Your expat buddy in Rotterdam for tailor-made relocation services

What is an expat without a buddy? Lost.

Every expat needs a buddy. And I’ve got your back!

Making the decision to move abroad is a big step. It’s a great opportunity for a fresh start but it can also be daunting at the same time. Especially when you’re moving to the Netherlands on your own. It’s a whole different level of overwhelming. With me as your expat buddy, your transition will be streamlined, seamlessly managed and worry-free.

Over the past 10 years, I’ve helped solo expats navigate the intensive relocation process and integrate faster into Dutch life. Having firsthand experience, I know how hard it can be for a newly-arrived expat to cope with the challenges of moving to another country. Therefore, I’m here to help you sidestep any pitfalls, minimise stress and maximise the fun of enjoying your new hometown.

Rest assured that with me in your corner, you’ll find your footing and feel at home quickly in the bustling city on the Maas.

Moving to Rotterdam? SparkLing One is your buddy and guide

Settling into Dutch life

Are you relocating to Rotterdam on your own? You’ve already got one friend in your new hometown! I’ll be your personal guide and buddy.

Uprooting your life and landing in a whole new country and culture can be exciting but also challenging. In particular, the actual move and all the underlying practical issues, which have to be arranged in quick succession after entering the country. On top of filling in a bunch of mandatory paperwork, you’ve to find a place to live, get accustomed to your new job and acclimatise to a different culture. Simple, easy or familiar would not be the words to describe most international relocations, but this is precisely how it’ll be for you when I’m on the job.

I tackle the initial issues you face as an expat and arrange the essentials. What a relief! And that saves you time and energy. 

  • (semi-) furnished rental home
  • rental property viewing
  • utilities (electricity, gas water)
  • internet, TV, Dutch mobile provider
  • social security number (Burger Service Nummer)
  • DigiD
  • Dutch bank account
  • insurances
  • public transport travel card (OV-chipkaart)
  • orientation tour of Rotterdam
  • cultural briefing
  • introduction to my personal hidden gems in Rotterdam
  • just about anything else to help you kick-start your life in Rotterdam

 

From experience, I know that having an expat buddy by your side from the beginning can give you a head start in your new environment. Together, we can get you to the point where you’re hitting the ground running.

Culture clashes, language barriers and other challenges

Finding your way around

As a newcomer to the Netherlands you’ll encounter new norms of cultural conduct and business ethics. There could be unexpected – and emotionally straining – hurdles.

Your employer may have already taken care of some essentials, but you need more support setting up your new home base. Navigating your way through a housing market in an unfamiliar city or figuring out the Dutch healthcare system can be daunting. Not to mention that you have to adapt to a hectic business life that doesn’t give you time to take a breather.

You could experience language barriers that turn simple errands into a scavenger hunt. Or you might be caught off guard by the infamous Dutch directness. Moving to a new country is a guarantee that you’ll be confronted with new ways of thinking and doing things, which might result in culture shock or even clashes.

When we work together, I ensure you’ll have an enjoyable and a relaxing experience. Apart from taking care of the necessary arrangements, I’ll show you how to transition from visitor to full-time resident, avoiding cultural blunders and awkward situations. You can rely on me for social support in the absence of your family and friends at home.

Proud Rotterdammert

 

As a proud Rotterdammert (how we refer to ourselves), I love showing people around the real Rotterdam. Rotterdam is a city you need to get to know first before you fall in love with it.

This city offers you a unique combination of old and new architecture, broad cultural offerings, hip and varied restaurants, colourful street art, renowned museums, awesome festivals, the constant urge for rejuvenation and no-nonsense mentality. These things make Rotterdam an attractive place to live. It’s a mishmash of cultures; a place that has something for everyone and where countless expats feel at home quickly. There is always something to do and experience here.

While exploring the various neighbourhoods together, I’ll share my favourite locations and Rotterdam’s best-kept secrets with you; the most exciting places, the closest convenience stores and the best hangouts where you can go to make new friends with the local residents. This will not only help you practice Dutch but also fast-track your integration process, allowing you to understand the Dutch culture better. 

Personal attention and support for expats

The personal touch

Growing up in multiple cultures and working with various nationalities helped me to relate easier to people from different backgrounds.

I was born in Singapore, a country that’s home to a wide range of cultures, ethnicities and religions. My parents were expats in China and Japan, which is how I came to experience expat life first hand. Often dependent on themselves to find their own way around, it took my parents a long time to get used to living in a new city and adapt to a new culture.

When I moved in with my mother, who had already immigrated to the Netherlands, I regularly went out with her and her Korean expat colleagues. I still remember how much her colleagues appreciated our hospitality and loved being invited to celebrate Queen’s Day (now King’s Day) or to come over for homemade pea soup or Dutch pancakes. These are the kinds of moments I strive to create for you when we work together.

        I can’t promise to solve all your problems,
but I can promise you won’t have to face them alone.

Here’s how I improve your relocation experience

You’ll never walk alone

In recent years, I’ve created a home away from home for many solo expats. Expat life can be like an emotional roller coaster. Leaving your friends and building a new network from scratch in Rotterdam is a challenge. It’s easy to feel isolated and lonely. Making friends can be hard and living far away from your family can contribute to loneliness and feeling homesick. I understand how it feels to be a newcomer, and what you need to feel at home in Rotterdam.

Arrival

You start at the airport, where a chauffeur waits to pick you up at the arrival hall and brings you to your new home. I’ve already helped you find a furnished rental apartment in a good neighbourhood. I make sure that your new place is ready for you. For an extra warm welcome, I stock your kitchen cupboard with a few traditional local goodies.

Your first outings

We explore your new neighbourhood together. After all, the faster you feel at home in your new environment, the quicker you’ll feel at home in Rotterdam. I tell you more about the Dutch language, local customs and cultural differences, so you’re ready to integrate into Dutch society. In the beginning, things can take an unexpected turn. This is why we meet regularly to discuss your new experience and how I can support you moving forward.

Creating your social circle

Meeting new people can be hard, no matter where you live. Being in an unfamiliar environment with many new things to learn as well as adapting to all of the changes can be very emotionally taxing. For expats, having a network of people who understand what you’re going through or who are at least able to listen and provide comfort is a necessity.

With this in mind, I organise different activities for you, other expats and Dutch friends so everyone can get to know one other. Think architecture discovery tours, street art explorations or just simply sharing a meal together at a local spot. You get to know Rotterdam better, meet other like-minded people and build meaningful connections.

Tips and tricks to make your life easier

 

I’m used to being asked a wide variety of questions: from how to find a great barber to where to go for a nature getaway in the Netherlands. Don’t wrack your brain looking for answers to every single question when you can simply ask me. As your guide and buddy, I’m happy to share my personal tips and introduce you to my favourite hotspots in Rotterdam. As we say in the Netherlands, “lekker makkelijk (nice and easy)!”. 

SparkLing One services

How it works

To create a hassle and stress-free relocation experience for you, we first connect on a complimentary discovery call so I can learn more about your situation and needs – it’s more than just knowing the basics like your wish list for your new home. This is also an opportunity to see if we’re a good fit to work together.

If we decide to work together, we’ll take a deep dive into your relocation, crafting a personalised roadmap for a seamless and successful transition to Rotterdam over a virtual meeting. Your relocation is off to a flying start before you even step on the airplane.

I look forward to helping you to settle into your new life.

What you get:

  • assistance with finding a (semi-) furnished rental apartment in Rotterdam area
  • information on neighbourhoods in Rotterdam
  • accompany you to 3 viewings or attend these viewings on your behalf              When you’re not in Rotterdam at the time of the viewing, I can arrange a pre-recorded video or a live streaming of the property.
  • accompany you to the move-in inspection or attend this inspection on your behalf
  • assistance with arranging home utilities (energy, water and internet)
  • assistance with arranging household contents and liability insurances
  • assistance with BSN (Citizen Service Number) registration
  • assistance with opening a Dutch bank account
  • assistance with understanding Dutch documents e.g. rental contract
  • how to use OV-chipcard and public transport
  • how to use DigiD
  • information on Dutch healthcare system
  • assistance with selecting a Dutch healthcare insurance provider
  • assistance with finding a general practitioner, dentist and pharmacy
  • orientation tour of Rotterdam city centre or orientation tour of your neighbourhood, with special focus on amenities such as grocery stores, gym
  • cultural briefing
  • extensive support, advice and guidance via e-mail, telephone, WhatsApp throughout the course of the assignment

 

The fee for the SparkLing Essential Package is Euro 2500, inclusive 21% VAT.

It’s my aim to give you a headstart and make your life easier before, during and after your relocation to Rotterdam. Besides the packages, my services are fully customisable to suit your needs.

For example:

Besides providing you with information on Dutch healthcare system, I help you select the best Dutch health insurance plan and recommend a general practitioner, dentist and other healthcare professionals e.g. physiotherapist. The fee is Euro 275, inclusive 21% VAT.    

Are you struggling to understand the Dutch documents you’ve received such as municipality letters? Need help with sorting out an issue with service providers or government services over the phone. No stress. I’ve got you covered. The hourly fee is Euro 85, inclusive 21% VAT.

You’re bound to have a lot of shopping to do when you move into your new home. Without the shops and brands you’re familiar with, you might not know where to buy the bare essentials like bed linen. And you’ll have questions about how things work in the Netherlands. A go-to local buddy comes in handy. Don’t wrack your brain looking for answers to every single question when you can simply ask me. The hourly fee is Euro 85, inclusive 21% VAT.

Once you’re settled in your new home, it’s time to discover the unknown and hidden gems of the Netherlands. Let me share my insider tips and create an unforgettable weekend getaway in for you. I specialise in staycations in Texel, the biggest Dutch Wadden Islands. The starting fee for a travel plan is Euro 225, inclusive 21% VAT.

Ready to explore the lesser-known areas in Rotterdam while making new friends? As a huge supporter of urban creativity, I organise street art and street food guided walking tours. The fee is Euro 75 per person, inclusive 21% VAT.

Before you bid a final ‘doei (bye)’ to the Netherlands, there are many bureaucratic tasks to complete. Whether if you need help with finding a reliable moving company or attend the move-out inspection on your behalf, I take care of all the necessary arrangements for a smooth departure. The starting fee is Euro 1250, inclusive 21% VAT.

Are you preparing to relocate to Rotterdam or have you just arrived?

Do you have burning questions about:

  • Which neighbourhoods are the best to live in?
  • How does the Dutch healthcare system work?
  • What are the do’s and don’ts when dealing with the Dutch?

 

Spending hours on the internet doing research and digging into multiple Facebook expat groups leave you puzzled and you wonder if you actually have the correct information.

Sometimes you just need a local to tell it to you straight and to show you the shortcuts to a pleasant life in Rotterdam.

What you get:
– 2 hour session via Zoom, recorded so you can refer to it later
– support via e-mail and WhatsApp for 5 days after the video call

Please send me your questions beforehand so we identify the main areas where you need my support with. This ensures we get the most out of our time and that I can answer whatever questions you have.

The fee for the SparkLing Shortcuts Session is Euro 350, inclusive 21% VAT.

The Coronavirus has turned drinks at the bar into drinks in our individual homes, but that doesn’t mean you’ve to drink alone.

Whether you’re celebrating the week’s success or looking for a much-needed outlet to socialise, nothing beats a Friday afternoon drink at the end of a long week.

In the Netherlands, we love a good excuse for having a borrel (a drink). On a Friday afternoon, we call it a VrijMiBo (Vrijdagmiddagborrel)!

Pull up a chair, pour yourself a drink and prepare to put your world knowledge to the test.

Interested in joining the free online sessions (max. 4 persons)? Just send me an email to reserve your spot for one of these dates at 5 pm (CET):

– 15 January 2021
– 12 February 2021

Let’s swap (travel) stories and kick start the weekend by having a few laughs together.

See you soon!

  • Travel time and travel expenses are included in the Essential and Settling Into Dutch Life package prices. However, extra expenses and time spent in addition to  the amount of your chosen package will be calculated and charged at an additional hourly rate. 
  • My hourly rate is Euro 85, inclusive 21% VAT. This rate applies to any additional time spent working outside the scope of any given packages or services and this rate is exclusive of travel time and travel expenses.
  • For international payments I recommend to use TransferWise instead of a bank or PayPal to avoid unnecessary high transfer and conversion fees. 

Trees, the earth’s lungs

 

Travelling is an essential part of my life. The trips I’ve taken, have helped to shape me into the person I’m today. I’m a big supporter of sustainable tourism and nature conservation. A tree is a special gift. Trees ensure the possibility of life on Earth. And therefore, we should care for trees in return. To do our part in protecting our planet, I’ll donate one tree for each trip booked and for each expat guided by SparkLing One. By hiring me, you’re contributing to a better climate, more biodiversity and better living conditions for local people.

The Trees for All Foundation is a carbon offset provider based in the Netherlands. They plant new forests, restore existing forests and support sustainable forest projects. Interested to know more, please visit Trees for All.