Dating as an expat

Getting back into the dating game as an expat

So, you’ve just arrived in Haarlem, and you’re ready to expand your romantic horizons. Being an expat in a foreign country can present some cultural and social challenges, especially on the relationship scene. But with enough information (and a little bit of practice) there’s no reason why you can’t find love in the charming ‘Bloemenstad’ city.

Be tactful, down to earth and open-minded

The Dutch are known for their candid communication style and open-minded nature. Depending on where you are from, this might feel different than what you’re used to, but a few interactions with the people in your surroundings can help you adjust over time.

Maintaining an honest, straightforward attitude with others is the approach most likely to win over a potential date in the city of Haarlem. That doesn’t mean pretending to be someone you’re not, it just means adjusting your mindset to suit a less performative front, which some Dutch people may interpret as artificial.

In contrast to some western cultures, Dutch dating culture is less focused on flirting or beating around the bush, and more focused on sincere, but somewhat restrained interactions. So don’t be disheartened if someone you fancy seems aloof, it’s probably just because they don’t want to waste your time.

Get involved in the community – but be careful

When it comes to socialising as an expat in any regard, immersing yourself into the community is essential for getting a foot in the door. Despite its somewhat antique exterior, Haarlem boasts some lively bars, nightclubs, and beer-tasting spots that are very welcoming towards foreigners, and the local hostels will almost always be filled with interesting people from both Haarlem and around the world.

If you’d prefer to meet people in a more organic environment, joining a meetup group might be more up your alley, and online social forums or dating apps are always there for when you’d prefer to cultivate confidence from afar.

If you do go down the online dating route, it’s extremely important to know how to protect yourself from online dating scams. Make sure to always get a second opinion from someone you trust, think carefully about meeting them in person or giving out your phone number, and never send them money.

Prepare for progressive outlooks and enjoy the ride

The Dutch are known for their socially progressive stances on gender equality, sex work, and the use of substances. If you come from a very different background, prepare to be exposed to some alternative outlooks that may be challenging at first. If you already share some or all of those principles, simply relax and enjoy the freedom that comes with it.

When it comes to the environment of Haarlem, you couldn’t have landed in a more romantic setting. The tulips, windmills, city-side rivers, and historic architecture make for ideal picnic, walking, or cycling dates once you find a potential match. And as an expat, you have the perfect excuse for a lengthy tour!

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