Danuta Hoek is “your new best friend in town” if you are an international trying to relocate in the north. Her initiative Expats at Ease is dedicated to assisting foreign professionals as they start their new lives in the Netherlands.
Having moved abroad herself with her family as a child, Danuta Hoek from the Netherlands is familiar with all the struggles that professionals can face. She remembers the times she and her mother would join her father on assignments and how that helped her become more familiar with the processes involved in moving abroad and settling into new environments. Her personal experience inspired Hoek to start helping internationals eight years ago as an independent consultant who frequently collaborates with HR (Human Resources) companies and relocation services.
Hoek’s work primarily focuses on helping newcomers get familiarized with everything they may need when starting their new lives. “It’s important at a certain point that you have somebody [to help] if you don’t know the ropes,” she says. “I always go through everything with them.” She accompanies professionals on all of the simple tasks that seem to make life more difficult, such as school appointments, opening a bank account and viewing houses.
Hoek sees her role as serving as an objective third party when foreign professionals want to rent a place to live. “I will be there to make sure whether promises that have been made are held or not,” she says. She meets with the newcomers and after they reach an agreement on the services offered, they start their collaboration. Hoek provides guidance on rental properties since many newcomers prefer not to buy a house immediately. “I always advise them to rent a house during the first months, because then they can get a feeling for the surroundings that they’re going to live in, and they know exactly what area, city or village they prefer,” Hoek says.
One of the most challenging tasks for internationals looking to relocate to the northern Netherland is rebuilding their social lives. “Integration is one of the key things,” Hoek says. She always tries to find activities for people that are not only related to work or studies. “I always ask what do they like to see or what are their interests,” she says. Introductory tours and sports, such as tennis, are some of the activities the new incomers prefer.
Expats at Ease specialises in the picturesque villages and lively cities of the eastern and northern parts of the Netherlands. Hoek says that newcomers show a preference to these areas of the Netherlands as everything is at a short distance from the big cities such as Rotterdam and Groningen. Hoek spends most of her time in her office located in Hattem, at Libanonweg 11, and if you need help facing all the struggles of relocation, you can contact her at Expats at Ease or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org and phone: +31 655 152424.