House Hunting Not-So-International

by farrah on July 10, 2014 · 11 comments

Waking up this morning a bit groggy and glum after the World Cup loss last night is a bummer. The weather has set the tone for the past three days- and that’s misty and cold with persistent rain that seemingly seeps into everything- including the mood after such a loss. One highlight from yesterday though- was that we took another look at the potential rental and hope our house hunting has come to an end.

For Rent*this is not the house! 

Last night we had a meeting with the owner of the home we hope to rent until our contract is up in May of 2017. I’m excited about the house- but I have also been burned a few times in the past by getting too excited over something that isn’t official. Hence, I need to wait to share pics and talk about the upgrades and changes we’re discussing for their house. I will tell you this: it will basically fulfill my desire to live in a historic home while living in Holland!


The building itself was a butcher shop for over 100 years. It was passed down through the family and stopped being used as an actual butcher shop about 20 years ago. Last night we met with the husband and wife who are now in charge of the property- as the wife’s father died recently and it has been passed down to her. She told us that her parents raised 12 children in this house! It’s about 10m bigger than this place- so while I appreciate the fact that it is larger- raising 12 children I cannot see.

There are several interesting quirks about the place that will take some pondering. As it was an actual shop for so long, there is somewhat of an entry room (I’m guessing where the meats were displayed) and then the room where the butcher and customer finished their transaction. There’s a counter of sorts- and it’s an awkward space. Going around you come to the living room, then the kitchen. If you go to the courtyard, there is a connected (large) room with windows that was once the actual butchering room. Don’t tell the boys but this will be their new playroom. Ha!

Additionally there’s a tool shed that was once the smoker (complete with blackened ceiling) and other nooks and crannies for us to store stuff and hopefully use in creative ways. Upstiars off of the kitchen are the bedrooms. There’s a room to the left which is smaller and will be for B, while one right across the way is a bigger one for the twins. As with many bedrooms in Europe- there is a handsink right in the room. We will absolutely be shutting that down as I can only foresee direct access to water in the twins’ bedroom being a disaster.

Then there is our ‘master’ which is a little smaller than our room now- and the bathroom. The bathroom has recently been redone- and is great except for no bathtub. The actual toilet is in a WC next to the bathroom- this makes me happy as I long for the days when I can shower and not have small people pounding on the door to pee.

There’s an incredible view of the huge church out all of the back windows- and we love the character and unique details of this place. We’re discussing right now what kind of upgrades can be done, but so far everyone’s on the same page and we’re very positive. It’s not too much farther away from this house (actually it’s under 600 meters down the same street) so school won’t be an issue. The only bummer is that we’re not actually living right by the school friends- but after being here a while and knowing how things work, pretty sure no one will mind.

I feel weird about this since it’s not like we OWN this house, but I feel spending 3 years in a place allow us the indulgence of being excited for a change. It’s no secret that the house we have been living in has been perfect for us with the yard, location and all, but it’s time to move on and try something different. We shall see.

It’s pretty funny that this house too has a pub nearby. It’s on the opposite street in the back and I could literally throw a rock from an upstairs room and hit it. We haven’t been to this one yet, so I look forward to checking it out. Overall, this is the kind of place that I feel comfortable moving into AFTER we have already been here a couple of years. It’s so different from what we knew in the US, I would have had serious culture shock going into this right off the bat. I suppose this will be yet another adventure we shall endure together!

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ann July 10, 2014 at 8:16 am

So many details – but I still can’t wait to hear more about it.

This seems like a real cool experience, though. How neat to know so much history of the place already – and so much character.


2 farrah July 10, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Here’s hoping! But you can fill me in on your thoughts in person 🙂


3 Maryann from Florida July 10, 2014 at 10:43 am

Greetings! (again). Thank you being a wonderful point of conversation with my elderly mom who is in her 80’s and grew up in Oisterwijk and immigrated to the US in the ’50’s.

I just read your post out loud to her and she’s wondering if that is the former butcher shop near St. Peter’s Kerk?

One of her grandma’s lived near there (near the Kerk Straat and Hoog Straat).

Thanks again for making my mom happy to talk about the old days of her youth in Oisterwijk!


4 farrah July 10, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Hi Maryann!

You can tell your mom that her memory is spot on! That’s exactly the house and the shop! I look forward to showing pics and bet she will say that the surrounding streets look exactly the same 🙂 Tell her thank you for reading along with us. We absolutely adore Oisterwijk- which is no secret 🙂


5 Maryann from Florida July 10, 2014 at 5:52 pm

I shared your response with my mom, and she thinks that the butcher shop was owned by the Leermakers family, and in fact, she dated one of the sons when she was a teenager in the 1940’s.

Again, thanks for sharing and bringing back memories for my mom.

Take care,


6 Cheril von Barsewisch July 10, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Hi Farrah,

I am Chamisa’s American friend that is moving to Enschede in 2 weeks. It’s been so crazy and will remain so until we hit NL soil and for at least a half a year after probabaly. We haven’t found a house yet but the movers are booked. We have a potential house but, like you, I don’t want to get too excited until the deal is signed.

Look forward to sharing experiences and seeking advice once I have arrived.

Take care and all the best with your house negotiations,


7 farrah July 10, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Good luck to you and keep me posted! I am sure that Chamisa has given you a great example on how fun this really is! Maybe sometime we can all get together since I keep missing her!
If I can offer any help- please don’t hesitate to ask!


8 Emma July 10, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Congrats on finding a new house!! However, are you not worried about the pub? It’s not a Saturday night hot spot for the local youth? You know, where people stand outside yelling and drinking beer?


9 farrah July 10, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Ha! No. The pubs on our end of town are pretty tame except for the karaoke over some holidays. The pub where we live now has given us absolutely no worries- and since this one backs up to us- separated by a large wall, I’m not too concerned. Additionally I asked the owners what they knew and said it was fine. A bar in Chicago? Probably not. But the brown cafés here are ok by me 🙂


10 Caitlyn July 13, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Oh that house sounds wonderful! So much character and history. When I moved here I flat out refused to live somewhere that made me feel like I was still back home. I wanted to live in a European-feeling house, whatever that means! Our current apartment dates from before Europeans set foot in Australia and is opposite a 500-year old cathedral, which chimes every 15 minutes. It drives our visitors nuts but I hardly notice it these days!


11 Leighann July 14, 2014 at 2:06 pm

sounds like a great adventure is about to begin!


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