The southern counties of Tolna and Baranya have a remarkable Dutch expat community, and as they say, low prices are not among the top reasons they had chosen Hungary as their new home.
Edit Horváthné Farkas is a real estate broker, mostly specialised in selling houses, both to foreigners and Hungarians, in the counties of Baranya and Tolna in southern Hungary. In an interview with Demokrata on Dutch people and other foreigners who have chosen to live in Hungary, she explains that
in the Netherlands, having even a small yard is a luxury, while in Hungary, they can easily afford a plot of thousands of square metres.
The interview also shares the story of a few Dutch expats who decided to leave their home country for good. Mostly what appeals to these people about Hungary is the beautiful landscape, peaceful life, public safety, and friendly Hungarians, “who are not as reserved as the Dutch”, and whom they feel they can always count on.
A settlement with a remarkable expat community is Almamellék, a small town in Baranya County: here, over 30 houses are owned by foreigners today. The first house purchased by a Dutch was transformed into what is called Mambo Camping, and it has since attracted a large number of Dutch people.
According to the mayor, Erika Szilágyiné Kadiró, apart from the Netherlands, families have since moved here from Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Germany, too. She says that these people are mostly (but not only) pensioners. Some only spend a few months here, but it is very common that they “leave everything behind”.
Wil Casper and her husband moved to Almamellék three years ago, but they were regular visitors to Wil’s sister even before that. They especially like the people who surround them. “My neighbours bring me so many cookies I am not able to finish them,” says Wil. She especially likes mobile vendors as they remind her of her childhood.
Wil’s sister thinks that Hungarians have had a better quality of life since 2005, but luckily, “this has not changed their character: they still care for each other just as much.”
There are a couple of things they do not like about Hungarians, though. “Hungarians are always at leisure: they are often late and struggle to keep the deadlines.”
As for the reasons they left the Netherlands behind, many expats mention the growing presence of Muslim immigrants in their home country. Robert Deege, who moved here with his wife, brings the example of how several streets, bearing the name of significant historic figures, have been renamed if that person had connections to colonialism.
The counties of Tolna and Baranya are not the only ones with a significant expat community. As Demokrata writes, Akác-tanya southeast of Budapest, a farm run by a Finnish-Hungarian couple, has played an important role in attracting many Finns to Hungary, either for their vacation or to move here permanently.
A couple that belongs to the latter group is Kari Taivassalo and Marjukka, who first came here to pursue their hobby of horse riding, and in less than ten years, they ended up buying a house in a settlement nearby. What they really like about Hungary is the pleasant climate and the low prices. People are friendlier here, and “money is not in the centre of attention.”
What they have mixed feelings about is the healthcare system. At a hospital in Pest they had to visit multiple times, they always received very poor service, but when it comes to their general practitioner, they had nothing but good experiences – in Helsinki, they would have to wait months before their doctor sees them. They added that Hungarian people in general are very friendly and always ready to help out even if there is a language barrier.