- EU dentists
Meet Román: How a Spanish dentist from Murcia enjoys his personal and professional life in the Netherlands
It’s the year 2015 when Román decides to embark on a big adventure: to leave his home country of Spain. Of course, he did not do this without a reason or plan, as he was to join our program to start a new career and life in the Netherlands.
It was a decision that he would not regret. After all, he’s been working in the Netherlands for 7 years now. He’s settled perfectly, and as our ambassador, he often speaks with dentists who are in the same position he was back in 2015: considering a dentistry career in the Netherlands.
Román noticed how dentists from other countries often want to know how he, as a Spaniard, experiences life in the Netherlands, the differences with Spain, culturally, professionally and what an average work day looks like for him. Enough of a reason to dedicate an article to this very topic for all those other people out there who are still looking to find answers to these questions!
New culture, new colleagues
After Román successfully completed his Dutch language course at our Academy, he started working in the city of The Hague, where he still lives to this day.
In the beginning, he experienced some differences with his hometown Murcia, especially seeing as Dutch people tend to favour quieter places: on average, they are a bit more reserved in comparison to Spanish people. This reservedness is something he occasionally struggled with. But then another event happened that would change his mind and bring him closer the Dutch culture. “During my first weeks, I had some trouble finding an apartment for my own and a colleague of mine proposed to stay over a couple of days at her place until I could arrange a new home. There I was able to live with her husband and little child, feeling treated as a real part of the family. This is a gesture I will never forget.”
Despite needing some time, I found several friends to meet and share experiences, we often do sports, have a drink, go to parties or even travel around.
In addition to getting along well with his co-workers outside of work, he also has a good professional relationship with them. This applies to his first clinic, where he worked during his first 3 years in the Netherlands, as well as his current clinic, where he’s been working for 4 years and counting. In both clinics, he always maintained a good relationship with his colleagues, which has resulted in a satisfactory work environment.
Another topic that Román receives a lot of questions about is his professional development. First, you learn the language, but what happens next?
As Román also acknowledges himself, language plays a big part in all of this: “By knowing the language, I can deal with problems and expectations reaching the best treatment option for every person.” That is why Román has been successful at engaging with his patients, resulting in some of them even following him to different clinics, placing their trust in him.
In both of his clinics, Román has been granted many opportunities to develop himself professionally. “At my first clinic, I was able to follow an implantology course, which I could easily combine with my day-to-day work at the clinic.”
“Then, in my current clinic, I’ve so far been able to follow a postgraduation in endodontics in Valencia, and I’m currently focused on a postgraduation course in dental prostheses and oral rehabilitation in Barcelona. I enjoy this a lot and I really appreciate the opportunity of growing professionally and being able to perform some specialised treatments at my job.
And ultimately this is a win-win situation for everyone involved: the clinic has a motivated employee, who feels respected, along with some profit and the option of giving the most optimal treatment plan to their patients.
Looking back on 7 years of Dutch dentistry
In all the years that Román has been working in The Hague, a couple of things stuck out to him:
“I noticed that the system is different due to semi-private health insurance: patients not only come to us when they are in pain, but also every 6 months. So as a dentist, you can perform a wider variety of treatments from a more preventive approach.”
Another thing that Dutch dentistry is known for, is the fixed cost of treatments. “Because costs are the same across the board, there is no financially motivated competition between clinics. This means that competition between clinics revolves more around quality, and that, as a dentist, you can make the difference by treating your patient to the best of your ability.”
Román also mentions the balance between work and private life: “In Spain, I often had long work days and more irregular schedules. Here, I don’t have any of that, because I work according to a well-structured schedule. You know in advance when your first treatment starts and when your last one ends. This leaves me with plenty of time to enjoy my evening.”
To better illustrate this point, Román walks us through an average work day. He works four days a week, from Tuesday until Friday in two dental clinics.
“First of all, we gather a few minutes before the start of our work day at 8AM, so we can first have a coffee and discuss different matters of the day. Then, we go to our chairs to get started. Most of us have our agenda divided into blocks. First, there’s some check-ups, then come the treatments, and after that there are emergencies. The structure of these blocks varies from person to person. At noon, we have a 30-minute lunchbreak, which you can either share with your colleagues, or combine with a quick walk. After that, the work continues, mostly with the same pattern as the morning, until about 4:30PM. After that, I usually spend around half an hour to finish administration and then head home around 5PM. That leaves me with plenty of time to work on my hobbies, do some exercise, see some friends or simply relax at home.”
“The Fridays are especially enjoyable, because you just notice everyone being more relaxed with the weekend just around the corner. And people are often up for a drink together after work, which helps a lot after a rough week of work”
It’s clear that Román is happy with his choice to move to the Netherlands, both on a personal and a professional level. Does this mean he doesn’t have his difficult days? Of course not.
“Despite the fact that I really enjoy it here, I still miss my friends, family and the warm weather in Spain. That´s why I frequently go back to Murcia every 3 months to visit them, while also taking some time to enjoy the Spanish sun and cuisine.”
“Still, I would recommend every dentist to start a career in the Netherlands, in order to develop yourself.” However, Román does include some important advice: “Be ready to go all-in, because you have to be dedicated and motivated. It’s not a holiday, by learning the new language and getting to know the local culture you will quickly get used to your new country, and there’ll be nothing stopping you from having a good life.”
Do you like the idea of following in Román’s footsteps and starting a dentistry career in the Netherlands? Or would you like to speak to Román to ask him some of your own questions? Send your application to email@example.com and I will contact you as soon as possible!