Dutch Moms around the World: Marlies from Denmark

This series will give you a peek into the life of Dutch Moms around the World. I will ask them all 10 questions, that will give you a better view on what life as a Dutch Mom abroad is like. The moms will share some pictures and give you some advice in case you would like to move to another country too.

Q & A with Marlies Jacobs

Marlies has two sons, she is a dairy-farmer who gets up very early every day. She combines her job with her household and taking care of the boys.

1. In which country do you live and why did you choose that country? Did you choose a specific place or area to move to? Why did you move there? When did you move there from the Netherlands?

We moved to Denmark in April of 2006. My husbands biggest dream was being a dairyfarmer. We did not have the opportunity to start a farm in Holland, way too expensive. We looked around in the US (Wisconsin), Germany and Sweden before we decided to buy a farm in Denmark. We live on the countryside of northern Denmark, 400 km from Kopenhagen.

The farm where Marlies lives.

The farm where Marlies lives.

2. What does an average day, as a Dutch mom in the country that you live in look like? Please describe your own average day.

My average day is quite different from other mothers. I start my day at 4.15 in the morning (7 days a week). I work in the stables (feeding the calves, cleaning the cows cubicles, milking the cows, cleaning up) until 7 am. Then my boys wake up and we all eat breakfast together. I drive my boys to school at 8 am. I work in the stables again from 9 – 11 am, and from 13-14 pm, where after I have to pick up my boys again. I´m in the stables again from 16-19 pm. In the hours between I do all the work in the house and cook meals. Two times a week, right after school, I drive my youngest, who has Cerebral Paresis / Palsy, to his physiotherapist and to physio-horse riding.

3. What do you miss when you think about the Netherlands? Why do you miss that?

I miss not being able to be with my friends and family when they need me, or I need them. I also miss being able to visit my best friend for a cup of coffee.

4. Are there things you don't miss at all when you think about the Netherlands? Why?

Holland is so crowded. That's something I don't miss at all. So many people and so much traffic.

5. If you look at the school system in your country, how does it compare to the Dutch school system? What are (dis)advantages?

The school-system doesn't compare at all. At age 2 years and 10 months children start in Kindergarten. At the age of 6,, children start in Elementary School until they are about 15 years old. Followed by one or two years at a Boarding School. After that they start in Gymnasium followed by a vocational training or University. They haven´t finished school before they are 25 years or older.

6. How did YOUR life change when you moved? What are the differences compared to your life in the Netherlands? Were these choices you made, or were these differences decided for you (by a company, by the visa that you have, by the different circumstances)? How do you feel about these changes?

I used to be an accounting assistant in Holland. I had my own customers and was doing really well. But I came to a point in my life, that I asked myself the question: Is this what I want to be doing for the rest of my life? When I wanted to get a promotion at work, I had to start a new study again, and I didn't want to. So the life change came at the right time for me, although I never had thought I was going to be a dairy-farmer when I was younger.

7. What is happening in the country that you live in, that worries you? Why does this worry you? Is there anything you do to solve this?

Actually, I don't really bother myself with politics. I don't have the right to vote in Denmark, so I can't change a lot. What worries me right now is the position of the farmers here in Denmark. It is not easy right now being a farmer. Many people are telling me exactly how to do my job. And not only the government and official authorities, but also consumers. I'm doing the best I can. My animals are my income. If I don't care for my animals, my animals don't care for me. We invite often school classes to come and visit us and show them how are animals live.

The beautiful view from Marlies' farm.

The beautiful view from Marlies' farm.

8. What habits have you taken with you from the Netherlands? And which ones have you integrated from your new country? Why (those habits)? Which ones do you on purpose NOT use? Have these habits learned you something? If so, what?

I say 'good morning' when I come in to a supermarket. All people react surprised, but now they do it too. When Danish are having a birthday they invite their guests for 'morgenkaffe' at 10 am. Then they are having an extensive brunch. I really like that and I often invite friends over for a 'morgenkaffe'.

9. What is your advice for other moms who are thinking about moving to another country? What do they have to think about?

My advice for anyone who moves to another country: learn the language as quickly as possible. And don't be ashamed of making mistakes, just try. People will really appreciate that!

10. Is there anything you want to share? A funny situation that you have experienced, a life lesson, a favorite quote?

Our motto always has been:

You'd better regret the things you did do, then regret the things you didn’t do!

Thank you so much Marlies, for this interesting peek into your life in Denmark!

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