavily biased because I love the big dutch cities (amsterdam, utrecht, etc) and found them much more accommodating and supportive of international people than my hometown in germany. That said, I live in a small, provincial and conservative town (muenster) and I imagine cologne would be a very different experience. Dusseldorf is supposed to be nice too.

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I live in Kleve which is close to a biggish Dutch city called Nijmegen. We have buses every hour from the central station. Many people who work or study in Nijmegen live either in Kleve or in the village of Kranenburg. However, I advise you to consider this because even though you'll be pretty close to the Netherlands, there isn't much going on on the German side of the border :D

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The Dutch IT industry is mainly based in the Randstad- area. This is the western part of the Netherlands. The same applies for the logistics industry (e.g. Rotterdam harbour with 300,000 jobs and Schiphol Airport with 100,000 jobs) and has a large presence in the province Noord-Brabant (truck transportation)as well.

 

Reimbursement of travel expenses is only €0,19 per km versus €0,30 in Germany. It used to be better in the Netherlands. Some friends of mine are civil servants and they get a free public transportation ticket for the whole year. Next year, the government wants to strike the €0,19 per km, but it doesn't mean a company will not reimburse you. It's just not that regulated anymore.

 

The call-center industry you will find throughout the Netherlands, also near the German border and it's better paid than in Germany, because we have minimum wages in ALL industries. Nonetheless, it's still one of the worst paid jobs with €20K per year (average salary for 2011 in NL is €33K). Health insurance in NL will cost you about €100 per month. There is no distinction anymore between private or public and women pay the same as men. It's very simple unlike Germany.

 

Dutch people who live just across the border in Germany bought (not rent!) a house, because it's cheaper and you have more value for money. Children go to a Dutch school and parents mostly work in the Netherlands.

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Search previous threads, there has been mention of English speaking call centre work in Köln.

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Eindhoven. 4th or 5th largest city in NL but home to 1/3 of all tech R&D spending in the whole country. More or less NL's Silicon Valley. Home to Philips, ASML, NXP, ATOS... much of this stuff is around the "High Tech campus" just off the Autobahn. Must be a lot of IT jobs there. The Western edge of the Ruhrpott region is only an easy hour's (Autobahn) drive. Has some logistics...t's a rail hub and has 2nd busiest airport in NL. Not as pretty as Maastricht but has a good nightlife and very convenient to NRW (parts, anyway).

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It's very likely that, given the cost of the commute, you would be better off having a small room (in a WG) in whatever-netherlands-city you will live in and commute weekly.

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It would be much better to find a job first and then look for a place to live. Many IT jobs are in the west of Holland, Amsterdam and Utrecht for example. It would be hell of a commute from a place like Duesseldorf, Kleve or Aachen. it could take you 5 hours per day.

 

I will probably rent out a room near Utrecht on a temporary basis, so let me know if you are interested.

 

Another thing is that reimbursement for travel from home to work by car is often limited by a maximum. At my company for example, this maximum is 163 euros per month.

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The OP is interested in call-centre work as a starting point, so this means no money available to rent a room in NL as well. That doesn't make any sense. For Eindhoven you need good academic qualifications.

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Anyway, it's not easy to find a job without high qualifications. We have a recession too!

 

So try to get any job anywhere, and move there.

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Anyway, if you are qualified, you might want to give a shot to finding a job in Köln. English-speaking jobs are far from frequent but they do exist.

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Hi ,

 

if as you say you work/want to work in IT and logistics you might try your luck in Venlo. Being a major trading center a lot of international transport businesses have settled there. It is about 1 hour's drive from Cologne or Düsseldorf, depending on traffic. The nearest german town of any size is Mönchengladbach but it's probably pretty dull.

 

good luck

Tom

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