When moving to the Netherlands, what are the best things to bring? What things are better left at your place of origin? The Mamas make their recommendations, gained from experience.

Moving between cities or even houses is hard. Moving countries can be overwhelming. 

Once again, Amsterdam Mamas come to the rescue! They offer advice about what to leave and what to bring when moving to the Netherlands. Some of the advice is specific to the US, but much of it can be applied to whatever country you’re moving from.  *Keep in mind that things are generally more expensive in the Netherlands than in the US, so you might want to stock up on your favorite daily items before coming.

Household Items:

Bring some things to personalize your home and make it feel like your space. Leave furniture and most things back in the US. IKEA is great for getting replacement furniture and kitchen supplies. As mamas move away from the Netherlands, many sell their things, and you can get good deals on used items. If moving to a non-furnished apartment, know that furniture purchased from places other than IKEA can take a while to be delivered.

Many mamas advise to bring your favorite, non-breakable cooking tools (pots, pans, bakeware, utensils etc). They can be quite expensive here. Breakable items like plates and dishes can be found cheaply at IKEA, Blokker and HEMA.

Beds and pillows are different sizes, so it may be wise to purchase sheets once you arrive.

Only bring electronics if they are battery-powered or dual current unless you are planning to bring really good converters (one mama brought a 5000 watt transformer for kitchen items). Only really good converters will keep your electronics from breaking. Plug adaptors are also necessary. Buy them before you come.

Bringing your own artwork can help your place feel more like your own. However, some landlords do not allow you to hang things on the walls, so if possible, check before you move.


You don’t need a lot of summery clothes. You will mostly need spring/fall clothes, winter clothes and clothes for layering. But do bring some clothes for warm weather holidays!

Raingear! Rain coats, rain pants, rain boots etc. are staple items. Also, some mamas recommend bringing snowsuits for the kids.

Shoes. They are expensive here. It may be worth investing in some before arriving and bringing the next size or two up for the kids.

Medications/Personal Items:

Children’s medications are worth bringing. Many are not available here. Specifically mentioned items from the US: Benadryl, calamine lotion, oatmeal baths, infant Tylenol, ibuprofen, Motrin, baby Oragel, baby Claritin D, Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water, BioGaia.

Adult medications are also useful to bring – especially cold and flu medications, nighttime medications, decongestants and allergy medications. Many are not available here. Specific US items mentioned: Nyquil, Dayquil, Pepto Bismol, Sudafed, Neosporin antibiotic cream, Tums, Excedrin Migraine, sleeping medication, Halls cough drops, Emergen-C.

You may want to bring a supply of personal hygiene products. Some brands can be found here. Others not. Specific items mentioned: Aveeno, teeth whitening strips, your personal brand of deodorant.

Some mamas say that contact lenses can be expensive in the Netherlands. It may be worth stocking up before you arrive.

Kid Stuff:

Bring favorite toys and blankets for kids – whatever will make them feel at home.

Many mamas advise to bring kids books. English books can be found here, but the selection is limited.

Battery-powered electronic toys that speak in English may be useful to bring.

Kids snacks with long shelf life can help ease transitions for kids.


Certain food items can be hard to find. A stock of your favorite pantry and baking items from your home country can make life bearable while you adjust to Dutch grocery store selections. Some American and Canadian options mentioned include: maple syrup, baking soda, pumpkin pie filling, stuffing, boxed macaroni and cheese, unsweetened Cheerios, BBQ sauce and root beer. Most can be found but may take some time and searching, and will be expensive.

You may want to bring your favorite spices.

Other Things to Consider:

Cell/mobile phones are probably best to buy when you arrive. Frequency bandwidths and locked phone issues present common problems and cause many foreign phones not to work. It may be less hassle to buy one here.

Special occasion items: If planning to be in the Netherlands for the holidays (and space allows), it can be nice to have some of your own holiday décor. It can make you feel less homesick. Bikes and tricyles. They are expensive to buy in the Netherlands but very useful to have from the start. You may want to purchase once you arrive or airship them so you can start using them immediately when you get here. Container shipments can sometimes take several months.

photo credit: Jeremy Wilburn via photopin cc photo credit: tipntraci via photopin cc photo credit: danmachold via photopin cc

Amy Newton