Day-trip to the Charming Village of Schoorl, the Netherlands

We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us. The Covid havoc seemed to have ruined most of our lives, but as the vaccinations started to roll out, we can be hopeful to get some air to invigorate ourselves. Holding oneself behind the doors due to Covid restrictions in the Netherlands not only testifies endurance but indeed develops an obvious coveted desire to plan a perfect day trip. Once the lockdown is lifted, slowly and steadily we could try to fight the boredom by wandering through the unexplored suburbs of the Netherlands. Few months back, one of my friends suggested a beautiful village named Schoorl, the Netherlands. And we turned the wheels to the countryside in the Dutch province of North Holland- known as “Schorel” ages ago, now named Schoorl. 

Copyright by kanika Gupta

We reserved a sunny day of winters to trail chiefly through the sand dunes and embrace the turbulence on the beach. One day trip worked really well for us as we left around 9:30 and reached at 10: 20 (59 km far from our place, Amstelveen). And I would recommend it as a wonderful destination to plan a perfect day tour to get going in summers again. Before I begin my travel anywhere across the globe, I never miss carrying my face-mask, hand sanitiser and of course the snacks. Well, a long drive is in itself a boon to people working from home. For me, just the soulful music coupled with a comfort drive alongside the couple of friends add zest to the mood. Let’s find out everything we spotted enroute Schoorl, known for many enthralling campsites.

Klimduin

After parking, we marched straight away towards the Skatepark Burgemeester Haspelslaan. The great sand dune surely demanded quite a pack of energy to climb over to continue a short hiking segment. Seemed like real fun for kids who carry toy buckets and shovels to build mini structures by putting all the damp sand particles together. Crossing through the woods, we respited for a while on arrival to the partly frozen lake in the Schoorlse Duinen. 

The vicinity was picturesque and worth recording pictures. After a great forest walk, we decided to stuff our tiny tummies with the pre-cooked lunch (eating and cooking being one of the peculiar traits of all Indians). Do not forget to take the backpack of picnic sheets, snacks and water bottles. 

Following the same track forward for a few more minutes, we ended at a huge public parking near the beach. Well, boys took another reverse path to bring back the cars to beach parking. Local tourists bring their horses and mountain bikes for enjoying an enthralling ride by the sides of the north sea views. 

Duration of hike- 70 min

Distance- 3.8 Km

Level- Easy

Schoorlse Duinen
Schoorlse Duinen
Copyright by Kanika

Strand Camperduin

Copyright by Kanika

I would call it a hidden gem since this beach is not much commercialised and kept as natural as possible. The eternal landscape cuddling the curling waves of the beach, leaving behind the clear foam at your footsteps is worth enchanting. Believe me or not, I felt like having wind beneath my wings the moment I reached Strand Camperduin. 

Sunset was still a couple of hours away, so we kept hanging around. As the daylight started fading, we had a beautiful glimpse of the nightfall. The glazing golden colors shining through the beach water was spectacular. On our way, number of restaurants and cafes were opened for take away( as per the guidelines for Covid-19). There are much more activities offered around the village, but due to certain constraints, we could not avail a few of them, nevertheless it ended to be a perfect day trip. 

Copyright by Kanika

Whenever you wish to escape the crowd, plan your itinerary to Schoorl for sure. No ways that you regret it. Summers and autumn is the best time to explore this majestic village. I wish everyone a very happy and a healthy year ahead. Hope we all get the chance to enjoy summers 2021!

Note: If going by a car, set the navigation address at Heereweg 62, Schoorl. 

How to Schedule a First Dental Visit in the Netherlands?

Well said: ‘Life is short. Smile when you still have teeth’. And, if you don’t have them, do not worry! The dentist can rebuild your smile and confidence back again. So, now you can say, though life is short, yet we can make it happier, healthier and grand.

Your mouth reflects your awareness about healthy eating and cleaning habits. Remember my friends that you are working everyday hard to eat deliciously good food and relish every bit of your meals. And all this is made possible by your teeth and supporting structures of the oral cavity. Is it not your duty to provide a simple careful concern to keep them bacteria free? Save your pennies by consulting a dentist at an early stage when prevention could be possible or else you may end up draining your pockets paying for expensive dental treatments later. So, call your dentist and arrange your first dental visit before it hurts too much.

Unrecognizable crop dentist in latex gloves examining teeth of patient in clinic
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Try to  control the number of harmful microbes in your mouth by brushing twice a day, flossing or using interdental brushes. Because increased oral bacterial load might push microbes to your digestive or respiratory tract if not taken an active care of. Also let me tell you that your baby’s milk teeth are as important as the permanent ones. It’s a misnomer that they will fall out soon so need not to be worry about. If milk teeth are ignored then how can you expect the permanent teeth to be perfect? They will either pop out of place or may have malformed enamel( white or brown spots on successor teeth). Be a proactive parent, don’t be among ones who bring their kid when they notice an oral swelling or pus discharge.

toddler boy in highchair
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If you experience sleepless night due to agonizing toothache in the Netherlands, try to reach out to the registered dentists (called ‘tandart/ tandartsen’ in Dutch) as soon as possible. Dutch dentists(KNMT affiliated) are experts not only in sense of work expertise, but also in delivering an atmosphere of ease and comfort in communication and understanding their patient’s health. Moreover, standard dental hygiene and sterilization protocols are adopted strictly in every practice for your safety. Find out how to schedule a first dental visit.

woman in black tank top holding white textile
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First time visit to Dentist?

You can look for the dentist that is accessible from your home or work and book an appointment on call or online by sharing a few details for registration like name, date of birth, address and BSN number(citizen service number). Tandarts.nl allows you to find the best dentist based on your search requirements by distance, specializations or review ratings of patients. Searching for a dentist by zip code also makes it easy to access a nearby practice. For the first appointment, a dental practice books you as an ‘intake’ during which they examine your mouth and make digital diagnostic x- rays/ pictures( bite wings). Then, discuss the necessary treatments and their cost with their patients.

woman holding medical tool on person's mouth
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What do you need to carry while going to a dentist?

Carry your insurance card and a valid identity proof (just in case if asked for) when walking to the practice for the first time. On arrival, you are requested to fill a consent form and medical history. And now during Covid-19, dental staff asks you to wear a mouth/nose mask and lets you rinse your mouth with 1% Hydrogen peroxide for 1 minute. Find out how safe is it to visit a dentist during the pandemic. Usually the practices forward you the invoice letter by post within 2 weeks and you get definite period of time to make necessary payments.

  • Dental Insurance

A compulsory basic health insurance(basisverzekering) does not cover a few treatments and dental costs so you can choose optional supplemental insurance plans(aanvullende verzekering) as per your requirements. The dental insurance packages usually cover 100% reimbursement of your dental costs up to 250 euros yearly for consultations(controle), fillings, Extraction of teeth( extractie), Anesthetics(Anesthetica), dental surgeries(tandheelkundige ingrepen), pictures and cleanings(Mondhygeine) and 75% for other dental treatment. The good news is for children under 18 years whose general dental treatment costs are covered under Dutch basic health insurance and there is no deductible(www.zorgwijzer.nl). The allowances for children and young adults below 18 years of age include:

  • Gum treatments(tandvlees behandeling)
  • Fillings or restorations( Vullingen)
  • Treatment of jaw disorders(Behandeling van kaakaandoeningen) except implants( implantaten)
  • Surgical dental treatment(chirurgische tandheelkundige behandeling)
  • Removable prosthetic device
  • Root canal treatment(wortelkanaalbehandeling)
  • Occasional consultations(consultaties)

However orthodontics, crowns and bridges, implants, partial dentures and external bleaching for children are not covered by the basic insurance. Most expats opt international health insurance companies like Allianz Care and Cigna Global that provide dental coverage as well. Orthodontic treatment (teeth alignment using braces or aligners) lasts for 2-3 years and may cost upto 2k-3k euros, so it’s advisable to take additional insurance to claim reimbursement.Out of almost 60 insurance companies, Achmea is one of the most distinguished market leader with around 5 million insurance parties. It is an umbrella organization with many insurance companies like Zilveren Kruis(mostly chosen by expats).

Cost of dental treatments

Although the dental clinics in The Netherlands are privatized, the prices of dental services are regulated by government or Dutch Health Authority (NZa/De Nederlandse Zorgautoriteit) , so you cannot expect any negotiation, as the cost of each procedure is pre-defined and reasonably fixed( though sound justifiably too overpriced for expats). For comparing the rates you can visit dental rates 2020. The plan for costs of dental services changes once yearly as of 2020 came into effect on 1st January and will expire on 1st January 2021.

List of emergency dental clinics in the Netherlands

red and white massage chair
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Not all dental clinics provide 24/7 services but few of them enlisted here provide round’ O clock treatment hours.

  • Lassus Tandartsen in 3 locations in Amsterdam is an expat oriented practice.
  • Opening hours- 7 days a week with special evening hours( including public holidays). 
  • Dental365 in Amsterdam, The Hague, and Rotterdam. Tandartsen Post 010 in in Erasmus MC (managed by the chain of Dental365 network) delivers first aid( Immediate relief for toothache) in Rotterdam.
  • Mondzorg Poli in Amsterdam and Utrecht. 
  • In Nijmegen, Villa Westhof Dental Surgery 
  • At the OLVG Hospital, Tandarts Spoed Praktijk is collaboration of dental team, pharmacy, general practitioners, emergency services, and dental surgeons. 
  • The International Health Centre of The Hague offers emergency services during weekends and holidays but treatment is requested to be paid in cash; a premium on the regular dental rates applies. 
  • If you are not satisfied with any of the dental services or you develop a sense of doubt on treatment, budget, bill or the dentist, you can simply send your query to TIP( Dental information point) or even file a complaint if needed. Questions about the reimbursement can only be enquired from your health insurers. 

Is It Safe To Visit A Dentist During The Corona Pandemic?

Unlike Dutch nationals, expats might not visit oral health practices too often for routine dental care as the treatment costs sound sky high, unless insured. However, if someone suffers an intense pain in tooth or gums, then you are not left with a choice but to consult a dentist. And now with the Corona virus into the bargain, everyone across the globe is so skeptical about visiting general/dental care centers. During the time when the active Corona cases are increasing daily in the Netherlands, staying cautious is the safety mantra. Well, considering the fact that dentist needs to work in an intimate contact with the patient and in an aerosol generating environment which could be a possible threat, it’s quite obvious to enter a state of dilemma of whether to visit the dentist or not. Not to worry friends, if it’s urgent don’t hesitate to run to the nearest dental practice. I have seen Dutch natives and many expats from everywhere across the world actively making their appointments for simple dental procedures like scaling and polishing(mondhygiene) and a routine check- up(controle) or follow- ups. Though it may seem strange to us but we need to get over the fear of nosocomial infections. All we need to do is follow the Corona Guidelines sincerely anywhere we go. In fact, I would say that it is more safe in a dental atmosphere than in a grocery shop or supermarkets. Have you heard of any Corona case transmission through a dental practice? I guess, no. Isn’t it commendable that despite a close contact work and a high- risk category, dental staff makes sure that the highest level of disinfection protocols are being followed at every cost. As the health safety is of utmost importance, the Dutch Dental Associations(ANT, KNMT) have come up already with strict guidelines to make sure that the preventive measures against corona are effectively put into action to keep up the good standards of hygiene for both the clients and employees. So you need not to be anxious while going out for a dental treatment, it is completely safe. Find out how safe is it to visit a dentist during the Corona pandemic.

Corona safety measures taken in a dental practice

  • A general telephonic enquiry about the Corona/flu symptoms and travel history is made thoroughly by the dental staff before scheduling any appointment.
Man in White Crew Neck T-shirt Holding Stay At Home Sign
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  • Patients are requested to arrive 5 minutes before the appointment. If they arrive too early and no seat is available, they need to wait outside/car.
  • Use of special door posters with corona measures for better understanding and awareness are pasted.
Door posters with the Corona Measures (with English translation)
  • Waiting rooms are arranged such that 1.5m distance is maintained between the patients if more than one arrives at the same time. A demarcation line is drawn to ensure safe distance during conversation between a dentist and patient.
  • Patients are advised to come alone as much as possible
  • Everyone entering the practice (oral care professionals, patients or others) need to wash their hands with soap and water or disinfectant(hand alcohol) and are not allowed to touch unnecessarily mobile phones, door handles or any stuff around. .
  • Hand shakes are avoided.
  • 1% hydrogen peroxide is used to rinse the patient’s mouth for 1minute prior to any aerosols treatment procedure to decrease the bacterial pressure. Rubber dam use is mandatory.
  • Every dental equipment or materials used are disinfected with 80% alcohol or sterilized using an autoclave after each use. Disposable cleaning stuff is brought in use as much as possible.
  • Dental staff use hand gloves, nose and mouth mask, water proof face shields for protection.
  • Door handles, card transaction machine, wash basins, chairs and tables are cleaned from time to time daily.

What if you are infected with the Coronavirus but need urgent dental care?

If you are corona positive and suffer toothache or any severe dental related problem that needs urgent care, you can receive a referral from the dentist to visit the CAM (Corona Centre for Acute Dental Care). Also dentists might not accept clients over the age of 65 to maintain safety as they are a risk category. A special department for that is established in the hospital, if elderly are in need for dental treatment.

The cross-infection protocols in the Netherlands are always amongst the most strict in Europe.

The Netherlands : Introduction

Understand the country, the people and the culture of the Netherlands !

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The Netherlands also called as Holland lies along the North Sea coast. The south of the Netherlands lies Belgium and east of Netherlands lies Germany. The capital of the Netherlands is Amsterdam, The Netherlands consists of 12 provinces as below with their individual capital cities.

Noord Holland – HaarlemLimburg – MaastrichtGroningen – Groningen
Zuid Holland – Den HaagGelderland – ArnhemFriesland – Leeuwarden
Zeeland – MiddelburgOverijssel – ZwolleFlevoland – Lelystad
Noord Brabant – Den BoschDrente – AssenUtrecht – Utrecht
12 provinces with capital cities

Around 27% of the Netherlands is below the sea level. There are many dijks or dunes.
The most important cities are Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht.

Kingdom : The kingdom of Netherlands consists of The Netherlands and 6 Islands in the Caribbean sea – Aruba, Bonnaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Maarten and Sint Eustatius.

Population : The population is around 16 million and more.

Religion: Culture of Netherlands is diverse. There is a freedom of religion in the Netherlands. Anyone can believe what they want.Most of the population do not believe in religion at all.

Language : The spoken language on television, schools, newspaper, books etc is dutch. The second language is Frisian(Friesland) which is an influence of French and English language.

Season : You can have all 4 seasons here at Netherlands. Summers are not too warm as the sea influences the weather(17 to 30 degrees). Winters are usually very cold(-2 to 10 degrees)