Congratulations on your new assignment! Our garrison is a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family. We put together this informal guide to help our newcomers prepare for their big move.
The Netherlands is a country inNorthwestern Europe bordered by Belgium and Germany. The country was a foundingmember of NATO and the EEC (now European Union). The country’s capitol isAmsterdam.
- Population: 17,151,228 (estimate as of July 2018)
- Official Languages: Dutch
- Currency: Euro
- Surface Area: 33,893 square kilometers
In U.S. Army Garrison Benelux, there are multiple locations in The Netherlands: Brunssum, JFC Brunssum and Eygelshoven Army Pre-positioned Stock (APS) site. These locations are in the southern Tri-Border region where the Dutch, Belgian and German borders meet.
Brunssum provides U.S. military base operations to joint and interagency communities in support of U.S. interests in NATO, throughout The Netherlands and in northern Germany. The site is a part of U.S. Army Garrison Benelux and has services common to other U.S. Army installations such as Army and Air Force Exchange (AAFES), The Commissary, Army Community Service, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, jut to name a few.
Joint Force Command Brunssum is one of three NATO operational level commands in NATO Allied Command Operations. Some U.S. offices and services are provided at JFC Brunssum such as childcare and human resources. The AFNorth International School is also located at JFC Brunssum.
Eygelshoven APS site is located about 30 minutes away from the Brunssum/JFC Brunssum area.
You should have a sponsor who will help you with in-processing to The Netherlands. Please do not hesitate to ask them questions as your sponsor can share their experiences and provide useful tips for making your transition as smooth as possible.
Military Installations provides guidance on sponsorship for Brunssum.
If you flying to The Netherlands, your sponsor should pick you up from the airport. If you are traveling from the U.S. or another continent, you will probably arrive through Brussels International Airport in Zaventem, Belgium. For more information, go to their website.
PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES (POV)
You are probably wondering if you should ship your vehicle (if the entitlement is in your PCS orders) or purchase a vehicle in The Netherlands. It is your choice depending your personal budget and circumstances. However, please do not feel that you cannot drive your American vehicle in Europe. There are auto mechanics in the area who can service your vehicle, including the Morale and Welfare Brunssum’s Car Craft Shop.
Please keep in mind that, if you ship your vehicle, it may take at least six to eight weeks, if not longer, to arrive to the country. Please plan ahead and ship your vehicle from the nearest Vehicle Processing Center to your current duty location as soon as possible. Your vehicle will arrive at the Schinnen VPC.
For more information, go to PCSMyPOV.
To get around town, you can rent a car as public transportation may be limited in your area. Please be aware that rental car costs are not an entitlement in PCS orders. It is the person's responsibility to pay for those costs. There are rental car facilities nearby, it is recommended to make a reservation in advance. Your sponsor can help you with booking a reservation.
Some U.S. automobile insurance carriers provide international coverage. Please check with your current carrier first. Your rate may be higher in Europe, and some people consider using a local insurance carrier instead.
The legal driving age in The Netherlands is 18 and over. U.S. personnel in The Netherlands are required to maintain a valid U.S. driver’s license and must renew it even if they are living overseas. In addition, they must obtain a driver’s permit after arrival to the country. For more information, go to the Driver's Licenses page.
Bus and train service is available in nearby cities. Arriva has city busses and trains. The NS rail system has service to major cities within the country. Mobile apps such as NS and 9292 can help people with planning their journeys.
Cycling is very popular in The Netherlands and is a preferred mode of transportation for some residents. Public infrastructure such as designated bicycle lanes, protected intersections and ample bicycle parking can accommodate cyclists.
There is no on-post lodging at Brunssum, JFC Brunssum and Eygelshoven. Prior to your arrival, your sponsor should make your lodging arrangements.
At JFC Brunssum, the General Eisenhower Hotel and Suites is located within walking distance to the installation.
Europe is very pet-friendly. If you decide to bring your pets to The Netherlands, please refer to the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on pet travel regulations. Before your move, make sure your pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations. If you are currently living near or at a U.S. military installation with veterinary services, you can ask the veterinarian for assistance in preparing travel documentation.
If you are flying to The Netherlands, research the airline's pet travel policies. Pets will either travel in-cabin or in cargo. Some airlines have restrictions on putting pets in the cargo hold during certain months of the year due to extremely high or low temperatures. Airlines also have breed restrictions. When in doubt, talk directly to the airline's customer service for clarification.
You can also use an international pet shipping service for your move.
If you are staying at hotel off-post, please check their pet policies for arrivals. Guests may be charged extra fees for pets.
Like in the U.S., home rental listings will state if pets are allowed. U.S. military housing typically allows pets.
Although pets are family members, they are not on official PCS orders. This means that you are responsible for the costs for your pets.
Students moving to the Tri-Border area will most likely attend AFNORTH International School. AFNORTH is not a Department of Defense Dependent School (DODDS). AFNORTH is an international school using a combined U.S., Canadian and British curriculum.
AFNORTH is inspected by the American Department of Defense Education Authority and meets and exceeds the American educational requirements up to and including the 12th grade.
SCHOOL LIAISON OFFICER (SLO)
The Army School Liaison Officer(SLO) works with all families attending the DoDEA schools regardless of branch of service or nationality. Although primarily working with American families in DoDEA, the SLO is available to families with school-age children stationed at U.S. Army Garrison Benelux regardless of where their children attend school be it DoDEA, SIS, local off-base schools or home school. For more information about SLO, visit the MWR website:
As you are preparing for your move, you are wondering what items to bring, pack in storage or sell. Please keep in mind that European homes are different than U.S. homes. You may find that the bedrooms are smaller, and appliances are smaller. Most homes are heated by radiators and don't have air conditioning units or ceiling fans. Most homes also don't have carpeted floors.
Even though it is tempting to start your home search before you move, we recommend people wait until after they arrive to do house hunting. All U.S. personnel must go to the USAG Benelux-Brunssum Housing Office for their in-processing brief. Your sponsor will set up your appointment time with Housing before your arrival. For more information about Housing, click HERE.
PROHIBITED AND RESTRICTED ITEMS
Citizen's Band (CB) Radios/Police Scanners: Importation of these type radios by DOD personnel into The Netherlands, whether in POVs or in household goods is strictly prohibited. Removal costs will be at your own expense.
Firearms: It is highly recommended that you do not ship firearms to The Netherlands. Stringent firearms regulations and licensing laws prevent the freedom of access and movement of firearms. If you insist that you bring firearms, contact your sponsor first. Although discouraged, it can be done with some help and strict rules that need to be followed.
Homes have 220-volt electric outlets as opposed to 110-volt outlets in the U.S. If you lived at an OCONUS duty station before, your landlord may have provided you electric converters and transformers. Dutch landlords aren't required to provide those items so it is the tenant's responsibility to get them. Electric converters and transformers use a lot of energy which may result in high electric bills. We recommend that people store their 110-volt appliances and purchase 220-volt appliances. You can buy 220-volt appliances at the PX or local stores. You can buy gently-used appliances from local thrift stores as well as from other community members. There are Facebook groups dedicated for community members to sell items.
Most Dutch homes don’t have closets so people store their clothes and other belongings in a free-standing wardrobe. If you have housing entitlements in your PCS orders, Central Furniture Management Office (CFMO) provides wardrobes for each family member in your orders plus one extra for the household. If you wish to purchase your own wardrobe, there are many department and furniture stores that sell them.
For military personnel: Although you will be able to purchase some items through AAFES Military Clothing Sales Store located in Schinnen, their selection is may be limited so purchase what you need prior to arrival.
U.S. personnel, including Department of Defense civilian employees, can use services provided by the U.S. Medical Clinic at Geilenkirchen NATO Air Base. Please know that these facilities offer limited services. Doctors may refer patients to other military medical centers such as Landstuhl Regional Medical Center near Ramstein Air Base and U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. Doctors also may refer patients to medical services in the local area.
If you need to go to a local hospital, known as a ziekenhuis, you find one in the local area. During the Army Community Service’s Newcomers Orientation tour, people will get the chance to visit a local hospital and learn how processes work there.
If you have U.S. health insurance, please review your plan details before seeking medical services. If you have questions, please talk to your insurance carrier so there is no confusion on coverage for international services.
Andrews Federal Credit Union is a U.S. financial institution with a branch in Brunssum. These branches have 24-hour ATM, convenience services, European Bill Pay services, loans and other financial services. You can get U.S. dollars and Euros there. There is also a Community Bank, operated by Bank of America, and an ATM in Brunssum. Mentioning of these financial institutions does not imply federal endorsement.
Please remember that the local currency is Euro. If you plan to use your U.S. debit and credit cards, you may be charged international conversion fees. Talk to your current bank and credit card company regarding possible fees before moving.
Since your first few weeks in The Netherlands will be quite busy, it is a good idea to get Euro before you move.
U.S. phones will work in The Netherlands. If you plan to keep the same phone, please check with your service provider to make sure there are no outstanding payments due on the bill. Also, please make sure your phone is unlocked by your service provider before moving.
After arriving to the country, you will need to remove the SIM card and replace it with a SIM card from a Dutch service provider.
It is always difficult choosing the right mobile provider when you move to another country. However, the mobile network in the country is excellent and you will have plenty options. We recommend talking to your sponsor for the best coverage in the area.