Ok, Spain is certainly not perfect as a country but on the other hand which country is that ???? Yet living in Spain has many advantages and this experience can be very positive if you are only open to adapt. Even if you are not completely adjusted, life in Spain can be good and a new life in the land of the sun can be seen as a permanent holiday, especially if you are at retirement age and have made the transition from the Netherlands or Belgium to Spain and you don’t have to worry financially.
Spain has a lot to offer people as a country: the weather, nature, culture, gastronomy, the relaxed life, beaches, nice people, etc. Therefore, a brief overview of 10 reasons why living in Spain is simply amazing. If you have any tips, ideas, we have forgotten something or comments, let us know in a comment on this article below. It is always nice to hear something from the readers.
1- Climate (Costa Cálida the best in winters)
Undoubtedly, many Dutch and Belgians have moved to Spain because they have had enough of the gray, cold and rainy days and prefer to live in a country and region where on average one has more than 300 days of sunshine a year. In many places along for example the Mediterranean Sea and the winters are mild with pleasant temperatures, one can speak of a wonderful spring and quiet autumn but it can get quite warm in the summer. It is therefore great for many emigrants to have so many beautiful, sunny and warm days where when it rains one can still speak of Spanish rain that can be just a little more pleasant than the Northern European rain (also because these showers are often short but powerful).
2- Culture and nature
With 44 monuments and nature reserves, Spain is number 3 on the UNESCO list and that is great when you start living there. So there is always something to see when you get in the car and, just like the Spaniards themselves, go on holiday in their own country. From the Moorish culture in Murcia city or the historic buildings in Cartagena and then not to mention the overwhelming nature of the Sierra Espuña. Spain is one of those countries where you can see something different every vacation and where you almost never get bored.
Spain is the land of Mediterranean cuisine and is known for its healthy Mediterranean diet (dieta mediterranea) which consists of only fresh products that are healthy for you and form a perfect balance. Whether you like tapas, pintxos, paella, marisco (fish), carne (meat) or verduras (vegetables) … there is something for everyone. Add to this the many good restaurants (including several with Michelin stars) and the fact that people take a long time to eat or dine extensively, and gastronomy is a party. Sitting on a terrace by the water for a long time enjoying a menu del día (daily menu) while the daily life passes you by is one of those things that you can easily do in Spain.
Spaniards are generally (but depending on where you live) very friendly and helpful. That will therefore not apply everywhere, but in general it is the rule and idea of many Dutch and Belgians who have emigrated. If you do not speak Spanish, people are usually not too bad to help you, but if you do speak Spanish (or just a little), a whole new world will open for you.
Spain is the land of the famous “mañana” which literally means ‘tomorrow’ but is also used for ‘later’. It is not actually a Spanish word but a way of life that many foreigners sometimes have difficulty with. Often (but not always) everything is taken with a pinch of salt and people say one thing while showing something else. However, it is also this relaxed attitude that causes many Dutch and Belgians to live in Spain, away from the hectic pace, haste and bustle. However, the ‘mañana’ feeling can be tricky if you want to get something done in which your patience is regularly tested.
Living in Spain is a social happening where it is very common to put everything aside to socialize (incidentally a word that does not exist in Spanish) with your friends, colleagues or family. That can be something to drink, eat tapas, sit on a terrace, go to the beach, play sports, etc. Social life in Spain is much better in the eyes of many foreigners than in their own country. People still take the time for each other and they also want to help each other if necessary. Family ties are also much stronger and it often happens that entire families come together in a weekend and people see each other regularly.
It sounds a lot strange to many Dutch and Belgians who live in their own country, but lunchtime for an hour or so to close your eyes during the siesta is really nice and also healthy. In today’s busy society of rushing, doing everything quickly and busy, taking a moment to rest is very welcome. Unfortunately, the daily schedule in the Netherlands and Belgium is not set for that, but in Spain they are. Although it is becoming less common and many people no longer have it in Spain, but if you can, you should definitely do it … just close your eyes for 45 to 60 minutes, switch off the telephone and television and sleep or rest. A siesta does wonders ????
8- The language
For many Dutch and Belgians, speaking Spanish is great. It is not only a beautiful language to speak but also pleasant to listen to. Many foreigners are fully prepared when they move to Spain and speak and read Spanish fairly well, but others choose to learn the language in the country as they go. Speaking Spanish is definitely recommended if you move to Spain. It will not only ensure that you will live more pleasantly among the Spaniards, a world will also open for you if you understand everything and everyone better.
Living in Spain does not have to cost a lot of money. Obviously the largest cost item is buying (or renting) a home, but outside of that the costs are not that bad. Of course there are plenty of things that might be cheaper in the Netherlands and Belgium or priced the same but then better, but Spain is not an expensive country. You can notice that in the supermarkets where many items are better priced than in the Netherlands or Belgium. This is noticeable at the gas station where filling your gasoline / diesel tank will be much cheaper. This is already noticeable when paying the road tax (compared to the Netherlands and Belgium that is a joke). You can notice it in the restaurants and bars where coffee, soft drinks, beer and especially wine are many times cheaper than in the Netherlands and Belgium. But keep in mind that Spaniards generally earn much less than in the Netherlands and Belgium, which means that life can be pleasant and cheap for a foreigner in Spain but very expensive for a Spaniard with a minimum income.
10- Life on the street
If you like a street life then Spain is the perfect country. Of course the temperatures help a lot, but the mentality of the people of Spain is also important. It is very normal to meet up with friends on the street and to go for a drink with tapas on a terrace. After lunch, you can still see a “paseo” or walk for digestion, and preferably in a group setting. In addition to daytime life, everything really comes to life after about 7 p.m. after which the shopping malls and shopping streets fill up, supermarkets are littered with people, terraces are chock-full and it is still a pleasant place on the street until long after dinner (or rather outside the door).