To arrange before arrival (2) – How to pack your life into suitcases

By Chanoknun Wannasin

MSc student Earth and Environment...

Let’s admit that you have more properties you want to pack than the tiny spaces of your luggage can support. In fact, you are wishing to take everything in your bedroom with you. But moving on means leaving something behind… I’m sorry to tell you that there may not be enough space for your boxes full of robot collections. Here is the real stuff I believe that you should have or don’t need in order to start your new life in the Netherlands.

What to Bring

  • Clothes

– Waterproofed jacket
Even though it’s very easy to buy waterproofed clothes here in the Netherlands, it’s a good idea to bring one with you from home. There’s a chance that you will be friendly greeted by the Dutch rains when you step out of the airplane…

Dutch weather
My friends and I with the welcome rainy days after we arrived the Netherlands


You are going to live in the country with an average of 90 minute-raining per day. Thus, you need a raincoat or a waterproofed jacket to survive under the rainy skies. From my own experience, the Dutch wind can be too moody for a little umbrella or hat, so don’t bother to pack them here.

“You need a raincoat or a waterproofed jacket
to survive under the rainy skies”

– Trousers/Jeans
However, it’s not a really big deal. Don’t be too worried and don’t bring too many clothes. Clothes in Dutch stores are more fitted to its weather. You will enjoy shopping here! As you may already know, Dutch people are the tallest in the world. As a 158 cm tall girl myself, I figured out that clothes can be too big for me here, even the xs ones sometimes. The tops are usually fine, but I suggest you to bring some nice trousers and jeans from home. One of my friends had to cut several centimetres out of the new jeans she bought here… because they were way too long.

– National/traditional clothes
There are international events and activities throughout the academic year, such as One World Week and Asian Night, when you can dress up your traditional costume and express your nationality to other international students. It is good fun. Moreover, I think wearing your traditional clothes can also help curing homesickness sometimes.

international Wageningen
Our little traditional Thai shawls on the Thai Kitchen event.


  • Medicine and prescription

    It’s recommended to have a small space in your suitcase for some common household medicines and specific medicines in case you have a congenital disease. Check the import regulations by the Netherlands’ customs for more information. As I already mention in the Health Check section of the blog ‘Things to do in advance’, having prescriptions will be beneficial both at the Customs Service on your arriving day, and when you get sick while living in the Netherlands.

  • Plug adapters

    The standard voltage for Dutch electricity system is 230 volt and the frequency is 50 Hz. The standard power sockets are type C or F as shown in the picture below.

  1. 4_plug adapter
    Source: Amsterdam AdvisorYou may need power plug adapters depending on your home country, especially when you bring your laptop or cell phone abroad. You may consider a worldwide power plug adapter, which will also be useful when you travel to other countries during your holidays.


You may consider a worldwide power plug adapter

  • Cosmetics

    Maybe this is mainly for girls. In general, there are differences between Asian and Western skincare due to our different skin tones and sensitivities. In addition, if you come from a tropical area, your skin may be easily dry or dehydrated from the cold weather and hot shower. Thus, if you have any preferable or specific cosmetics that can’t be found in the Netherlands, just take them with you.

  • Home reminder

    I also call it the “homesickness killer”. It’s something important to you or reminding you of home. Technology makes communication easier nowadays, but the dark side of the long distance can’t be underestimated. I took letters and photographs of my family and friends with me, and these little things became big hope when I needed them most. What do you wish to have with you on the day you are missing home?

    5_home reminder
    Home reminder


What not to Bring

  • Winter clothes

    I know you want to be prepared for the winter, especially when you come from the warm regions. But those thick coats can wait. Don’t squeeze them into your tiny suitcase. You will arrive here in August which is the summer here, and you have plenty of time to get one. Actually I think it’s better to buy winter coats in the Netherlands since they’re more suitable to the weather and you can do so for a reasonable price. You can get very cheap ones when they are on sale.


“It’s better to buy winter coats in the Netherlands”

  • Food/ingredients
    In my opinion, the Netherlands has quite a lot of foreigners, so it’s easy to find international groceries here, in particular “Toko” which is an Asian store. It will be like heaven on earth when you want to get some rare ingredients or raw food for cooking your local dishes. The prices are acceptable. So you don’t need to carry too much food, especially the “instant noodles”, across the world when you can easily find it here.Jumbo Wageningen
    The bean seeds imported from Thailand can be found in the local supermarket here.
  • Household, equipment
    If you are thinking about stuffing an iron or a rice cooker into your suitcase, please drop that thought. You will be surprised when I’m telling you that you can even find a mortar from the stores here. It will take some time before you settle down at your new place. You can either buy new accessories from the local stores or look for second handed equipment (and furniture) from the online community called Wageningen Student Plaza. Students who are leaving or willing to sell their stuff will drop their offers there. You can conveniently seek something to decorate or furnish your new home at the cheap prices.

“You can even find a mortar from a store here”

  • The not-urgent-stuff
    There are the “nice to have” stuff that you are willing to take with you. Unfortunately, the “need to have” stuff comes first and there might be no space left in your luggage. So why don’t send them by post instead? It may cost some money but if the box of robot collections or 7 thick book series of Harry Potter means a lot to you, then there is no reason you have to leave them behind. My dad sent me my favorite novels a few months after I came here. Pack those “nice to have” into a box. When you have got a certain address, you can ask someone to send it to you and your life will be fulfilled again.
  • The illegal stuff
    Above all, it’s important to know what is not allowed to import to the Netherlands. I found this useful information from this website when I came here. You may want to check it out!

Now the weight of your ‘little home in the trolley bag’ may be much lighter than before, and you are ready to bring everything you need across the ocean to the Netherlands. Take care and have a safe trip to Wageningen!

My little home in the trolley bag on the day I arrived Schiphol Airport last August.

By Chanoknun Wannasin

MSc student Earth and Environment

There are 12 comments.

  1. By: Good ^___^ · 18-07-2016 at 18:54

    Well done!
    I enjoy reading your article very much!

  2. By: Stephanie · 20-07-2016 at 22:53

    Very useful information. Thanks a lot 🙂

  3. By: Vera Sham · 22-07-2016 at 12:57

    Thanks for the information, Wannasin

  4. This information is much more useful, thank you.

  5. By: CHEN · 27-07-2016 at 09:30

    THANKS a lot. VERY TIMING for me.

  6. By: Pabodha Weththasinghe · 20-08-2016 at 12:07

    Thank you very much…It is more useful….

  7. […] of 4 more parts, all about what to arrange before arrival; – things to do in advance – how to pack your life into the suitcases – money – preparing […]

  8. By: Yvan · 29-12-2016 at 07:36

    Thank you for your article, I come in winter,should I bring the Quilt?

    1. By: Chanoknun · 19-01-2017 at 10:50

      No need to bring a quilt or blanket! It takes too much space. If you apply for housing here, they usually offer one for you. Otherwise, you can buy it easily in the shops here

  9. By: Pim · 07-07-2017 at 10:02

    Thanks a lot for the useful guidelines ka. That SA-TOR pic did ensure me that I will be saved!

  10. By: Diana Hdez. Silva · 12-07-2017 at 16:41

    I loved this information! Absolutely useful! Thank you very much…

  11. By: Tefera Regasa Benti · 19-07-2017 at 03:32

    By Tefera Regasa Benti

    I read your precious notice. I found that it is very interesting & valuable information.

    I know I was in Netherland for few weeks and want to be in Netherland in the future for my further study.

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