More and more expats move to Meerhoven

The number of internationals living in the Meerhoven neighbourhood is growing rapidly, according to local residents and estate agents.

The rise in expat residents is primarily due to the growing regional economy and well-performing high-tech companies in the area.

“They come from all corners of the world: India, China, Korea, Spain, and France. A third of Meerhoven residents are international”, says Congli Dong of the Meerhoven Internationals Platform, which helps new expat arrivals with the integration process.

“Meerhoven is a nice place to live. Everything we need is nearby. Shops, sports clubs, a park, and an international school”, says an Indian man who is shopping with his daughter at the Meerhoven shopping center. He came to live here after landing a job at ASML. “We like it here. I don’t know if I want to go back to India.”

Estate agent Jac Janssen and Ruben Trieling from the Grasrijk residents’ association confirm the influx of new international residents. “At least three quarters of new homes in Meerhoven are sold to expats”, says Jannsen.

Trieling is less optimistic: “The houses sell like hot cakes, often within a week. The majority go to internationals. You may question whether it’s a positive development, as houses are becoming less affordable”.

Besides affordability, the integration of new internationals is a hot topic in the neighbourhood. Expats often have poor Dutch language skills, and may also have little time to participate in social activities within the neighbourhood due to families and careers keeping them busy.

“They withdraw a little, true. But we’re trying to foster a stronger relationship between Dutch residents and expats through the Meerhoven Internationals Platform”, says Trieling.

Congli Dong sees improving integration as a bit of a challenge, pointing out that internationals are often highly educated and have a good job here. They’re also busy with their families, which leaves little free time, not to mention the language barrier. That’s why the platform is organising Dutch language courses, as well as more activities where Dutch residents and expats can work together.


Source: Studio040
Translation: Nicola W

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