Part 1: Making the move to the Netherlands

You relocated to the Netherlands to start your new life in a new country. But now what? How do you go about getting your bearings in this great but very Dutch country? What are the official procedures when registering at the municipality, finding housing and most importantly finding a job? All of these are valid questions and without any direction this process can prove difficult for new-comers. Let us try to help you out. But before we get into the important details, some good things to know.

The Dutch climate

We know, we know. Why would we even include this? It doesn’t sound like the weather would play such a big factor when moving. But guess what… It does. The summers are mostly great but in the other seasons the weather can be rather gloomy. If you are used to this, great! If you are coming from a warm climate, keep in mind that you would have to prepare for this change.

The Dutch Culture

Let’s start off. But before we do, kiss, kiss, kiss. Don’t forget it! The Dutch employ a 3-times cheek kiss. A very telltale of a Dutch person is their directness. But there is a lot more to the Dutch, their culture and their social life. Get to know them and you can easily integrate in the Dutch way. The Dutch lunch for example. It is very different than other countries. We are talking about bread and chocolate sprinkle toppings. And no, this is no joke.

And what about their agendas? The agenda is very near and dear to the Dutchmen (and women, of course). Everything is written in there. Are you looking to meet up with your Dutch friends? Wait! They will probably whip out their agenda’s that are more often than not already booked for the months to come. Yes, they are a social bunch.

Most importantly the Dutch work culture. If you moved to the Netherlands to find a job, it is important to know how things are done in the workplace and most importantly, meetings, meetings and more meetings.

Now on to the nitty gritty of this article.

Arriving in the Netherlands for EU/EFTA citizens

Yeey! You made the move to the Netherlands. Whether you already have your own apartment, or you are staying at a friend or family member’s place you should always register your arrival. So, first thing is first, you have to visit the municipality in the city you will be staying in. You would have to book an appointment with them. Keep in mind that without a place to stay it is not possible to register in the Netherlands. When registered, usually within two weeks you will receive a BSN number (citizen service number). Your BSN is your ticket to everything here in the Netherlands.

Arriving in the Netherlands for Non-EU/EFTA citizens

People from outside the EU will need to apply for an MVV (long-term entry visa) to be able to enter the Netherlands. In addition to the MVV, as a non-EU/EFTA citizen, you would also need to apply for a residence permit to stay for longer than three months. How it works is that you would need the MVV to enter the country. Once in the Netherlands you can collect the residence permit from the Dutch immigration service (IND). For more information you can contact the IND. They are the official authorities on everything immigration and permit related.

Finding accommodation in the Netherlands

This is where it gets tricky. When in the Netherlands, your next search will be finding a place to stay that you can call your own. There are a few options when looking for accommodation. You can register your details on housing sites or get in touch with a realtor to start your house hunt. The tight housing market in the Netherlands makes it difficult to find a place in a timely fashion, especially in the big cities. In the bigger cities such as Amsterdam the cost per apartment can increase immensely in comparison to other, lesser known cities.

Usually the amount you will pay in rent when signing a rental contract is 1 month rent plus a 2-month security deposit. This, of course, differs per realtor or owner. Before signing a rental contract make sure that you know both yours and your landlord’s rights and obligations.

An important warning: Stay away from housing ads from people that claim that they are out of town but that prospective rentals can put a deposit down (sight unseen) to secure the apartment. These are more often than not scammers.

Starting your job search in the Netherlands

One of the biggest challenges expats and internationals face is finding a job. EU/EFTA citizens do not require a visa to work in the Netherlands. However, for Non-EU/EFTA citizens this process can deem a bit more complicating. In this case, a residence permit is required, followed by an employment visa that can be sponsored by the employer. In the latter event, when looking for a job through a recruitment agency you must keep in mind that the recruitment agency can not sponsor the permit, the client should be willing to do so.

Many companies, regardless of them being international oriented require their employees to have at least a basic knowledge of the Dutch language. This makes it difficult for people that just moved to the Netherlands and don’t know the language. Luckily, Undutchables offers internationals and expats a way out. The majority of our vacancies are non-Dutch speaking vacancies and native level vacancies with another language.

Another option, of course, would be to start learning the Dutch language, be it for work or for your social life. There are many institutes that give Dutch classes. Some organizations are subsidized by the government and are free of charge for students. Under certain conditions, of course.

So there you go. It is all about getting started. Check out more tips here in our article about we will give you more visas, health insurance, pension and the oh so dreaded Dutch taxes.

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