6 things you need to know before you start working in Holland

You have decided that you would like to start working in Holland. Great! But you might have noticed that finding work in the Netherlands as an expat is not an easy task. Don’t fret! Preparing well in advance will help you massively when it comes to finding your perfect job. So, how do you prepare yourself for working in Holland as an expat? Well, let’s start with 6 major things you need to know.

Holland is not the Netherlands

First and foremost it’s important to know that Holland is not the same as the Netherlands. Shocking, I know. Lots of foreigners and even some Dutchies call the Netherlands: Holland. However, Holland is actually only a small part of the Netherlands.

Holland is a region of the Netherlands that is made up of two provinces. Provinces are similar to counties and the Netherlands consist of 12 provinces in total. Two of those are called North-Holland and South-Holland which together, make up Holland. The two main cities you will find in Holland are Amsterdam in North-Holland and Den Haag in South-Holland.

Another city that’s very close to Holland is Utrecht. However, Utrecht is not part of Holland but it’s part of its own province called… you guessed it: Utrecht. So, if you’re thinking of working in Holland you will probably have to start looking for jobs in Amsterdam and Den Haag or any of the smaller cities in Holland.

Working in Holland: finding a job

Finding a job in the Netherlands as an international can be hard. It’s one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. Combine that along with the highly educated population and the chronic housing shortage and you’ve got a ton of people all frantically searching for jobs and homes.

However, that’s certainly not to say all hope is lost and you’ll never find a job in the Netherlands. There are plenty of Dutch companies who hire internationals. And you don’t even have to speak Dutch to land that dream job! The Netherlands has been revealed to be one of the most multilingual countries in Europe by a recent study from the European Commission (EC). 94% of Dutchies are able to speak at least one other language besides their mother tongue, with English being the most commonly spoken of these foreign languages.

On top of that, there are a number of growing job sectors in the Netherlands. These include agriculture and food, energy, IT, health and life sciences, logistics and creative industries. So no matter which sector you specialize in, there will always be a job for you.

International recruitment agencies

Did you know that there are some recruitment agencies that specialize in employing internationals who wish to start working in Holland. As we mentioned before, finding a job as an international in the Netherlands is not always easy, so enlisting the help of an international recruitment agency can really help you out.

So if you’re looking for some assistance, we’ve got you covered! At Undutchables we make finding work in Holland a lot easier. It’s our job to find you the perfect match. Both within your field of work, while also matching your criteria and ensuring a cultural click between you and your future employer. We offer vacancies in fields such as Administration, Customer Service, Marketing, Sales, IT, HR, Finance and many more. Interested? Sign up here and let us know what you have to offer or check out our vacancies and get started on your job search!

Work permits, BSN and much more

Preparing in advance is key if you’re planning on working in Holland. So let's get you started! If you’re a non EU citizen, sorting out your visa and working permits for the Netherlands should be at the top of your list. This, of course along with booking an appointment to register at your local municipality to keep everything legal and organized. This is also where you will receive your Citizen Service Number (BSN). Without this unique identity number you’re not allowed to work in the Netherlands.

You should also be aware that you must take out a Dutch health insurance if you wish to work and live in the Netherlands. This is compulsory! Opening a bank account should be one of the next steps on your journey. Now you only need to find a job so you can start cashing in your paychecks on said bank account. Easy, right? :)

Working in Holland: the CV and interview process

Your working journey in Holland can’t get started before perfecting your CV and attending that dreaded interview. And keep in mind that that whole process might look different from what you’re used to, depending on where you’re from.

In the Netherlands CV’s should be no longer than two pages. You also do not have to include your picture, however, many people still do this. You’re also expected to write a little bit about yourself but not too much. Most of your personal information and motivation for the job you’re applying for can be written down in your motivation letter.

The interviews are just as nerve wracking as in other countries, but all follow a similar structure. In the Netherlands it’s normal to go through multiple rounds of interviews. Often starting out with a simple call to get to know you and a bit of your working experience. If you get invited to a face to face interview, don’t forget to dress the part. However, the Netherlands is certainly lax in comparison to other countries when it comes to dress code. Here it’s important to look smart, but you don’t have to go overboard with a full suit and tie.

Working in Holland: it will all be worth it!

We know that it sounds like a lot of work, and yes, it is. But we promise you it will all be worth it once you start working in Holland! The minimum wage in the Netherlands, work-life balance and even all the rights you have as a worker are all handled very well in the Netherlands.

In our guide talking about Dutch working culture we’ve already mentioned the surprisingly informal working structures. Everybody is supposed to be involved in discussions and decisions that affect the company where they work. Meaning that your opinion is a valuable asset to your company. This informal way of working also ensures that work is work and your free time is 100% your free time. The Dutch value their hard work, but also their spare time. Working doesn’t have to be at the office and living doesn’t have to just involve work.

You’ll notice that working from home is common in the Netherlands. This article was brought to you by me, sitting on my couch with a snuggly blanket and a warm cup of coffee, and that’s not unusual. Working from home is common practice for many workplaces in Holland. On top of that, many Dutchies only work part-time with most contracts ranging from 24, 36 to 38 hours instead of the full 40.

And if that’s not enough to convince you that working in Holland is great, then let me tell you about borrelen. Who doesn’t love a beer and some bitterballen after a hard day's work. Well look no further! Because ‘borrel culture’ is huge in the Netherlands. Especially towards the end of the week when you can expect the weekly VRIJMIBO. These Friday afternoon drinks are a staple and your chance to get to know your colleagues a little better. And no worries, all that cycling to and from work will take care of all those snacks you’ll eat during the borrel. Proost!

For help finding a job not only in Holland but in other provinces in the Netherlands Undutchables recruitment Agency is here. Operating from our four offices Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague and Eindhoven we are able to assist you with your job search in one of the many provinces in the Netherlands.

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