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Village life, 4-day work week and long waits: Singaporean woman explains what life in Netherlands is like

Village life, 4-day work week and long waits: Singaporean woman explains what life in Netherlands is like
PHOTO: Screengrab/YouTube/Ghib Ojisan

Some people relocate in search of challenges abroad while others may be keen on a change in scenery.

For Joy Wong, it's a little more straightforward. She is attached to a Dutch man and after a few years of living together in Singapore, it was her turn to pack up and head to his homeland.

On Monday (Oct 9), YouTuber Ghib Ojisan uploaded a 26-minute video in which he headed to Rotterdam, Netherlands, to meet up with Joy and the duo had a stroll around the city while chatting about her life in Europe.

Ghib got straight into it and cheekily grilled her by asking: "Why did you ditch Singapore?"

"I moved for love," Joy replied.

Moving abroad wasn't a life goal, but she "didn't mind" experiencing something different.

Furthermore, seeing her boyfriend live in Singapore for a "short period of time" had her thinking that she could also do that in a Dutch setting.

Four-day work week

What surprised Joy early on was how the younger generation in Netherlands were willing to work four days a week.

They'd explain to her that the extra day off is highly valued, whether it be for hobbies or extra time spent with loved ones.

"It's quite normal for them and it took me a couple of months to understand their perspective," the Singaporean admitted.

Even Ghib seemed slightly taken aback that a four-day work week is largely seen as socially acceptable in Netherlands.

"Does that mean less pay?" he asked.

Joy replied that wages are calculated by the hour in Netherlands so if a worker works one day less, that's works out to be 20 per cent of the weekly pay.

Another shock that Joy had to get used to is the "direct" manner in which Dutch people interact.

On the flipside, this directness could also emerge in more uncomfortable situations.

"If they see something they think shouldn't be the way it should be done, they wouldn't hold their tongue," Joy shared.

Weighing the pros and cons

Joy seemed well-settled in Netherlands and mentioned that she and her boyfriend recently bought a terrace house for 400,000 euros (S$577,421).

This took Ghib by surprise and he claimed that she must be a billionaire.

"No, houses are definitely a lot more affordable as compared to Singapore," Joy responded.

With cheaper housing and a working culture that's generally more "understanding", living in Netherlands has been more fulfilling for Joy.

Having lived there for two years, she's aware that it isn't always a bed of roses over there.

Singapore's efficiency is unmatched and it was something Joy had to get used to.

"Over here, you kind of have to be used to waiting," she said.

Whether it be a trip to the barber or collecting documents, more often than not, it's appointment-based.

Regardless, Joy has no issues with living in the Netherlands for a few more years.

"I feel quite comfortable here," she claimed.

ALSO READ: 55% taxes and seniority-based wages: Singaporean opens up about realities of living and working in Japan for 10 years

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