Monday, July 21, 2008

How many trips does it take to get to the center of a Dutch Bank Account

A One... A.two-HOO...A three..? Try 8 or 9. Literally.

1) First you need to apply for a "Dutch Social Security Number" also known as a SOFI or BSN. This is done at the Town Hall. We did that last week and got our numbers a week later. So far so good.

2) Brett had heard from some fellow expats that you could open an account without a SOFI - so before they came he went to do so at the ABN-AMRO near our house.... He was denied. He needed a SOFI. Since ABN-AMRO is the only bank here with online banking in English, we were pretty set on signing with them.

3) On Saturday with SOFI numbers in hand we went to the ABN-AMRO in the Leidseplein, which is the only branch open on Saturdays. We were told they couldn't help us because American accounts need special handling with the US government and only 1 branch was authorized to open them. We were directed to the airport location and given the address.

4) On Monday we went to the address on our paper, but it was the bank branch that does accounts for flight crews. They directed us to another airport location.

5) We went to the 2nd airport location but they didn't open until 1PM.

6) We came back after lunch to find out that only the top floor of that location could help.

7) We went to the top floor office and filled everything out - only to be told that the computer system was down temporarily and that we'd need to come back later to get the paperwork and sign.

8) Once the paperwork is signed, we have to wait a week for our debit cards to come in the mail. Then we have to go to a local branch to pick a pin number. Any branch should work.

9) We then have to fund our account since you can't just write a check to make the initial deposit. You can wire money from the US or deposit cash - but if you deposit cash you need to find a location that handles cash. Most of the branch locations are cashless.

Needless to say, getting set up here has been a hassle. We need Dutch bank accounts for everything - from groceries to parking meters to gym membershps to insurance to rent payments. We keep telling ourselves that all these headaches are temporary. I can only imagine what tax time will be like.

And the kicker? Today's high was 59F with rain and wind - which we got to experience on the many stops of our "bank account scavenger hunt." Did anyone else notice that it's almost AUGUST? Blah.

1 comment:

Red Shouldered Hawk said...

Bleak weather? See the movie Italian For Beginners. It's set in Denmark, I believe. The weather never gets good, which is why they pine romantically for Italy so much. See the movie if you get a chance.
...It's amazing their society tolerates so much red tape and delay. I guess it means they do not fear the wolf, that they believe things will work out; nobody will miss anything all that important, that kind of thing. I hear they're a happy people. -- Matt Kenney