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Are you an expat working and living in the Netherlands? Or are you to moving Amsterdam soon or, Rotterdam or any other of the Dutch international hotspots? If you are a citizen of one of the EU/EEA member states, you do not need a visa to move to the Netherlands. We can provide quotation whether you are looking at moving to the Netherlands from the UK, or One way Van hire to the Netherlands.
Expat life in the Netherlands has much to offer and provides a great intercultural experience – from discovering the countryside like the Ijsselmeer, learning how Dutch people celebrate Koninginnedag (Queen's Day), up to tasting the Netherlands’s favorite dishes such as stamppot. If you are considering moving to the Netherlands from the UK, below is some information that may help you on your way.
Do you associate the Netherlands with tulips, windmills, and cheese? In fact, there’s a lot more worth knowing before moving to the Netherlands: Thanks to the country’s diverse and liberal society, expats rarely have difficulties adjusting to life in the Netherlands. Moving to the Netherlands from a Western culture is on the whole a painless experience. The Dutch strive for an egalitarian society and are known for their liberalism, welcoming religions and traditions from elsewhere. But this doesn’t mean the Netherlands doesn’t have its own rich cultural heritage – far from it. A move to Amsterdam might be just what the doctor ordered, if you fancy a change in life.
The Netherlands has one of Europe’s lowest rates of unemployment a good reason to move to Amersterdam?, which combined with the 30 percent tax-free allowance available to people moving to work in the Netherlands, makes for an attractive work destination. But this allowance is mainly for people with specific skills which are rare within the local labour market.
The Dutch labor law establishes the framework for all aspects of working in the Netherlands. General requirements and conditions are laid out as follows:
Most employees are granted between 20 and 25 days of vacation per year.
The Dutch are known for their healthy work-life balance and many people work part-time.
If a Dutch employer wants to hire someone from outside the EU, they have to prove a Dutch citizen or someone from another EU country can’t fill the position – which is rarely the case.
In recent years, new jobs have been created in different economic sectors all over the Netherlands, such as logistics, services and trade, or information and telecommunication. Huge foreign investment in the Netherlands by over 300 companies such as Tesla and easyJet has created thousands of jobs since 2015. You might also want to brush up your Dutch if you consider working in the Netherlands. Fluency in English is indispensable, too. The most important economic sector in the Netherlands is agriculture. In fact, the country is one of the most significant exporters of agricultural products. Germany and the UK in particular purchase fresh produce from the Netherlands on a regular basis. Other areas, such as the automobile industry and sustainable energy, are gaining considerable importance as well.
The Dutch Labor Administration (UWV Werkbedrijf) can help you find a job if you are an EU/EEA citizen interested in working in the Netherlands. To sign up, you need to provide proof of your EU citizenship and your income tax number.
Your salary for working in the Netherlands will vary depending on your sector of employment, much like the UK. The highest salaries can be found in financial services, chemicals, and law. However, if you should be employed in the Netherlands’ textile industry or agriculture, chances are you will be earning a lot less.
A law on the minimum wage for working in the Netherlands regulates the income of employees aged between 23 and 65.
In July 2017, the unemployment rate in the Netherlands was 4.8%. You will, however, find that there are huge regional differences for employees working in the Netherlands. During 2017, there was a 40% increase in the number of vacancies in Zeeland. However, while Utrecht and Zeeland are known for their high employment rate, Flevoland has the highest number of people without a job.
If you are interested in starting a job in the Netherlands, you should also be aware of some legal issues: EU/EEA citizens, for instance, don’t require a work permit. People of other nationalities, however, will need one before they can start working in the Netherlands.
One of the world’s most densely populated countries, living in an apartment is commonplace in the Netherlands.
Expats can either rent or buy apartments in various styles and locations to suit their budget – but it makes sense to live in the city where amenities and new friends will be close by. Dutch accommodation is generally of a high standard and most apartments feel spacious with large windows and high ceilings.
Expats will need to move quickly when they find an apartment as the best ones get snapped up quickly. Although light and airy, the Dutch tendency to tack the kitchen onto the living room’s back wall isn’t always practical.
Apartments in the Netherlands are either furnished, unfurnished or advertised as a shell. Shell apartments may seem like a bargain, but renting one often means having to buy everything, including carpets and white goods. Finally, some rental agencies charge a month’s deposit and a month’s rent as a finder’s fee on top of all the other relocation costs. You may want to look at moving to Netherlands from the UK your household effects or One Way van Hire to Holland in order have your things from home around you.
The Dutch lifestyle is so lively, it sometimes seems like they’ll use any excuse for a public celebration.
The Grote Markts’ easy-going café culture and the summer music festivals that pop up in parks and public spaces are ideal for meeting up with friends. There are also well-supported cultural events throughout the year, where museums and galleries open their doors to the public for nominal fees. The Dutch do like their organised celebrations, but their aftermath can look devastating as the streets overflow with litter – although, to be fair, it’s almost all cleared away before lunchtime the next day.
The Netherlands compares favourably to the UK and the USA when it comes to crime statistics. Expats will likely feel secure, and even large football crowds are usually family friendly and require few police officers. Nevertheless, as with anywhere, there are areas it’s probably best not to hang around at night. New arrivals will find out where these are quite quickly. Most safety issues in the Netherlands seem to come from bicycles. Cyclists often weave in and out of traffic without safety helmets, and it’s worth bearing in mind that in a collision between a car and a bicycle, the car driver will be held responsible.
Moving to the Netherlands from another Western country hardly feels like culture shock. Almost everyone is tolerant of non-Dutch speakers and speaks English. They also have an inclusive culture that isn’t materialistic, in which employers, employees and people of all ages socialise.
While the Dutch are happy to speak English to new arrivals, they’re justifiably proud of their language and expect expats to learn the basics. Dutch seems like a cross between English and German, so many of the words sound familiar, but getting to grips with its guttural "G" sounds can be challenging.
The Dutch are known for their directness, which takes time to feel comfortable with and can be misunderstood as rudeness when it’s more a desire for clarity and understanding.
The health service in the Netherlands is efficient, waiting times are usually short, and prescriptions can be ordered via telephone and collected the same day. Doctors generally speak impeccable English and give generous appointment times.
Health insurance in the Netherlands is expensive and doesn’t always cover what expats might expect, so it’s important to read the small print. Finding a doctor or dentist after arriving can be difficult and expats may find that dentists don’t offer enough pain relief. Local anaesthetic may cost extra. Doctors’ automated phone systems can also be challenging for non-Dutch speakers – expats may want to note the numbers needed to press to make an appointment and keep them by the phone.
The Netherlands hosts one of Europe’s busiest airports – Schiphol International – and Rotterdam has one of the world’s biggest ports. For a small country, the Dutch do transport on a large scale. The Dutch have long been known as a nation of travellers and it’s easy to see why – most of Europe is easily accessible by car, train or boat, and anywhere else is just a flight away.
Cars aren’t necessary for city residents and it’s possible to travel throughout the country using its extensive network of trains and buses. Almost everyone uses a bicycle for any journey within a few miles. Embracing this habit will increase expats’ fitness levels while doing their bit for the environment and blending in with the locals.
Due to the sheer density of the population, rush hour congestion is common. The usually efficient Dutch trains can be prone to unexpected cancellations, and it’s important to keep bikes chained as theft is widespread. Also, while cycling in the Netherlands is good for fitness, the rain can make it a wet experience.
Traffic in the Netherlands is comparatively relaxed. However, in case of any traffic violation, the owner of the vehicle is held responsible. This means that you have to pay any fines which arise even if you were not the driver who caused the offense. If you don’t pay the fine on time, it will be raised by 25–50%.
When you buy a car in the Netherlands, you have to get insurance for it. This may not be necessary if you travel to the Netherlands for a short visit only. Still, it is advisable to bring an international insurance card along. you may look at shipping to the Netherlands from the UK a car that you already have, once you have registered the vehicle you will need insurance from a Dutch provider. Insurance companies grant a discount for accident-free driving.
You will also be charged a motor vehicle tax (Motorrijtuigenbelasting — MB) for your car as soon as you register it. The exact amount is determined by the weight of the car, the kind of fuel used and the municipality in which you live. If you buy a hybrid car, you may benefit from tax advantages.
Each of the seasons brings its own magic to the Netherlands. The blooming tulips are an iconic sight in spring and the almost-Mediterranean summers stay light until late Skaters fill the frozen canals like a postcard during winter. But autumn is best of all, when the turning leaves transform parks and forests into a golden blaze of colour. Even though it sometimes feels Mediterranean, it isn’t. The Dutch weather changes quickly, especially in the summer, alternating between humid heat and thunderstorms several times a day.
Unlike many other countries, independent stores are common, and shopping at specialist cheese and chocolate shops is a particular treat. The supermarkets are somewhat small, but expats should still find a few of their favourite home brands. Most places host weekly food markets which sell an abundance of fresh produce. The Netherlands has some of Europe’s best drinking water, another bonus is that it isn’t necessary to buy bottled water . The restricted opening hours may take a while to get used to. For example, banks and most shops are closed till 1pm on Mondays and only major cities regularly offer Sunday shopping.
The Hague, aka the “International City of Peace and Justice”, is home to many expats due to the presence of more than 150 international organizations. Most of them are of a judicial nature, strengthening the city’s reputation as the legal capital of the world. This legacy dates back to 1899, when the world’s first peace conference resulted in the establishment of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. Other organizations include the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, and Europol, to name a few.
As the seat of the Dutch Royal Court and Government, The Hague is also home to many foreign journalists, politicians, and civil servants. All foreign embassies and government ministries are situated in The Hague. The city also hosts the European Library and numerous academic institutions devoted to the study of international law.
Education in the Netherlands
Children attend secondary school for 4 to 6 years. There are three types of secondary schools in the Netherlands:
Admission to HAVO and VWO is subject to academic achievement. Foreign languages have a high priority in all types of secondary education. Besides English, a second foreign language, usually French or German, is obligatory. VWO and HAVO may even require a third foreign language.
International schools are, of course, a popular alternative to Dutch schools for expat children, with English being spoken in all of them. They are mostly located in bigger cities such as Amsterdam or The Hague. Some primary schools also offer an international academic program for expat children.
The Foundation for International Education in the Netherlands (Stichting Internationaal Onderwijs) has a list of international schools for newly arrived expat families. You can use the search form on their website to find the right school for your child. It also provides contact information for different schools plus additional details on the curriculum and fees.
University in Netherlands
Places in university degree courses are usually assigned centrally by the Centraal Bureau Aanmelding en Loting of the Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs (DUO) in Groningen. Some universities, however, also offer a decentralized selection system. In that case, you should get in touch with the school of your choice. When you have been admitted, you still have to register with DUO.
Many Dutch universities also offer academic programs in English and/or German. However, for most majors fluency in Dutch is obligatory. The fees are the same all over the country and can be paid at once or in installments. In some cases, students have to pay Instellingscollegegeld instead, for example when they study at a private institution. This sum is determined by the individual university and usually higher than the average annual fee.
Once a mere 13th century fishing village, Rotterdam is the Netherlands most modern city today. Europe’s largest port is sometimes referred to as the “Gateway to Europe”, due to its strategic location in an extensive network of waterways reaching all across the continent. As a result, Rotterdam is widely recognized as an international commercial center, and moving to Rotterdam would put you right on the pulse of all that is happening in the Netherlands.. Very bike friendly like Amsterdam, Rotterdam boasts several historic districts for visitors to explore. The popular Delfshaven district is where the pilgrims launched sail from in 1620, and the summertime festivals and carnivals there attract visitors from nearby European countries every year. Erasmus Bridge is highly unique and imposing, but highly regarded as a work of art, as it soars over Europe’s largest harbor. By far, the most popular visitor stop is at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, where artworks on display span from the Middle Ages to modern times, including masterpieces by Dali, Van Gogh, Bosch, and Rembrandt.
Do you like taking a trip on the waterways? Maybe moving to Gouda would suit you. Gouda is a typical Dutch city with lots of old buildings and pretty canals, and is a popular destination for a day trip, thanks to its great rail- and highway connections. The city is famous for its cheese, its stroopwafels (syrup waffles), candles and its clay pipes. Attractions in Gouda include the beautiful 15th century town hall and the amazing glass windows in St. Janskerk. The compact city center is entirely ringed by canals and is a mere five minutes’ walk from the station.
Maybe moving to Groninger would suit you? This culturally diverse university city is small but boasts two colleges, making it the main place to visit in the northern part of the Netherlands, especially concerning the arts, business, and education. Museum lovers never tire in Groningen, as the Groninger Museum is one of the most innovative and modern in all of Holland, and there is additionally a graphical museum, comics museum, maritime museum, and a university museum. Music and theater abound in Groningen, and many street cafes feature live entertainment. Because of its high student population, nightlife hotspots are a huge attraction, with The Grote Markt, the Peperstraat, and the Vismarkt being the most popular.
If you love gardening and horticulture moving to Haarlem could be for you. The center of the tulip bulb-growing district, Haarlem is unofficially dubbed Bloemenstad, which means ‘flower city’ and is naturally the home of the Annual Bloemencorso Parade. This quiet bedroom community lies along the shoreline of the Spaarne River and boasts numerous intact medieval structures around town. Visitors enjoy shopping and perusing the stunning architecture and museums along the Grote Markt city center. Popular museums in Haarlem include the oldest museum in the country, the Teylers Museum, which specializes in natural history, art, and science exhibits. Art aficionados find themselves drawn to the Franz Hals Museum where many Dutch masters’ works rest.
If you like history then moving to Utrecht is for you. The rich Middle Age history of Utrecht is very apparent in the city’s architecture, with its most unique feature being the inner canal wharf system that was created to stave off parts of the Rhine River from invading the city center. Utrecht’s claim to fame may be the fact that it boasts the largest college in Holland, the University of Utrecht. Another notable visitor attraction in Utrecht includes the awe-striking Gothic Cathedral of Saint Martin, a 200-year structural feat that began in 1254. Architecture and museum enthusiasts should not miss the Dom Tower, the Rietveld Schroder House, and the Museum Speelklok, which boasts a vast collection of striking clocks, music boxes, and self-playing musical instruments.
Best known for its dynamic city square, the Vrijthof, moving to Maastricht in southern Holland will see you living in the home of the impressive Saint Servatius Church, the Saint Jan’s Cathedral, and the old fortifications, or Vestigingswerkens, are huge draws for visitors here. Many annual festivals take place at the Vrijthof, with local favorites arriving in autumn and winter, and this bustling town square also boasts amazing cafes, hip bars, and interesting galleries and shops. Other popular attractions in Maastricht include the St. Pietersberg Caves and the Helpoort, the oldest surviving town gate of its kind in the Netherlands.
Best known for the contemporary art exhibits at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, Moving to the Hague is arguably one of the most extraordinary places to live in the Netherlands. Known as the Royal City by the Sea due to its Dutch Royalty citizens, visitors often enjoy spending time along the North Sea in the warmer months at the sea town of Scheveningen. Several notable monuments and historic districts are easily traversable in The Hague, and travelers can peruse the luxury department stores, cozy shops, and international art galleries with ease. The Binnenhof, the seat of the government of the Netherlands is also located in The Hague even though Amsterdam is the capital. Other attractions in The Hague include the miniature city, Madurodam and a 360 degree panoramic view of the Scheveningen Sea in the 19th century at Panorama Mesdag.
For a quite life moving to Leiden could be the answer. The picturesque city of Leiden is a great place to visit for its scenic, tree-lined canals that are marked with old windmills, wooden bridges and lush parks. A boat ride down one of these lovely canals makes for an unforgettable experience. Attractions in Leiden include the numerous museums that range from science and natural history to museums dedicated to windmills and Egyptian antiquities. The Hortus Botanicus offers sprawling botanical gardens and the world’s oldest academical observatory. Visitors can also admire the beautiful architecture of the 16th century Church of St. Peter and check out its association with several historic people, including the American pilgrims.
Moving to Amsterdam, the Netherlands’ largest city and its financial and cultural capital, could be the answer if you are looking at job prospects. The headquarters of many Dutch corporations and institutions are located here, as are the regional headquarters and branches of multinational corporations and financial institutions. After all, Amsterdam is home to the world’s oldest stock exchange. Being the country's major economic, commercial and finance hub, it provides many career prospects for expatriates. Known to be the Netherlands' cultural capital, it also offers quality living to its residents in a dynamic and innovating environment.
One of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, Amsterdam is widely known for its party atmosphere, cannabis practice and the red light district. With over 1500 fabulous monumental buildings and just as many bridges, visitors to Amsterdam spend much of their time exploring the eccentricities and marvelous museums dotting the 60 miles of canals across the city. The Anne Frank House and the Rijksmuseum Museum are the most popular stops for history and art seekers, while the Prinsengracht area is one of the best places for shopping, gallery viewing, pub crawling, and checking out the unique coffee shops in Amsterdam.