New to the School? New to the Area?

We would like to be the first to welcome you to Bergen!

We all know what it is like to relocate to a new country or area and would like help make your transition as smooth as possible for you and your family.

The Welcome Committee is made up of several parents of the school who will be available for you to ask questions. We offer advice about school life, the local area and Dutch customs or a first contact person in your mother tongue. Would you like to be in touch with a parent from the school? Email us by clicking on the button below that corresponds with the language you prefer to communicate in and we will connect you with someone who can help.

We know it can be a challenge to find what you need when relocating to a new country, so we have provided a list of resources to help. While it is not a complete list of services or providers in the area, we hope it will help. Don’t see something you need? Let us know. 

This is not a recommendation or endorsement of any business or service by the Parents’ Association. The ES Bergen Parents’ Association is not responsible for the validity or content of external links.

Long-term Temporary Lodging

If you do not already have your permanent home secured, you will want to select a long-term “vacantie” place to stay while you search for your permanent rental or until you purchase your home. There is a wide array of hotels and long-term vacation homes to stay when you first arrive. “Vacantie” homes are more reasonable than hotels for longer-term housing and come fully furnished with kfull kitchens. Here are some vacantie providers near the school.

Schoorl
Residence Koningshof
Park Scorleduyn
Mooi Schoorl

Transportation

When you first arrive, you can easily get around through public transport and car rental. You can plan your trips and see the schedule here. You can also download an app from 9292 which has up to date train schedule and travel planning from your smart phone.

Public Transport Payment- OV-Chipkaart 

Website: https://www.ov-chipkaart.nl/home.htm#/

The OV-chipkaart is the payment method for public transport in the Netherlands. The OV-chipkaart allows you to travel by bus, tram, metro and train without having to buy tickets for each different mode of transportation. There are three types of cards available:

  1. Personal OV-chipkaart
  2. Anonymous OV-chipkaart
  3. Disposable OV-chipkaart).

To use any of these cards you need to check in as you depart and check out again after arriving at your destination. If you fail to check in or buy a valid ticket, you face a fine plus the fare for your journey. You can load credit onto your OV card in Euro’s and/or add a travel product, for instance: a bicycle ticket for one day, a monthly commuting pass or a season ticket.

Additional information on transport by train: www.ns.nl (also has an English version of the site)
Information on public transport abroad: Tel. 0900 9296

Car Rental
Europacar Alkmaar
Martin Schilder Bergen
Hertz Heerhugowaard

Taxi Services
TaxiDam
+31 6 81939355
taxidam18@gmail.com

Finding a Home

Real estate agencies are called “makelaar” in Dutch and could be found directly on the internet. You can query for complete listings of homes available amongst all makelaars is Funda.

Common dutch terms that will help in your search are:

  • To “koop” is to buy
  • To “huur” is to rent
  • “Nieuwbouw” is a new house
  • “van x” “tot y” defines the financial range (from x to y)

Rental prices can vary from 800 Euros per month (for a small apartment) to 3000 Euros per month (for a large house). The location strongly influences cost (e.g. Bergen/Schoorl is quite popular and picturesque area and a 3-4 bedroom house can easily cost 2,000 – 3,000 Euros per month for basic rent, whereas Alkmaar is less costly. However, there is a higher inventory of larger homes in the Bergen/Schoorl area.

A family house (eengezinswoning) has two to three floors. Many of the houses have a small garden with a shed (schuur) for bikes and storage. A garage is not always available. In general, these types of houses are let completely bare which entails no flooring or curtains.

Please note that furnished accommodations (gemeubileerde woonruimte) is not common in the Netherlands and can be very expensive. Most of them are summer houses located near the seaside which could turn out to be a proper temporary solution (some yearly rental if not common could also be discussed with the landlord).

Helpful City (Gemeente links)
Alkmaar Gemeente
Bergen Gemeente  (includes Schoorl)
Bergen App (community info and events)

Setting Up a Bank Account

You can open a new bank account in the Netherlands at any bank. Many home owners require a Dutch bank account to complete a rental housing contract. It is also advisable to set up accounts with mobile phone providers, landline phone, gas, water and electricity supplier. Most banks will require a local physical address in order to open an account.

Banks with local branches in the area are:
ABN Amro
ING
Rabobank

Insurance/Liability

As in all European countries, it is wise to ensure that both your family and material goods are insured. In the Netherlands it is advised to get the following insurances:

  • Liability Insurance (aansprakelijkheidsverzekering W.A.), which covers yourself, your family (and even your pets) for damage to third parties
  • Legal aid insurance (rechtsbijstandsverzekering). In case of a legal conflict, it assures you affordable expert assistance
  • Fire and theft insurance (inboedelverzekering) which covers your property in case of fire or theft
  • Building insurance (opstalverzekering) if you own a house
  • Various car insurances if you own a car

Healthcare and Human Services

The General Practitioner

The General Practitioner (GP) (huisarts) fulfils a central role in the health care system of the Netherlands. He or she is the first point of contact for almost everything related to health care. He treats you, but also coordinates other care, normally by means of an introductory letter to specialists or paramedics, and maintains your medical file, complete with specialists’ reports.

In the Netherlands everyone has a permanent GP. You can choose a doctor within the borders of your own town (in larger cities within a radius of a few kilometres). You have to phone the GP’s assistant and register yourself (with or without family) as a new patient. You must then always visit that specific doctor (except outside normal hours). After your registration has been accepted, the doctor you have chosen will be your main point of contact in case of general illnesses and other health related questions. Outside consulting hours, it’s likely that you will have to visit another doctor. Before choosing a GP, ask friends, colleagues or neighbors for advice. The doctor can also be visited for an introductory talk, after which you can decide whether to register or not.

When you call your GP’s office to make an appointment, the GP’s assistant (doktersassistente), will ask you some questions in order to determine the urgency of your situation. Usually a consult with your GP is limited to 10 minutes and takes place during office hours. Longer visits are charged at double rate. Home visits by GP’s are reserved for urgent cases or those who are incapable of coming to the GP’s office.

After closing hours between 5.00 P.M. and 8.00 A.M. and in the weekends you can call the doctors office (Huisartsenpost). It is preferable to give a call before going there.

In case of life or death situation, please call 112.

Local General Practitioners

De Bergense Huisartsen
JJ Kramer Huisarts
Tandartspraktijk Avelli

Optician
JPC Optiek

Local Huisartenpost
Huisartsenpost Alkmaar e.o. (Alkmaar, Bergen & Surrounding Areas
Hertog Aalbrechtweg 5a 1823 DL Alkmaar
Tel. 072 518 0618 Fax. 072 518 0654

Huisartsenpost Schagen (Callantsoog, Petten and surrounding areas)
Grotewallerweg 3-04 1742 NM Schagen
Tel. 0224 22 4040 Fax. 0224 274048

Medical Specialists
If your GP is unable to diagnose or treat you, he/she will refer you to a medical specialist. Unless the matter is urgent, you may have to wait for an appointment. Nearly all medical specialists in the Netherlands work via the outpatient departments (polikliniek) of hospitals. Your GP can make some recommendations and will send you to the correct specialist. If urgent, an appointment will be arranged quickly. It is also possible to make a private appointment directly with a specialist. However, this is not always accepted by the policy of the hospital as you first need to visit your GP, who will send you to the specialist. The specialist will always report back to the GP, providing him/her with information on the treatment. The waiting time for the ophthalmologists can be up to 2 to 3 months! Please read your insurance conditions to find out if you need a reference from your doctor

Hospital Contact Information
There are two hospitals are situated near the school, namely: Medisch Centrum Alkmaar (MCA a large hospital in Alkmaar) and Gemini Ziekenhuis Den Helder (a smaller hospital in Den Helder), but all the usual specializations are represented here as well.

Medisch Centrum Alkmaar
Wilhelminalaan 12 1815 JD ALKMAAR Tel. 072 5484444
Patient Information Desk: Tel. 072 548 3500 

Gemini Ziekenhuis Den Helder
Huisduinerweg 3 1782 GZ Den Helder
Tel. 0223 696969
Patient Information Desk: Tel. 0223 69 6346

Academisch Medisch Centrum
Meibergdreef 9 1105 AZ Amsterdam
Tel. 020 566 9111
Patient Information Desk: Tel. 020 566 3355

Emma Kinderziekenhuis (AMC)
Meibergdreef 9 1105 AZ Amsterdam
Tel. 020 566 8000 

Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis
Location Oosterpark Oosterpark 91091 AC Amsterdam
Tel. 020 599 9111

Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (specialized in cancer treatment)
Plesmanlaan 121 1066 CX Amsterdam
Tel. 020 512 9111 

V.U.Ziekenhuis
De Boelelaan 1117 1081
HV Amsterdam – Buitenveldert
Tel. 020 444 4444
Patient Information Desk: Tel. 020 444 0700

Emergency first aid (E.H.B.O)
Emergency First Aid is given in each situation where there are (life-threatening) injuries or other health troubles (like breathing difficulty, shock or loss of consciousness). First responders can also treat local injuries (wounds), hyperthermia and hypothermia, electrical injuries and give first aid to people suspected of having been poisoned. 
For emergency first aid you have direct access to the hospital (without intervention of the family doctor). First Aid stations are open 24 hours a day. 
Emergency calls are made via calling 112. Please note that you have to mention whether you are calling for police, fire brigade or an ambulance.

Health Insurance

Most people who live or work in the Netherlands are insured under the Wlz (Wet langdurige zorg) This Act provides for reimbursement for care that is not covered by regular health insurance. People who are covered by the Wlz scheme are legally obliged to have Dutch health insurance. You can learn more and register here.

Taxation

The amount for local taxes varies depending on the municipality. The website of the municipality can provide you with more detailed information on this topic.

Waste collection levy (afvalstoffenheffing) This tax has to be paid for all the refuse that is produced and collected by the local council collectors. The amount of tax charged depends on single or multiple household at that address.

Sewage charges (rioolrecht)
 The sewage charges concern all citizens and companies of a municipality. The sewage charges are collected by the local authorities at the beginning of each year and can be paid either all at once or in separate terms.

Property tax (onroerendgoedbelasting)
 Owners of a house have to pay this tax. If you own a house on the 1st of January you will have to pay for
 the whole year and it does not matter if you leave or sell the house. The amount of money you have to pay depends on the value of your house.

Dogs tax (hondenbelasting)
 Dogs must be registered with the municipal tax department (gemeentelijke belastingdienst). For every dog owned, a dog tax (hondenbelasting) is charged. You need to inform the municipality about the number of dogs you have. The dog tax is progressive. However, not all towns or cities have a mandatory dog tax. Please check your municipality’s website to see whether or not you’ll need to pay the tax.

Water Authority Charges (waterschapsbelasting)
 The land drainage rates are collected by the regional water board. For most cities and villages in North Holland the responsible authority is Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier (HHNK). For the Amsterdam region, this is Hoogheemraadschap Amstel, Gooi en Vecht (Waternet). The Hoogheemraadschap (water authority) is responsible for the maintenance of the dikes and for ensuring good water quality. The water authority charges have to be paid at the beginning of each year and can either be paid all at once or in a maximum of ten terms.

Road tax (wegenbelasting) 
If you own a car, you are obliged to pay road tax. The amount of road tax is based on the weight of your car, the fuel the car uses and the area where you reside. The road tax is collected by the Road Tax Department (Belastingdienst). All mail from the tax authority can be recognized by the blue envelope. You can choose either to pay the total amount all at once or to spread the payment in terms. Pay in time to avoid any penalties.

Waste Collection

In many Dutch cities you can have grey and green containers for household waste, and they are collected once a week or alternating weeks at the specially designated places. The green containers are used for organic waste and the grey containers for the remaining waste. In some cities or villages, you will find underground waste containers in the streets, where you can bring your waste. To be able to use them you need a special pass/ card or a key to open them.

Large pieces or large amounts of rubbish can either be collected by the local council (according to certain rules) or you can bring such waste to central garbage and recycling station. Glass bottles and plastic bottles usually are returnable, but the ones which are non-returnable (geen statiegeld) and plastics or clothing/textiles can be deposited in special containers in your neighborhood, usually located near supermarkets or next to the underground waste containers. For paint and other chemicals, see the website of your municipality for disposal rules. Please note that not all materials are accepted free of charge (furniture, building waste, etc.).

 

 Local Shopping

 

Generally speaking, most shops are opened form 9:30 until 17:00 except Monday mornings. There is one day per week (koopavond) when the shops can be opened until 21:00 (Thursday for Alkmaar). On Saturday, the shopping must be stopped at 17:00 and resumed on Sunday if deemed necessary in many cities (e.g. Alkmaar, Bergen and Amsterdam).

During the summer, Alkmaar is well known for its Kaasmarkt (cheese market) every Friday. During this event, the city is filled with tourists and the main place on the city center is filled with cheese that will be transported in the most old fashioned way for the pleasure of the tourists. Most Saturdays, there is a small market around the old church (Ruinekerk) in Bergen with a nice village atmosphere. At the same time, there is a bigger market in Alkmaar occupying most of the main city center streets. Both areas also hold celebrations and special festivals throughout the year.

Do not expect huge supermarkets in the Netherlands. The most famous brands are‘‘Albert Heijn’’ and Jumbo. Lidl offers more international products if you are looking for something from home. These stores are present almost everywhere in different store sizes. Most of the time the bigger supermarkets are opened quite late (up to 20:00 or 21:00) for the bigger ones.

There are large shopping areas here:

Middenward
Alkmaar (Langstraat)
Alkmaar (Wandelstraat 1)

Grocery Stores
Jumbo
Albert Heijn
Lidl
Organic Food for You
Ekoplaza (Organic Shop)

Health & Beaty
HEMA
Kruidvat
Etos

Child-friendly Restaurants
Zilte Zoen 
Duinvermaak (Bergen)
Fermento (Alkmaar)
Julie! (Bergen)
Montagne (pizza, dine-in or delivery to Bergen and Schoorl)

Food Delivery (Restaurants listed based on location when placing your order)
Thuisbezorg

Language Courses
(for parents and additional help outside class)
Alingua
Email: AlinguaBergen@gmail.com

Tourist Information Centers

For a wide variety of information on leisure activities please contact the local tourist information center called VVV (Vereniging Vreemdelingen Verkeer). Local papers usually offer summaries of exhibitions, plays, movies, music performances in the Bergen region or in Amsterdam. A museum pass (to be purchased at most of the museums) is valid for more than 400 museums all over the country.

Local Tourism Offices (VVV)

Alkmaar
Waagplein 2-3
1811 JP Alkmaar

Bergen
Hoflaan 26
1861 CR Bregen NH

Schoorl
Oorsprongweg 1
1871 EA Schoorl

Petten
Zijperweg 1a
1755 NZ Petten

Local Things to Do

Cinemas
VUE Alkmaar (cinema complex)
Pettemerstraat 1, 1823 CW Alkmaar
Mostly blockbuster related and 3D movie
CineBergen (zwaarte schuur) quaint theatre in the Bergen forest.
Filmhuis Alkmaar (next to the VUE cinema). Mix between VUE and CineBergen

Fun Places for the Family

Victorie Bowling
Escape Room Fun Farm
Kinder en Poppentheater
Speelderij De Batavier
Theater De Vest
Hollands Kaasmuseum
Color Me Mine (Ceramics)
St Sebastiaanstraat 11, 1811 PA Alkmaar
De Vier Kroon (Marionettentheater)
Attractiepark De Goudvis
Ballorig
Lasertag Alkmaar
Holle Bolle Boom
Hoornsvaart Swimming & Recreation
Fitland De Gees
JumpSkillz
Blanckendaell Park (Zoo)

Also check out www.kidsproof.nl here you can find nice outings for families with children

National & Local Events

4 May: National Memorial commemorating all Dutch victims (civilians and military) who died since the outbreak of the second world war. Two minutes of silence is observed from 20:00 to 20:02.

8 October: Alkmaar celebrates its independence.

11 November: In this region ‘’Sint Maarten’’ is celebrated. Children with homemade lanterns go from house to house singing songs in exchange for sweets.

5 December: This is St Nicolaas (Sinterklaas) evening. It celebrates the name day of Saint Nicolaas, patron saint of children. This is for many Dutch a larger celebration than Christmas, with presents especially for children.

27 April, King’s Day: The entire country takes a holiday to celebrate the King’s birthday, and on this day everyone is allowed to sell second hand items on the pavement without a permit. Many dress in orange and come out to the village centers to celebrate in the streets.

The Parents’ Association provides after school activities on school grounds at a low cost for members. Classes include chess, ballet, tennis, crafts, dance, and more. Learn more about these activities. The Bergen/Alkmaar offers many enrichment oppotunities for kids of all ages. Below is a list of known activities your children can participate in.

Student Activities & Resource Centers
Swimclub Alkmaar
Manege Van Poelenburgh (horse riding lesssons)
Artiance (art, music & dance)
Saturna (gymnastics)
Alcmaria Victrix Voetbal Association (soccer, softball and baseball)
Attitude Ballet School
Be Quick Bergen (gymnastics for kids in Bergen)

Area Photos

Nicole GottholdNew Parents