Posts Tagged With: Expat

Celebrations (Or: My VVR has arrived)

Today I checked the mailbox after coming back from the library. I noticed another letter from the IND. My VVR (identification card) was ready for pick up! Twenty days after the appointment with the IND – not too bad.

So I took a trip to Stadhoudersplein 24 (where the main IND/Gemeente offices are in The Hague) to pick up my identification card. I am now 100% legal and have an official address in the Netherlands. Most amusingly, the back of the card has Marco’s name on it, as he is my registered partner.

To celebrate, Marco and I went to Athene Palace, a Greek restaurant in The Hague which I have blogged about before. This time I had #102 (Rhodosschotel), which has lamb chops, chicken filet, souflaki and gyros.

Athene Palace in Den Haag 2

As is the typical Dutch tradition, afterwards we had a cup of coffee (cappuccino for Marco).

Athene Palace in Den Haag

And near the end of the meal, the conversation switched to our upcoming wedding later this year. Offiicially we couldn’t do much stuff with the wedding until now, as I needed to be an official resident of The Hague.

But now it is time for wedding talk… it’s happening!

Athene Palace in Den Haag 3


Categories: Forms, etc., The Hague | Tags: | 1 Comment

IND (Or: Approval for the VVR)

Three business days.

Maybe three and a half… That’s how long it took to get approval for my VVR (residency permit). Marco and I had our appointment with the IND and The Hague’s GBA this past Friday on the 11th, and when we came home yesterday the approval letter was already in the mailbox.

VVR approval letter from the Dutch IND

Of course, there are a few factors which help:

1. I am American (not a country they typically scrutinize).

2. I already had my MVV (not required for Americans) so I had already received permission to move here.

Happily, the letter also says De arbeidsmarktaantekening luidt ‘arbeid vrij toegestaan. TWV niet vereist.’, which translates to “The labor endorsement reads ‘work freely permitted. TWV is not required.’ ” Though the economy is not the best so I don’t expect to be able to get  a job tomorrow. ;p

This is just the approval letter though. Since we live in The Hague, the visit to the GBA and the IND are combined into one. IND had a quick turnaround, but the GBA might take 2-3 weeks more. So the letter I received said that I can’t come pick up the document yet – probably because the GBA has not assigned me a BSN yet. I will receive another letter when everything is truly ready to go.

Categories: Forms, etc. | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Afspraken (Or: A visit to the IND)

Today Marco and I went to our scheduled appointment (afspraak) with the IND to set up my VVR (permanent residency). This also included a meeting with the GBA (…Gemeentelijke Basisadministratie persoonsgegevens!), otherwise known as the department who keeps tabs on every single citizen of the Hague. You are required to register.

The appointment was at 9AM, so we left the apartment around 8AM and took tram 17 to the Statenplein tram stop. (The street we wanted was Stadhoudersplantsoen, 24. Yeah. Who needs to use the space bar.)

Gemeentemuseum in the Hague

gemeente museum in the Hague, near our appointment building. (gemeente = municipality)

The appointment went rather smoothly – as mentioned, we first met with an official from the GBA and I turned over one of the official copies of my birth certificate (don’t worry mom – a long version, not the fragile original version!). Then we waited a few minutes for the IND appointment and got that sorted. I had my fingerprint taken digitally, which was interesting because the machine was rather finicky. Eventually they ended up just trying the index finger on my left hand instead of my right, and it worked a bit quicker.

Then my fingerprint was taken again at a different window, and then it was done. The VVR should arrive in 6 to 7 weeks. I hope!

Continue reading

Categories: Forms, etc., The Hague | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Welkom (Or: A visit to the Hague’s International Centre)

Today I visited the International Centre in the Hague’s City Hall. It’s on the first floor, but if you use the main entrance (near the library entrance) it is clear on the other side of the building. Their main website is

Here are some images of the space:

Inside the city hall of The Hague

I received an information booklet on the city hall and it stated that the city hall had been used in the film Ocean’s Twelve (in the movie it was the Europol headquarters).

sign near the International Centre in the Hague

I feel a bit far from “home” now (New York). Just kidding.

Here was the welcome package I received:

bag from the International Centre in the Hague

And the items inside:

Welcome package from the International Centre in the Hague

Here is a list:

– flyer on what to do with household waste (garbage and recycling)
– information on the next upcoming information session and tour for new residents, February 18
– information on an organization called “The Hague Midtown”
– copy of a newspaper called The Local Expat
– winter 2012-2013 magazine (lists events)
– The International Correspondent magazine
– “Freebee Map” to Den Haag and Scheveningen
– promotion for “The Guest Card” with a free 1 year membership (discount, events type card)
– Expactia Expat Survival Guide, 2013
– healthcare brochure
– ‘The Hague thinks ahead’ disaster planning flyer
– Expat Events Calendar flyer (
– Access brochure
– “City in One: The Expat Guide of the Hague”, 2013
– brochure on the city hall, with historical information
– bike path map
– guide to Scheveningen
– HTM bus, tram, and train map
– HTM guide on what to take to go shopping, to the beach, to the region, etc
– and an actual hardcover book, just under 200 pages. ‘Manners in the Netherlands’
Categories: Daily Dutch living, The Hague | Tags: | Leave a comment

First day (Or: Tired but here)

So I have arrived. Marco and I are alone, after the guests have all said adieu and gone home.

The first flight was JFK to Dublin. In the morning, Roger, Marco and I checked out of the New Yorker hotel around 10am (which pretty much meant just dropping off our room keys in the key drop near the elevator). Then we went and had a late breakfast at Ellen’s Stardust Diner, a 1950s retro themed restaurant where the waitstaff sing at you. I had a Brooklyn bagel, which was a bagel with scrambled eggs and American cheese on top. The singing was fine – it was mainly the waitstaff walking around with a microphone singing.

Eventually we made it back down to the New Yorker hotel and grabbed our bags from storage, and then made our way on the Long Island Railroad to Jamaica station. Once there, we transferred to the air train which would take us to JFK. At least it was much more spacious than the air train that connects the NJTransit stop to Newark airport, the airport we usually use.

I didn’t have any issues at all dropping off my luggage at the Aer Lingus desk, and the lady also helpfully printed our boarding passes for the next flight (Dublin to Amsterdam) as that had not been an option on the website. Security was annoying (when isn’t it?) but nothing that we haven’t seen before. We then waited around a bit for our flight to take off.

On the flight over, Roger and Marco managed to get some sleep (a bit – not great) but I mostly just dozed. Roger and I used the inflight entertainment option to listen to some music. The options were okay but not great, but admittedly I need to listen to more music. It also took forever to get from page 1 to page 24, for instance. But it was good otherwise.

We then arrived at the Dublin airport just after 5AM, as planned. We ended up sitting up on the 4th floor somewhere outside of the Burger King, where we camped out waiting for them to tell us what our gate was. And waited. And waited. The gate opened at 8:40AM and the gate number flashed up on the screen just after 8:30. Crazy.

We also had a delay with the flight, boarding at 9:25AM for our 9:30 flight. I started to doze off more heavily here, although I was jerked awake by the announcements at times. But we still only arrived 5 minutes late, although taxiing from the remote stretch of land that is the outskirts of Schiphol airport took at least 10 minutes. No joke.

Getting through passport control was a breeze. The worker asked what my purpose was for coming to the Netherlands, and I said to move. I then told him to look in the back for my MVV sticker, which he stamped and said I was good to go. So very anti-climatic…

After that we grabbed our luggage and made our way to the arrivals hall, where Marco’s mom was waiting to greet us. After exchanging some hugs and pleasantries we then made our way to the train which we took home to the Hague. Marco’s dad and his wife were waiting in his apartment. We chatted for a while, sharing banketstaaf (“bread” with almond paste in the middle).

After the house guests were gone, Marco and I napped for a while in our new bed (very firm!). Sleep is good – we definitely have our priorities straight!

Categories: Moving | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Today’s the day

life in the hague

Categories: Moving | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Counting Down II (Or: #finalcountdown)

From Marco…

Yesterday Niki wrote about her final days ‘here’.
Today it’s my turn to give you a bit of insight..

While I’m a hothead and usually not a patient person,
I am actually quite cool and relaxed under pressure..but not this time around.

Last week when I was working on my apartment I felt overwhelmed, no clue how to start and what to do..
This week I’m much better. Well doh, obviously.
With the help of my friends & family it all worked out fine 🙂

So now the final countdown is really on. Niki got her mvv, my place is ready..
We’ve had fun so far at the mall and just hanging out etcetera.
But there’s also been some “serious” moments .. we’ve done a trial run of packing our suitcases.
It seems 90% fits in Niki’s and my own luggage. So that means that if we use the extra space in Roger’s luggage too we won’t need to use any extra space and thus pay for it.

Time’s going it’s already Wednesday (oooh new comic book day) and Roger and I will head into New York for some random fun. Once we get back, we will pack our suitcases for real this time, and then head back there WITH Niki on Saturday.

Yup. Time to put ‘the Final countdown’ on repeat on my ipod.

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Counting Down (Or: Under a week)

Three more days of work, three and a half more days in Pearl River… the countdowns are getting more numerous by the minute it seems. (In fact, today might have been the last day I needed to trudge up the hill, as I am probably getting rides home the rest of the days. But we’ll see…)

Work has been going pretty good. I still need to clear off parts of my desk, but I did the major bits of it last week. I finished a long-ago-promised project for the psychology department, and can deliver the .avi file tomorrow at some point. I still have 10 or so reminders popping up every so often in Microsoft Outlook, but the number of those is dwindling as well.

After work entertainment has also been good. Yesterday was a relaxing day at home eating beef stew (prepared the night before and placed in the slow cooker in the morning) and watching various tv shows. Tonight we went to the Palisades Center. I got a hair cut and we visited our favorite stores and said our final goodbyes to the mall. It’s been a good place to go over the last few years, all four floors of that gargantuan warehouse-like building. Mainly I will miss the convenience of tons of stores in the same place! One stop shopping to the extreme.

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Fridays (Or: The Dutchies arrive…)

It seems like only yesterday since I saw Marco (early October), but he and Roger are returning again today! I suppose that’s the benefit of scheduling uneven breaks between trips: April to October, and then October to December.

But it is a break from routine in some respects: they have to fly into JFK on Aer Lingus rather than into Newark on Delta, so that I could secure a one way ticket to the Netherlands on an Aer Lingus flight. That airline sells cheapish one way tickets. Unfortunately this means landing at 6:20PM or so rather than 1 in the afternoon. No more getting back home by 5PM!

Because of this, we’ll be meeting at Penn Station as it seems a good not-quite-halfway point for all of us. I was able to get a ride into the city with a coworker, so I don’t have to battle the crazy bus traffic that crops up on a Friday afternoon.

Regardless of when we get back home, it’ll be fun to be back in the company of the Dutchies again. Even if my apartment is more of a mess than it usually is when they arrive…

flight from Dublin to JFK

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Celebration (Or: My Dutch MVV sticker!)

So I went back to the city yesterday morning to pick up my passport from the Dutch consulate.

And finally, after not-quite 5 months, here is my MVV sticker! (Well, I photographed part of it.)

Official stamp on Dutch MVV sticker

The entire MVV sticker is large enough to pretty much take up the entire passport page. It is a temporary visa which allows me to enter and leave the country as needed (though it’s not in the plans to come and go THAT early on). Within 8 days of arriving, one needs to apply for permanent residency. So oh joy, back to the IND again.

But at least we have a break for a few weeks!


Categories: Forms, etc. | Tags: , | 8 Comments

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