When we first planned to move here we assumed that we would swap our British car for a Dutch one. But within the first few months we realised that we didn’t actually need it. My husband commutes to work by train (or bike) and pretty much everywhere that I went with the children on a weekly basis was within a cycle ride. So we sold our car and tried not having one. Three and a bit years on and we still don’t have one.
Our house is well located, close to supermarkets, the town centre, and the train station. Both the preschool and school that we chose for the children are also close by. We also have a bus stop, though we do’t use the buses that much. And it works.
We don’t really miss having a car. When it rains we get a bit wet, but even with a car you’d need to get to it and then get from your parking spot to wherever you’re going, so you’d get wet anyway. We don’t have a garage, or allocated parking, anyway.
Most places we want to go to we can get there by a combination of bus, train and/or bike. It might take a bit longer than using a car, but it becomes part of the adventure. Taking your bike on the train is definitely exciting! One thing we probably don’t do as often as we might have, if we’d have a car, is go to the beach. The beaches to the north of us, onto the IJsselmeer are ok, though thanks to the afsluitdijk it is no longer tidal. The Atlantic beaches are more the real thing, with waves and tides and lots of sand, but I’m not quite sure of the best way to get there by public transport. Maybe I should work that out for this summer!
Of course, the other option would be to rent a car for the day, and there are increasing options for doing that. Either with specialist car companies that do short term rentals, or with companies that match low use car owners with people who want to use a car for a short period. Now that both children are in smaller car seats these are more of a possibility. As previously I couldn’t have carried the big car seat we had for starry girl to wherever I needed to pick the car up from.
But we certainly haven’t felt limited in what we could do without a car. And we’ve successfully entertained those who have visited us by public transport. And taken them to a variety of destinations; even getting my sister in her wheelchair on the train. Possibly as the children get older and get involved in more out of school activities we might feel the need for a car. Especially if they’re trying to do different things in different places at the same time. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now we have no overwhelming desire to get a car of our own.