Nijmegen is a town in which new residents quickly feel at home. It's not too big, easy to find your way around and the atmosphere is friendly and sociable. You will soon get chatting to people at the bus stop or in a café. Most Dutch people speak a little English and younger people are often quite fluent. Nijmegen is close to the German border so many people also speak some German. But if you really want to feel at home, you would be best learning to speak some Dutch (see language lessons).
Good ways of getting to meet people include clubs for playing a particular sport or pursuing a particular hobby, like (salsa) dance lessons, joining a golf club or sports school. Other possibilities are taking a (language) course, going to a (local) café, joining a business club (if you are an entrepreneur), meeting other parents through your children and doing (volunteer) work. When you move into a new flat or house, introduce yourself to your neighbours. They can help you deal with any questions you might have, and who knows, you might end up becoming good friends.
Below, you will find (in alphabetical order) some organisations and websites that could be of interest to international workers and foreign inhabitants looking for ways to meet others:
- Nijmegen organises 'Meeting Points' for expatriates several times a year, read on.
- The International Resource Centre (IRC-Gelderland) is a meeting point for the expatriate community living in the Gelderland Province, in the Netherlands.
- Foreign Exchange is a non-profit organisation which provides information and assistance to the native English speaking community in the Netherlands, specifically in the Nijmegen / Arnhem area: www.fexchange.net/home.htm.
- You can also enter the terms 'expats' and 'nijmegen' into a search engine. This will take you to several sites where you can get in touch on-line with other expatriates, such as http://expat.meetup.com/cities/nl/nijmegen and www.expatexchange.com.
- New Zealand Expat and Business Network in the Netherlands: www.keanewzealand.com
- Australian Business in Europe (ABIE, organisation for Australians living in Europe and for Europeans wishing to maintain a connection with Australia): www.abie.nl
- IBUC (International Business Club, for the Eindhoven Region): www.ibuc.nl
- Food Valley International ( International food network in the Netherlands ): http://www.foodvalley.nl/English/default.aspx.
- Nimègue Accueil, initiative of the consul-honoraire of the provinces of Overijssel and Gelderland, is an association for French, French speakers and Francophiles in the East of Holland. It helps members to get settled, keep in touch with the French culture and meet others.
- There is a Nijmegen branch of the Alliance Francaise, an association for French speakers and Francophiles to promote the French language and culture.
- COC Nijmegen is an interest group for homosexual men, lesbians and bisexuals in the city. It also organises all kinds of parties and activities. Visit the website of COC-center 'Villa Lila' for more information: www.villalila.nl.
- The Nijmegen-Arnhem Chaplaincy of the Anglican Church provides Sunday services in English (once every two weeks) as well as social activities. Expatriates (and others) of all nationalities and denominations are welcome to take part. For addresses and information please visit the Chaplaincy's website.
- Catholic Mass in English is offered every Sunday at 5:00 P.M. at the Lourdes-church ('Onze Lieve Vrouw van Lourdeskerk'). This is a small and welcoming expat community
of English speaking Catholics living in the Gelderland region (primarily Nijmegen and Arnhem). All are welcome to join! Address: Haterseweg 113, Nijmegen. For more info call (024) 355 36 30 or visit www.emmausnijmegen.nl (Dutch only).
Do you know a website, association, meeting point or activity that could be of interest to other Nijmegen expats, international workers or inhabitants? Send us an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) including a short description, the URL of the website and/or telephonenumber, and we will add your tip to this list.