Find a job in the Netherlands
Do you need to speak Dutch to find a job in the Netherlands?
People from all over the world are moving to the Netherlands every day. The capital of the Netherlands and many surrounding cities are multicultural with many different nationalities. But how do you find a job if you don’t speak Dutch? It’s not that hard, because is the second language in the Netherlands. Most Dutch people speak really good English. That makes the expat life easier, but learning Dutch difficult. Dutch people want to make things easier for you and they will speak English with you when Dutch is difficult for you.
Can you work in the Netherlands without speaking Dutch?
YES, you can. There are a lot of international companies in the Netherlands, expessialy in the big cities. Dutch offices have become the most English-speaking in Europe. But be aware though, that there are many positions you can’t even apply for without knowing the Dutch language.
If you are staying in the Netherlands for the long term or trying to build a whole new life here, it’s easier for you when you put some time and effort into learning the language. It will give you more opportunities and it will make your daily life much easier.
How do I find a job in the Netherlands that doesn’t require Dutch?
There are a lot of companies where English is the main language like Booking.com, Netflix, Nike, Shell, Philips, Unilever, Google, Ikea, KPMG. There are also, many startups in Amsterdam and other cities, that are looking for skilled international employees. Therefore, there are many choices and job opportunities for expats who don’t speak Dutch or are still trying to learn. The Netherlands might be a small country, but it has a big multi-national community and mentality.
If you’re looking for a job as a waiter or salesperson in Amsterdam, in most restaurants, bars, hotels and shops they might hire you only with English. But in other, smaller cities in the Netherlands, you’ll need to speak Dutch.But it also depends on your skills and experience and what kind of a job you are looking for.
TIPS & TRICKS to find a job in the Netherlands!
- You can apply through employment and recruitment agencies like the Undutchables, Octagon Professionals, Progressive, Ambitious Peopleand much more, that can bring you in contact with the job opportunity that you want and fits your skills, but they also provide useful guidelines and offer advise. Another way is to apply directly at a company through their website or via LinkedIn or apply to relevant job sites such as: Together Abroad, Indeed, http://www.randstad.nl, Job in Amsterdam.
- Prepare a good CV for a Dutch company. It’s the very first impression of you.
- Dress to impress.
- It’s all about the first impression. Prepare good questions and smile!
- During the interview: in the Netherlands those are very important: teamwork, education, experience, attitude and taking initiative.
Find a place to live!
Relocation preparations: Finding a room or apartment in the Netherlands can be quite tricky and expensive (depending on the city). Therefore it is recommended you start looking for a place before you arrive in the Netherlands. Shared houses are typical not only for students but also for starters. Be aware you’re competing with many others when looking for a place to live. If possible, arrive weeks in advance so that you will be able to have a look at houses in person. Don’t give up quickly. Manage your expectations and consider temporary solutions as well.
Work and resident permit!
In most cases, a citizen of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland doesn’t need a residence or work permit to stay and work in the Netherlands. A valid passport or national travel ID of your country of origin is evidence enough that you are permitted to stay and work in the Netherlands. You don’t have to report to the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service, and your employer doesn’t need to apply for a work permit for you. However, make sure you register at your municipality if you plan on living in the Netherlands for more than 90 days.
Check if you are entitled to the 30% ruling!
If you come to the Netherlands to work, you might be entitled to the 30% ruling. To get 30% facility, you need to be recruited or seconded from a country other than the Netherlands. Furthermore, you need to have specific expertise that is not or is only barely available on the Dutch employment market. This also includes a certain income and degree level (Master’s degree) and your age. Click here for more info about the specific requirements you need to meet. Please check here for more detailed information about the conditions.
Some attractive financial benefits: your employer may provide you with 30% of your wage, including reimbursement, tax-free. Considering the tax rate in the Netherlands, which is around 40%, the 30% facility can bring you a couple of 100 Euros a month extra. If you meet the requirements, you need to submit an application together with your employer. Please be aware that it costs money to send the application.
Cost of living and budget!
As a young professional or starter working in the Netherlands, you will earn around €1800 net (based on full-time employment) with a yearly extra of approximately one monthly salary paid in May when you get your “holiday money” (vakantiegeld). (Please be aware that this is a reference value and salary might differ per industry). Depending on whether you live your rent will most likely be somewhere between €700 and €1000. Be aware; in the big cities it’s difficult to get a rental apartment/studio for that price or it will take time to get a nice place. If you have experience as an employee and therefore earn more, your income can rise considerably. This also makes it easier for you to rent something for a higher rental price. For health and house insurances you will spend around €150 (or €200 if you own a car). Calculate around €250 monthly for groceries and keep in mind travel costs if you commute to work. In the Netherlands, some employers reimburse (part of) the travel costs. Need help with your relocation preparations?
Unsubscribe from services and cancel subscriptions!
Relocation preparations: Make a list of all memberships, contracts and services you need to unsubscribe from or cancel before you move to the Netherlands. Think about memberships at sports clubs, societies, subscriptions for newspapers and magazines but also contracts for internet, telephone and supply companies like water, gas and electrical supply. Make sure you don’t pay too much and choose the correct cancellation date.
Move your stuff!
A lot of internationals choose to travel light and sell their furniture or store it somewhere in their country of origin. Consider moving with just one suitcase since you might also not know yet where you will be staying and therefore what you need. As international moving services can be quite expensive, but if you do it by the partner of Expats on the Move, you will get a discount. Also there aren’t a lot of furnished rental houses available for rent. So keep that in mind! Need help with a moving company?
If you don’t bring your furniture to the Netherlands and you might want to furnish your new house. There more options; you can rent or buy furniture in the Netherlands as well. It can be as cheap or expensive as you like.
Where do I get food?
What to arrange in the first week? After your arrival in the Netherlands, make sure you get enough fuel to start the bureaucratic battle of the coming days. The most common supermarkets in the Netherlands are: Albert Heijn, Plus, Jumbo, Dirk, Spar, Coop, Lidl and Aldi. Please note that it is not possible to pay by credit card by some supermarkets. Therefore make sure you`ll bring your Maestro Card or enough cash with you if you don`t have a Dutch bank account yet.
If you`d rather grab a bite to eat, look for an eetcafe. As Dutch people love their bread for lunch, in an eetcafe you find a nice selection of sandwiches (broodjes) and salads. The places called “restaurant” are mainly for a fancy dinner with friends. Or you can order your food online at for example: Thuisbezorgd.nl or Deliveroo.
Register at the BRP and get a BSN!
What to arrange in the first week? If you live in the Netherlands for four months or longer you need to register at the BRP (Basisregistratie Personen). The BRP is a database which contains personal data of all residents of the Netherlands. When you register yourself at the BRP, you’ll receive your Citizen Service Number (burgerservicenummer = BSN) within four weeks after registration (normally!). With the BSN, you can be identified by governmental and non-governmental organisations, which is why you’ll basically need it for all steps ahead (opening a bank account, getting health insurance etc.).
To register at the BRP, you need to make an appointment at your municipality, which in most municipalities you are supposed to do within five days after arriving in the Netherlands.
Open a Dutch bank account!
What to arrange in the first week? If you live in the Netherlands, you will find out credit cards are rarely used and not always will be accepted. Paying with a maestro card as well as cashless payment is very popular. For a lot of administration things (like getting a personalized public transport card) you`ll need a bank account. So you might want to think about opening a Dutch bank account.
To open a bank account in the Netherlands, you`ll need:
- residential address
- passport and
- BSN number
The most popular banks in the Netherlands are ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank.
Get a public transport card!
With the OV Chipkaart, you can travel on all public transport in the Netherlands. You top it up with money, check-in at the station of your departure and out at your final destination, and off you go. The OV Chipkaart works on trains, busses and even ferries. There are two types of OV Chipkaarts: the anonymous and the personalised one. Purchase the anonymous card at one of the different service points like sales devices at a stations and newsagents and supermarkets or apply for the personalised one online. If you just moved to the Netherlands (especially if you don`t have a bank account yet), the anonymous one will do the trick. However, the personalised OV Chipkaart allows you to book abonnements, etc. on it and might be worth considering it if you live in the Netherlands for a more extended period.
Tip: Since you’ve just moved to the Netherlands, you’d probably like to explore Holland, and therefore the daaluurenabonnement might be recommendable. It costs €50 a year and allows you to travel off-peak (including weekends) with a discount of 40%. Please note that you need a bank account to get a personalised OV Chipkaart.
Practical apps to find your way!
If you live in the Netherlands, the following websites (also available as apps) will help you get around.
- 9292.nl lets you plan your travels within the Netherlands. Whether this is from or to an address or a public transport station. It shows you which public transport (incl. ferries and boats) are necessary to get from A to B successfully.
- ns.nl is the official website of the Dutch railway. It might be a good idea to quickly check your journey before you take the train. The Dutch railway system is pretty busy, and it happens quite frequently that trains are not running due to disruptions.
- buienradar.nl shows you the rain forecast for the upcoming hours. This app is indispensable if you live in the Netherlands! One moment you are sitting on the bike and the rain is pouring down. Five minutes later, the sun is shining again. Unfortunately, the app is only available in the Dutch app store.
- Tikkie.me doesn’t exactly help with finding your way in the Netherlands, but can be considered as pretty important while living in the Netherlands. Tikkie is wildly used and allows you to easily ask your money back via WhatsApp or messages. As Duchies usually share bills it is quite common that someone pays the bill at a pub or restaurant and afterwards sends a Tikkie to all participants to get the money back.
Problems finding the apps in your app store? If you own an iPhone, it could be that you need to change the app store.
Where to get to your everyday commodities?
What to arrange in the first week? If you live in the Netherlands, in addition to food, you will likely need a few commodities. Here are some common retailers in the Netherlands:
- Etos and Kruidvat sell care products and toiletries but also medicine without subscriptions. E.g. for light painkillers or flu medicine in the Netherlands you don’t have to go to the pharmacy but can buy these at Etos or Kruidvat.
- Hema is a warehouse which sells a lot of basics for your house for a reasonable price. At Hema, you’ll find everything from bedding to kitchen gear and cutlery to (basic) clothing.
- At Gamma, Praxis, Karwei, Hornbach or Bauhaus you’ll find everything you need for DYO projects like screws and bolts, paints, tools etc.
- If you are looking for sports clothing or gear, you might find it at Decathlon.
- Bol.com is one of the biggest online marketplaces in the Netherlands. You’ll find everything from books to clothing to gadgets.
First Monday of the month.
Good to know: every first Monday of the month, exactly at 12 o’ clock, the sirens go off in the Netherlands. This is a test and no reason to panic.
Medical assistance and emergencies!
What to arrange in the first week? We hope your stay in the Netherlands will be emergency free. However, should you need any medical assistance or emergency services while living in the Netherlands you might want to have the most important numbers at hand.
- For the police, an ambulance or the fire brigade call 112 (emergency number).
- If you need to reach the police in a non-emergency matter, call 0900-8844.
If you need to see a doctor at the weekend when your GP is closed, you can go to huisartsenpost (not the emergency room!). Just google huisartsenpost, and you will find one close to you.
Here are some useful Dutch words to know:
- Doctor = Dokter
- General Practitioner (GP) = Huisarts
- Hospital = Ziekenhuis
- Emergency Room = Eerste Hulp
- Pharmacy = Apotheek
- Dentist = Tandarts
Apply for DIGID!
What to arrange in the first month? Besides your BSN, the DigiD is one of the essential things you need when living in the Netherlands. The DigiD is your digital identity for the Dutch Government. It allows you to log in to websites from the Dutch government and healthcare. You will need a DigiD for filling in your tax declaration, applying for allowances, checking your registration at the municipality, etc. The DigiD consists of a username and a password. Additionally, you can apply for two-factor-authentication via SMS.
Medicine and pharmacies!
In the Netherlands, you register at your local pharmacy (apotheek) and get all your medicine there. This way, the pharmacy is always aware of the medicine you take and makes sure you don’t get conflicting medication. If you get a prescription from your GP or doctor, it is usually sent automatically to your pharmacy. All you need to do is pick up the medicine at your pharmacy when it’s ready.
Common insurances in the Netherlands!
If you live in the Netherlands for a longer period, you might want to take out some insurance. Here are the most common insurances for people living in the Netherlands:
- Home Contents Insurance (Inboedelverzekering) covers you for loss or damage to your movable property in your home f.e. through fire or theft.
- Liability insurance (Aansprakelijkheidsverzekering) protects you from the risks of liability and covers you for involuntary (material) damage you cause on other peoples belongings or injure someone by your fault. This insurance costs +/-€4 a month.
- Travel insurance (Reis- en annuleringsverzekering) can come in quite handy if you travel frequently. It covers unexpected expenses due to an accident or emergency as well as loss or theft of your luggage. Most insurance providers offer the option for cancellation insurance (annuleringsverzekering) which covers you for expenses due to unexpected cancellations of/on your trip.
GOOD TO KNOW: In the Netherlands, many banks offer insurance in addition to their financial products. It might be worthwhile checking with your bank if you are looking for insurance. Need help?
Arrange Dutch Health insurances!
What to arrange in the first month? Health insurance is mandatory for all people working in the Netherlands or living in the Netherlands for more than four months. If you work in the Netherlands, you have to take out Dutch health insurance even if you are an EU citizen and possess an EU Health insurance card or if you have private health care insurance from your country of origin. You can choose health insurance yourself, and you will be invoiced directly. Compare different health insurances on Zorgkiezer, Independer or Zorgwijzer. There are about 50 health insurances in the Netherlands, but only eight of them offer an English website. ONVZ offers health insurance specifically for expats living in the Netherlands. Other health insurances with English websites are Zilveren Kruis, VGZ, CZ, Menzis, Anderzorg and HollandZorg.
Please be aware that you need to be registered in the Netherlands and possess a BSN to get Dutch Health insurance. However, you’ll have four months to arrange health insurance after your arrival. Read more about health insurance in the Netherlands on the website of the Dutch government. TIP: Depending on how high your income is, you might be entitled to receive healthcare allowance (zorgtoeslag).
Get a Dutch phone number!
What to arrange in the first month? If you live in the Netherlands for a more extended period, you might want to get a Dutch phone number. There are multiple phone providers in the Netherlands where you can usually choose from a prepaid card or a paid contract.
Register with a GP!
If you live in the Netherlands, you usually register at a GP close to your house. On kiesuwhuisarts.nl you can type in your city or postal code and see all the GPs in your area. However, sometimes, medical practices can’t accept more clients. This is why it is wise to register with a doctor when you start settling in the Netherlands or at least before you actually get ill. Usually, you set up an intake appointment to talk through your medical history.
A visit at the GP is always covered by your Dutch health insurance and doesn’t count for your excess. If you need to see a specialist, you usually see your GP first. He/she then refers you to the appropriate specialist. For physiotherapy, you don’t need to see your GP first. However, most of the time, physiotherapy is not covered in the basic insurance module. Get more information about Dutch health insurance. Need help?
Let's get settled
Let’s get settled! If you live in the Netherlands for a while you might want to get back into your sports routine or meet some new people at the local gym. Most cities in the Netherlands offer a wide range of sports activities. Everywhere in the Netherlands there are a lot of gym, in- and outdoor. Good to know: in the Netherlands a membership to the gym usually cost between €20 and €40 a month. Also there are a lot of different team sports in the Netherlands. Like hockey, soccer, volleyball, tennis are quit popular. You might want to google these to find a club nearby.
Get a Dutch driver’s license!
Let’s get settled! You can continue to use your foreign driver’s licence for a certain period after arrival. The length of this period depends on the country where you obtained your driver’s licence. If your driver’s licence was issued in a European country before you registered in the Netherlands, you are allowed to use your driving licence for another 15 years after registering in the Netherlands. Check the website of the RDW (Dienst Wegverkeer) for more information regarding the length of the period.
However, if you plan to stay in the Netherlands for a more extended period, it might be beneficial to exchange your foreign driver’s licence to a Dutch one. E.g. in case of loss, it is much easier to apply for a new drivers licence if you already have registered your licence at your municipality. Check the website of the RDW for more information about how to exchange a foreign drivers licence when living in the Netherlands. Need help?
National holidays in the Netherlands!
If you work in the Netherlands, you might want to know the days you are officially off. In comparison to other European countries, the Dutch don’t have that many National holidays. The National Holidays in the Netherlands are:
- New Year’s Day (1st January)
- Easter Day & Easter Monday
- King’s day (27th April)
- Ascension day
- Whit Sunday & Monday
- Christmas Day & Second Day of Christmas (25th and 26th December)
Celebrate King’s day!
Let’s get settled! One thing you should not miss if you live in the Netherlands is King’s day. On 27th of April, the Dutchies celebrate the birthday of their King Willem Alexander. There are multiple activities on King’s night and day. You heard right, one day of a party would not be enough for the party-friendly Dutchies, so they start celebrating the night before. On King’ s night, in most cities, simply go to the city centre, and you’ll find enough to see and do. Especially in cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht, Eindhoven and Nijmegen, there are stages and stands throughout the whole town. Also, watch out for the flea market. On King’s night and King’s day, citizens are allowed to sell things on the street, and that’s just what people do. In most cities, the flea market is restricted to certain areas.
DON’T FORGET: everyone is wearing something orange or the colors red, blue and white.
Explore the Netherlands!
Let’s get settled!Living in the Netherlands, you might not want to stay in your city as there is a lot to explore in the Netherlands. Make sure you’ll purchase a public transport card. It allows you to travel with all public transport within the Netherlands.
Let's learn Dutch
Learn Dutch: You may have probably already noticed it: Dutch is a really ridiculously, hopelessly and hard language to learn. It just makes no sense. Don’t worry, Dutch people know this. It’s hard for them too! In their endless kindness they have learnt Englisch, and they often make spelling mistakes or grammatical errors in their own native language.
What follows are 8 proven tips – to learn Dutch and to have fun doing it. Ben je er klaar voor? (are you ready?)
Tip 1 – Use the wonders of technology to get a good grasp on the basics.
When you are a total beginner to learn Dutch, knowing where to start can feel rather overwhelming. You do what you already do for everything else: you use your smartphone. Download a language learning application to teach yourself the Dutch basics. There are several language apps available out there, among which HelloTalk, Memrise or Babbel, but our favourite by far is the amazing Duolingo app and it is free. By the time you finish the course, you’ll have a good vocabulary knowledge in a wide variety of subjects (food, animals, holidays, nature, home, transports, etc.), and you will have developed a strong instinct on how to construct a sentence.
Tip 2 – Don’t be too cool for school.
Although Duolingo is indeed very intuitive and will give you a good overview to learn Dutch, nothing can help you navigate through the complex Dutch grammar like a qualified teacher.
- Your first option is to hire a private teacher for one-on-one lessons. Private Dutch teachers are easily findable on specialized tutoring websites such as Apprentusand on local expats social media pages. On the other hand, private language teachers in the Netherlands are often freelancers who pay their own taxes, which means that they charge rather high fees. Private lessons will cost you on average €35 – €40 per hour, with most teachers requiring a commitment of minimum 20 hours, paid in advance.
- The second option is of course to join group lessons in a language school. These work out usually a little cheaper than private lessons and offer extensive courses for all levels. Sharing the lessons with other learners can help you feel less alone in your language learning journey and make the learning more fun, which will definitely boost your motivation. Language schools are easily findable online; check out for example Talenmeesterin Hoofddorp, or the nationally recognized Dutch language school Taalthuis which has a branch in Haarlem.
Last but not least, if you are struggling to learn by yourself but cannot financially afford lessons, the gemeente (“municipality”) Haarlemmermeer and the central library of Hoofddorp are there to help! In the Bibliotheek (“library”) Hoofddorp-Centrale, a program called the Taalhuis was opened in 2016 for anyone who needs help with learning or practicing Dutch. Through the Taalhuis program, the library gives you advice on all Dutch courses and schools that exist in the region; they provide you with free study material and access to the library computers to practice the language; and they direct you to free courses taught by volunteers.
Tip 3 – Read, Forrest, Read!
A lot of reading is indubitably the best way to make sure words (and their correct spelling!) will stay in your head. In other words, you’ll have to start with the easiest reading there is: children’s books. Once you feel a little more confident, you can move on to the ultimate classics of Dutch children literature. Namely, pretty much every book ever written by the one and only, Annie M.G. Schmidt: ‘Jip en Janneke’, ‘Pluk van de Petteflet’, ‘Minoes’, etc.
Your level of Dutch should have significantly improved by now, which means you are probably ready for teenage literature. No Dutch kid has gone through childhood without at least hearing about ‘Kruistocht in spijkerbroek’ (Crusade in Jeans) by Thea Beckman. Finally, take a book where you know the story already, you’ll be surprised at how much you can understand!
Tip 4 – Accept pop culture as your best ally.
Books are great, but they won’t help you master the tricky Dutch pronunciation. Music, movies, TV and other Dutch-speaking entertainment will. Podcasts and radio shows are another great way to improve your Dutch listening and understanding skills. Try ‘Zeg het in het Nederlands’, 20-minute long podcasts in which Dutch is spoken a bit slower than normal to help listeners fully understand the stories, or ‘SBS Dutch’ which offers quick overviews of the latest Dutch news, in Dutch, during podcasts lasting from 5 to 15 minutes.
Tip 5 – Make Dutch friends to learn the street lingo.
To succeed in making Dutch friends, there are several steps you can take. Invade Dutch people’s natural habitats, such as Yoga and Zumba classes, festivals, snack bars or anywhere that has beer. Or use your native language as a trading currency: a lot of Dutch people will be happy to practice Dutch with you in exchange for some help with a language that they want to learn (there are many language exchange events organised all over the place in Haarlem or Amsterdam, join one!).
Tip 6 – Out of your comfort zone you go: work Dutch.
“I can’t find a job in Dutch unless I speak it perfectly”. Hum, wrong! It’s the other way around. You will only ever speak Dutch perfectly if you force yourself to use the language, even when your level is low. ESPECIALLY when your level is low. And forcing yourself also means finding a regular activity where you have no choice but to speak Dutch.
There are a lot of jobs you can do on a part-time basis (on the side of your main English-speaking expat job) where you can use Dutch in a non-stressful way. Jobs you can do with limited Dutch proficiency include service in cafés or restaurants, and retail. These sectors are in critical staff shortage in the Netherlands, so jobs are easy to come by.
Werk ze! (Bonus tip: this expression literally translates to “work them” and is used all the time as a nice, encouraging phrase for people who are on shift. The English equivalent would be more like “go get them”. You could say werk ze to your cashier at the supermarket when you leave, to which they would reply dank je wel, “thank you”. It doesn’t get much more Dutch than that.)
Tip 7 – Explore the country, move around and open your ears to accents.
Dutch sounds different, very different, whether you are in Friesland up there in the great north, or in Limburg near Belgium, or in Amsterdam. And just like in any other country, every region of the Netherlands claims to have the best accent.
Chances are, as a Haarlemmermeer resident, that you are learning the Amsterdam / Haarlem kind of Dutch right now – that’s the one they speak on TV. But, should you want to take your Dutch understanding ability to the next level, it is very good for you to get used to all the other accents too.
Tip 8 – Repetition is key. Practice every day and do not ever give up!
Dutch can escape you as fast as it came to you, if you forget about it for a while. Language is funny like that. The only way to make sure you maintain a steady progress is by using Dutch, every, single, day. It might take two decades for you to be bilingual. And that’s ok! Believe in yourself, don’t be self-conscious about your Dutch level, accept Dutch people’s corrections and criticism with a smile, learn from your mistakes and just keep going. All your hard work will pay off, eventually. We promise!
On that note, doei! (“bye bye”)