Living and working on Curacao

2 juli 2018

Living and working in Curaçao: 10 questions and answers

‘Laze in the pool after work or have a party on the beach.’ How do the Dutch like to live and work on Curacao?
There are approximately 20,000 Dutch people living on Curaçao in relation to a population of 150,000, this is quite a lot. There are many Dutch influences on curacao, not only the beautiful historic buildings on Curacao show Dutch traits, but you will also find Dutch influences in the local economy, for example, almost all Dutch products are available in supermarkets and you can use the Dutch language almost everywhere.
As a real estate agent on Curacao you quickly come into contact with the new residents of the island because they are simply looking for a suitable home. One of our tenants Bas M. explains to me that he had been fed up with the Netherlands for years too many rules and everyone around me was only busy with work and had no time for each other. Bas decided in 2016 to make the move to Curacao. With a little bit of savings and his tools he came to Curacao. Bas now has a well-run maintenance company where he can make a good living. For Bas, the step to Curacao is the best he could have made, he says. Evelien and Peter could take an example from this. For years in a row, sometimes 3 times a year for a few weeks on Curacao on vacation. During every visit they talk about that they would like to live on Curacao, but the decision remains until still out now.

  1. Emigrating to Curacao = preparing

    Unsubscribe in the Netherlands! That’s what almost everyone we asked to share their experience with us mentions ‘Only with an original certificate of deregistration from the municipality where you last lived can you register on Curaçao and you will receive your Sedula, as the identity card is called here. ‘ If you come to work on Curacao, you must apply for a work permit and if you come to live and enjoy here alone, you simply have to be able to demonstrate that you can pay for this by, for example, submitting your bank account with sufficient money or a pension letter showing that you have income. you can then apply for a residence permit based on income / assets.

  2. What does it cost to live on Curacao?

    Curaçao is not cheap as many may think, the salaries are considerably lower than in the Netherlands, while the expenses are comparable to ’the Netherlands’, one of the pitfalls is that you will spend your money faster on curacao than in the Netherlands, just think about it all those parties on the beach and a house or apartment with a pool would you spend your money on those in the Netherlands? Cees van K. one of our mid-term tenants and brokers in the province of Utrecht rents a luxury apartment with sea view every year for his work holiday where he stays 7 weeks during his vacation he works online and attends team meetings via skype Due to the time difference, Cees has to be there early, but that ensures that he can still enjoy the beautiful weather on Curacao for the rest of the day. According to Cees himself also a real estate agent, but in the Netherlands the houses on Curacao are a lot cheaper than in the Netherlands. You can find a spacious 2 person apartment with use of swimming pool for 500 euros and for 2 tons of euros you can already buy a spacious detached villa.

  3. How do you find a suitable home?

    On curacao, expats come and go and so there are regular homes available on the market, but the better homes are usually rented out just as quickly. You can rent a home through a private individual, but that usually has a lot of snags. Most expats engage a mediator who then finds a home that meets all the requirements. If you do not yet know Curaco well, it is wise to first arrange temporary accommodation and move into a permanent home from there. Then you can be sure that you are making the right choice. Think about commuting if you are too far from work or school. If the children are going to live, you will be stuck in traffic for hours a week and this time it is better to lie on the beach. Always pay attention to safety and whether a house is on the wind.

  4. The culture

    The culture is also a point of attention  ‘The Dutch are usually very direct, which is different here’, says one of our tenants who has lived and worked here for years. ‘You have to take into account that most Curaçaoans don’t dare to say no. During a meeting there is a lot of social talk and little decision-making. The colonial past of the Netherlands sometimes also plays a role, adopting a dominant position is not really wise. The pace of work is somewhat slower, almost all our relations tell us. ‘Logical, because it is much too hot here to really worry’, Cees’s advice: Try not to compare Curacao with the Dutch because that is pointless. Developments are simply slower on an island such as Curacao. It will come, but it just takes a little longer.’

  5. Where do you meet other expats?

    Curacao is a real nightlife island, so if you have a drink on the beach during happy hour at the end of the day, you will meet people. There are several clubs (tennis, hokey, squash, golf) where many expats are present

  6. Contact with the local population

    ‘Of course you have to be open to that. You can look it up or avoid it, there are really two worlds here. You can stay in the ‘Dutch world’, but once you cross a threshold and know some locals, it does give an extra dimension to your life on Curacao. If you do your best to learn to speak Papiamento, it is really to your advantage and you will be welcomed almost everywhere.

  7. The fun sides of Curacao

    Of course the weather because that is almost always fantastic, nature: Curacao has beautiful nature reserves such as the Kristoffel Park and the various salt pans, the many white beaches with clear blue water and for the real diving enthusiast there is of course a lot to see underwater from shipwrecks to beautiful tropical fish species and don’t forget the historic city center.

  8. Can you get a job easily?

    The jobs are not up for grabs on Curacao so if you are not deployed from the Netherlands, it is quite a difficult job to find a suitable permanent and well-paid job. There are plenty of jobs on the beach or in the catering industry, but make sure you have a work permit.

  9. Is Curacao child friendly?

    Well I know that I have 2 school children myself, Curacao has several good schools, both private and public, if you come to Curacao for a short time then you can consider a private school, these are quite expensive but fit well with education in the Netherlands. is so handy when returning for a longer stay, I am not in favor of that myself because there is a lot of change and children constantly have to say goodbye to friends, another option is a public school there are many from almost every neighborhood has one a few, however, for the better schools there are always waiting lists for acceptance. If you are an expat who continues to travel for work, the international school may be a better option, and you can connect in any country if you decide to move.

  10. What are the stumbling blocks in Curaçao?

    Curacao is not called the rock of stumbling for nothing, it sometimes takes a lot of time to get things done, which can sometimes be seen as resistance. Sometimes it feels as if people on Curacao do not want to get ahead but prefer to stick to the old. Agreements are not always agreements on Curacao so make sure that you can get as much as possible on paper, rules at authorities are sometimes unclear or sometimes it seems that the person you are negotiating with has suddenly created them himself. It is of course much warmer on Curacao than in the Netherlands, which makes it a breeding ground for vermin, so make sure you don’t leave food closed, because then you will have your whole house full of ants and other vermin in no time.

If you would like more information about this article or if you are looking for accommodation on Curcacao, please do not hesitate to contact me at adriaan@sunlife.realty

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