Located on the river Spaarne, 20 km from Amsterdam, Haarlem is a small, picturesque city. For many expats keen to get away from populous Amsterdam, the gentle pace of life offered in “The Flower City” of Haarlem, combined with its close proximity to the capital, makes it the perfect location. Living in Haarlem promises history at every turn, and you can share your unique experiences with other expatriates via the InterNations groups or forums. Whether you find peace in grand buildings such as Saint Bavo’s church overlooking the Grote Markt, or rather in humble Hofjes almshouses, you will no doubt have an insight to share. There is an impressive array of shops too, including specialty boutiques and art galleries, and despite its quaint culture and small size, for expats living in Haarlem there are a selection of reasonably priced bars and restaurants that rely on locals and expats – eating out is very popular here. If it’s the nightlife you’re after, there are plenty of opportunities to socialize with locals and other expatriates in Haarlem too. It might be worth organizing your own meet-up with other global minds using the InterNations platform.
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Another attraction of Haarlem is the relatively cheap accommodation costs in comparison to Amsterdam. Although housing costs have certainly increased as Haarlem has grown in popularity, expatriates can rent a fairly reasonable property as long as they are prepared to hunt for it. Costs obviously vary depending on the size, quality and centrality of the location, but if you need advice from other expats, InterNations offers a trusted network of expats living in the area and around the world who you can call on for advice when moving to the Netherlands. The wider area includes several small villages such as Bloemendaal, Aerdenhout, Bentveld and Sant-poort, which may offer better options if you are looking to save money while you begin your life as an expatriate. Of course, depending on your salary and visa, you may wish to buy a property of your own when moving to Haarlem. In the event you need to commute to work, Haarlem has two train stations which offer regular services to Amsterdam.
EU nationals are free to move to the Netherlands and remain in the country, although if you plan stay for and work for more than three months, it is important to register with the local municipal administration before you begin working in Haarlem. Registration requires a valid ID or passport, official documentation (such as a birth or wedding certificate) and your lease or sales contract. It would be a good idea to check exactly what documentation you need to take with you before going. If you’re uncomfortable telephoning, Haarlem city center is small enough to make it a quick trip into town in order to register. If you need more general information on living and working abroad in order to starting your new life overseas well prepared, the InterNations Expat Magazine is stuffed full of tips and handy hints on how to expatriate life.