Tips to get started

When we come to a new, unknown place, the first thing we need to do is to try to figure out practical and logistical aspects.

What do we need  to get started? How do we get our mobile phones to work? What’s the best route to get our kids to school? Where can we get a local driving licence?

Here are some of our suggestions. We’ve selected Arnhem, the capital city of Gelderland, by way of example, but these tips apply to any town in the region.

  • Buy maps of Arnhem  or the town you are designated to live, in any bookstore in town or, if you are a parent of the Arnhem International School (A.I.S.), go to the  Kronenburg Shopping Mall at Bruna, situated in front of Albert Heijn Supermarket. A recommended map is: Arnhem Falk City Map (stadsplattegrond). This map gives you an overall view of town and through its legend, you can have a quick idea of where main services (such as hospitals,  post offices, shopping malls, schools, parking, churches, parks)  are situated.
  • Should you need any assistance there are different cellular phone stores (ie KPNVodafone  , Tele2 ) situated in the Kronenburg Shopping Mall or in town.
  • Arrange a driving licence by asking information at your Municipality or see When driving, it is recommended that you keep to the speed limit indicated or you will receive expensive surprises in your mailbox!
  • Purchase a Blue Parking Card at Primera news agent/tobacconist shop or Bruna, stationary shop. This is a one time purchase which allows for two-hour parking in designated area (usually blue lines) and for payment parking look at the following apps options: sms parking or Easy Park
  • For Public Transportation, purchase the OV-Chip card. This card is available online or at railwaystations, agent/tobacconist shops such as Primera. You may also buy a ticket on the bus. For planning your trip look at the following link.
  • For General Practitioners (Huisarts), you must register with a doctor in your postcode area for general medical needs and any health-related problems, including specialist referrals and prescriptions. You may find addresses and contacts in the Telephone Directory or in the Geementegids (City Hall Directory). Also on the Telephone Directory in English online. Doctors on duty outside office hours, Arnhem region: Huisartsadienst 0900-1598 (10ct/min).For Dentists (Tandarts) you have to find a practice that has space available. Check on the Telephone Directory or better, on the Gemeente Gids (ask for one at your Town Council) or as above online. For more general information on dentists see the Expat Survival Guide.
  • Pharmacy/ Chemist (Apotheek) For prescription and non-prescription drugs visit your local apotheek.  You must register with an apotheek in your area for prescription drugs.
  • For shopping: Food ( Jumbo Supermarket, Albert Hijn, Lidl, Aldi) Electronics (Mediamarkt, Expert, Dixons); Household goods (Hema, Blokker,  IKEA, Action); Sports (Perry, Sport2000); Do it Yourself (Gamma, Praxis); Clothing (Roermond Designer Outlet: all the labels you love reduced by 30-70%; also look at funshopgids beautiful and selected shops, city by city, all over the country.) Shopping mallsKronenburg Winkel Centrum and Presikhaaf Winkel Centrum).  The Kronenberg shopping center  is one of the biggest shopping centers in Arnhem.  There are two grocery stores and many of the popular stores you might find throughout The Netherlands.
  • Automotive Services
    • Repair – Service:  auto snelservice  or Kwik-Fit.
    • Emergency Roadside AssistanceThe Royal Dutch Touring Club (ANWB) is the organization to call in an emergency. You must be member of the organization, otherwise it can be pretty costly. Call: 0800.0888.  It is more cost-effective to apply for membership –   or  Route Mobile for emergency help in Holland at very competitive prices. Call: 0800-0504 (free).
  • Online translation: Use Google Translate to automatically translate the sites you visit.
  • Important things to know about Holland and its tolerance towards social issues: Liberal Holland 

Well , these are some of the practical tips we thought of, let us know if these were useful to you and add some new ones that you thought of yourself.