The Netherlands is one of Europe’s most kid-friendly countries, according to Lonely Planet. Haarlem, which is a rich destination for history, culture, and shopping – it’s also exciting and comfortable to explore or live in. With almost all attractions and facilities tailored to accommodate kids, Haarlem’s hospitality extends to the younger generation making it a great space to raise your kids as an expat. Packed with international schools, Dutch schools, cycling sports, shopping opportunities and other amenities, this old town which is just 15 minutes away from Amsterdam is the perfect place to grow a family.
Petting zoos and playgrounds will make kids in Haarlem lives fun
Holland is home to about 550 petting zoos, locally known as Kinderboerderij, a Dutch word that means children’s farm. Most of these zoos were started in the 1950s when urbanization kicked in with a purpose to help both adults and kids to interact with farm animals. The biggest zoo in Haarlem is Kinderboerderij Houthoeve which is located in Haarlemmerhout park. With free entrance, this zoo features a playground where kids can mingle and play a wide range of children games. Molentje in Heemstede is another popular petting zoo that neighbours the Groenendael Bos forest and one of the largest playgrounds called Speeltuin Groenendaal. Other petting zoos include Ridammerhoeve, Zorgvrij and Garden Center de Oostende. With different opening hours, your children will never lack an opportunity to interact with nature and make great playmates, something that opens and broadens their thinking.
Hospitals availability and sophisticated maternal care
There are hospitals all around such that if your child gets injured while having fun, you do not have to worry about health care. These hospitals offer the best services to babies, children, and adults. They include Spaarne Gasthuis Haarlem Zuid, Sint Lucas Andreas Ziekenhuis, Spaarne Gasthuis and Huidziekenhuis
Schools can accommodate all preferences
If you plan to settle here with your young family, there is a long list of international schools both in Haarlem and Amsterdam, but local Dutch schools are also an option. Most local schools are operated and funded by the government except some private ones. Similarly, some international schools are partly financed by the government while others are private with fees ranging between 1200-24000 euros. Here in Haarlem, you can find a school that allows you to cycle inside, save money, merge into the community and also allows your kids to learn a new language. Furthermore, before joining a regular school, children go through a Dutch immersion programme for 1 year to prepare them language-wise. Some of the schools to enroll your kids in for all levels include Coornhert Lyceum, Daaf Geluk School, Kennemer Lyceum, Sterren College, Teyler College, and Rudolf Steiner School among others.
The Netherlands produces some of the happiest children as reported by the European Union. Also, it has amenities and infrastructure that support motherhood, and that is why it was voted the 10th best country to be a parent. If you add that to the fact that Amsterdam was voted the 2nd happiest city in the world, then you can see why raising children in Haarlem, which is in very close proximity, is a great decision.
If you settle your family in Haarlem, you should establish a parenting network by reaching out to local parenting communities to discover the best experiences for your kids, thereby making it a rich experience.
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