As much as I was appalled by the process of registering for my unemployment benefit, I was also quite happily surprised with the intake meeting today. First, the CWI building was not too far and in a decent building. Second, the waiting time was extremely reduced (a couple of minutes). Third, the intake interview itself was very fast and easy. The two or three persons I had to interact with were friendly, smiling, service minded and supportive. Fourth, the part of registering my declaration and filing for the benefits was done in the same office and practically at the same time. Last but not least, the explanations were clear and all my questions were quickly answered.
If I compare this with my experience of the French ASSEDIC and ANPE, it is like comparing day and night. First, at that time (I am speaking more than 7 years ago), there was no way you could fill in the forms on the Internet. Apart from this, the major hurdle with the French system is that you have two different bureaucracies to register as a job seeker and to file for the benefits. Which means massive queues to get your forms, fill them in, etc.
If anyone had told me that I would one day praise the Dutch bureaucracy, I wouldn't have believed it. But it is so... Of course, the fact that job seekers are nearly three times more numerous in France, compared with the active population, probably doesn't help. I can imagine that it is more difficult to handle more than two millions unemployed persons than a couple of hundreds of thousands.