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Setting Up In Amsterdam

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Setting Up In Amsterdam

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Murray suggested we take our venture overseas. Probably the best idea he's ever had actually. And there was one place where we knew our business would thrive: Amsterdam.

By Emma Purbrick

I lived in Swindon, Wiltshire, with my husband and our young son. We ran an adult shop there, not dissimilar to Ann Summers, but business ultimately proved slow and fruitless. We were thinking of relocating someplace else in England, but then my husband, Murray, suggested we take our venture overseas. Probably the best idea he's ever had actually. And there was one place where we knew our business would thrive: Amsterdam.

Not only is this type of business a staple part of the culture there, but it's also very popular with tourists. It seemed like the only downfall would be the competition; adult shops are quite prolific in the Dutch capital, but this only made the challenge more exciting.

As a EU national, acquiring a visa wasn't hard at all.

The annoying paperwork was dealt with by a relocation agent, which was a welcome relief. The only hindrance was that our verblijfs documents (permission to reside/ID) took nearly half-a-year to receive. All-in-all, though, I'd say we were lucky. Other expats have found it much harder.

We used a BV when incorporating our business, which is a private limited company. This form of business is very popular in Holland. It can be incorporated by one person, which is ideal for small ventures like ours.

Everyone always asks what's it's like to live in Holland. Well, I'll tell you. It's great. Very child-friendly, which is nice for us and our son. It you enjoy a relaxed life, you can take a stroll or cycle in the countryside, or visit one of the many cafes. And if you ever feel like getting out of the country for the weekend, you have good selection of European countries to hop over to.

The downside? Weather isn't great, but, mind you, it never was in England either. The shops outside of Amsterdam aren't usually open on Sundays, which is annoying if we want to visit small cities and towns. Supermarket selections aren't great, either, but slowly getting better.

The Dutch people are rather private, and keep to themselves. But this is not to say they are unfriendly or unhelpful. On the contrary, they are intelligent, well-mannered and polite.

My tips for anyone relocating to Holland are, simply:

  1. Don't be afraid to ask questions, and never assume someone will give you all the details needed, especially during the relocation process.
  2. Familiarise yourself with the language. It's not essential, but appreciated by the nationals.
  3. Get out-and-about, and explore when you arrive. The country has lots to offer!

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