Get useful expat articles, health and financial news, social media recommendations and more in your inbox each month - free!

We respect your privacy - we don't spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

±Compare Expat Providers

Expat Health Insurance Quotes

Foreign Currency Exchange Quotes

International Moving Quotes

We're very social! Follow Expat Focus on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+

Expat Focus Facebook PageExpat Focus on TwitterExpat Focus Pinterest PageExpat Focus Google+ Page

Notify me when new content is added about a country

±Expat Focus Partners


Netherlands > Articles


Amsterdam's Red Light District

Posted on Sunday June 24, 2012 (19:36:42)
by Stuart Billinghurst

I've already written about one of Holland's well-known vices, the drug culture. There is of course another vice which the country is very well known for. Something that brings a particular kind of tourist to certain shady areas of the country, to indulge themselves in special ways. Yes, you've guessed it. I'm going to talk about windmills.

Alright. I'm not really going to talk about windmills. I'm going to talk about the sex industry in Holland. Holland has a very open view towards sex, and prostitution is legal and regulated in most cases. If you want to see just how open the Dutch view towards sex is (or you are on a stag night) you will find no better example than the Red Light District in Amsterdam. It is a network of alleyways containing hundreds of tiny one-room apartments where prostitutes wearing just underwear or bikinis offer their services from behind glass doors. It's also a place where you can find live sex shows, peep shows, sex museums and shops that sell the kind of toys you won't find in London's Hamleys. Amsterdam has the most well-known Red Light District but a lot of towns have their own versions as well. It's also not unusual to pass a sex shop in the main street of some towns.   more ...

Austria > Articles


Surviving The Office Jungle Abroad

Posted on Saturday June 16, 2012 (03:00:46)
Britta Pichler
There are a plenty of helpful articles focusing on how an expatriate can find a dream job abroad, get a work visa, and settle into the adopted country. All of these represent big hurtles needing guidance in and of themselves, but what happens when you start actually working? What are the real challenges? And how do you overcome them?

As working professionals, we know that the office can be a jungle. There are millions of articles, books, blogs, and other resources on how to survive life at the office. By that, I mean how a native can survive the office in their native country. But what about expatriates who have to survive in an office environment where the co-workers speak an entirely different native language, follow a unique social etiquette, and function in a completely dissimilar manner from what the expatriate has previously experienced?   more ...

Andorra > Articles


Tax Haven Andorra Raise Residency Entry Price

Posted on Wednesday June 13, 2012 (18:21:38)
Capital Andorra, la Vella
by Roger Munns

For years Andorra has been one of Europe's top tax havens, with the same tax benefits as Monaco but with property at less than a quarter of the price.

Recently the country passed legislation which in effect has increased the minimum investment required to become a resident.

As one of Europe's most popular tax havens, Andorra has until now been seen by many looking to move their assets to a low tax jurisdiction as an inexpensive gateway to fiscal paradise where there is no income tax to pay.

But this has just changed, and while the country is still a cheap option compared to better known Monaco, the costs and procedures of gaining residency have changed with the overall aim to bring more high net worth individuals to Andorra.   more ...

Germany > Articles


Bach, Building and the Berlin Wall – about Germany and Living There

Posted on Tuesday June 12, 2012 (02:29:06)
by Rachel Fuecks

Germany is a good place to invest in property.

House prices here in Germany have been stable for a long time and are beginning to rise, unlike the situation in the UK. I only discovered this some time after I had bought, demolished and rebuilt a small house in a place no-one in Britain has ever heard of. That was in 2004. I can now say definitely that it was the best and most exciting thing I have ever done, and I haven't exactly led a sheltered life. Hence my website, a dokuwiki, to which I am constantly adding, with the intention of introducing maybe a few English-speakers to something they might want to explore. If anyone would like to contact me there is an email address on the first page of my website.   more ...

Germany > Articles


Moving to Germany (Deliver Me From Insanity!)

Posted on Tuesday June 12, 2012 (02:24:08)
by Katie Toppel

The night before our container was scheduled to arrive, we saw the enormous truck parked outside our apartment building. With an early arrival, it was obviously ready for our 8:00 am appointment the following morning. Maybe it was due to that glimpse of our container or the thoughts of my clothes and shoes dancing in my head, but that night felt like Christmas Eve. I could barely sleep anticipating the unpacking and rediscovery of all our stuff!

Bright and early the next morning, we heard the bell announcing the arrival of our lovely team of deliverymen, who would spend hours with us unloading all of our precious belongings that spent the last 6 weeks floating to Germany. The man who initially rang the bell didn't speak much English, but repeated "container" over and over just to make sure we understood his purpose and presence at our door on that particular morning. I went off to work because I figured it would be okay to put in my whopping three hours while my husband remained at the apartment, but I only got to 10:15 before his text saying, "Can you come home?!"   more ...

Germany > Articles


Expats Alone at Home in Germany

Posted on Tuesday June 12, 2012 (01:52:35)
by Hilly van Swol-Ulbrich

A hot and sultry summer’s day in Frankfurt, Germany.

“Oh”… says Dewi,“I am amused, while at home in India, we set our air-conditioning to cool down to 27 degrees”…and chuckled… “This is what you call summer, and say it is so hot!”

We smiled as we crossed the street on the way to the canteen. For my eyes the buffet offered a great choice - for the eyes of an Indian, with specific religious dietary restrictions - I could see that she would soon grow tired of the canteen.

“So, how have your first weeks been”? And we talk about the difference in the workplace, what to observe in daily life, the do’s and the taboos. Dewi also asked about relevant places for shopping and favourite places to go and maybe visit.   more ...

Germany > Articles


How I Fell in Love With a German City

Posted on Monday June 11, 2012 (20:38:57)
by Martha Andrus

I fell in love, at first sight, with a beautiful, quaint city called Rothenbach O.T. Upon entering the city from the freeway, it looks much like any other European town. Narrow, cobblestone streets dotted with churches and homes. But as you drive further into the city, you see a huge concrete wall, much like a fortress. Parking is outside of this wall and, as you walk inside, you feel as if you have stepped back in time. The first thing you see is the brick streets which are only used for pedestrian and bicycle traffic and an occasional taxi. Also, you will see buggies being pulled by two horses.

The buildings are so very old but they have been renovated and painted in beautiful, light colors of peach and yellow, beige and white and all with tiled roofs. There are apartments above the retail stores, with hotels and restaurants making up the majority of this city. Flower boxes are a must and are seen on every window of most every building full of bright, blooming plants.   more ...

Germany > Articles


Architecture, Driving and Markets in Germany

Posted on Monday June 11, 2012 (20:36:37)
by Martha Andrus

The Netherlands is bordered by Germany, so it is not uncommon to find many Dutch roaming the rolling hills of Germany. Germany also has Wal Marts which Holland does not have, so you will find many American expats seeking to find the Wal Marts and exploring the history of Germany. Also, most things tend to be a little cheaper in Germany than in Holland.

I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed Germany. It may be because it reminds me, somewhat, of the U.S. in its landscape and freeways. Germany is a much larger country than Holland, so there are more open spaces between towns and cities. The architecture is somewhat the same, with every small town being recognized by their tall church tower.   more ...

France > Articles


Are Leaseback Schemes in France Too Good to be True?

Posted on Sunday May 27, 2012 (16:07:02)
by Deborah Kent

For UK buyers considering entering the French market, there is one purchase option that stands out in terms of investment potential and the ability to get on the property ladder despite the lack of an initial deposit. If this sounds too good to be true - read on!

In actual fact, while nothing similar exists in the UK, the leaseback scheme available in France is worth looking at. The leaseback is a curious mixture of tax incentive and rental guarantee, which is designed to encourage buyers to take on new build homes.

UK buyers will be familiar with developers in the UK offering rental guarantees, which are generally at attractive rates and have a finite life of 1 or 2 years. However, the new build French market differs from the UK in one significant area, namely VAT. Whilst new homes in the UK do not carry VAT, in France that is not the case.   more ...

France > Articles


What You Need to Know Before Moving to Paris

Posted on Sunday May 27, 2012 (16:04:51)
by Kathryn Valdal Fourie

Shortly after moving to Paris, the fascination with the city of lights and the capital of romance can easily wear off. Your twinkling image of Paris can easily become the city of smoke filled bars, bad customer service and pavements covered with doggie doo. But if you move to Paris equipped with the following information, you should always be able to say 'We'll always have Paris'.

1. Be Organised & Conquer Red Tape

France is famous for its bureaucracy, so you will quickly become an expert in documentation and paperwork. This takes some getting used to, but it's critical from the moment you arrive in France.   more ...