Jasmine signed us up for House Hunters International, but alas we didn’t get a call. So we’ll have to do this house hunting thing on our own and you’ll have to follow along without video and voiceover. 🏡 We used several sources for our search: AHRN.com (the military’s housing site), 123wonen.com, funda.com and the housing office listings. One of my new colleagues kindly scanned and emailed the housing office listing, because it isn’t available online. This was a HUGE help since the most viable listings are there. We’re starting with furnished 3 bedroom houses within a 5km radius of JFCBS. We drove around some of the neighborhoods on Sunday to get a sense of them and then made appointments on Monday morning.

House 1 is in the northern part of Heerlen just south of the base. We really like the neighborhood, which has some shops and restaurants. It’s only 10 min by bike to work in one direction and the train station in the other. The house is small, though and the kitchen is tiny with no microwave or freezer. The rental agent is very personable and suggested a bigger house on the other side of Brunnsum. We followed her by car for what seemed like miles and miles. We drove through Hoensbroek, which we had already ruled out because we didn’t like the feel of the town — too suburban. The town we ended up in is Oirsbeek, which has a small market square with a church on one side. There’s a bakery and other shops close by. House 2 is very spacious with a new kitchen and beautiful garden. Most of the furniture is new and the bedrooms are good size with closets. There’s a wood burning fireplace, a garage and a washer & dryer (many rentals have a washer only or just hookups). The agent told us that the last occupant was an Italian colonel. Ha! Another couple came in to see it right after us. If we decide on this one, we’ll have to hope it’s still available. According to Google maps, it’s a 6.2km bike ride to work. This could be the excerise regimen that I have to stick to!

House 3 is a row house in Heerlen not far from House 1. It fronts to some green space and again is close to shops and work. I’m not crazy about the exteriors of row houses, but the inside of this house was a pleasant surprise. It’s bright and open. The kitchen is adequate with a dishwasher and microwave, though the fridge freezer is tiny. It has three floors with two bedrooms on the second floor and a large bedroom on the third floor. The washer is on the second floor and the dryer is on the third; it would be a bit inconvient to heft laundry up and down a spiral staircase, but it’s manageable. The garden is nice and the third floor has a roof terrace, both with a nice southerly view (Germany on the left and Belgium on the right!). This one also has a garage in the back. The decor is okay; the livingroom has sort of an African theme going on. The owner was very nice; she enjoyed being able to practice her English. 🙂

House 4 is a row house in Brunssum. It’s an appealing location that is walking distance to market square and JFCBS. There are several rows of houses that sit right next to a highrise apartment building. The unit backs up to an identical row unit; all the doors and windows therefore face the front. The ‘garden’ is also in the front and is very small. I would describe the furnishing as traditional with many wood pieces, a chandelier and some antiques. The dining/living room is spacious, but the tv is old and the fireplace is only decorative. The eat in, farm-like kitchen is big and nicely finished. The microwave and freezer are in the storage room (looks like a garage) right next to the washer. That’s a bit odd. The bedrooms are nice size, but there’s not much (or any) closet space. The owners are nice enough; it was amusing to watch them help each other find the right English word for things.

Dick and I agree that House 2 is the front runner. We have two more houses to see on Tuesday. To be continued . . . .