Friday, November 21, 2008

Binnenland verhuizen (Moving within the country)

Yes, I’m determined to get the Dutch back in gear…

Apartment - Office last day 27 I’ve sorted through most of the tasks that have to be done as an expatriate when pulling up from one location and moving to another, all within the Netherlands. Although most of it is pretty common-sense, there are some peculiarities to watch for, so I’ll pass along my list (and please tell me if I’ve missed anything…)

  • Set a firm date: Everything keys on the date that you vacate the apartment and give up the lease: settle it in writing and get written acknowledgement from the owner / manager.
  • IND Registration: It is necessary to register with the village hall at your new community of residence. It should only involve a visit and a form to fill in, showing your residence card and passport. If you are changing jobs, then you also need a letter from your employer (and, of course, proof of health insurance). The new village will notify the old one that you are no longer living within their domain. If you registered with the US embassy, relocation support, or security service advise them as well.
  • Mail Forwarding: TNT has a form to complete, and will forward mail for one week, free. After that, there is a small charge: the typical duration is 3 months and costs about 20 euros.
  • Huisarts: You need to let your local doctor know that you are leaving, and shift records to a new one.
  • Banks: The banks have a transfer of address form that must be completed. Since your debit and credit cards, as well as your statement, is keyed to your address, it’s important to get a few week’s jump on that as well.
  • Utilities: Generally, they like a month’s notice so that they can read the meters, collect payments, and close the accounts. I have arranged to close utilities with Nuon and Vitens: Be sure to disconnect their direct withdrawal permissions from your bank accounts. They will want meter readings at the closing date, and will send cards for you to fill out, so be sure that they get your forwarding address.
  • Entertainment: UPC requires a month's notice and proof of the move (first and last page of the new rental agreement) before they would disconnect. They offered to transfer my Internet, cable, and telephone contract to my new address, but since the apartment already has most of those, I simply closed it. They required copies of the first and last pages of the new lease contract before they would complete the disconnection.  Note that getting new internet generally requires 4 weeks advance notice at your new address.
  • Insurance: I have personal insurance (Centraal Beheer) and auto coverage (ANWB): those both need to be notified. Centraal Beheer needs to know if there is any change to the goods being covered in the new location. Check that you have moving insurance to cover the transition. Since coverage for my personal possessions are covered by my US homeowners insurance, I notified them as well.
  • Taxes: My accountants are making the necessary updates with the Dutch revenue services: prepaid property taxes (which I had to cover under my rental agreement) are simply gone unless you have some prorating build into your rental agreement. Dutch health insurance taxes may also be affected.
  • Cleaning: Inspections will focus on bathrooms and kitchens. I tried to get ahead of them with a carpet cleaning and a day of scrubbing the tops of the cupboards and the bases of fixtures. If there are minor repairs to fixtures or appliances needed, get them done.
  • Outtake Inspection: There will be a formal walkthrough of the apartment to determine whether there is damage, to compare the contents of furnished apartments with the inventory checklist, and to return keys.  I asked my relocation person to be present (as I did at the intake) to help with any Dutch negotiations and to show the pictures that she took when I moved in, documenting the original state of the apartment (another wonderful idea).
  • US Records: I almost missed this one, but having registered as an expatriate voter with the State of Washington, they expect to find you where you said you would be. If you registered with the Embassy, remember to update them as well.
  • Other Address change notifications: Update credit cards, mobile phone billings, magazine subscriptions, and work forwarding so that you don’t lose important mailings. If you have a lease car, the company needs to know where you are taking it. I’ve also been sending lots of updates to friends and co-workers (and will add the changes to the annual Christmas Card note).
  • Company Profile Pages: I have profiles registered in our corporate directories and their travel, payroll, and benefits agencies. All of these should be updated and verified with the HR departments.
  • Disconnecting from community: I’ve been making the rounds of neighbors to say good-bye, and letting the local shops and services that I patronize know that I will be gone. Although there is no formal requirement to tear up a health club membership (although it may require a month's notice to break the contract), library card, or video rental agreement, I prefer to clean up the loose ends.
  • Reconnecting with Social Networks: Help the Cloud Community to keep up: change your location on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. Don’t forget checking “Home Contact” information in your work directory. And change your .sig.

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