They replaced the city with the countryside: ‘getting used to a slower pace’

“When the weather is nice in summer, I grab my folding chair and walk to Lake Veluwe with a cup of tea. I also buy a snack and go to the water regularly,” says Anika Redhed (49). A year ago she exchanged her old apartment in Utrecht for one in Veluwemeer, on the outskirts of Biedinghuizen. “I feel like a holiday here every day.”

The apartment in Utrecht could use a renovation. But instead of a complete renovation, I preferred to move. “It was getting more and more chaotic in the apartment, and the neighborhood was getting runny. Police cars were driving down the street every day. Police helicopters flew regularly over the neighborhood and the window sill was always covered in a gray coating, maybe fine dust.”

Annika has lived in the city for over ten years, and living in a rural area wasn’t on her wish list. “My husband showed the apartment at Funda. It did not meet our expectations in any way. We were looking for an apartment not far from Utrecht, between 80 and 100 square meters with lower service costs.”

The photo showed a 160-square-meter house in a holiday park. The holiday apartment has been converted into a home and the service costs are higher. “But it was beautiful: swans and geese swim in front of the door in the Veluwemeer. There is a forest behind the apartment. We look out over the harbor from the wooden balconies. When the sun comes up, the sky turns red and orange. I see work here in the seasons.”

It was sold packaged in moving boxes. But no matter how nice it is to live in a holiday paradise, being surrounded by nature also has its drawbacks. “I miss the hustle and bustle of the city. Lectures, concerts, modern cafes. Walking to the pharmacy or doctor. We now take the car for everything.”

However, her new home has more advantages than disadvantages. “The air is cleaner and even on gray days there is more light in the house. The holiday feeling remains. I could easily stay here for ten years.”

The Randstad is less popular

Randstad seems to have lost its charm for years. According to figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), migration from major cities has already begun. Since 2017, more people are leaving than moving there.

This number has increased in recent years. Last year, 53,000 people searched for a home outside the Randstad area, which is 22,000 more on the scale than the people who arrived.

The pandemic and soaring home prices have pushed people in their 30s out of town. Purchasing agent Susan Thuen sees this too. She specializes in leaving urban areas. “Corona has made people look differently at their living environment. This trend is continuing, especially young families moving out of town.”

A perfect single-glass farmhouse

Although Thöene also sees a stagnation in city-to-country migration. “It’s mainly because interest rates and energy prices are going up. For that perfect single-glazed farm, you’re now paying a huge amount per month in heating costs. And that turns a lot of people off.”

People who have doubts about their choice often put it off for a while, but people who have already been busy with their search, persevere. The buyer’s agent knows from his own experience the complexity of this choice. In 2016, she moved with her family from Amsterdam to a village of 300 people in Betoi. “I also had a lot of doubts: Will I love her? Don’t I miss the city so much? Where is this perfect home?”

According to Thöene, it’s easy to fall in love with a beautiful farmhouse in nature, but to avoid regret or homesickness, it’s important to first look at where the perfect home should be. “In a quieter village, the environment matters; the people who live there, the way they interact with each other. Whether religion plays a major role or not, what facilities are available. Only when you know what is important to you can you research more focusedly.” “.

Find three people you like

Those leaving the city often have to get used to the distance to shops, the number of cute cafes, or the limited public transport facilities. The pace in the village is often slower than in the city and it takes a little more time and effort to make new friends.

“There are fewer people living there, so also fewer like-minded people, you just have to look a little better and do your best. I always say: try to find three people in your new environment that you like. For example, a neighbor, A parent in the schoolyard, someone from the tennis club.”

This is what Petra Deakin (51 years old) did. She was on good terms with a schoolyard mother who had also moved from the city to the same village. “Sometimes it’s very boring in the village,” Petra confided. “I get what I meant and invite our family to our monthly Friday afternoon drink with friends. We get to know a lot in each other’s stories and it’s great to share.”

Decken left The Hague after 32 years and moved to Wolfsee in Gelderland, a small village in Veluwe, in February. A decision prompted, among other things, by the corona. “Five years ago, we sold our home because we wanted to live in a smaller place. We temporarily moved into a rental home so we wouldn’t make hasty decisions in the search for the perfect home. We’re still living there years later.”

7 tons for a shit house with a shit garden

The apartment was on the third floor of a 21-story residential tower. It didn’t have a balcony. House prices continued to rise and the search for a house in the city became a drama. “I didn’t want to pay 7 tons for a filthy house with a filthy garden. Then we had better at our previous house.”

During the lockdown, Petra was gasping for fresh air. “One day I was sitting in the garden with my parents at Wolfsee. I enjoyed the space, walking through the woods and over the grass. My mother said the house was for sale. A large south-facing garden with nine trees. “Isn’t it?” I said to my friend and our daughter.

She admitted that Deakin was definitely suffering from cold feet. Wolfsee has a population of less than 2,000 and is just over an hour’s drive from The Hague. “There are few stores, and if you forget a lemon, it will take you three-quarters of an hour to go back and forth to the supermarket.”

Once a month “a little airtime”

It also takes some time for Petra to get used to being less of an individual village than a city. “Everyone knows each other and they know a lot about each other.” But when she looks around, she also sees the benefits: she builds a giant rabbit hutch in the garden, the converted bungalow is a blessing, and her daughter gets sober from riding horses she can’t let go. I bumped into horseback riding. The house opposite the house.

“I grew up here, but I’m used to the slower life. That’s why I go dancing with old friends in town once a month. I call it a breath of fresh air, looking for stimuli. Then I can get back to it.”

Lisette (37, the surname known to the editors) moved from the city to the village. She left her two-bedroom apartment in Amsterdam last December for a two-in-one hairdresser at Walri in Brabant. “We had a three-year-old and I was pregnant when we bought him. We wanted more space and they both grew up in Brabant. It seemed like a logical choice.”

She admits: the house was not love at first sight. “We live at No. 8. Earlier we had gone to see No. 4. It was December, the sun was low, but it was shining beautifully through the kitchen, and there was a chicken coop in the garden. I could see us living here.”

The house seems too big

But this house was stolen from before them. The housing market was overheated and bids were being made at ridiculous amounts. Not long after, the real estate agent emailed: Number 8 was for sale. “I was now 20 weeks pregnant and wanted to leave the apartment with all my might, but we had our doubts about this house.” Gray tiles, the kitchen is inconsequential, in the middle of the living room. “Now we were close to despair. That south-facing garden house or Harlem terraced house needed a complete renovation.”

They moved to Brabant, but to be honest: it’s disappointing. “Strangely, the house seems so big. I’m more comfortable filling empty spaces with stuff. The whole attic is empty. I’d prefer a different kitchen and bathroom, but we don’t have the money for that. What if we decide to move, that’s a waste of money.”

I don’t belong here

In addition, as a city girl, she grew up in Eindhoven, and could not settle well in the village twenty minutes outside the city. “It sounds strange, but everyone here is very sociable and I don’t always feel like it. I recently switched to myself at self-scanning check-out. In Amsterdam this is not a problem. Here an employee said to her colleague:” She certainly doesn’t speak Dutch. “

Then move? “I also find this hard. Moving has an effect on the whole family. I want to leave, because I don’t belong here. We just don’t know when and where I’m going.”

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