The top 10 things everyone new to Amsterdam must know

I’ve realised that some of the best things I’ve learnt or picked up are from expats who now live in Amsterdam, and who have been there, done that, gone through the same processes, and navigated all the admin.

I’ve gotten some amazing advice and recommendations – like where to buy the best humus, where to go for nails, and the best place to go for waxes, and one of my referrers has been Sherianne Kramer, who I connected with via a mutual friend of ours. Sherianne has told me where to go for a wax, which GP to visit, and who to chat to about life insurance, and it’s recommendations like these that have made my settling in so much easier.

Sherianne is now doing this for a living – her company Home.Made helps people settle into Amsterdam smoothly, and she offers people a “personalised and tailored relocation experience”.

Sherianne explains more about her business and why she started it, plus she gives brilliant tips for newbies to Amsterdam.

Sherianne of Home.Made will help you settle into Amsterdam

“I was inspired to build this business after experiencing the ups and downs of my own immigration process to Amsterdam. Moving with a family and pets was stressful as was trying to decide on whether to bring our furniture, where to live in Amsterdam and how to find good doctors, hairdressers and the milk aisle in the grocery store!

Amsterdam is an exciting city with so many great things to do. It is also really expat friendly. However, it can be equally overwhelming. There are many times as an expat that I have felt taken advantage of, been confused about a process or felt as if I had overpaid for a service. Home.Made offers me the opportunity to use these experiences to guide my clients so that they can prioritise the exciting bits about Amsterdam, and avoid some of these pitfalls.

I have spent the last few years trying to recreate aspects of my life that I found comforting in my home country. This has involved finding routine, the right grocery stores for my lifestyle, the best places to have my nails and hair done, the Dutch products that most closely matched my favourite South African products and the restaurants that best cater to my diet and style. Using my tailored packages, I offer the exact same to my clients, so that they experience a smooth, stress-free, and swift transition of their existing lifestyles to their new city and community.

Immigration is a really personal journey and each individual, couple or family will have their own needs and interests that need to be met during this process. My aim is to develop a close knit relationship with my clients so that their every need is met and their relocation experience is not only seamless and stress-free but also comfortable.

And so, while I of course offer my clients the usual relocation services (visas, home viewings, banking, school registration and pet relocation), I also offer more personalised services. These include developing tailored online grocery profiles, assisting with furniture ordering and building, creating a client profile based on unique needs including fitness, beauty, wellness and entertainment options and providing an area orientation and guided tour of the city, including public transport assistance, meetings with immigration officers and banks and introduction to restaurants, parks, supermarkets and other relevant spaces in the new community.

Top 10 tips for new Amsterdammers:

  1. Get a bike: while this may be scary at first, the cycling culture is one of the best things about the city and it is the easiest way to get around
  2. The Dutch argue that there is no such thing as bad weather; only bad clothing: be prepared for wind, rain, snow, extreme heat and humidity (sometimes all in one day!). If all else fails, wear the Dutch uniform: Black jeans, white sneakers and a leather jacket.
  3. Learn to enjoy carbohydrate, deep-fried snacks and milk: these will be served at every meeting, party and social occasion.
  4. Maestro debit cards are everything; you won’t be able to do too much with a credit card (especially at supermarkets).
  5. Learn the difference between a coffee shop and a café: the former is for purchasing marijuana, the latter for purchasing coffee.
  6. Why use Amazon when you can use and get your order a couple of hours later?
  7. Enjoy the easy life: in Amsterdam we value a good work-life balance; a slow paced lifestyle and a general feeling of gezelligheid.
  8. On the first Monday of every month, stay calm. The sound you hear is just a test of the national alarm.
  9. Hit the stairmaster before you arrive: most homes, shops and restaurants have steep staircases that go on for a couple of storeys.
  10. Greet people with three kisses, one cheek at a time. Anything less is too French; anything more is too American.

If you would like more information, please feel free to contact me on or check out my website:



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