Meet Our Partner - Holland Expat Center South

As an international there are a lot of steps to figure out in order to make your dream of working and living in the Netherlands a reality. It can be overwhelming to try and decipher the Dutch system and to know who to turn to for help. Although our focus at Undutchables is on helping you find a job, we know that getting established in the Netherlands involves more than just landing a great new position. That's why we have teamed up with some great companies that can assist you with the other steps of the process. We interviewed one of our partners this week and want to give you a chance to get to know them and learn about their services as well, so without further ado, let us introduce our international communities partner - Holland Expat Center South.

1. What is Holland Expat Center South?

At Holland Expat Center South we are connecters, providing a central point to help people get settled and supported while living in the Netherlands. We are part of a network of 12 expat centers, which are nonprofit governmental agencies that operate as dedicated service centers for helping international employees get settled in the Netherlands.

Our team of employees and volunteers in Eindhoven have been proudly supporting internationals in the province of Noord-Brabant since 2011. Our events, services and resources are all designed to support our main goal – help internationals settle into the region.

2. Why do you do what you do?

Because we know that what we do is important and makes a difference for both internationals and companies hiring internationals. With internationals in our own team, as well as conversations with the many lovely expats we have met throughout the years, we are keenly aware of the challenges that come along with being an international getting settled in the Netherlands. We want to help, and the best part is that we can!

One of our main services is to help companies get the formalities settled for their international employees. This can be a big stressor for the expat as well as the employer and we are able to expedite and guide that process to help it run more smoothly. But what we offer goes far beyond the formalities. Arriving in a new country can make you feel a bit lost and it is important to feel like you have resources and opportunities for everything from social interaction to learning how the school system works or where the best Dutch courses can be found. We act as a partner for internationals to answer these questions and help them get all aspects of their lives going in the Netherlands. There is something for everyone, and we have the network to connect internationals with the resources they are looking for. It is very rewarding to help someone find their place here.

3. Which products/services do you offer?

Our services can be divided into three main categories: formalities and administration, events and networking opportunities, publications and resources.

Formalities and Administration
– This is our main product when it comes to working with employers with international employees. We help the company and employee to arrange things such as residence permits, BSN, and other documentation to get started. There are certain pre-requisites to make use of this specific service, so check our website to see if you, or your employee, qualify to have your formalities arranged at the Expat Center. All of our other services are available to all, free of charge.

Events and Networking Opportunities
– Forming a community is just as important as gaining the right information when you first arrive in a new country, which is why we host events that help with both information and networking. One of our most popular events is our monthly Welcome Evenings where internationals can get to know the city, and others who are also settling in. These events are open to everyone, whether you have been in the Netherlands for years or just arrived yesterday. We also coordinate with our partners, the municipality, and other helpful service providers to plan frequent informative sessions about topics that are relevant to the international community. Some of our previous events have covered topics such as finding housing in the Netherlands, healthcare and insurance, and more.

Publications and Resource
s – Last but certainly not least we have created a great collection of publications and resources to help internationals settle in...and the collection is always growing. You may have come across our welcome bags or ‘Praat Nederlands met me” buttons that we provide during the 1st appointment at the expat center. Our team has also created a comprehensive expat guidebook, ‘The Expat’s Guide to Brabant,’ as well as other in-depth reference booklets to cover everything there is to know about living, working, and thriving in the south of the Netherlands. In addition to these publications, we also send out a monthly newsletter with helpful tips and updates about the international initiatives and community in Brabant. And, of course, our team is always ready to answer any questions you may have or connect you with other organizations to help you find the information, community, or opportunities you are looking for.

4. What is the current market like in your industry?

Loneliness and empty agendas are a big problem for internationals when they arrive in the Netherlands. The importance of social connection and hobbies tend to be underestimated by employers and expats alike in the excitement of arranging everything for their Dutch career. Getting people started as quickly as possible with activities that will fill up their empty schedules and help them find connection with their community and other internationals makes a big difference.

5. What are your unique selling points for the international community?

Short lines of communication with the IND, municipalities, and organizations within the international community. This allows us to provide all the necessary formalities in one place to help expats and their employers move quickly and efficiently through these processes. It also means that we can act as a connector to get internationals pointed in the right direction whether they are looking for volunteer opportunities, sport clubs, or an international community to join. Plus, our dedicated employees and volunteers, many of whom are internationals themselves, understand the challenges and work hard to ensure that we provide accurate and up to date advice that bridges the gap between internationals and the resources they need.

6. What has been your most memorable moment working with internationals?

Years ago, I saw someone from the very first focus group I ever organized with Holland Expat Center South at another event five years later. We remembered each other and it was so nice to see the progress he and his family had made since our first meeting. The event was about buying a house in the Netherlands so it was lovely to see how he had become so settled and was ready to make the next step to stay here. It always touches my heart when I run into people I know from the expat center and see how the community is constantly growing and people’s lives are influenced positively by what we are doing. They appreciate it, and it is great to see that it matters and makes a difference to people.

7. Do you have any industry tips for our readers?

Reach out when you have questions. There are a lot of resources available and a huge network of people willing and ready to help. No question is too silly….we have heard it all, so don’t hesitate to contact us so we can get you on the right path.

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