AMSTERDAM — No friends or acquaintances, cold winters, a hard-to-learn language and the depression that comes with all that.

Being a new mum in a foreign country is not easy, but mums and tots at the Chibikko Club (Little Ones' Club) and the ESCG (English Speaking Contact Group) here in the Netherlands say they manage to keep their heads above water — because they have each other.

Mariko Takeda was very happy when her husband Susumu's job as a motorcycle designer brought them to Holland in December 2007.