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Expat guide on relocating to The Netherlands

Expat guide on relocating to The Netherlands

Living in The Netherlands

The Netherlands is well known for its windmills, canals and daffodils and the fact that it’s landscape is quite flat. It is also known for some of the more illicit activities too. However expats love living in this green country and they normally settle in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The Netherlands is an economically sound country and living there is quite lovely. If you’re planning on moving to this Dutch speaking country we’ve got some top tips for you.

The Netherlands Amsterdam

Features on The Netherlands

Holland, Sarah Johnson Interview

From Burnley to The Netherlands

Read about Sarah Johnson's expatriate expriences in our in-depth interview! Everything from The Netherlands, to culture shocks, to learning to speak Dutch. Where were you born and where did you grow up? I was born and bred in Burnley, in Lancashire, in the North-West of England. I gained a degree in European Business in Hull...



Rotterdam, The NetherlandsOne Foot in Both Worlds

Meet Lee, an expat who lives in Rotterdam in the Netherlands with her husband and child, and read her adventures about life as an expat woman, picnics, the library and the joy of having one foot in both worlds!


Britany George in The NetherlandsAll About Dordrecht

Meet Britany, and read all about her expatriate adventures in the Dutch land of Dordrecht - it's a long way from California!

We’re living in: I’m living in Dordrecht, the Netherlands with my Dutch boyfriend, Jan-Pieter. A bit about us: Hi I’m Britany – I was born and raised just outside of Los Angeles, California...

Find out more >>

Expat Clubs

Not-for-profit organization supporting the Expat Community in The Netherlands. Whether you are working here on an expatriate assignment, have recently relocated, studying or have made Holland your home, then their free information and range of services, including publications, courses, counseling referrals and community events will help support you.
Address: Spui 70, 2511 BT The Hague
Tel: 0900 2 ACCESS (0900 2 222 377)
Email: helpdesk@access-nl.org
Website: access-nl.org
Association Hispanica De La Haya
Spanish Association presenting films, musical events, lectures etc.
Email: secretaria@asoha.nl
Website: www.asoha.nl
Alliance Francaise De La Haye
The French Alliance represents the first global cultural network, with 1,040 locations in 136 countries on five continents. Each year over 450,000 people of all ages come to learn the French language in French Alliances, and more than 6 million people participate in cultural activities.
Address: Kerkplein 3, 2513 AZ Den Haag
Tel: + 31 (0) 70 362 15 23
Fax: + 31 (0) 70 362 17 43
Email: info@aflahaye.nl
Website: www.aflahaye.nl
American Netherlands Club Of Rotterdam
An international non-profit organisation club of 75 women from 23 different countries.
Address: P.O. Box 25036, 3001 HA Rotterdam, The Nethelands
Email: membersec@ancorotterdam.com
Website: www.ancorotterdam.com/
American Women's Club Of The Hague
Visit the American Women's Club of the Hague to meet other expats, check their library and gift shop, upcoming events and much more.
Address: Johan van Oldenbarneveltlaan 43, 2582 NJ The Hague
Tel: +1 31 (0) 70 350 6007
E-mail: info@awcthehague.org
FB: www.facebook.com/groups/115831811854874/
Website: www.awcthehague.org/
British Society of Amsterdam
British society serving the expatriate community since 1920.
Address: Postbus 7429, 1007 JK Amsterdam
Website: www.britsoc.nl/
Central Bureau Voor Genealogie
The CBG is the ideal starting point for most research into Dutch ancestors or Dutch migrants who settled in other countries in the world.
Address: Postbus (PO Box) 11755, NL-2502 AT DEN HAAG, The Netherlands
Tel: +31-70-3150570
Fax +31-70-3478394
Website:  www.cbg.nl
Club Of Amsterdam
The Club of Amsterdam is an independent international, future-oriented think tank involved in channelling preferred futures.
Website: www.clubofamsterdam.com
Connecting Women Based In Den Haag
Connecting Women aims to provide a forum for motivating and supporting professional and internationally aware women in the paid and unpaid sectors. How? Through networking and presentations at their monthly meetings, a web site, together with a variety of interesting workshops.
Email: info@connectingwomen.nl
FB: www.facebook.com/groups/296276805789
Website: www.connectingwomen.nl
French Women's Club, Amsterdam
Founded in 1970, Amsterdam Home , affiliated with the International Federation of French -speaking Receptions Abroad (F.I.A.F.E.) aims to facilitate the adaptation of newcomers and forge close ties and friendship between all Francophones and Francophiles. This association is apolitical and non-denominational. All our members are women but partners are regularly invited!
Email: amsterdam.accueil@gmail.com
FB: www.facebook.com/amsterdamaccueil
Website: www.amsterdam-accueil.org/v2/index.php
Genootschap Nederland-Engeland, GNE
The GNE is a Dutch society which aims at promoting friendly relations between Greenland and the Netherlands.
Email: reacties@nederlandengeland.nl
FB: www.facebook.com/pages/Genootschap-Nederland-Engeland/159366804102606?sk=info
Website: www.nederlandengeland.nl
Indian Expat Society
A platform for Indian professionals living in The Netherlands.
Address: Parkstraat 83
2514 JG The Hague
The Netherlands
Website: www.indianexpatsociety.org   
A comprehensive portal in India centric information.
Website: www.indiawijzer.nl 
International Almere
English speaking group whose aim is to connect and build essential social networks with people who understand the unique situation of being a foreigner in this modern Dutch city.
Address: Over­gouw 29, 1351KC Almere
Mobile: 0647205595
Email: info@internationalalmere.com
Website: www.internationalalmere.com    
International Women's Club of Breda
The International Women's Club of Breda was founded in September of 1969. It was originally called the British and American Ladies Club. Now we have 50-60 members from about 17 different countries with an age range from 20's to 80's. We're single, married, working or full- time mothers. We're retired, have grandchildren or are devoted to our hobbies.
Email: iwcbreda@hotmail.com
Website: www.iwcbreda.nl 
International Women's Club Eindhoven
The IWCE is a non-commercial, non-political and non-denominational organization that promotes networking between English speaking women from many different countries. Whether you're new to Eindhoven or have been here for a while and have just discovered us, the IWCE can be a great way to meet new people or to explore new directions via our special interest groups (daytime and evening activities).
Email: iwceindhoven@gmail.com
Website: www.iwce.nl 
International Women's Club Zeeland
WIGZ is open to women of every nationality looking to meet new friends, socialise and take part in the many activities they organise where the common currency of communication is the English language.
Email: wigzzers@gmail.com
Website: www.wigz.nl   
International Women's Contact Of Amsterdam
The Club also helps members who come to Holland to settle in, enjoy their new environment and gain a better understanding of Dutch life and culture. The International Women's Contact of Amsterdam is an ideal way to make friends, learn a little more about each other, exchange information and socialise. We provide a wide range of activities, lectures, excursions and special interest groups which appeal to many women in the international community.
Address: WC Amsterdam, Erasmusweg 16, 2202 CC Noordwijk
Email: info@iwcamsterdam.nl
Website: www.iwcamsterdam.nl
International Women's Contact The Hague
The International Women's Contact The Hague, founded in 1978, has an international flavour as its members are from around 60 countries. Over the years, it has brought together women with an international exposure to meet and exchange ideas amidst a congenial setting of monthly meetings, coffee mornings at members' homes, excursions within the country and various activities, both indoor and outdoor.
Address: Vierloper 10 - 2586 KV Den Haag
Email: membership@iwcthehague.nl
Website: www.iwcthehague.nl
Irish Club of the Netherlands
With the growing number of Irish people settling in the Netherlands and continental Europe, this club plays a central role in providing cultural and social links with the Irish community in many parts of Europe. Activities to include Gaelic Sports, Irish Step, Set and Ceili Dancing , Traditional Irish Music and Irish Language. The ICN Board are actively engaged in organising a variety of annual events  which attract a large audience comprising of many nationalities with a shared interest in the Irish Culture.
Address: Sophialaan 2, 2514JP, Den Haag
Website:  www.irishclub.nl
Legal Aliens
The Legal Aliens social group organizes events to suit people of all ages and backgrounds in the Randstad region.
Website: www.legalaliens.eu   
(NAWC) The North American Women's Club of Eindhoven
A group of North American and Canadian women aiming to provide members with basic information that will aid in easing their international transition to The Netherlands.
Email: nilsnanny@hotmail.com
Website: www.nawceindhoven.com
Netherlands-India Assocation
The Netherlands-India association is a friendship and cultural organization related to these two countries.
Website: www.netherlands-india.nu
Stichting Centro Latinoamericano de Orientación
Portal for Latin Americans in Eindhoven.
Website: www.cloeindhoven.nl   

International Schools 

American International School of Rotterdam
Founded in 1959, AISR is a coeducational day school for internationally-minded expatriate and Dutch families residing in the greater Rotterdam area.
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Address: Verhulstlaan 21
3055WJ Rotterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: + 31 (0)10 422 5351
Fax + 31 (0)10 422 4075
Website: www.aisr.nl
Amsterdam International Community School
Amsterdam International Community School has been an IB World School since March 2006. It offers the IB Middle Years Programme and IB Diploma Programme to 231 students. The school is state funded. The head of the school is Kes van Ruitenbeek.
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Address: Prinses Irenestraat 59
1077WV Amsterdam
Tel: +31 (0)20 577 12 40
Fax: +31 (0)20 577 12 49
Website: www.aics.espritscholen.nl
The American School of The Hague
ASH offers a learner-centered, American curriculum modified for the needs of our international student and parent population.
Curriculum: American
Address: Rijksstraatweg 2002241 BX Wassenaar The Netherlands
Tel.+31 (0) 70 512 10 60
Fax+31 (0) 70 511 24 00
Website: www.ash.nl
The British School in the Netherlands
British International School for children aged 3 to 18 years with campuses in The Hague and Voorschoten.
Address: Vrouw Avenweg 640
2493 WZ The Hague, Netherlands
Tel: +31 70 315 4077
Website: www.britishschool.nl
International School of Amsterdam
The International School of Amsterdam is a recognized leader in education for international understanding. Founded in 1964, ISA was the first authorized IB World School, offering International Baccalaureate programmes from pre-school through grade 12. Since then, we have built a tradition of educating young people to be successful and constructive participants in the world, inspiring them to be lifelong learners.
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Address: Sportlaan 45
1185 TB Amstelveen
The Netherlands
Telephone: +31 20 347 1111
Fax: +31 20 347 1222
Website: www.isa.nl

Local News in English

An online news resource for English-speaking expats in Holland.
Website: www.dutchnews.nl
NIS News Bulletin
Website: www.nisnews.nl
The Hague Online
An English, online magazine for expats living in The Hague.
Website: www.thehagueonline.com 

Country Information 

Location: Europe
Capital City: Ámsterdam
Other Important Cities: Utrecht
Currency: Euro €
Language: Dutch, Frisian
Calling Code: +31
Internet TLD: .nl
Electricity: The Netherlands run on 230V 50Hz. Electricity is provided by a number of companies:
Eneco Energie
Website: www.eneco.nl
Website: www.essent.nl/content/particulier/index.html#
Website: www.liander.nl/liander
N.V. Nuon Energy
Website: www.nuon.com
Website: www.oxxio.nl
Website: www.tennet.eu/nl/home.html
Emergency Numbers:   
Ambulance: 112
Fire: 112
Police: 112
Country Information

Embassy Information

Check out this website for a handy guide to all of the local embassies in The Netherlands.


Residents Visa and Work Permit information

Schengen regulations apply when visiting the Netherlands. Nationals from several countries including the EU and the US are exempt from visa restrictions and may enter and stay in the country for a limited period. Other nationals will have to acquire a short-term Schengen visa to visit the Netherlands. Applications can be coursed through the Netherlands embassy or consulate in their home or host country. The government of the Netherlands has a list of countries and their exemptions and restrictions.

Expats who intend to move to the Netherlands for extended periods beyond 90 days will have to acquire a long-stay visa, or a provisional residence permit MVV; also called a visa type ‘D’. This is especially required for most non-EU nationals. They will also need to apply for a residence permit. Normally, for expats who have secured employment at a Dutch company, their employers will apply for both MVV and residence permit.

Employment in the Netherlands comes in different categories:
  • Seasonal labour
  • Working as an employee
  • Working on a self-employed basis
  • Highly skilled migrant
  • Scientific researcher
  • Orientation year for graduates in the Netherlands
  • Orientation year highly educated persons
  • EU Blue Card
  • Each category has different sets of document requirements and conditions. For Working as an Employee:
  • Copies of all pages of your travel document containing the identification/ personal details. Also make copies of the pages containing travel stamps.
  • A copy of the employment contract or letter of appointment, signed by your employer.
  • Copies of diplomas and certificates. If the diploma(s) or certificate(s) was/were obtained abroad, the diploma(s) or certificate(s) need to be accompanied by a diploma evaluation from either Nuffic (the Netherlands organisation for international cooperation in higher education), AOB, COLO or IBG.
  • If you do not have a negotiated salary subject to collective agreement, a further substantiation is needed to show that you will earn a competitive income.
  • An original certificate of the registration of the company at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, if registration is possible.
  • A copy of the vacancy listing at UWV, as well as a copy of the confirmation of receipt by UWV.
  • Evidence of all recruitment efforts made by the employer. These could be advertisements of vacant positions, invoices for the advertisements, instructions to temporary employment or recruitment agencies, and printouts of vacancies posted online. The documents, in any event, need to show the date and period the position was advertised. The documents also need to demonstrate the means used by the employer to recruit new staff.
  • Information detailing the results of the recruitment efforts. For example the number of job applicants (i.e. anonymous copies of their CVs), any motivated refusals, possible responses from recruitment and selection agencies, correspondence etc.
  • Evidence of all recruitment efforts made in the other EU Member States. These could be advertisements of vacant posts, invoices for the advertisements, correspondence with international recruitment agencies and European intermediary services.

From the Netherlands Immigration and Naturalisation site: ind.nl/EN/individuals/residence-wizard/work/working-as-an-employee


The openness of the Netherlands and its locals to other cultures, traditions and preferences that it is common to find a mixture of East and West in one commune. This is very pronounced in the major cities like Amersterdam, the Hague and Rotterdam. With such a dens mixture of populations coming together in these cities, demands are high as well as rental prices. Single bedroom apartment rents in Amsterdam start at $950 to $1,400 per month. It is possible to find cheaper rentals outside these cities. Most of the towns in the outlying areas have basic amenities like supermarkets.

In general, finding properties for rent or buy in the major areas will be a little more difficult, though the choices are wider compared to the smaller towns. Expats have the option to make use of real estate agencies, which work together with property websites, forming a big database of listings for would-be tenants to choose from. They will require a nominal fee, if not an extra month’s rent as payment for their services.

Rental accommodations are either fully furnished, semi-furnished (basic kitchen appliances), or unfurnished. Tenants will have to provide valid identification and proof of means, and in some cases a guarantor to the landlord. A lease can be any period of time, which will ultimately be agreed upon by both tenant and landlord. 1 month notice applies should any of the party decide to terminate it before the agreed date. The landlord will require a deposit which can be 1 or 2 months rent.

In Amsterdam, expat communities are found in the outlying areas instead of the busy city center. There are many things to enjoy in Amsterdam, among others that would be considered taboo in other countries. But for the ordinary expat, museums, city walks, and lively nightlife will keep foreigners’ moods alive. The Centrum area will be a delight for more cosmopolitan expat, although the housing in this area is small and pricey. Oud Zuid and Oost Watergraafsmeer are two of the most expensive suburbs in Amsterdam. Accommodations here are spacious, large raising prices at a steep curve. Westerpark and Zeeburg are family and budget friendly areas. These are quiet neighborhoods with a large number of expat residents and families. Good schools are found in here.

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