Move To The Netherlands: Getting Residence, Bringing Household Goods & More!

Whether you’ve just found a new job in the Netherlands with Undutchables, or you’re planning to move for educational purposes, to join a family member who is Dutch, or you’re coming to the country for any other reason, you may have some questions about your move.

For example, what do you need to establish residence? Can you bring your household goods to the country duty-free? Is it possible to import a car? In this blog, we’ll discuss everything that you need to know about moving to the Netherlands. Read on, and get all the details you need.

Establishing Residency In The Netherlands – Visas & Basic Information

Naturally, you’ll need to ensure you have legal residency in the Netherlands before you make your move. Anyone living or working in the Netherlands for more than 90 days will need such a permit.

If you are an EU, EEA (European Economic Area), or Swiss citizen, you will not require any kind of residence permit to live and work in the Netherlands – though you will need to register at the local Dutch “gemeente” (municipality) within 4 months of your move. This also applies to family members of EU/EEA and Swiss nationals living in the Netherlands.

However, if you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you will need a residence permit. To get a residence permit, you will need to be sponsored by a Dutch person or organization. This may be an employer if you are coming to the Netherlands to work, a family member if you are coming for family reasons, or an educational institution if you are studying in the Netherlands.

In some cases, you may also need to apply for an MVV – a temporary type of residence permit – at a Dutch embassy or consulate in your country of residence before your move. This permit allows you to come to the Netherlands as a potential resident, rather than a tourist. However, it is not an official residence permit. It is not necessary for those who are coming to the Netherlands from Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA, the UK, Monaco or Vatican City.

The process and steps you will need to take to apply and gain approval for your residence permit vary greatly depending on your personal circumstances. For a full overview of the process, you should take a look at the IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service) website.

Taxes And Duties For Importing Household Goods

Household goods can be imported to the Netherlands duty-free as long as you have lived outside of the Netherlands for at least 12 months, and have owned the items for at least 12 months.

In addition, your household goods must not be sold or lent for at least 12 months after importation. If your previous residence was within the EU, these limitations drop to 6 months.

There are also some items that may be dutiable or restricted while importing to the Netherlands. This includes some electrical appliances, computers, antiques & precious works of art, precious metal objects (jewelry), and medicine (with prescription, otherwise prohibited). In addition, no firearms, ammunition, and weapons can be imported without specific license & registration documents issued by the police.

Items that are completely disallowed for importation include pornographic/subversive material, narcotics, and illegal drugs, CB radios, meat products, all species of cactuses and orchids, and any products made from threatened/endangered exotic animals.

Documents For Importing Household Goods

The following documents will be required when you import your household goods:

Passport copy, including Police Entry stamp and photo page

  • Visa
  • Certificate of residence
  • Rental or purchase contract (residence agreement)
  • Application for exemption from import duties (Aanvraag Vrijstelling)
  • Request for the import permit. All shipments that you are planning to send, including vehicles, must be included in this request, as it can only be issued once
  • Air waybill or bill of lading
  • A comprehensive inventory of your items typed in English or Dutch and signed. (5 copies). All listed electronics/appliances must state make, model and serial number. Vehicles must state make/model and engine/chassis numbers. A list of the contents of each carton/shipment must be stated.

For more information, we recommend consulting with the NID and your employer, educational institution or other sponsor. This will ensure that you have all the required documentation to streamline this process.

Taxes And Duties For Importing Vehicles

Importing a vehicle into the Netherlands is actually quite simple. As long as your vehicle has been owned and used for a minimum of six months, and it was listed on the original Import Permit request form, it can be imported duty-free. In addition, it cannot be sold for at least 1 year after importing it into the Netherlands. You will need to be present at the Customs Office to sign papers of exemption for your vehicle, and you must have the keys readily available.

Documents For Importing Vehicles

To import your vehicle to the Netherlands, you will need the following documents:

  • Original certificate of title and registration
  • Original purchase invoice
  • International Liability Insurance Card (Green Card System)
  • A copy of your lease or deed of residence
  • Dutch registration
  • Copy of your work contract (if applicable)
  • Original Form of Registration in your new Dutch home town (gemeente)

Our Tips For Moving To The Netherlands – What You Need To Know

That covers all of the basics about getting your residence permit and importing your household goods to the Netherlands – so now, let’s go over a few simple tips you can keep in mind during (and after) the process of making your move.

  • You should work with an experienced international moving company – Making your move to the Netherlands can be quite complex – which is why you should work with a qualified, experienced international moving company that has experience working with Dutch authorities. Ideally, you should find a company that has moved cars and household goods to the Netherlands before, and can work with Dutch documents as well as in English.
  • You might not need your car if you’re living in a big city – The Netherlands is one of the most bike-friendly countries in the world. About 36% of all Dutch people use a bike as their most frequent method of transport, compared to 45% of people using a car. In addition, the cost of insuring and maintaining a vehicle – and paying for parking – can be very high in a large city like Amsterdam. If you’re going to be living in an urban area, it may be a better idea to sell your vehicle at home before you come to the Netherlands. You’ll avoid the cost of transporting it, and you may not end up needing it. If you do decide you need a car after you move, you can just purchase another vehicle in the Netherlands.
  • You’ll need to get health insurance – Health insurance is administered by the government, but it’s not completely free, and you need to go through a sign up process before you can register and get medical care. Expect to pay around €125-140 per month for coverage, with a yearly deductible of about €385.
  • Most people speak English – If you’re planning to be in the Netherlands for more than a year or two, you should definitely learn Dutch. But if you’re not going to be staying for an extended period of time, chances are that you can get by without it. The vast majority of Dutch people speak English perfectly – you will likely only ever have an issue being understood by older people in very rural areas. If you stick to the cities, you won’t have any issues.

Prepare For Your Move To The Netherlands With This Guide!

Whether you’re moving to the Netherlands from elsewhere in the EU, or from further abroad like America or Australia, this guide is sure to help you prepare for your move.

So take another look at the above information now, do a bit of your own research, and start getting ready for your own Dutch adventure! You’re sure to love your new lifestyle in the Netherlands.

Article written by Joe Webster from

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