On Thursday June 9th the family lawyers of RWV Advocaten and Liesbeth Bouwhuis of Bepper Coaching welcomed 25 people of various nationalities. They all had in common that they live in The Netherlands. During this evening the guests were informed about Life, Love & Law in The Netherlands.

The evening started with some coffee and tea accompanied by the typical Dutch treat ‘stroopwafel’, a perfect opportunity to get to know each other and to find out about the different nationalities and home countries.

Then it was time to find a seat at the table to be informed about Dutch law and expat issues one might come across, living the expat life in The Netherlands. Karen Rueb started the informative part by explaining that the title ‘mr.’ in Dutch means lawyer and does not automatically imply that all lawyers are men. The presentations were then kicked off by her colleague Eveline Blomjous.

Eveline informed our guests about the ways of living together under Dutch law and the pitfalls you might come across being an expat. Marriage can for instance have unexpected and unwanted influences on the ownership of your house, so be aware.

Myrna van Wijk then gave the guests an outline of the Dutch rules about becoming a legal parent and obtaining parental authority. She briefly mentioned the ‘weird’ Dutch habits regarding the birth of a baby, such as home delivery and biscuits with anise seed sprinkles. But most of all she emphasized that the rules that apply to children born in The Netherlands, despite their nationality, could very well be different from the rules that may apply in the parent’s home country. Regardless the nationality of your child, Dutch law is (usually) applicable when your child lives in The Netherlands, but also be aware the rules might change if your circumstances change.

It is important to realize that by starting your life here in The Netherlands you get involved in Dutch law, sometimes without noticing. Myrna and Eveline presented some appealing examples and explained enough about Dutch law for our guests to become aware of the effects their residence might have on their legal situation. The general conclusion is that no two situations are exactly alike. It therefore is important to inform yourself on your situation and the law that applies before moving in together or getting married, buying a house or having a child . It is better to be informed up front than to be confronted with troubles afterwards.

After the legal presentations it was time for the life and love part of the evening. Liesbeth Bouwhuis looked into the social and emotional wellbeing of expats. She spoke about the difficulties expats may come across and presented the results of a short questionnaire among expats about their worries and the issues they experience living as an expat. First of all Liesbeth assured the guests that everyone first of all is human and all humans may have difficulties. But she also acknowledged that being an expat can have extra difficulties added to that. Your personal background and experiences, the relationships within your family and the relationships of your family members with their new environment can cause many different kinds of problems. Very often you need to find a new balance. Within you, between you and your family members and between you and your new environment. A coach can help you and your family members to get a better start in your new environment or to solve the problems you might come across in time.

Liesbeth also presented the guests with a little exercise to show how for everyone the bigger and smaller issues can be different. The guests were handed a list of issues and were asked to value their worries from big too small. This provided the participants with the possibility to talk about the various issues with the other guests present and exchange experiences. This resulted in lively conversations and perhaps even new friendships were born.

The new acquaintances were celebrated at the bar during drinks, accompanied by the Dutch treat ‘bitterballen’, or as some of our guests called them ‘mini kroketten’.

We enjoyed the evening a lot and we hope that all our guests found it to be informative but most of all ”gezellig”!

If you have any questions regarding this evening, about coaching for expats or about legal issues you are very welcome to contact us for more information or to make an appointment for a free intake.