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Working In The Netherlands: An Expat’s Guide

Working in the Netherlands: An expat’s guide

Relocating to the Netherlands is a big and exciting step. The country has much to offer and provides an amazing intercultural experience. From its countryside like the Ijsselmeer, to Queen’s Day and trying local delights like bitterballen.

As with all big decisions, however, it’s always best to be prepared, so there are some things to be aware of when thinking about working in the Netherlands.

Getting a Dutch visa

EU citizens won’t have to worry about getting a visa to move to the Netherlands, but some non-EU citizens will need a residence permit (Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Canada, and the U.S are exempt). Residence permits are valid for one year and can be obtained from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service. Leave yourself plenty of time if you do need one, it can take up to 90 days for the paperwork to come through.

Similarly, some non-EU citizens will need a work permit. This may take up to three months.

National and Employee Insurance

The Netherlands has a social security agreement with other European countries (that are EU/EEA members) but there are also many benefits that apply to non-Europeans. The National Insurance system is one of them, open to all residents in the Netherlands regardless of their citizenship of income.

As an employee, you’ll be automatically issued Employee Insurance through your company. This covers a number of possible scenarios including long term sickness, an inability to work and accidents.

Business etiquette

It’s worth knowing a few things about the Dutch people and how they like to do business. First, expect them to be straightforward. Negotiations often start right away in meetings (after you greet each other) and there’s often a strict agenda that must be followed. Punctuality is a must and if you disagree with someone, don’t beat about the bush.

Always address business associates and colleagues by their last name until they invite you to do otherwise. Gifting isn’t common, but if you feel like presenting prospects or clients with something, make sure it isn’t too pricey. If an associate invites you to their family home, then bring along a small token such as chocolates or flowers for the host.

First steps after becoming an expat

The first few dizzying weeks will fly by once you move to the Netherlands. Amongst seeing all the delights, drinking in the local beers and trying Dutch delicacies, there are some legal requirements to complete.

First, register with the local City Hall if you’re planning to stay for more than four months. Once they’re reviewed your documentation (like your passport) they will issue you a snappily-named Burger Service Nummer (BSN). This is needed to work, get healthcare and open a bank account.

Speaking of which, make sure you open a bank account with one of the main Dutch banks like ABN Amro, ING or Rabobank, because they have experience dealing with expats.

Finally, by law, you must have health insurance to cover you for doctor visits, emergencies and rehabilitation which usually starts at €110 per month.

Let your adventure begin

Now you know your first steps and essential business knowledge, it’s time to head to the Netherlands. You’ll soon discover that working in the Netherlands – whether permanently or temporarily – is incredibly rewarding for your career and life experience.

We place the best niche-skilled tech talent in roles in the Netherlands and all across Europe. For more information please get in touch.

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