NL Expat Survival Guide 2014

Download NL Expat Survival Guide 2014

Post on 08-Mar-2016




7 download


This newly updated guide provides a selection of essential information for new expats to the Netherlands. For the readers convenience, the Survival Guide is divided into several sections (relocation, families, banking, housing, taxes, insurance, education, employment, healthcare, transport). The content covers all topics relevant to relocation and settling in. Basically, it is the recipe for a happy expat.





    RELOCATION | Survival checklist

    ; Mandatory registration; Res

    idence permits;

    Relocation service providers;

    Special needs.

    FINANCE | Bank accounts; Taxatio

    n; Insurance; Financial service


    HOME BASICS | Utilities: gas, wa

    ter, electricity; Communicatio

    ns: telephone,

    mobile, internet, TV; Post offic





    orientation tours settling-in services

    immigration servicesfinancial management

    home finding

    people relocating people

    Relocation isnt just a question of finding a house, especially for international expatriates! Its about creating an enjoyable life in a brand new culture for themselves and their families. Our professional staffs main priority is to make the difference between a normal service and a successful new start. By taking a proactive approach and having the right skills, they take care of the expat through the entire relocation process. This enables an employee to focus on his/her new job, quickly and stress-free and generates a healthy return on investment for the company he/she works for.

    We can make your and the expats life a lot easier!

    More information +31 (0)70 301 13 66 or go to

    Peter Smith, IT manager, relaxes in the sun with his family after moving from Amsterdam to Moscow.

    Member of Voerman Group

    ERS_Adv_Int_Job_Fair_A5.indd 1 30-07-13 15:30



    Published October 2013

    Expatica Communications B.V. Wilhelminastraat 152011 VH Haarlem

    Editorial: Casey MarriottLayout & design: Benjamin LangmanPublisher: Antoine van VeldhuizenAdvertising sales: sales@expatica.comDistribution:

    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronically or mechanically, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior written permission from the publisher. Requests for permission should be addressed to Expatica Communications BV, Wilhelminastraat 15, 2011VH Haarlem, the Netherlands.

    Expatica makes great effort to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this guide. However, we do not take responsibility for errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, which result from its use, and make no warranty of claims as to the quality or competence of businesses or professionals mentioned. Users are advised to take care when selecting professional services and to use common sense when adjusting to life in a new country.



    6 > RELOCATION: What kind of residence permit?

    Expat centers; Relocation service providers.


    14 > FAMILIES: Family reunification permits;

    Au pairs; Childcare; Child benefits and allowances;

    Family activities.

    17 > HOUSING: Renting; Buying; Popular expat

    locations: Amsterdam, Eindhoven, The Hague,

    Amstelveen, Utrecht and Rotterdam.

    34 > FINANCE: Bank accounts; Tax; Insurance;

    Financial and tax advisors.

    40 > EDUCATION: Primary, Secondary and higher

    education; International schools

    56 > EMPLOYMENT: Work permits, Employment

    law; Working culture, Finding a job.

    68 > HEALTHCARE: Health insurance, Healthcare

    system; Having a baby; Health services.

    74 > HOME BASICS: Utilities; gas, water, electricity;

    Communications: telephone mobile, internet. TV;

    Post offices

    76 > TRANSPORT: Driving; Public transport.

    78 > CONTACTS AND CALENDAR: Emergency

    numbers, Public holidays, Groups and clubs.


    Moving abroad is an exciting, life-changing experi-ence. That is, once the practical aspects are settled. It first can be a daunting process while you try building a new life in an unknown language and culture. Where do you begin?

    The Expat Survival Guide assists your first essential steps: finding a home and job, organising visas and finances, and enrolling your child(ren) in school. It offers practical information on getting started in the Netherlands and directs you to the people, compa-nies and institutions that can help you along the way.

    As the growing pangs subside, our online site complements this guide with relevant news in English, weekly features from expats, and essential lifestyle information for getting out in the Netherlands. Youll find plenty of support with our housing and job searches, ask-the-expert section, free classifieds, A-Z listings, events, dating, and a thriving online community.


    This guide is published by, a leading media organisation providing a complete resource for international living.



    INTRODUCTIONThe Netherlands consistently ranks among the top places in the world to live and work in.

    It may be a small country in size, but certainly not in impact. Famed for its liberal social policies, mari-time trading traditions, battles to hold back the sea, robust multiculturalism and leading technological communications, the Netherlands is a mosaic of cultural intrigue.

    Living standards are high; the OECDs Better Life Index shows high rankings for life satisfaction and work-life balance in the Netherlands. Dutch chil-dren, likewise, are ranked as the happiest in the developed world, topping two surveys conducted by UNICEF.

    To newcomers, Dutch society might seem open and informal, but some complex social rules are at play. Ostentatious behaviour is frowned upon, egal-itarianism is valued and Dutch people like to be as normal as possible, according to Martijn de Rooij, author of The Dutch I Presume? The Dutch saying Doe maar gewoon dan doe je al gek genoeg (just act normal, thats crazy enough) is an anthem against eccentricity.

    No Dutch city has yet reached a million inhabitants and each retains a unique character and architectural style. The capital is something else entirely, and in terms of atmosphere and attitude, Amsterdam and the Netherlands could be two different countries.

    International residents tread a well-worn path to the Lowlands. Out of a population of almost 16.8 million people, more than three and a half million have a foreign background ( This multi- ethnic characteristic of the countrys population has historic roots stretching back several hundred years, though most rapid changes in population demo-graphics have come about in the last 40 years.

    Foreign policy has impacted domestic politics in recent years, causing two governments to collapse in the space of around two years. The last collapse in April 2012 resulted from a breakdown in coalition support over a budget plan to steer the Eurozones

    fifth-largest economy back below the EU deficit ceiling of three percent, still projected to sit at 3.3 percent in 2014.

    Nicknamed the land of compromise due to the Dutch governments traditional reliance on a coa-lition of two or more parties a majority coalition formed for the first time in the last general election. The Netherlands strengthened its stance on aus-terity in the September 2012 elections with large gains achieved by pro-European parties, with the central-right liberal VVD taking 41 seats and the social-democratic labour party PvdA winning 39 seats. In contrast, losses were incurred by the previous coalition party, Christian Democrat (CDA), and its supporter, Geert Wilders Freedom Party (PVV), a nationalistic party known for its right-wing focus.

    With Mark Rutte continuing as prime minister, a coalition with Diederik Samsoms PvdA gives the current Dutch government a comfortable majority to pass budget cuts, although further opposition support is needed to pass laws in the Senate. Recent economic downturn, however, has seen a large shift in public opinion towards cuts of up to EUR 6 billion planned for 2014.

    Change followed from politics to royals, with Queen Beatrix abdicating in 2013 after a 33-year reign. The Netherlands national celebration, Queens Day (Kon-inginnedag), was particularly celebratory as it was tied to the coronation of the first Dutch king in 123 years. As Europes youngest monarch, King Willem-Alex-ander pledges to modernise the royal image, even forgoing the traditional your majesty if people want.

    Now the Netherlands biggest national celebration will be Kings Day, breaking the traditional date of April 30, which has honoured the previous Queen Julianas birthday since 1949, to celebrate the kings birthday on April 27. Regardless, the ubiquitous oranjegekte (orange madness) will surely take over, where people wear orange shirts, hats, dresses and wigs to celebrate while enjoying the annual free




    market (vrijmarkt), as its the one time when people can set up shop without a trading license.

    Culture and quality living combined make the Netherlands an attractive place for expats, who are are an intrinsic part of the countrys knowledge-based economy. The Dutch people are generally receptive, curious, cultured and friendly.

    English is widely spoken a survey by Education First ranked the Netherlands as third in the world for its English proficiency as a second language but this can be a drawback for those learning Dutch. With many international companies headquartered in the Netherlands, there are plenty of employment opportunities.


    Population: 16,779,575 (January 2013 496/km2 (the highest in Europe) Administration: The constitution dates mostly from 1848, and revisions undertaken in 1983. Parliament consists of an upper chamber (eerste kamer) of 75 members elected by provincial councils and a lower chamber (tweede kamer) with 150 members elected every four years by proportional representation.The cabinet is the executive body and its constituents cannot be members of the cabinet and parliament at the same time.Monarchy: The House of Oranje-Nassau has governed the Netherlands since 1815 and King Willehm-Alexandar, born 1967, was crowned this year, along with his Argentinean wife Maxima, who will serve as the queen consort.Landscape: A fifth of the Netherlands is reclaimed from the sea

    (polders) and about a quarter of the country is below sea level. There are 20 national parks and a few modest hills, with the countrys highest point reaching 322 metres in Limburg.Agricultural facts: The Dutch cow is a revered milk machine, producing 35 litres a day. Tiny Netherlands is one of worlds top three largest agricultural producers, and responsible for just over 20 percent of the worlds potato exports. Media and culture: The Netherlands has the highest museum density in the world, with nearly 1,000 institutions. The television programme Big Brother is a Dutch invention and Paul Verhoeven is known internationally for his direction of RoboCop and Total Recall.Design: Dutch icons of style are nurtured in the revered Design Academy Eindhoven and the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, attracting large ratios of international students. Dutch design is admired for its minimalist, quirky and often humorous qualities.



    SURVIVAL CHECKLISTBefore the fun of exploring begins, there are some essential tasks to get through when you first land in the Netherlands.

    Use this checklist alongside the information set out in this Expat Survival Guide to help simplify easing into the Netherlands. More information is provided on

    REPORT TO IMMIGRATIONYou must register with the GBA at your local town hall within three days of arrival. If you need a resi-dence permit, make an appointment with the IND quickly. Get ready for lots of paperwork and make sure your documents have all the right stamps. If youre not sure which permit you need, we provide a quick overview on page 8.

    EXPAT BENEFITSFind out if you are eligible for the Dutch 30 percent ruling and use the services of the various expat centres to help you cut through the red tape on page 38.

    OPEN A DUTCH BANK ACCOUNTOpening a Dutch bank account will make your life easier (see page 34). Youll need your passport and/or residence permit, burgerservicenummer (BSN), proof of address, and evidence of income, such as an employment contract or payslip.

    FIND A HOMEOur Housing section on page 17 will help you decide whether to rent or buy, and offers tips on dealing with housing agencies and where to live in the Netherlands.

    HOME BASICSAfter finding your home, youll need to sort out a broadband connection and water, electricity and gas services. We list the major suppliers and several useful websites to help you get connected on page 74.

    EDUCATIONShould you send your child to a local or international school? What learning opportunities are available to expats? Get the lowdown on education (onder-wijs) in the Netherlands on page 40.

    JOB HUNTINGIf youve got a work permit (or dont need one), youre ready to begin. Sign up with agencies that specialise in finding work for expats or start your search online. We offer job-hunting tips and infor-mation on Dutch labour law on page 56.

    HEALTHDo you know what to do in an emergency or how to find a hospital, doctor or midwife? Did you know it is compulsory for residents to take out the Dutch health insurance Basisverzekering? Our Health sec-tion guides you through the Dutch health system on page 68.

    GETTING AROUNDFind out about Dutch driving rules and regulations, if you can exchange your driving license, and how the Dutch public transport system works on page 76.

    MEETING THE COMMUNITYIf youre finding everything a little overwhelming, take heart: many others have been in the same position and made it through! Get out there, get active, and read out about groups, clubs and best places to make new friends for extra support on page 80!



    Settling in, simply.Were here to make it easier for highly skilled migrants like yourself to work and register in the Amsterdam area. Qualifying companies can start the paperwork before arrival and a single visit to the Expatcenter will complete the process. Whats more, our website has loads of valuable information on a wide range of topics including housing, education, taxes and healthcare.

    The cities of Amsterdam, Amstelveen, Almere and Haarlemmermeer are working with the Immigration and Naturalisation Services (IND) to bring you the Expatcenter services.

    To learn more please visit:



    RELOCATIONRegulations and procedures for expats and their families can seem daunting, but our guide aims to make the process easier and faster.

    The Netherlands is a bureaucratic country and proud of it. First of all, ensure that your documents are in order before you approach the two main bodies involved in registration and immigration: the GBA, where you must register your details into the Dutch system, and the IND, which implements immigration policy and makes decisions on residence permits.

    Check that your passport is valid for the period of your stay and that marriage and birth certificates are translated into Dutch, English, French, or German and sufficiently legalised. This is generally done with the addition of an apostille an extra stamp on the original document required to certify foreign papers which you obtain from the competent authority in your own country. See the apostille section of

    REGISTERING WITH THE GBA: EVERYONEThe gemeentelijke basisadministratie persoonsge-gevens is the personal records database of the municipal authority. Anyone who intends to stay in

    the Netherlands for more than three months (includ-ing EU/EEA/Swiss nationals) must register at the GBA within three days of arrival.

    Registration with the GBA triggers the start of other processes and proof of registration is essential for many more formalities. The information you provide is also shared between other public authorities, such as the tax office and police, to reduce supplying the same information repeatedly.

    The details you give when you register (such as the size of your apartment and family) determine charges for water and refuse collection, prompt the local health department to contact you regarding check-ups for your children, and determines eligibility to register for social housing. The burgerservicenum-mer (BSN) (which has replaced the old fiscal SOFI-number) is also initiated here and youll need it to open a bank account, work, and claim benefits or healthcare.

    Anyone who plans to stay in the Netherlands for more than three months must register at the GBA after they arrive.


    Once you have completed this process, you can get a printout of your details (uittreksel), which proves your residence and rights, such as being able to vote in local and European elections.

    Documents required include a passport (valid for a minimum period of the length of your stay), rental contract (in your name), employment contract (if applicable), and birth and marriage certificates of all family members (with apostille and translation). Registration is free.

    You either register at your local municipality, or they will tell you where to go; highly skilled migrants in Amsterdam, for example, register at a specialised expat centre. You need to make an appointment, and all members of your family (regardless of age) must be present at the first interview. Once youre registered, contact the IND to make an appointment regarding your residence permit (if required).

    You dont have to repeat this process every time you move house; you can generally just visit a local office (stadsdeelkantoor) to update your details (which you are legally obliged to do).

    You also need to de-register with the GBA when you leave the Netherlands, and give back your residence permit to the IND.

    INDThe Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst implements immigration policy including applications for resi-dence permits, Dutch citizenship, visas, and asylum requests. The official policy line is strict but fair and efforts have been made to speed up the processes involved. The website has extensive information in English, a Residence Wizard for entering specific circumstances and downloadable brochures and forms. You need to make an appointment and visit an IND desk personally to be interviewed or have a sticker put in your passport. To collect a permit you also need to visit an IND desk in person. If you receive a letter stating the permit is ready, you can visit the IND desk without an appointment. Renewal forms are automatically sent to you. Office locations can be found on the IND website at (tel: 0900 1234561 or +31 (0) 20 889 3045 outside the Netherlands).

    NOVA GroupHet Kleine Loo 414 T - NL-2592 CK The Hague

    Tel: +31 (0)70 324 25 24 -

    O ces in The Netherlands Belgium France United Kingdom

    Brighter Solutions for People and Businesses on the Move

    We off er the following services:

    Relocation Services

    Immigration Services

    Property Management

    Moving Services

    Consulting Services

    International Mobility Management




    WHAT KIND OF RESIDENCE PERMIT?A RESIDENCE PERMIT (VERBLIJFSVERGUNNING) Residence is related to the purpose of your stay. Your country of origin, purpose for coming to the Netherlands (work, study, marriage, reunification with family), income, age, and period of residency are some key factors in determining what kind of residence permit you need or are eligible for. There are more than 20 variations, with individual prices, so reuniting family can add up. Other requirements include proof of sufficient means of support, Dutch health insurance, and no criminal record or pending cases. The system was largely reformed in June 2013 under the Modern Migration Act, which saw processes streamlined, family prices lowered, and permit lengths extended.

    A temporary residence permit is issued initially for a set period up to a maximum of five years, and can be renewed. Residence permits are usually valid for the same length as your purpose of stay (for example, the length of your study programme or work contract, or that of your partner), otherwise one year is common. After five years of legal, continuous residence in the Netherlands, you can apply for a permanent residence permit or consider naturalisation.

    EU/EEA AND SWISS NATIONALSFor stays longer than three months, EU/EEA/Swiss nationals must register with the IND. You will need to show your GBA registration, health insurance, a valid passport and proof of your purpose of stay in the Netherlands (employment declaration, marriage cer-tificate, enrolment etc.). The registration certificate is a sticker in your passport, and may be required for certain applications, such as social security benefits or student grants/loans. Any of your non-EU/EEA/Swiss family members, as well as nationals of Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania, apply for a different permit: proof of lawful residence. After five years of residency, all EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and family members (who have lived with them) are eligible to apply for the Permanent Residence for Nationals of the Union and their Family Members, which costs EUR 150.

    NON-EU/EEA/SWISSAll non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals require a residence permit to stay for more than three months, but may

    also need a MVV (see below) for entry into the Netherlands. As of June 2013, both types of residence permits can be applied for at the Entry and Residence Procedure (TEV) in a single application before they arrive. Sponsors in the Netherlands, including family members, are also able to apply for either permit on their behalf.

    MVV (MACHTIGING TOT VOORLOPIG VERBLIJF)This is an authorisation for temporary stay that applies to migrants intending to stay longer than three months (90 days) and it can only be applied for while you are outside the Netherlands. An examination covering Dutch language and society (Civic Integration Examination Abroad, EUR 350) is part of the procedure but is not generally required for those coming for employment or studies (or their families). See for more details on the test. The MVV is a sticker (valid for six months) placed in your passport and its costs vary according to the purpose of your stay.

    WHO DOESNT NEED AN MVV?When applying for a residence permit, there is no MVV requirement for nationals from EU/EEA/Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, South Korea, US and Vatican City. Citizens with a long-term residence permit EC issued by another European Community (EC) state are also exempt, as are those who have held a Blue Card for 18 months in another EC state.

    CIVIC INTEGRATION ACT The inburgering (civic integration) legislation obliges foreigners who wish to apply for permanent or contin-ued residency to speak the language by passing an integration exam in the Netherlands. Knowledge of the Dutch language, culture and society is required. The main exemption is for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens and their families. For information, check

    Foreigners requiring an MVV are obliged to take an integration exam before entering the Netherlands. There are, however, many exemptions listed on Knowledge migrants and those coming for work/study purposes are exempted while on temporary permits, as are those under 18 or over 65 years old. Visit for more



    details. For information on taking the exam abroad, you can call +31 (0)70 3487575. The exam is taken at a Dutch embassy or consulate in your country (or, at the nearest Dutch mission).

    HIGHLY SKILLED MIGRANT SCHEME (KENNISMIGRANTEN)This scheme is initiated by an employer authorised to admit highly skilled migrant applicants authorised companies are listed on the INDs site and it applies to jobs with a gross salary of over EUR 52,010, or EUR 38,141 for under 30s. These salary bands dont apply to teaching and academic positions, which are also covered by the scheme. Footballers are explicitly excluded. Sponsors of highly skilled migrants apply for a residence permit (and MVV if necessary) on the workers behalf before they arrive. The employee can begin work once they pick up their residence permit on arrival, or if its not ready, have obtained the residence endorsement sticker (verblijfs-aantekening) from the IND. Foreign students who have completed a HBO/WO (higher education), Masters or PhD in the Netherlands can file an application with the IND to remain for a year to look for a job.


    A one-year permit also applies to Masters and PhD students from abroad who obtained a degree in the last three years from a university listed in the top-200 of the most recent Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings, or Academic Ranking of World Universities. During this year they do not need a separate work permit in order to work. This visa is non-extendable, therefore, the graduate must apply for a new residency permit if they find appropriate work or register as self-employed if they want to stay.

    Residency costs (June 2013)

    Join a family member /relative /partner: EUR 225 Work in paid employment /highly skilled migrant

    (with/without MVV): EUR 850 Study /Scientific research: EUR 300 Extensions: EUR 375 (work); EUR 225 (family);

    EUR 150 (children). Permanent Residence: EUR 150 Working holiday schemes: EUR 42 Au pairs /exchange /graduated persons orientation

    year: EUR 600 These rates are a base only, and are subject to individual

    circumstances and frequent change. It is best to refer to for the ful list of updated prices.

    INDEPENDENT PERMITSA non-EU national who has a residence permit based on a relationship (a Dutch partner, for example) can apply for a permit in their own right (Residence Permit for Continued Residence), provided they have lived together for three years prior, including one year of legal residence in the Netherlands.

    CHANGING PERMITSMost residence permits can be extended, with the exception of, for example, permits for working holiday schemes, au pairs or graduates orientation year. If you switch permits (residency based on a study/work permit to residency as a highly skilled migrant), you must apply for a new permit with the IND, with supporting docu-mentation. Workers can change jobs without requiring a new residency permit, however, the IND must be notified and a new work permit obtained.

    IDENTIFICATIONAll residents over the age of 14 must carry an ID that shows their residence status ((for EU/EEA/Swiss nation-als, just a passport).

    EXPAT CENTRES IN THE NETHERLANDS Expatcenter Amsterdam World Trade Center Amsterdam | F Tower, 2nd floorStrawinskylaan 39, 1077 XW Amsterdam +31 (0)20 254 7999 |

    Expatdesk Rotterdam World Trade Center | 3rd floor, Room 377Beursplein 37, 3011 AA Rotterdam+31 (0)10 205 2829 | +31 (0)10 205 | Rotterdam Investment Agencylocated on same floor |

    Expatdesk UtrechtKeizerstraat 3, 3512 EA Utrecht+31 (0)30 246 8536 | |

    Expat Center for the Netherlands Startbaan 8, 1185 XR Amstelveen +31 (0)20 441 1426 | |

    The Hague International Centre City Hall (Atrium) | Spui 70, 2511 BT The Hague +31 (0)70 353 5043 |

    Expat Information Services Center (Almere) World Trade Centre Almere Area | P.J. Oudweg 4, 1314 CH Almere Stad+31 (0)36 548 5020 | |

    Expat Center Brabant (serving Eindhoven and Tilburg) Kennedyplein 200, 5611 ZT Eindhoven +31 (0)40 238 6777 | Nieuwlandstraat 34, 5038 SN Tilburg +31 (0)40 238 6777 |

    Expat Centre Leiden Stationsweg 41, 2312 AT Leiden +31 (0)71 516 6005 |

    Holland gateway Schiphol-based hub for international business in the Netherlands WTC Schiphol Airport | Schiphol Boulevard 167, 1118 BG Schiphol +31 (0)20 206 5920 |

    International Service Desk (Maastricht Region) Mosae Forum 10, 6211 DW Maastricht +31 (0)43 350 5010 |



    Nijmegen Expatdesk Stadswinkel | Marienburg 75, 6511 Nijmegen +31 (0)24 329 2408 |

    Expatcenter Twente World Trade Center TwenteSpoorstraat 114, 7551 CA Hengelo+31 (0)74 250 3325 |


    RELOCATION SERVICE PROVIDERSLAWYERSNoordam AdvocatuurOranje Nassaulaan 5, 1075 AH Amsterdam +31 (0)20 689 8123 |

    Everaert Immigration LawyersIJDok 23,1013 MM Amsterdam+31 (0)20 752 3200 | |

    RELOCATION COMPANIESDe Haan RelocationEdisonweg 18, 2952 AD Alblasserdam +31 (0)78 692 0333 | |

    Interdean Relocation ServicesA Einsteinweg 12, 2408 AR Alphen aan den Rijn+31 (0) 17 244 7979 |

    Eurohome Relocation ServicesWolga 12, 2491 BJ The Hague+ 31 (0)70 301 1366 |

    Noble MobilityA. van Leeuwenhoekweg 50, 2408 AN Alphen aan den Rijn +31 (0)17 274 5454 |

    Nova RelocationHet Kleine Loo 414T, 2592 CK The Hague + 31 (0)70 324 2524Flightforum 3830, 5657 DX Eindhoven+31 (0)40 235 3500 | |

    PASBMS Relocation ServicesSchoutenlaan 62, 2215 ME Voorhout+31 (0)25 234 7876 | |

    Tulip Expats ServicesMalakkastraat 88/90, 2585 SR The Hague+31 (0)70 220 8156 |


    SPECIAL NEEDSA wide array of Dutch organisations assists people with special needs.

    The Netherlands has legislation protecting the rights of people with a physical, mental, emo-tional, or sensory impairment that ensures equal access to social, economic and transport systems and encourages full participation in society. In typical Dutch fashion, multiple ministries and organisations coordinate policy. Your doctor, city hall or one of the major advice centres (ANGO, CG-Raad or MEE) can point you in the right direc-tion.

    Experienced expats can also provide invaluable advice and support; start a thread on a forum such as Expatica Community, if existing threads dont cover your query.

    TRANSPORTOld Dutch cities with narrow, uneven streets and bikes parked everywhere are not brilliant terrain for those in wheelchairs, but access is improving.

    Help is available getting to/through Schiphol air-port ( and the railways (, and theres a bureau for disabled travellers (030-235 7822) to request journey assistance. Your gemeente site will give local information, often in English, for the location of disabled parking places and other access issues. Or look up zorg en welzijn and gehandicapten.

    EDUCATIONWherever possible, children are encouraged to attend mainstream primary schools under the Going to school together policy, and are able to contribute their funding to the school of their choice, special or mainstream, to cater for their needs (known as the back-pack policy). A new Inclusive Education Act (Wet Passend Onderwijs) is expected to come into effect in August 2014 where all schools will be required to provide equal learning opportunities for every child.

    Parents can also opt for a special school with a referral from a Regional Education Centre (REC). There are some 327 special schools, the majority having fewer than 200 children, although budget cuts in 2013 and integration efforts will likely change this. The language of instruction is Dutch, but children from a non-Dutch background can sometimes be taught in their mother tongue to help them settle in. You will find SEN teachers at international schools (public and private) where the language of instruction will be (mostly) English but you may have to fund the assistance. Contact the school directly in the first instance. For higher education, Education and Disability is an expert centre (

    FUNDINGMany services (such as transport) are supported by government funding but there is also financial support for individual families: additional child benefit; healthcare and carer allowances; and adaptations to home or transport. Search for special needs on the government social welfare site

    GOING OUTWheelchair accessible hotels can be searched on the national tourist board (, and restaurants are listed on several sites (such as, Good sources for sporty types include Stichting Resa ( or A combination of activities and accommodation can be found at

    HOLIDAYDe Zeeland ( offers adapted sailing trips for wheelchair users and families and some campsites such as De Ruimte ( cater especially for children with special needs. Find out about accessible nature reserves and recreation areas at Staatsbosbeheer ( For farther travels, organised group trips are available at


    Dutch legislation encourages full participation in society.



    ASSISTANCE ORGANISATIONS (LINKS MOSTLY IN DUTCH) AANGO: General Dutch Disability Organisation +31 (0)33 465 4343 |

    MEE: Enter a postcode for local resources +31 (0)900 999 8888 |

    CG-RaaD: Dutch council for the chronically ill and disabled +31 (0)30 291 6600 |

    Accessibility Foundation: For internet accessibility for all +31 (0)30 239 8270 |

    Valys: Regional assisted transport +31 (0)900 9630 |

    NCTT: Dutch centre informing on public accessibility +31 (0)23 574 8357 |

    Handilinks: A useful portal with lots of related links

    Dutch Autism Network:

    Autism Association for Overseas Families:

    Down Syndrome Foundation (SDS):


    Children: |



    FAMILIESRanked first in the world for childrens well-being in two UNICEF surveys, the Netherlands is great for families.

    Many policies were updated in June 2013 under the Modern Migration Act. Partners or relatives in the Netherlands can apply on behalf of their family mem-ber(s) for provisional residence permits (for entry into the Netherlands) and temporary residency permits (for longer stays), if required. For the benefit of family reunification, the applications for both permits have now been streamlined into one procedure, which can be lodged before family members arrive. Partners also no longer need to be married to receive residency, cancelling a rule adopted in October 2012, but other conditions do apply.

    Fees were reduced in February 2013 for family reun-ion and formation permit applications.

    Now the higher fees are focused on labour and highly skilled migrant permits, and fees for additional family members are significantly lower. If you need an MVV permit to enter the Netherlands, you may need to follow an integration programme, although many exemptions apply.

    Immigration policies have undergone fluctuations in recent years, so it is important to visit the IND website ( for the most up-to-date information and prices. You can find information under the Residence Wizard and news sections.

    EU/EEA/SWISS NATIONALS AND FAMILY MEMBERSYou need to first register at the GBA. When you reside in the Netherlands for more than three months, you should register at the IND; registration is free. You must ensure that all appropriate documentation (marriage certificates, birth certificates for you and your children etc.) is duly stamped with an apostille (if this is relevant for your country) and that you have valid passports for all family members. EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and their family members do not need a work permit.

    Exceptions include Bulgarian, Croatian and Romanian citizens, and family members who are not EU/EEA/Swiss nationals themselves. Instead, after three months, an application for verification against EU law and a certificate of lawful residency must be submit-ted to the IND. This application is compulsory and

    costs EUR 42 for a five-year period. This registration still requires Bulgarians and Romanians to be covered by work permits for their working first year until 1 January 2014, and for Croatians until mid-2015, after which no work permit is required. Non-EU family members have no restrictions on working. Visit or for more information.

    NON-EU/EEA/SWISS NATIONALSAll non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals must have their own residence permits. The application fee depends on your personal situation and visa type. Employees or highly-skilled migrants pay EUR 850 and EUR 225 per family member. These rates are subject to frequent change, so it is best to refer to

    Partners and family members generally receive the same conditions as the relative they are joining in the Netherlands. So family members of highly skilled migrants or labour workers do not need a work permit once their residency application is approved.

    SIGNIFICANT CONDITIONSYou must be able to prove you can support your spouse or family. The IND publishes a table of required income levels. If you, along with your family, come to the Netherlands as a highly skilled worker, your contract will be sufficient to meet the require-ments regardless of the length of employment.

    AU PAIRSBringing an au pair to the Netherlands is restricted. One of the key rules is that the au pair cannot have previously worked for your family abroad, and if your au pair overstays you will be held responsible for repatriation costs.

    An au pair can stay in the Netherlands for one year for the purpose of cultural exchange and is not allowed to work outside the agreed au pair duties. The IND website ( has a section for au pairs who wish to come to the Netherlands as well as forms and guidelines for those who want to sponsor one.

    Here are some general facts; consult the IND website for more details.



    Au pair: Over 18 and under 31; only light domestic duties to assist the host family in exchange for bed and board; maximum 8 hours/day, 30 hours/week; 2 days off; appropriate health insurance, TB test, if nec-essary; no previous Dutch residence permit for exchange purposes.

    Sponsor: Sufficient income to support family and au pair; signature on sponsor document; daily schedule for au pair agreed upon in writing.

    CHILDCARE (KINDEROPVANG)It is never too early to register your child for daycare, for instance, when you are pregnant. Governmental policy (in English) can be found on

    OPTIONS Kinderdagverblijf: Public daycare for children aged

    six weeks to four years. Centres are generally open from 8.00 to 18.00. Find a local one at Urban areas have a shortage so expect long waiting lists.

    Private daycare: In large cities there are private facilities with longer (up to 24 hour) opening hours, which are considerably more expensive, as well as international nurseries and pre-school establish-ments.

    Pre-school/playgroups (peuterspeelzalen):

    Activities and play for ages two to four. This is more

    often a social thing rather than proper daycare but

    if you can get a place it might be sufficient if you

    intend to work part-time.

    Employers: Some employers have their own daycare

    arrangements or local daycare places.

    After-school care: Some daycare centres provide

    this (for children up to 12) but it is also provided by

    buitenschoolse opvang (BSO) and naschoolse

    opvang establishments (also on

    CHILD BENEFITParents living or working in the Netherlands with

    children under 18 are entitled to the kinderbijslag, a

    quarterly contribution to the cost of raising children

    from the Sociale Verzerkerings Bank (SVB). The

    amount depends on the number of children, age,

    special needs etc. but is not income-related. It can be

    paid into an international bank account (but this will

    take longer). Find information in six languages and a

    list of local offices at



    CHILDCARE ALLOWANCEParents working (or studying) in the Netherlands are entitled to the childcare allowance (kinderopvang-toeslag) for children under 12. This is a contribution to the cost of childcare, whether for a childcare centre, afterschool care or a private childminder (gastouder). The allowance can reduce childcare costs up to a maximum of 90 percent, depending on income and number of children. Contact the tax office for details.

    Many changes in recent years have affected the amount and granting of childcare allowance. Changes to the Dutch Childcare Act in 2010 were a reduction in childcare allowance for private child-minders and no allowance for live-in childminders. Private childminders need to show proof of formal training and/or experience, and first-aid training is mandatory. As of 2012, parents must also be in regular employment to claim allowances.

    Parents cannot claim allowances if they look after each others children or relatives provide care, and parents cannot claim more than 230 hours per child, per month for all types of care. There is a cap on the maximum hours parents can declare, which is linked to the number of hours worked by the parent who works the lowest contracted number of hours.

    In the event of sickness, holiday, parental leave, extra training, or part-time unemployment benefit, the number or hours worked remains unchanged as does the number of hours of childcare allow-ance granted. The same rules apply for both inde-pendent entrepreneurs and those employed by an organisation.

    Further rules were imposed by the Dutch Social Affairs Ministry in 2013. Now, higher fines will be imposed on parents who do not pass information to the Tax Office (belastingdienst) within four weeks after amending the number of childcare hours they receive.

    In 2013, the Government also repealed the employ-ers contribution (werkgeversbijdrage) rate of 33.3 percent of the allowance. Now the amount depends on your (joint) income, and households with a total income above EUR 118,200 will no longer receive an allowance for the child receiving the most hours of day/afterschool care. Childcare allowance was also capped to a set of maximum hourly rates, ranging up to EUR 6.50 per hour depending on the type of care.

    TOP TIPS FOR FAMILIESGet out and about! There are many playgrounds tucked between the houses, streets and shops but the Dutch transport system makes it easy to explore further afield. Good sites for finding out more about childrens activities include (choose jeugd from the genres) and Out with Children (

    Dutch publisher J/M produces a number of Kids Gids in Dutch (one in English) that will give you lots of ideas (

    Fun for free. Visit a childrens farm or kinderboerderij. These city farms often have educational and recrea-tional activities during the week.

    Cultural fun. Dutch museums often have audio guides for kids available in several languages.

    Hit the beach. The Netherlands has 451 kilometres of (windy!) coastline accessible by car, bike, boat and public transport.

    Theme parks Dutch style. De Efteling is a huge park offering (scary/exciting) rides for older kids and a Disney-esque experience with folkloric touches for younger ones.

    Top scoff. Who could resist poffertjes? Tiny puffed up pancakes served with butter and tons of powdered sugar.






    le. a

    nd p





    HOUSINGFinding the perfect home is not easy in the densely populated Netherlands.

    The Dutch housing market is characterised by the biggest social housing sector in Europe, which makes up 75 percent of the rental market and is strictly allocated. However, more houses have become available in the private rental sector in recent years, mainly because homeowners have rented their properties waiting for a better sellers market and social housing restrictions have changed. Competition for attractive housing in popular areas is fierce, so house hunters need to be ready to sign quickly if they find the right home.

    More than half of the housing stock in the Nether-lands is owner-occupied more in rural areas than major cities. In the past, governments have pro-moted house ownership with some success using financial incentives such as making mortgage inter-est tax deductible. The economic crisis and stricter mortgage regulations have slumped the housing market somewhat, although prices have reduced around 20 percent over the same time.

    Reduced transfer tax also makes buying a property cheaper than it used to be. In an effort to boost the Dutch housing market, the government reduced transfer tax from six percent to two percent.

    RENT OR BUY?The usual advice offered is that if you are here for more than five years and are paying a significant rent (say EUR 1,700 a month or more), you are better off buying a house in the Netherlands. Buyers who may wish to retain the property and rent it out in the future should make sure that there is a scenario whereby given the restrictive verordening (regula-tion) in Amsterdam the legal rent that they are permitted to charge can cover costs.

    In the past, the main incentive for potential buyers was that mortgage interest payments were tax deductible if the house was a main residence, how-ever the economic crisis has influenced stricter control of the mortgage market. As of January 2013, only interest payments for full-repayment mortgages over 30 years will be tax deductible, and the maxi-

    mum tax rate for deductibility will be reduced by 0.5 percent per annum until 2040.

    Expats are advised to buy only if they will be in the Netherlands for five years minimum, mainly due to the recovery of start-up costs involved in buying property (in total, around six percent of the purchase price).

    If you are only here for a couple of years, renting is likely your best option. Contract costs are fixed, repairs and maintenance are the landlords headache and contracts can be ended if you need to return home.

    FINDING A HOMEProperties to rent (te huur) and to buy (te koop) can be found in newspapers, and on online property portals and agency websites, including, the national database of the Nederlandse Vereniging van Makelaars (NVM), or the Dutch Association of Estate agents. There are many agencies specialising in expats (be wary of those that charge a registration fee), which can steer a path through the local market. The downside of using an agency is the commission or finders fee. A months rent (plus 21 percent tax) is the going rate. On the other hand, using a repu-table agent can help you to avoid renting an illegal apartment, being removed by a handhavings action, not recovering your deposit, being bound by an unreasonable contract, or paying too much.

    If youre baffled by real estate terminology, try a website like with searches in six languages. However, be aware that lists unscreened properties and there is no verifica-tion that the listing agent has actually seen them. Rental properties that are less than EUR 680 will fall under social housing restrictions, and most people will not qualify for these properties as they either earn too much or have no required link to the area. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You can search for English language postings on



    RENTINGUSING AN AGENTA good agent should be able to tell you about the market, city, price and quality of housing, as well as restrictions that apply to expats, arrange visits for you, negotiate with landlords, and provide a contract in English. Check their portfolio to ensure they have a range of properties to suit you.

    THERE ARE THREE SECTORS: The dominant distribution sector has rent-controlled social housing, and income and residency status play their part in allocation. These restrictions are applied by the local authority, of which all intermediaries should be aware of and apply in practice. Social housing is split into two sectors, depending on whether the property is privately owned, or owned by a housing corporation (woningcooperaties).

    Housing corporations: While these properties are often considered to be the best value, there are many restrictions regarding who may live in them and waiting lists can be several years long. Only those with a total income of less than EUR 34,000 and valid residency will be eligible.

    Private distribution sector: You are only allowed to rent property in this sector when your total tax-able household income (i.e. the combined income of all occupants) is EUR 43,000 or less. This is including holiday allowance, bonuses etc. Land-lords are free to find their own tenants, and as such, residency status does not apply.

    Liberalised sector: most expats end up living in accommodation in this sector because there are fewer restrictions and easy to find owners with low-priced rental properties usually rent easily through their own networks.

    RULES AND REGULATIONS The Dutch rental system for housing, tenants and

    agents is intensely regulated but not necessarily reflective of current market conditions. Base rents (kale huur) are controlled by a points system, woningwaarderingsstelsel, which scores everything from the floor space and heating system to loca-tion and property type to determine a rental value. However, the reality is that there are too few rental properties, which puts upwards pressure on some types of accommodation. You can find more on the points system by searching huurwoning on or check what your propertys rent should be at

    The government regulates base-rents up to EUR 681.02 a month (2013) and anything over this price is in the liberalised sector (assuming it has the correct points/price ratio).

    Signed the contract but now think you are paying too much? Contact a local huurteam.

    Some landlords expect your employer to act as a guarantor.

    Generally income conditions for cheaper housing apply.

    Be cautious of sub-lets when searching solo. You may have problems registering with the GBA and be evicted with little notice.

    COSTS AND CONTRACTSYour rental contract should cover:

    Status: is the property furnished, semi-furnished or empty? There may be an inventory and/or photos.

    Duration of lease (e.g. one year).

    Notice period and stipulations about how much notice should be provided.

    Service charges (check all-inclusive. What portion is rent?).

    Utilities (apportioned how?). If you agree to a monthly fee, including an advance for utilities, then make sure that utility use is metered for your prop-erty. Your landlord should show you an account (eindafrekening) of payments and real costs at least once a year.

    A diplomatic clause if you have to leave because your employer has relocated you elsewhere. You need to be clear on when and how this clause can be used to allow you to escape your rental obligations.

    Expect to pay one or two months rent as deposit, a months rent in advance to the landlord, and a months rent plus 21 percent tax as commission if you use an agent.

    AGENT TIPS (PERFECT HOUSING) Discuss your needs explicitly.

    Select one, at most two, agencies: We all talk to each other.

    Arrange viewings three weeks before you need to move in, no earlier. Oh, and have vision: You may still have to look through the mess of the current tenant strewn randomly throughout every room.



    Make your mind up. You like the place. You agree terms in writing. You take it.

    Dont be pressured, but be ready to move quickly.

    OTHER OPTIONSIf the agent brokerage commission seems one finan-cial burden too many, there are other ways to find property but you will need to put in lots of legwork and dont expect the monthly rental price to be much cheaper. Most of all, you will need luck and timing is important. If you start your search too early (say a couple of months before you need to move in) good properties wont still be available. Every avenue is worth exploring. Post a notice in the hous-ing section of expat forums or Dutch internet sites with housing or reply to postings from private land-

    lords. Steer clear of anyone asking for a cash pay-ment or commission.

    Given the competition for housing, you need to be able to respond to adverts quickly and, if you can, take someone along with you when viewing. If you see a flat advertised in an estate agency window or in a newspaper with an estate agent contact number, make it clear you are only interested in that property you shouldnt have to pay a commission but you will still have to pay a deposit, share utilities etc. There may be room for negotiation. Always check that you can register with the GBA and check the contract details. The standard NVM (Dutch estate agent association) contract has an English version for comparison.


    STUDENTSUniversities try their best to help students with housing but dont play down the shortage issues. There are non-commercial agencies for students, housing corporations and antikraak (anti-squat) agencies that rent out accommodation. Check the city housing department or dienst wonen for more information about low-priced housing. There are often links to other useful room (kamer) internet sites and other sources.

    SHORT-TERM HOUSINGMany cities in the Netherlands have aparthotels for corporate clients, which can sometimes be less anonymous than hotels. If you are looking for a private apartment for a couple of months, the websites aimed at tourists are also worth scouring as they have a wide choice of accommodation, including properties in the choicest of locations, which are priced accordingly. Short-stay regulations in Amsterdam make it illegal to rent the majority of properties for less than six months. The only exceptions are where a property has been explicitly exempted or where the landlord has a short-stay permit and when a property was

    built after 1 January 2008. Despite this, there are many properties listed for less than six-month stays that are illegal due to new rules.

    LIVING ON THE WATERTempted by life on a houseboat or Dutch barge? The houseboat market is a very close-knit community so personal references will go a long way. There are many rules and regulations regarding permits and mooring conditions and, if you want to buy a boat, it will usually (certainly for newcomers) be a cash transaction. Track down a specialist agent to steer you through the procedures. Useful sites include and (which includes all kinds of boats for sale).

    Updated in cooperation with Perfect Housing.



    BUYINGIt is common to appoint a makelaar to do much of the legwork: tracking down appropriate houses, arranging viewings, suggesting areas where theres room for negotiation, and advising on potential pitfalls. Some properties come with specific regulations; some expats have bought property only to find they dont have permission (woonvergunning) to live in it. Also, agents might advise you on which properties will soon come on the market.

    As with renting, find a makelaar who understands your needs and let them get on with it. The agents commission will be one or two percent of the purchase price. You can hunt on Funda ( to get ideas of prices in particular areas or scour the pages of newspaper housing supplements. Proximity to work, schools and amenities all play their part. Be aware of the costs involved in renovating older property to current building standards or the quality required for renting. For leasehold properties, check out the ground rents. Tax is also levied on the deemed property value (WOZ), evaluated by the local municipality each year. See for useful information in English.

    ARRANGING A MORTGAGE (HYPOTHEEK)There are many different types of mortgage and the tax issues are complex. The general conditions for a mortgage up to four or five times your salary are:

    You have a permanent residence permit (depending on nationality and employment contract, this may not be applicable).

    You have a permanent employment contract or a continuation statement from your employer.

    If self-employed or a contractor, you have certified accounts for the last three years and forecasts for the following year.

    The maximum mortgage level was reduced to 105 percent of the purchase price in 2013, and will be lowered by 1 percent annually until it reaches 100 percent in 2018.

    COSTSThe buyer generally pays costs (kk kosten koper) but some costs are tax-deductible. Allow for around six percent on top of the purchase price. Once your offer has been accepted, a written agreement is mandatory, and a 10 percent deposit should be paid. Make sure your finances are in place first (i.e. that a mortgage lender will lend you up to X amount). On completion, both parties sign a transfer contract (akte van levering) and a notaris must register the property at the Land Registry ( Notary fees can range from EUR 1,0003,000, so it pays to look around. An accredited translator must also be hired if one or more of the parties is not a Dutch citizen. The whole process can take just two to three months.

    Pre-sale agreement (koopovereenkomst). Prepared by vendors agent or lawyer (notaris) with a 72-hour cooling off period. It will include details of when the 10 percent deposit should be paid, or when the bank guarantee has to be arranged.

    Valuation (taxatierapport). Designed for mortgage purposes; not a survey.

    Transfer or conveyancing tax (overdrachts-belasting). Two percent of the purchase price (reduced from the former six percent by the government).

    Deed of transfer (transportakte).

    Mortgage contract (hypotheekakte).

    Agent commission (makelaarscourtage). Generally one to two percent, if applicable. A full structural survey is sensible; possibly fees for translation, plus 21 percent VAT on the total.

    Updated in cooperation with Finsens.



    AMSTERDAM Beautiful Amsterdam is a highly prized location with a diverse international population.

    More than 170 nationalities make up some 50 per-cent of the citys residents. There are many distinct neighbourhoods densely packed together and the competition for housing is fierce.

    Amsterdam is expected to have a population of 850,000 by 2026. This growth will be made possible by new residential developments: IJburg and Zeeburgereiland in Oost and Bongerd and Overhoeks in Noord.

    CENTRE AND CANALSIn the centre, apartments veer towards snug rather than spacious and stairs are steep. Prices on the canal ring (grachtengordel) lined with 17th- and 18th-century houses are vertiginous, although many expats enjoy the typically Dutch experience in grandeur surrounds.

    JORDAANThis district just west of the grachtengordel and north of Amsterdams shopping district is an excep-tionally desirable neighbourhood. Its beautiful canals and quirky, narrow streets are occupied by a bohemian mixture of artists, yuppies and expats, with a core of working-class locals. Prices have exploded in recent years and in terms of price per square metre, it offers poor value and accommoda-tion is often cramped. In the bordering district of Westerpark, however, housing development on former industrial sites have filled the need for affordable three to four bedroom houses, with the benefit of a huge park nearby.

    DE PIJP Directly south of the centre lies the regenerated Pijp, or so-called Latin Quarter, which is a vibrant, funky neighbourhood that has benefited from gov-ernment initiatives, most notably efforts to increase private-home ownership opportunities to the ben-efit of many expats. Rising prices reflect its newfound status as a desired neighbourhood

    SOUTH (OUD-ZUID)Oud-Zuid is a popular upmarket location for expats with easy access to international schools, the Von-delpark and spacious, privately-owned housing. Theres a leafy, gracious-living feel with cafes and shopping streets to match. Duivelseiland is particu-larly desirable with apartment accommodation, numerous cafes and market shops.

    WEST (OUD-WEST)Across the park, housing is cheaper (and smaller) yet Oud-West is another area very popular with expats, particularly districts such as Helmersbuurt, which is a little more urban and edgy than Oud-Zuid and not as expensive for buyers.

    ZEEBURG, KNSM AND DOCKLANDSBehind Centraal Station lies a very different Amster-dam. Zeeburg (which comprises Oostelijk Havenge-beid, the Indische Buurt and the new islands of Ijburg) offers architecturally interesting surroundings in one of Amsterdams hottest development areas. A little less family friendly, but a growing area. Further west and growing in popularity are KNSM Island and the Eastern Docklands. This former working port established on four artificial island peninsulas is becoming home to locals and expats who enjoy their modern accommodation options with a twist of tra-ditional Dutch streetscapes and buildings. The area offers more space for your housing budget, while remaining easily accessible to central Amsterdam.

    Population: 799,442 ( International residents: 50.6 percentInternational schools: Amsterdam International Community School: British School of Amsterdam: International School Amsterdam (in Amstelveen): The Japanese School of Amsterdam: Annexe du Lyce Franais Vincent van Gogh: Links: (English site)



    Enjoy our comfortable, spacious and fully equip-ped apartments in the centre of the Netherlands. All of our apartments and studios are situated in the historical centre of Utrecht, or within walking

    distance. Our apartments are located near the central station, museums, bars, restaurants and several shopping areas. Whether you are looking

    for an apartment for short stay or long stay, Havaa Apartments can offer you both!

    Havaa ApartmentsP.O. Box 467 | 3500 AL Utrecht

    M: +31 (0)6 25090191 | T: +31 (0)30 2317100E:

    146-006 adv 60x90 outspoken d.indd 1 05-08-13 16:22

    Looking for an apartment in Amsterdam?G&D&Y Housing takes complete and personal care of your relocation. Professionally run by former expats itself, G&D&Y Housing has years of experience in making you feel right at home.

    We offer: Free search, based on your own personal preferences, One point of access to extensive network of all real state agents, Personal representation, Off-hours flexibility, No cure, no pay.

    Let G&D&Y Housing be your no cure, no pay housing partner in Amsterdam. Please fill in your living profile online or contact us for a personal intake.

    G&D&Y HousingT: +31 (0)020 470 4749 M: +31 (0)6 24 87 26 33




    EINDHOVENWell connected and close to many hi-tech multinational companies, Eindhoven has a large expat community.

    Philips and Eindhoven go hand-in-hand but the city and surrounds also have a lot more to offer as many expats have already discovered. In 2011, Eindhoven was dubbed the smartest city in the world by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) in New York, meaning the region makes best use of ICT and broad-band internet. Its not surprising then that the region accounts for around 45 percent of the countrys R&D (research and development) investments and is offi-cially known as Brainport. Aimed to be among the top 10 regions by 2020 in terms of technology and economy, this southeast area is a hub for start-up companies and employment opportunities.

    Until the arrival of Dr Philips in 1891, Eindhoven was not much more than a collection of villages. Because of 19th-century urban planning decisions, there are no canals, and pre-1940 architecture was destroyed by wartime bombing. But over the years, things have changed immensely and for the better. Thanks to hi-tech multinational employers, theres a large com-munity of expats. Eindhoven also has a world-class Technical University and the Design Academy Eind-hoven. Theres a vibrant nightlife along Stratumseind the Netherlands longest bar strip but also strong links to the countryside close by and extensive sport-ing facilities. The renovation of the former Philips terrain, Strijp-S, will add an extra dimension of cultural, residential and commercial facilities to the city. Well connected, Eindhoven railway station is close to the centre and the airport is about 3 km away with good international access.

    CENTREAccommodation is mainly in new, pricey apartments, which are popular with single expats and couples without children. People living in the centre have plenty of facilities, including a shopping mall and scores of international restaurants. International schools (attended by children from Den Bosch and Tilburg) and the PSV football stadium are also located here.

    NORTH (WOENSEL)The area north of the centre is divided by wide, tree-lined boulevards, and is mainly residential in nature. Housing is mostly newbuild with apartments and terraced houses for all budgets. Woensel South is cheaper and the market is great for ethnic shopping.

    EASTSituated around the Karpendonkse Lake and Eckart Forest, the area has a range of housing including some exclusive detached properties.

    SOUTHThe Philips High-Tech Campus is situated at Gestel along with the International Primary School, the Open-air Museum and the Tongelreep International Swimming Complex.

    VILLAGESThe villages closely surrounding Eindhovens centre are popular with expat families. International schools are still within cycling distance and the sense of com-munity is greater. Nuenen was home to Vincent van Gogh (1883-1885) and the older centre stretches around a leafy village green. Some detached housing; outer areas are newer and mid-priced. Veldhoven is virtually a southwest suburb (the other side of the A2 from Eindhoven). Housing is modern and in a range of price bands. Best is a contemporary, well-planned village with good access, while more rural retreats can be found in Waalre, which is surrounded by large areas of forest. The twin towns of Son and Breugel are usually mentioned in a single breath. Son has a pleasant old centre but the majority of housing is located in newer, greener (and more expensive) dis-tricts. Popular with expats.

    Population: 218,433 (The region has around 740,000 inhabitants) ( International residents: 30.6 percentInternational schools: Regional International School (4-12) and International Secondary

    School Eindhoven www.isecampus.nlLinks:




    THE HAGUE (DEN HAAG)Den Haag is a multicultural hub with four centuries of international integration.

    The city is a mixture of modern skylines with a historic city centre, and the scenery and activities are as diverse as its mix of residents. Den Haag is the third most populated city in the Netherlands, the capital of South Holland, the seat of government, and the home of the Dutch royal family. It is also an outpost for most of the worlds human rights organisations including the International Court of Justice. Many embassies are based here and, with numerous inter-national schools, its a comfortable place for reloca-tion. The city has its own hospitality centre for expat residents and information on its website ( is available in ten languages.

    Its known as s-Gravenhage (literally, the counts hedge), dating back to the 13th century when the Count of Hollands hunting lodge was founded here. History, ritual and tradition play their part in this city, with terrific museums and cultural events. Smart areas nearby such as Rijswijk and Voorburg have a sprinkling of Michelin-starred restaurants, though Den Haag itself is most famous for Indonesian cui-sine. Building development has been active in past years (, and newly-built residential neighbourhoods on the citys outskirts, such as Leidschenveen-Ypenburg and Wateringse Veld, are expected to be in demand as the city approaches some 520,000 residents in 2020.

    WASSENAARThe gated villas of Wassenaar house diplomats and upmarket expats, as well as members of the House of Orange. This district is known by some as the Beverly Hills of the Netherlands, and it remains a favourite among expat families with large budgets for housing, situated in close proximity to several of the areas international schools.

    ARCHIPELBUURT / WILLEMSPARKA city centre area of beautiful 19th-century houses and apartments full of character. Broad streets and big town houses and villas. This is embassy land and a top location where prices are premium and parking places problematic.

    STATEN QUARTIER / DUINOORDA similar feel to Archipel, with charming, spacious, and elegant homes. A solid investment all-round.

    BENOORDENHOUTA green, quiet location but still close to motorway and other transport links with woodlands to the north and east. Traditional, beautiful 1930s villas inhabited by wealthy older residents. Considering the space and environs, it would be a good option for young families with children. Also in this area is Mariahoeve, which has the benefit of being on the train line.

    SCHEVENINGENIf you want something less genteel, head for the seaside town of Scheveningen with its casino and long, sandy beach.

    Population: 506 366 (1 January, 2013) ( International residents:50.1 percentInternational schools: The American School of the Hague:; The British School in the Netherlands (BSN/IBDP):; Deutsche Internationale Schule:; The European School of The Hague:; HSV/The Hague International Primary School:; The International School of the Hague:; Le Lyce Franais Vincent van Gogh:; Szkola Polska/Polish Embassy School in The Hague: www.spk-; Sekolah Indonesia/The Indonesian Embassy School in the Neth-

    erlands: www.sekolahindonesia.nlLinks:


    AMSTELVEENPrices are slightly cheaper than in Amsterdam but theres more family-style housing with gardens and many green areas.

    The extra space means parking is not a problem and many home have garages, with some 80 percent of housing built after 1960. Amstelveens population is booming, expected to reach almost 86,000 citizens by 2020. Another 2,100 houses will likely be built between now and 2020, with more than half on the edge of the Westwijk area. There are excellent shop-ping and local amenities, particularly for sporty types.

    Close proximity to both Schipol airport and Amster-dam make Amstelveen an appealing base for inter-national companies, with high living standards attracting a growing expat community. The Interna-tional School of Amsterdam is based here with more than 1,000 students from over 50 countries, and pupils attending Amsterdams other international schools (such as the British School) often live in Amstelveen. The area is flanked by Amsterdams largest park, the Amsterdamse Bos, and the CoBrA Museum adds of a dash of culture.

    HET OUDE DORPThe Old Village is the ancient hub of the original settlement (1278) with the Amsterdamse Bos to the west and the town centre to the east. Theres a mix of older detached houses, farms, terraced houses, and apartments.

    WESTWIJKWestwijk is a relatively new area of Amstelveen, which is more modern and spacious and lined with small

    canals. The one central shopping zone in the centre of the neighbourhood preserves the feeling of a res-idential area. Larger detached family homes and villas are available here, in green and tranquil settings that offer a lot of individual privacy. These are premium properties, so expect to pay premium prices.

    ELSRIJKDirectly north of the town centre, this is considered classic Amstelveen with its wide streets, huge trees and post-war housing next to small parks. There are terraces, semidetached houses and villas.

    PATRI MONIUMRunning along the Amsterdamse Bos, theres a mix of housing, shops and businesses in a variety of styles and periods. The Prinsessenbuurt in the north west of Patrimonium is known for large open spaces and detached houses set amongst some of the old-est small parks in the area.

    Population: 83,336 ( International residents: 13 percentInternational schools: International School of Amsterdam: www.isa.nlLinks:,



    UTRECHT Utrecht attracts expats and foreign companies alike with a high standard of living and an educated workforce.

    Arriving in Utrecht by train, you emerge into the countrys largest shopping mall, but dont let that put you off. Utrechts medieval centre is a delightful place to live, with its unusual sunken canals and cel-lar bars. A pleasant mix of urban excitement and small-town charm, according to local convention centre Jaarbeurs. The vibe gets particularly lively at night due to the huge (70,000) student population.

    Utrecht is undergoing the fastest development rate in its history, focused on transforming from a medium-sized provincial city into a regional capital of European importance. It attracts international companies and residents alike, having the Netherlands most highly-educated workforce and second-best standard of living, and since 2012, a specialised centre for expats (

    However, house-hunting here can be even harder than in Amsterdam. To deal with the shortage, the city is in the midst of expansion projects such as in Leidsche Rijn, and around the railway station to the west, which will form a natural extension of the cen-tral district.

    Transport links are excellent, particularly by train, as Utrecht is HQ for NS (Dutch National Railways) and Utrecht Centraal is the biggest and busiest train station in the Netherlands. It is an easy commute to Amsterdam (25 minutes by train) and the service is regular (five trains an hour).

    The centre is prime territory for housing, particularly the museum quarter and Wilhelminapark with its well-maintained 1930s houses.

    IJSSELSTEINTwenty minutes down the motorway is the popular suburb of IJsselstein, complete with a car-free medi-eval city centre and castle (now a museum).

    There are fast train connections to Utrecht and Nieu-wegein and good cultural amenities. Nature lovers can enjoy the green heart of the Netherlands with bike trails through lovely countryside and along the river Lek. New housing was completed in 2012, and zoning has been approved for more.

    LEIDSCHE RIJNOfficially part of the city of Utrecht, Leidsche Rijn consists of the two small villages of Vleuten and Meern and includes the entire agricultural area between those villages and Utrecht itself.

    Considered the largest new development in the Netherlands, some 30,000 houses and new space for industry and companies are being built in Leid-sche Rijn. In effect, this means that a medium-sized town, which will house 100,000 people, is being built out of nothing. Great effort is being made to create an environmentally friendly town with high quality housing. An underground motorway is the pride of the project.

    NIEUWEGEINLying 7 km south of Utrecht, Nieuwegein was a new town created in 1971 to cope with the expanding population of Utrecht. There is a variety of housing styles from classic Dutch brick homes to modern high-rises, and if you need to drive to work, easy access to nearby motorways (A2, A12 and A27). To the east is Houten, a fast-developing town, where some third of its population is under 20.

    DE VECHSTREEKThis beautiful area is north west of Utrecht and close to the Loosdrechtse Plassen lakes. Popular with young families and retirees, Breukelen and Maarssen are connected to Utrecht by local rail and bus services. Older villages include Oud-Zuilen (built around a castle) and Maarssen-Dorp. Maarssenbroek contains newer housing estates with local amenities and services in place.

    Population: 322,000 (1.2 million in the whole region) ( International residents: 32 percentInternational schools: IS Utrecht: www.isutrecht.nlLinks:



    ROTTERDAM Rotterdam is one of the most dynamic, booming cities in the Netherlands, with a growing expat population and a refreshing lack of tourists.

    Most of the city was destroyed by WWII bombs and, rather than rebuilding in traditional style like many Dutch cities, Rotterdam has been radically modern-ised. The city has extensive urban development in the pipeline, with 13 VIP projects set to upgrade and beautify existing facilities particularly along the waterfronts and add some 56,000 houses to the urban mix.

    CENTREThe city centre offers characteristic buildings dating back to about 1900 alongside minimalist newbuild in various guises: simple buildings with shared staircases, spacious villas, and modern apartments, some with water views.

    KRALINGENIf youre young, single or dinky (two incomes, no children), the neighbourhood of Kralingen is likely to appeal. Fifteen minutes east of the centre, Kralingens multi-million-euro mansions stand cheek by jowl with student digs and council housing. Near a lake and woods, the area has a very international feel and a huge variety of affordable to upmarket housing.

    KOP VAN ZUIDAlso favoured by young expats, Kop van Zuid (Head of South) is the trendy extension of the city centre on the southern bank of the Nieuw Maas; great for executives wanting to get to work quickly in the mornings. Like Londons Docklands, its a mix of renovated old warehouses and smaller, newer housing and apartments. Upmarket urban prices apply.

    HILLEGERSBERGRotterdams jewel is Hillegersberg, a leafy suburb on the northeast of the city. The area escaped war-time bombing, leaving the old village centre and elegant residential streets intact. Homes in Hillegers-berg are expensive but enduringly popular, sought after by the Dutch and expats alike. It is home to several of the international schools. Hillegersberg is only 10 minutes from the city centre, thanks to the excellent bus and tram network, or 20 minutes by car. Conversely, a few minutes on your bike brings

    you out of the city to meadows or the river Rotte. Hillegersberg is located around two fair-sized lakes, where there is endless boating and sailing in the summer, and skating in the winter.

    OTHER SUBURBSSchiebroek (west of Hillegersberg), and the newer, up-and-coming Prinsenland and child-friendly Ommoord (in the northeast), are becoming favoured expat sites. For those looking to rent rather than buy, it is relatively easy to find family accommodation at reasonable prices in Ommoord. Prinensland is more affordable than downtown living, but still a bustling area, as is multicultural Oude Westen, a lively and creative neighbourhood near Central Station.

    Population: 616,528 ( International residents: 48.7 percentInternational schools: Rotterdam International Secondary School: American International School of Rotterdam: (child-

    care added in 2013) De Blijberg (primary school with international department): Japanese School of Rotterdam: www.jsrotte.nlLinks: (add /expatdesk for services in English) (event guide)


  • Rotterdam is a friendly and welcoming cosmopolitan city. You will be pleased to discover that Rotterdam is also an exciting and accessible place to settle in. The citys flair and its multicultural society attract many new expats every year.

    The Expatdesk Rotterdam offers tailormade information that is important for living and working in Rotterdam. By using our Expatdesk you can greatly simplify your relocation to Rotterdam. Our services are free of charge. The city will welcome you with open arms! To learn more, please contact us or visit our website or facebook page.

    find your way

    Expatdesk Rotterdam Rotterdam Investment AgencyWorld Trade Center 3rd floor, room 3.77Beursplein 37

    3011 AA Rotterdam

    +31 (0) 10 205 28 29+31 (0) 10 205 37 49

    twitter follow us @rotterdaminvest


    Photo Rotterdam Image Bank


    HOUSINGACCOMODATION AGENCIESStoit Groep+31 (0)40 214 0660 | |

    Perfect Housing+31 (0)88 737 3328 |

    Interhouse Huur- en VerhuurprofessionalsAmsterdam Office +31(0)20 845 0527Haarlem Office +31(0)23 531 8100Hilversum Office +31(0)35 303 1320Rotterdam Office +31(0)10 303 2720Sassenheim Office +31 (0)25 222 5450The Hague Office +31(0)70 820

    Amsterdam HousingSlingerbeekstraat 29, 1078 BH Amsterdam+31 (0)20 671 7266 |

    Amstelland Makelaars Prinsengracht 750, 1017 LD Amsterdam+31 (0)20 320 9080 |

    G&D&Y HousingTolstraat 112, 1074 VK Amsterdam+31 (0)20 470 4749 | |

    Rots-Vast |

    MORTGAGE SERVICESABN AMRO0900 8170 | +31 10 241 +31 (0)20 343 4002 | Hague +31 (0)70 375 2050 | internationals.thehague@nl.abnamro.comRotterdam +31 (0)10 402 5888 |

    Expat MortgagesRoerstraat 133,1078 LM Amsterdam (0)20 717 3908 |

    FinsensHerengracht 136,1015 BV Amsterdam +31 (0)20 262 4300 |

    CLEANING SERVICES UCC-Services Spieringweg 603-Q, 2141 EB Vijfhuizen +31 (0)23 576 2395 | +31 (0)61 391 1500 (M) |

    SERVICED APARTMENTS: Corporate Housing Factory Claude Debussylaan 235, 1082 MC Amsterdam +31 (0)88 1169 500 |

    Htel Serviced ApartmentsAmsterdam/Amstelveen+31 (0)20 426 6400 |

    MISCELLANEOUSDRINKS & FOODHouse of Bols cocktail & genever experience Opposite van Gogh Museum, Paulus Potterstraat 14, 1071 CZ Amsterdam | +31 (0)20 570 8575 |

    UKFood.nlSchoutstraat 15 C, 4204 BA Gorinchem+31 (0)63 900 9595 |

    MUSIC AND THEATER Stadsschouwburg & Philharmonie Haarlem+31 (0)23 512 1212

    Philharmonie Lange Begijnestraat 11, 2011 HH Haarlem Stadsschouwburg Wilsonsplein 23, 2011 VG Haarlem

    BOOKSWaterstones BooksellersKalverstraat 152,1012 XE Amsterdam+31 (0)20 638 3821 |

    The American Book Center Amsterdam Spui 12, 1012 XA Amsterdam +31(0)20 625 5537 | |

    The American Book Center The HagueLange Poten 23, 2511 CM The Hague +31(0)70 364 2742 | |

    Studio Twisk Dorpsweg 147, 1676 GJ Twisk+31 (0)22 754 1080 | +31 (0)64 101 7798 (M) |

    FAMILY LAWSmeets Gijbels Jacob Obrechtstraat 70, 1071 KP AmsterdamPO Box 78067, 1070 LP Amsterdam | +31 (0)20 574 7722Westersingel 84, 3015 LC Rotterdam PO Box 1629, 3000 BP Rotterdam | +31 (0)10 266 6666 |





    FINANCEMoney matters can be complex in the Netherlands. The Dutch tax system is anything but simple.

    The Netherlands is home to some of the worlds banking giants. Before you open a Dutch bank account, you should have no problem obtaining cash from an overseas account using an ATM or geldau-tomaat. They dispense money (in several languages) and accept a wide range of debit and credit cards. The amount you can withdraw and any extra service charges will depend on what kind of account you have and where it is. There should be no charge if you are using a card from one of the 17 Eurozone countries (Britain is not one of them). If you want to exchange cash, good rates can usually be found at the Post Office (postkantoor) or a GWK exchange office. Other banks and bureaus mostly dont offer such good rates and/or have higher commission.

    The Netherlands has had the euro since 2002 and paper denominations are EUR 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500, though you may encounter problems using anything bigger than a EUR 50 note. The coins, with an image of Queen Beatrix on the back, come in denominations of EUR 1, EUR 2, and 5, 10, 20 and 50 eurocents. Coins for 1 and 2 eurocents have been discontinued but prices will be quoted exactly for instance, as EUR 37, 21 but will be rounded up to the nearest 5 eurocents for giving change. On bank statements, the exact figure will appear.

    All major credit cards are accepted but not every-where. Hotels, restaurants, large department stores and tourist attractions present no problem, but you cant use a credit card in the supermarket. Cash is still widely used, but the most common method of payment used in shops, supermarkets, bars and restaurants is pinnen, using a debit card with a PIN code. In some cases, a magnetic swipe card might not work, for example, train ticket booths only accept chip-and-pin cards or cash.

    BANK ACCOUNTSThe main Dutch banks are:


    ING Bank: (Postbank merged with ING in 2009)



    ABN-AMRO, which was nationalised, has the most information in English online and a special expat package but you should generally have no problem conducting business in English at any of them. SNS Reaal was also nationalised in early 2013.

    Documents generally required:

    valid ID, plus residence permit if applicable;

    BSN burgerservicenummer. Youll get this when you register with the GBA or direct from the tax office;

    Proof of address (bevolkingsregister extract, utility bill, rental contract etc.).

    If you want to open anything other than a sav-ings-only account you may also need evidence of income, such as an employment contract or payslip.

    The credit rating of new clients may be checked with the Central Credit Registration Office (BKR). An account can be opened in your name and your part-

    ners (they will also need identity documents).

    A private bank account is a privrekening. Various cards are on offer but the bankpas is standard. You must pick up the pass personally (with ID). A four-digit PIN code (pincode) will either be posted sep-arately or given to you on pick up, but it can be changed at a bank. When you pay by pin, you swipe your card through the machine and punch in your four-digit number.

    Credit cards cant be used in supermarkets, and train ticket booths only accept chip-and-pin cards or cash.



    CHIPKNIP Next to many ATMs is a Chipknip machine where you can load your card with virtual cash. Chipknip was intended as a fast, convenient way of paying for small transactions since, unlike with pinnen pay-ments, you dont need a PIN. However, the Chipknip system will be phased out in 2014, as pinpas is increasingly being used for small transactions.

    CREDIT CARDSCommercial banks usually have an arrangement with Mastercard or VISA but you will generally need to be a customer for a while before getting one. A credit card will be more expensive than other bank cards and you will be encouraged to pay off the card swiftly and consistently.

    INTERNET BANKINGOnline banking is common in the Netherlands. You will usually be issued with a calculator-sized device into which you slot your bankpas and enter your PIN, then exchange numbers with the online login system to gain authorised access to your account. You can pay bills directly or set up direct debits (automatische overschrijving) for regular payments. There is usually information in English but you can also get step-by-step tuition at the bank.

    ACCEPTGIROA common method for paying bills, this is a yellow payment slip attached to the bottom of an invoice into which you enter your bank details and sign. You can pay online into the account on the slip or post it at the bank, where theres a box for them. From early 2014, these will only be acceptable with IBANs (International Bank Account Numbers).

    OFFSHORE BANKINGThe term offshore banking originates from the Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey etc.) but is generally used today to refer to any tax haven (such as the Netherlands Antilles). Essentially, it is any account held in a bank located outside your country of residence in a low tax jurisdiction offering certain financial benefits for expatriates who may wish to reduce their tax liability.

    However, accounts can be held in a variety of currencies and there are usually a diverse range of savings and investment products.

    Previously renowned for a high degree of confiden-tiality, offshore banking is expected to change with the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which will require foreign banks to share account information of US citizens with the Internal Revenue Service.

    For expats based in the Netherlands, the tax situation can be complex. Dutch tax residents pay tax on their worldwide income and there are wealth, inheritance and gift taxes. Nonresidents however, generally pay tax on Dutch-sourced income, but if you are a US citizen or green card holder and have the 30 percent ruling, you can be considered as a non-resident or partial non-resident taxpayer. In such a case only offshore banking might offer some advantages.

    Pensions, investments and savings can all be arranged through a licenced independent financial adviser (IFA) or a bank. Interest rates for savings can be fixed or variable; some banks websites provide tools to predict investment returns. The type of fund and level of appropriate risk will obviously depend on individual circumstances, and it is advisable to consult an adviser to ascertain your Risk Profile. In the current economic climate, there are additional risks to depositing money offshore: recent bank mergers, differing protection schemes and deposits held in a different country to the banks service centre can mean investors are unclear about how safe their deposits are.

    Before settling on a bank, expats would to wise to ask themselves the following basic questions: Which bank is my money in, who owns it, what is its credit worthiness, and which jurisdiction does it fall under?


    TAX The Dutch tax system, especially for an expat, can have many variables.

    The Netherlands is a socially conscious country, and you can expect to pay a substantial proportion (up to 52 percent) of your salary to the taxman. But your personal situation (non-working partner, for example), type of work, residency status and other assets and earnings (particularly from abroad) affect your position consider-ably. In many cases, you will still be filing a tax return in your home country and will be entering the land of double taxation agreements. There are many expat financial specialists who can complete your tax forms for you or provide other consultancy services. Other useful information can be found on the Expatica website (Ask the Expert) where financial experts answer readers questions.

    The Ministry of Finance publishes a guide (in English) on the Dutch Taxation System ( The tax office is the Belastingdienst ( and their website has information in English.

    In general tax returns are submitted digitally, except the M form which must still be filed on paper (for residents in the Netherlands for part of the year only). The M form must be filed in the year of migration. The deadline for the tax return is 1 April, for the M form 1 July. If you are not able to file before 1 April, you can request an exten-sion.

    To file a return, you will need a digital signature or DigiD ( or the services of a tax consultant. The DigiD is essentially a personal login that you use with all government agencies enabling some transactions (pay-ing parking fines, applying for permits etc.) to be done over the internet. Authentication requirements may vary according to the sensitivity of information in transit.

    Particularly in the year of arrival and the year of departure, filing a tax return may result in a substantial rebate. Tax returns can be completed retrospectively for a period of five years.

    RESIDENCY STATUSIf you have demonstrable ties to the Netherlands (for instance, you live here, you work here, or your family is based here) you are generally regarded as a resident taxpayer from day one. If you live abroad but receive income that is taxable in the Netherlands you are gen-erally a non-resident taxpayer.

    Non-residents can also apply to be treated as residents for tax purposes (in order to gain access to Dutch deduct-ible items) and an additional category of partial non-res-ident taxpayers covers those eligible for the so-called 30 percent ruling (see below). As a resident taxpayer you are taxed on your assets worldwide.

    THE BOX SYSTEMDifferent categories of income are treated differently for tax purposes on the tax return and there are three types of taxable income:

    Box 1: Income from profits, employment and home ownership. This includes wages, pensions, social ben-efits, company car, and WOZ value of owner-occupied property (maximum 52 percent)

    Box 2: Income from substantial shareholding (5 percent minimum holding 25 percent rate)

    Box 3: Taxable income from savings and investments. Income from property for instance, owned but not lived in as a main residence, is taxed here: not the actual income but the value of the asset (fictitious return: 4 percent taxed at 30 percent = 1.2 percent).

    The amount of tax payable is calculated by applying the various tax rates to the various taxable incomes in the boxes. The amount calculated is then reduced by one or more tax credits.

    TAX CREDITS AND ALLOWANCESEveryone is entitled to a general tax credit (EUR 2,001 in 2013) and may be additionally entitled to other credits. The employed persons tax credit is age and income-re-lated (maximum EUR 1,723 in 2013); the single parents tax credit is EUR 947 plus a maximum EUR 1,319 under additional circumstances. The general tax credit comprises an income and social security element (to which you are only entitled if you have compulsory Dutch social secu-rity coverage). Your employer will take these into account when deducting wage withholding tax but not any other personal circumstances. You claim other allowances and potential refunds when you file your tax return or request a provisional refund.

    PARTNERSWhere possible, partners are taxed individually but, when only one partner works, the other partner is generally entitled to a refund of general tax credit and deductible expenditure can be apportioned to take advantage of tax credits. Under certain conditions, unmarried couples may qualify as tax partners also, for example if they have a child or own a home together. Details are listed on



    Utrecht Headoffice +31 (0)30 - 246 85 36 |

    Looking for international tax and legal assistance?

    > Dutch tax returns> Accounting> Payroll> Business set-up> 30%-ruling> Tax advice

    1|1_Adv. Expatax_Dutch Survival Guide.indd 1 14-09-12 15:37


    30 PERCENT RULINGThis is a tax incentive for employees, recruited from abroad who bring specific skills to the Netherlands. It acknowledges the additional expenses incurred by expats (extraterritorial costs) by allowing the employer to grant a tax-free lump sum to cover these costs up to a maximum of 30 percent of the sum of wages and allowances. Applications (completed by both employer and employee) should be made to the Belastingdienst Limburg Kantoor Buitenland in Heerlen. The conditions for qualifying for the 30 percent ruling were changed as of 2012 to be more relevant to the intended focus group.

    MORTGAGES AND TAX IMPLICATIONSWhen arranging a mortgage it is important to look at the whole picture: interest, cost of life insurance, savings plan and investment accounts. If you are intending to sub-let, you may need to pay off a substantial part (say 30 percent) of the mortgage to get permission from the lender. When your interest rate comes up for renewal, it is important to check that it is still competitive.

    Tax implications include: Interest payments are tax-deductible if the property

    is your primary residence and the loan is used for acquisition of the house.

    There is no capital gains tax in the Netherlands but increases in the value may impact your mortgage relief if and when you use the profits to buy another house in the Netherlands.

    Tax is levied on the deemed rental value of the house (WOZ) determined by the local authority. Expenses in financing the purchase of a house are tax-deductible.


    To file your taxes electronically, or indeed any other official form (local taxes etc.), you need a DigiD regis-tration number. The website has an English section.

    GOVERNMENTThe Ministry of Finance provides details of the Dutch Governments financial policies including the 30 percent facility at


    Information in English regarding duties payable and procedures for individuals and businesses. If you move to the Netherlands from outside the EU or if you wish to bring your car, you can download an application form from the website for exemptions on removable goods.

    Tax section updated with the help of Arjan Enneman, Managing Director Expatax BV, and Expaticas tax expert on our Ask The Expert online service.

    INSURANCEYou can arrange insurance through your employer or a private insurance company. Aside from obliga-tory medical insurance required by everyone (see the Health section), self-employed persons are expected to arrange additional specific insurances, although in some cases welfare benefits are appli-cable. National insurance schemes available for all residents are explained at

    HOUSE AND HOMEHomeowners or house insurance is known as woon-huisverzekering. A standard policy covers fire, storm, flood and theft. In terms of flood, there is a distinction between damage from rainwater flooding (covered) and water damage due to a breakdown in the dykes, for example (not covered). Houseboat dwellers come under separate conditions.

    CONTENTSAn annual household contents policy starts at about EUR 20 depending on what is covered. This insurance is known as inboedelverzekering. Higher priced items such as art, jewellery or antiques need to be individ-ually valued and insured separately.

    DRIVERSBy law, you must have at least third-party insurance for your car. You might also want to insure your car against theft, fire and damage/injury to yourself and your vehicle. This is known as allriskverzekering.

    LIFE INSURANCEKnown as levensverzekering, it is similar to schemes in most other countries.

    OTHER TYPES OF INSURANCEThird-party liability insurance (aansprakelijkheidver-zekering) protects you if your cleaner drops your precious china, or your child spills grape juice on your neighbours oriental carpet. More than 95 per-cent of the Dutch population has this insurance, and it is often included in combination packages for either homeowners or tenants. Many Dutch house-holds also have legal insurance (rechtsbijstandver-zekering), guaranteeing (cheaper) access to legal advice. It insures against costs of lawsuits and personal and labour disputes. Although most insurances are similar to those offered elsewhere in the world, the Netherlands is distinctive in the high level of insurance taken out by the population. Many large insurers offer combination packages that can bring down costs.




    Witlox International Tax Advice is an independant tax consultancy company working in the area of expat taxes and

    international tax issues since 2001.

    So when you arelooking for a professional in expat taxes, we can be at your service.

    We can assist you in filing for:

    Adres: Hescheweg 79, 5342 CG Oss Tel: 0412-644898 Mob: 06-29135799 Email:


    30% ruling Dutch income taxes US income taxes


    FINANCIAL AND TAX ADVISORSExpataxKeizerstraat 3, 3512 EA Utrecht | +31 (0)30 246 |

    FinsensHerengracht 136, 1015 BV Amsterdam | +31 (0)20 262 4300 |

    ABN AMRO0900 8170 | +31 (0)10 241 1723 | | +31 (0)20 343

    The Hague | +31 (0)70 375

    Rotterdam | +31 (0)10 402

    Corvus Tax Naaldwijkseweg 101, 2691 RD Westland | +31 (0)17 424 |

    J.C. Suurmond & zn. Tax consultantsJupiter 65, 2685 LV Poeldijk | +31 (0)17 424 |

    Ralphs Tax ServiceKoningin Juliana Plein 10, 2595 AA Den Haag | 11th Floor+31 (0)65 779 7684 |

    Spectrum IFA GroupStrawinskylaan 3051, 1077 ZX Amsterdam | +31 (0)20 301 |

    Het Verbond van Verzekeraars

    The national association of insurers

    If you need advice, call the Dutch Association of Insurers on +31 (0)70 333 8500 or speak to your bank or financial advisor.

    BELASTINGDIENST www.belastingdienst.nlThe website for the tax authority has extensive infor-mation in English and downloadable forms and

    brochures. There are separate offices for resident and non-resident taxpayers. Email queries are not possible. TaxLine: 0800 0543 This is the central information line for residents (only Dutch spoken); Information for non-resident tax issues: +31 (0)55 538 5385. This covers businesses and individuals based abroad who are liable for Dutch tax and also those classified as non-residents for tax purposes.



    EDUCATIONThe Netherlands is committed to choice in education.

    Compulsory education under Dutch law applies to children of all nationalities from 5 to 18 years who are residing in the Netherlands. The school system is, however, quite unusual.

    CHOOSING A SCHOOLTheres a commitment to educational choice in the Netherlands. Schools following particular religious or pedagogic principles have had equal state funding to public schools since 1917 and the number of pri-vately run schools more than doubles public ones, with one in five schools comprising less than 100 pupils. International education is available at both Dutch and private schools throughout the country.

    LOCAL OR INTERNATIONAL?Your finances, location, nationality, the age of your children, and how long you are likely to stay in the Netherlands are the main factors you should take into account when selecting a school.

    Many companies reimburse international school fees as part of a relocation package, and the reimburse-ments could be exempt from income tax (though not for all schools).

    While teenagers might appreciate the educational and social continuity provided by an international school, younger children might get a greater sense of belonging by attending a local school if you plan to stay for a while.

    By learning good Dutch they will connect to their new world more easily. You certainly wont be the only non-Dutch parent in the playground.

    APPLYING FOR A SCHOOLRegister your child as soon as possible at the school of your choice. Technically, public schools are not allowed to refuse admission.

    Popular schools, however, have waiting lists (you can register a child from the age of three) and the munic-ipality can assign catchment areas based on post-codes.

    All schools have brochures and websites where they announce open days when you can visit the school.

    Some 87 percent of children attend early education at the age of three, and most children are enrolled by the age of four (when children are invited to attend five orientation days). Children are leerplichtig (under a learning obligation or leerplicht) at five years old for 12 years full-time education and one or two years part-time (until the attainment of a diploma).

    School inspection reports can be viewed online (this applies to state schools and Dutch international schools only) at under Zoek Scholen, enter the name of the school and/or town. The visual representation of green (good) and orange (weak) will at least give you some idea of performance. In the Pisa/OECD international rankings for 15-year-olds in 75 countries (published in December 2010), the Neth-erlands was above average for mathematics (11th), reading (10th) and science (11th).

    TYPES OF SCHOOLSource schools at or via your citys website (onderwijs = education).

    PUBLIC (OPENBARE) SCHOOLSState-run schools (non-denominational) provide sec-ular education, but they can also offer teaching around specific philosophic or pedagogic principles (Montessori, Steiner etc.).

    Public schools are governed by the municipal council or a public legal entity or foundation set up by the council.

    PRIVATE SCHOOLSMost private schools are denominational (Roman Catholic, Protestant, Islamic, Hindu) or follow specific philosophic principles, as above. Private schools are governed by a board or the foundation that set them up. Financially, they have the same status as public schools and are basically free, although schools ask for a small contribution for things such as school trips.

  • Amsterdam Castle Muiderslot

    Free Muiderslot app for IPhone and Android

  • ABN_Ad_Ask an expat_ESG_148x210.indd 1 18-07-13 16:18


    Hi, my name is Kasia. Im an expert in expats. So I know what youre going through.

    New environment. New job. New banking products. My multilingual colleagues at our International

    Client Desk and I are specialised in advising and serving you! At youll fi nd

    more information and the Mobile Banking app in English. Youre always welcome!

    Our International Client Desk welcomes you.

    ABN_Ad_Ask an expat_ESG_148x210.indd 2 18-07-13 16:18


    SPECIAL SCHOOLSBy August 2014, all schools will be required to cater to any childs needs under the All Inclusive Act.

    Participation in mainstream schools has been encour-aged through other policies for several years. Additionally, there are schools for children with special needs and also special needs teachers at Dutch schools.

    Lighthouse Special Education caters to the interna-tional community with special needs children provid-ing extensive assistance in English. Entry is by referral.

    iPAD SCHOOLS Under a new teaching model Education for a New Era (Dutch acronym: 04NT), seven so-called Steve Jobs Schools opened across the Netherlands in August 2013, with more planned. Ipads and educational apps replace everything from books to blackboards and flexible teaching models are used.

    COSTSPrimary and secondary state education is free, with parents being asked to contribute a voluntary nom-inal amount, which varies from school to school with additional payments for lengthier school trips and lunchtime supervision (tussenschoolse opvang) and after-school care (naschoolse opvang), which the school is supposed to provide or sub-contract.

    EDUCATION POLICYThe Ministry of Education, Culture and Science sets quality standards, attainment targets and social objec-tives but individual schools fill in the details of the curriculum and budget allocation.

    Education policy includes combating school segre-gation, integrating special needs children, tackling early school leaving, addressing teacher shortage and raising the quality of schools that do no meet the Education Inspectorates standard.

    DUTCH PRIMARY EDUCATION (PRIMAIR ONDERWIJS OR BASISONDERWIJS)There are eight years of primary schooling. Children are placed in group one upon entry, and move up a group every year; different age groups may therefore be in the same class depending on when each child started. In the last year, children are tested on their numeracy and language skills in a test made manda-tory in 2013 (held in April). Additionally, Group 8 children in 85 percent of primary schools (basisscho-len) sit the CITO test ( in February, which advises their next level of education. The government

    sets attainment targets in six curriculum areas: Dutch, English (taught in Groups 7 and 8), mathematics, social studies, arts and sports. New targets include citizenship, technology and cultural education.

    DUTCH SECONDARY EDUCATION (VOORTGEZET ONDERWIJS)From 12 years, pupils choose from vocational or pre-university diplomas based on their ability. In the first years all pupils study the same subjects (to differ-ent academic levels), known as the basisvorming, followed by a second stage (tweede fase) in which specialist profiles are selected.

    VMBO (a further four years of school): Prep school for vocational secondary education; those who achieve the highest level (theoretische leerweg) can enter HAVO studies. VMBO graduates must continue studying until age 18 or until they obtain a basic qualification (min. MBO level 2).

    MBO: Secondary vocational education. MBO programmes vary from one to four years depending on the level (14). If a student has successfully completed the Dutch VMBO or the international middle school programmes IGCSE or IB-MYP, but is not admitted to the IB-Diploma Programme, the MBO can prepare pupils for work or, if level 4 is achieved, professional studies (HBO). A number of English-language programmes are offered.

    HAVO (five years): Senior general secondary education. Provides entrance to higher professional education (HBO) at vocational universities.

    VWO (six years): Pre-university education. Prepares students for academic studies at a research university (WO). VWO schools can be athenaeum, gymnasium or lyceum (a combination of the first two), a difference being that Greek and Latin are core subjects in gymnasium programmes.

    Just under a third of the 659 secondary schools are run by the public authority. English is a compulsory subject. VMBO pupils study one modern language and HAVO/VWO pupils at least two. Other core areas include mathematics, history, humanities, arts and sciences.

    SCHOOL HOLIDAYS Major holidays for state schools are set nationally with staggered start/finish times between three regions. Private international school holidays can be different.

    For school holidays per region, look up onderwerpen/schoolvakanties on




    w w w . a i c s . e s p r i t s c h o l e n . n l





    To be a community where learning

    is at the heart of everything we do.

    Prinses Irenestraat 591077 WV AmsterdamT: 020 - 57 71 240E:

    The International Primary Curriculum (IPC) for children aged 4 - 10 years

    The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) for children aged 16 - 19 years

    The International Baccalaure-ate Middle Years Programme (IBMYP) for children aged 11 - 15 years

    Dutch language lessons

    We are a Primary and Secondary school offering international education in English. We cater for students aged 4-19 and offer a highly reputable school programme called the International Baccalaureate (IB). Our school strongly believes in high quality and accessible education and we are able to offer our programmes at a highly competitive rate. We are located in Amsterdam and -as a community school- make good use of its educational opportunities.

    fully accredited by

    At ISA we foster curiosity, creativity, and a passion for learning that inspires students to look beyond simple answers and facts, to pursue real understanding.

    What lies behind the numbers? Why? How many different strategies can we use to approach a problem?

    Learning at ISA is about asking the right questions, going deeper, and making connections.Its about lighting a spark for learning that will last a lifetime.

    Sportlaan 45 - 1185 TB Amstelveen - The Netherlands - Tel. +31 20 347 1111 -

    Exciting and developing young minds

    4th graders Sydney and Katy and 3rd grader Aspen

    Inquiring Minds.


    INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLSThese provide education for global nomad students of any nationality. Dutch International Primary Schools (DIPS) and Dutch International Secondary Schools (DISS) provide international education at a reasonable fee because of a subsidy from the Dutch government. They are designed for non-Dutch families living in the Netherlands for a limited time, and Dutch families returning from, or preparing for, an overseas assign-ment. These schools teach either the International Primary Curriculum (4 to 11 years); the IGCSE (11 to 16 years) or the International Baccalaureate pro-grammes at primary (4 to 11 years) and middle years level (11 to 16 years).

    All DISS teach the IB-Diploma programme (16 to 18

    years). A new curriculum, IBCC, offers an alternative to the IB-DP in the final two years (

    INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS (PRIVATE SECTOR)These schools teach either an international curriculum (as above) or the national curriculum of a specific country (UK, US, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Iranian, Indonesian, Polish), sometimes in native language. Facilities (swimming pools, football pitches) are often spectacular compared to the Dutch schools.

    BILINGUAL EDUCATION (TWEETALIG ONDERWIJS TTO)There are 101 schools with a VWO bilingual stream, plus more than 25 HAVO. Only students that master the Dutch language at an appropriate level will be admitted (


    INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS LISTING ALKMAAR AREAThe European SchoolMolenweidtje 5, 1862 BC Bergen NH+31 (0)72 589 0109 |

    ALMERE Letterland International Primary School Roland Holststraat 58, 1321 RX Almere+31 (0)36 536 7240 |

    Secondary Dept. at International School Almere Heliumweg 61, 1362 JA Almere-Poort+31 (0)36 760 0750 |

    AMSTERDAM AREA Amsterdam International Community SchoolPrinses Irenestraat 59-61, 1077 WV Amsterdam+31 (0)20 577 1240 |

    Annexe du Lyce Franais Vincent van GoghRustenburgerstraat 246, 1073 GK Amsterdam+31 (0)20 644 6507

    British School of AmsterdamAnthonie van Dijckstraat 1, 1077 ME AmsterdamJan van Eijckstraat 21, 1077 LG AmsterdamFred. Roeskestraat 94A, 1076 ED Amsterdam+31 (0)20 679 7840 |

    International School AmsterdamSportlaan 45, 1185 TB Amstelveen+31 (0)20 347 1111 |

    The Japanese School of AmsterdamKarel Klinkenbergstraat 137, 1061 AL Amsterdam+31 (0)20 611 8136 |

    ARNHEM / NIJMEGENArnhem International

    Primary Dept. at Dr. Aletta Jacobsschool Slochterenweg 27, 6835 CD Arnhem | +31 (0)26 323 0729Secondary Dept. at LorentzGroningensingel 1245, 6835 HZ Arnhem | +31 (0)26 320 0110

    BREDA (incl. Zeeland and West Brabant)International School BredaMozartlaan 27, 4837 EH Breda+31 (0)76 560 7870 |

    BRUNSSUM (Limburg)Afnorth International SchoolFerdinand Bolstraat 1, 6445 EE Brunssum+31 (0)45 527 8220 |

    EERDE (near Zwolle)International School EerdeKasteellaan 1, 7731 PJ Ommen+31 (0)52 945 1452 |

    EINDHOVENInternational School EindhovenOirschotsedijk 14b, 5651 GC Eindhoven+31 (0)40 264 5367 | +31 (0)40 242 6835 |

    ENSCHEDE International School Twente Tiemeister 20, 7541 WG Enschede

    Primary Dept. +31 (0)65 052 0750 | Secondary Dept. +31 (0)53 482 1100 |


    Rotterdam International Secondary School

    Bentincklaan 294, 3039 KK Rotterdam +31 (0) 10 890 7744,,


    The International School Hilversum is an internationally oriented school with over two decades of experience in international and bi-lingual education. We are a small, friendly yet professional international community of 600 students and 70 staff members.

    International School Hilversum Alberdingk Thijm

    Coordinated programmes of study for 4-19 year olds and:- International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme- International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme- International Baccalaureate Diplome Programme

    Transition to and from other national and international systems Easy access by public transportation Many extra-curricular activities Cultural exchange and excursion programmes An outstanding succes rate (over 95% pass rate)

    International School Hilversum Alberdingk ThijmEmmastraat 56, 1213 AL HilversumThe NetherlandsTel: +31 (0)35 672 99 31 Fax: +31 (0)35 672 99 39 Email:

    Learning through diversity

    ISH-ad Expatica 70x100-070912.indd 1 07-09-12 12:52



    GRONINGENPrimary Dept. at Groningse Schoolvereniging Sweelincklaan 4, 9722 JV Groningen+31 (0)50 527 0818 |

    Secondary Dept. at International School GroningenRijksstraatweg 24, 9752 AE Haren+31 (0)50 534 0084 |

    THE HAGUE AREA (Den Haag)Haagsche SchoolvereenigingAdmissions: + 31 (0)70 318 4965 |

    International Primary Dept. Nassaulaan 26, 2514 JT Den Haag+31 (0)70 318 4950Koningin Sophielaan 24a, 2595 TG Den Haag+31 (0)70 324 3453 Van Nijenrodestraat 16, 2597 RM Den Haag+31 (0)70 328 1441

    Lighthouse Special Education (Primary)Curriculum: Individual SEN-program taught in EnglishAmalia van Solmstraat 155, 2595 TA Den Haag+31 (0)70 335 5698 |

    The International School of The HagueWijndaelerduin 1, 2554 BX Den Haag+31 (0)70 338 4567 (Primary)+31 (0)70 328 1450 (Secondary)

    The European School of The Hague Languages: English, Spanish and Dutch Secondary Dept. to start in 2014.Houtrustweg 2, 2566 HA Den Haag +31(0)70 700 1600 |

    The American School of The Hague (also IB Diploma)Rijksstraatweg 200, 2241 BX Wassenaar+31 (0)70 512 1060 |

    The British School in the Netherlands (BSN) (also IB Diploma)Admissions and enquiries: +31 (0)70 315

    Primary Dept.Vlaskamp 19, 2592 AA Den HaagDiamanthorst 16, 2592 GH Den HaagVrouw Avenweg 640, 2493 WZ Den Haag-Leidschenveen.

    Secondary Dept. (also IB Diploma) Jan van Hooflaan 3, 2252 BG Voorschoten+31 (0)71 560 2222

    Deutsche Internationale Schule (German School)Van Bleiswijkstraat 125, 2582 LB Den Haag+31 (0)70 354 9454 |

    Le Lyce Franais Vincent van GoghScheveningseweg 237, 2584 AA Den Haag +31 (0)70 306 6923 | +31 (0)70 306

    The Indonesian Embassy School in the Netherlands Rijksstraatweg 679, 2245 CB Wassenaar+31 (0)70 517 8875 |

    HILVERSUMViolenschool Primary Int. DepartmentRembrandtlaan 30, 1213 BH HilversumFrans Halslaan 57A, 1213 BK Hilversum+31 (0)35 621 6053 |

    International School Hilversum Alberdingk Thijm (Secondary)Emmastraat 56, 1213 AL Hilversum+31 (0)35 672 9931 |

    LEIDEN AREA | LEIDERDORPLeiden International Primary School at Elckerlyc MontessoriKlimopzoom 41, 2353 RE Leiderdorp+31 (0)71 589 6861 |

    OEGSTGEESTInternational School Het Rijlands LyceumApollolaan 1, 2341 BA Oegstgeest +31 (0)71 519 3555 |

    MAASTRICHTUnited World College MaastrichtDiscusworp 65, 6225 XP Maastricht NL+31 (0)43 241 0410 |

    ROTTERDAMAmerican International School of RotterdamVerhulstlaan 21, 3055 WJ Rotterdam+31(0) 10 422 5351 |

    De BlijbergInternational Primary DepartmentGraaf Florisstraat 56, 3021 CJ Rotterdam+31 (0)10 448 2266 |

    Rotterdam International Secondary School at Wolfert van Borselen Bentincklaan 294, 3039 KK Rotterdam+31 (0)10 890 7744 |

    The Japanese School of RotterdamVerhulstlaan 19, 3055 WJ Rotterdam+31 (0)10 422 1211 |

    UTRECHTInternational School UtrechtNotebomenlaan 400, 3582 CN Utrecht+31 (0)30 870 0400 |


    Onyinye Age 9English / Nigerian

    From expats to locals seeking an international education, the British School of Amsterdam provides top-class British schooling for children of all nationalities aged 3 to 18. Our curriculum leads to the respected British A-Level qualification accepted by universities worldwide.

    Every day is an open day at the British School of Amsterdam. Contact:, +31 (0) 20 67 97 840, or see


    I love coming to school. Everyones friendly and the lessons are fun.



    EXPAT VOICES: Just fill out our easy online questionnaire about life in the Netherlands, and well publish your interview on Expatica!

    JOIN EXPATICAS COMMUNITY: Connect with like-minded members of the international community at Expaticas online platform features profiles and connectivity with other Expatica members, an updated forum, plus functionalities for groups, events and instant messaging. Try it out, make friends and have fun!

    GET SOCIAL ON EXPATICA: Expatica balances the information you need with the entertainment you want: News, events, articles, blogs, jobs, dating and lots more! Follow us on Facebook at ExpaticaNL or Twitter @expaticaNL to get Expaticas tailored news feeds for international living.



    HIGHER EDUCATIONThird-level education, as it is known in the Netherlands, is offered at a vocational level (HBO, a university of applied sciences or hogeschool) and at an academic level (WO, at a universiteit). Bachelors and Masters degrees are available at both HBO and WO institutions, but only universities (WO) offer PhD programs. Theres a huge range of courses taught in English (more than 1,500). You can see whats available and where on Nuffic (Netherlands organisations for international cooperation in higher education:, which includes extensive information about the Dutch higher education system. There is a small, third branch of higher education offering international education (IE), comprising courses designed especially for international students.

    Institutions are either government funded or govern-ment approved. There are also privately financed institutions that are not recognised. NVAO is the organistion that accredits institutions (

    HBOAround 416,000 students are enrolled at 42 universities of applied sciences or hogescholen, which provide practical-based programs, lasting four years. Students can prepare for particular professions in one of seven sectors: agriculture, engineering and technology, economics and business administration, healthcare, fine and performing arts, education/teacher training and social welfare. For more information, visit

    WOThere are 18 research universities offering international degrees and short courses, with some 240,000 students involved in intensive, academic studies. For more infor-mation, visit and

    COSTSFees depend on your nationality and age. Theres an EU fee for EU/EEA nationals, which is set by the Dutch government, but tuition fee loans are available. Otherwise you pay the institutional fee (three or four times higher). The fees at private institutions can be substantially higher.

    HOW TO APPLYThere are more than 55,000 international students studying in the Netherlands Germany tops the international student list and information on fees, qualifications and study programmes is widely available

    in English. Students should first contact the institution offering the course, which will specify what education qualifications are required for admission. A quota system is in place for oversubscribed courses; places are allocated by a lottery. At you can apply online for third-level courses, which are subsidised by the Dutch Ministry of Education.

    University programmes consist of a Bachelors or undergraduate phase lasting three years and a Masters or graduate phase lasting one to two years. Many Dutch universities have partner institutions in other countries, so students can study part of their course abroad.

    QUALIFICATION ACCREDITATIONDiplomas and certificates awarded overseas need to be accredited by the Dutch authorities.

    Often the school where you have applied takes care of this. If not, the IDW ( offers this service for a fee. Non-native English speakers are required to pass an English language test at a specified level, most commonly the TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge Test.


    Innovative International EducationThe International School of The Hague

    Email: Internet: Telephone: +31(0)70 328 1450

    The future of international education

    with a DutchTouch

    International Education with a Dutch Touch

    Apollolaan 1, Oegstgeest, The Netherlands. Tel. 00 31 (0) 71 519 35 55

    > First class international education for students 11-18 years in our IB Middle Years and Diploma Programmes

    > Fully integrated into the wider school population

    > Students are challenged to their full potential in a culturally diverse environment

    > A broad and balanced curriculum to prepare students for university entrance worldwide

    > Adjoins the city of Leiden and is closely linked to both The Hague and Amsterdam



    Learn Dutch and explore



    ToTu_Ad_ExpaticaFairAndSurvivalGuide_Fin.indd 1 18-07-13 14:22


    BUSINESS EDUCATIONAmsterdam Business School University of AmsterdamInternational Office: MBA/MIFPlantage Muidergracht 12, 1018 TV Amsterdam+31 (0)20 525 5655 | + 31 (0)20 525 |

    European University Business School EU Geneva

    Quai du Sujet 30, 1 201 Geneva, Switzerland +41 (0)22 779 2671 |

    EU Munich Theresienhohe 28, 80339 Munich, Germany +49 (0)89 5502 9595 |

    EU Barcelona Ganduxer 70, 08021 Barcelona, Spain +34 (0)93 201 8171 |

    EU Online Campus: |

    Maastricht School of ManagementEndepolsdomein 150, 6229 EP Maastricht+31 (0)43 387 0808 | |

    School of Business and Economics Maastricht UniversityMinderbroedersberg 4-6, 6211 LK Maastricht + 31 (0)43 388 2222 |

    Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus UniversityBurgemeester Oudlaan 50, 3062 PA Rotterdam | J-building+31 (0)10 408 2222 | |

    The Hague University of Applied SciencesJohanna Westerdijkplein 75, 2521 EN The Hague+31 (0)70 445 8888 |

    Vlerick Business SchoolBolwerklaan 21, 1210 Brussel, Belgium+32 (0)2 225 4111 | |

    Webster UniversityBoommarkt 1, 2311 EA Leiden+31 (0)71 516 8000 | |

    Rotterdam Business School MBA Rotterdam UniversityKralingse Zoom 91, 3063 ND Rotterdam+31 (0)10 794 6229 | +31 (0)62 150 2419 (M) |










    Dutch as a second language



    www.dutchipresume.cominfo@dutchipresume.comTel: 0031 (0) 78 700 1206

    the Netherlands- the country -

    the Netherlands- culture -


    EDUCATION LINKSInformation on the Dutch education system Ministry of Education, Culture and Science

    Eurydice |

    International schools Educaide: The Professional Helpdesk for International Education in the NetherlandsPO Box 96911, 2509 JH Den Haag+31 (0)65 598 8998 | |

    Foundation for International Education in the

    Information on studying and funding (add /International_visitors for English)

    Higher education in the Netherlands

    Portals for vocational training

    Masters / PhDs


    Non-Dutch diploma

    CREATIVE HIGHER EDUCATION SAE Institute AmsterdamJohan van Hasseltweg 31, 1021 KN Amsterdam +31 (0)20 622 87 90 |

    SAE Institute RotterdamKratonkade 5, 3024 ES Rotterdam +31(0)10 411 7951 | |



    LANGUAGE SCHOOLSDelken&BootAbeelhof 16, 3053 KL Rotterdam+31 (0)10 422 1481 (M) | +31 (0)64 201 4510 | +31 (0)62 454 0378 |

    DutchessaFrancois Valentijnstraat 474, 2595 WN, Den Haag+31 (0)6 8177 2950 | |

    NedLesNieuwe Herengracht 145, 1011 SG Amsterdam+31 (0)20 624 3510 | +31 (0)62 558 5653 (M) |

    TalencoachKeizersgracht 8, 1015 CN Amsterdam+31 (0)20 331 3738 | |

    Tornante TrainingenRiederlaan 200, 3074 CLRotterdam+31 (0)10 742 0465 |

    Institute for Dutch Language EducationUniversity of AmsterdamP.C. Hoofthuis Spuistraat 134, 1012 VB Amsterdam + 31 (0)20 525 4642 | |

    University of Amsterdam TalenRoetersstraat 25, 1018 WB Amsterdam+31 (0)20 525 4637 | |

    Top TaalJoan Muyskenweg 22, 1096 CJ, Amsterdam+31 (0)20 716 3690 | |

    LANGUAGE WEBSHOPDutch I presumeAkeleizoom 3, 3355 BR Papendrecht+31 (0)78 700 1206 |

    CORPORATE TRAININGOutspoken Communication+31 (0)88 111 9333 |

    University of Amsterdam TalenRoetersstraat 25, 1018 WB Amsterdam+31 (0)20 525 4637 | |




    EMPLOYMENTExpats are an essential component of the Dutch workforce, although office life has its cultural quirks.

    The Dutch workforce (7.93 million people) is inter-nationally oriented, highly educated and multilin-gual. Workers rights are strongly protected, although recent economic recession has pressured unemployment figures upwards to 8.5 percent (June 2013) and influenced a rise in flexible contracts. However, the demand for highly skilled workers remains high and there are incentives for international employees, such as the 30 percent ruling (a tax benefit scheme) and a fast-track programme for highly skilled migrants (no separate work permit application required).

    A number of beneficial policies were implemented under the Modern Migration Policy Act in June 2013 ( If a worker needs a Dutch entry and/or residence permit, employers in the Nether-lands can register with the IND and apply for the necessary papers on the employees behalf. Appli-cations are fast-tracked to two weeks for companies that are recognised by the IND ( has a list). Policies are also aimed to reduce the frequency of residency permit renewal, for example, its possi-ble to change employers without needing to obtain a new residence permit (although the IND must be informed and a new work permit obtained).

    WORK PERMITSIf you are a non-EU/EEA/Swiss national and want to work in the Netherlands, in most cases your employer will need to apply for a work permit (tewerkstellings-vergunning or TWV). There are a number of exceptions, some of which are listed below. The permit is specific to the job and employer, and is issued for a specific employee and for a specified period (up to five years), although extensions can be applied for. The IND site ( has detailed information on coming to the Netherlands to work as an employee, as well as the financial and other conditions that need to be met. You can start work once your employer has been issued a work permit and applied for a residence permit, if needed. You do not need to wait for the INDs decision on your application, but you must get a residence endorsement passport sticker from the IND while you wait.

    If the residence permit application is rejected though, the work permit is no longer valid. The con-sequences of illegally working can be severe for both employer and employee.

    WHO DOESNT NEED A WORK PERMIT?The main exceptions are:

    EU/EEA/Swiss nationals (except Bulgarians and Romanians, who need a work permit for their first working year (until 1 January 2014) and the proof of lawful residence permit; Croatians follow the same procedure, although restrictions will apply until 1 July 2015 or longer).

    Highly skilled migrants.

    Self-employed workers (their eligibility for resi-dency is assessed by the IND).

    Workers on short assignment (performers, musi-cians, guest lecturers, journalists etc.).

    Those with a residence permit or passport sticker/card stating Arbeid vrij toegestaan. TWV is niet vereist (free to work, no work permit is required).

    PARTNERS: WHO CAN WORK?If your spouse/partner or family member is allowed to work in the Netherlands, then generally you can too. How quickly you can start work depends on the status of your working partner (EU/EEA/Swiss resi-dent, knowledge migrant etc.), and whether appli-cations for MVV/residency for you and your partner are filed at the same time (advisable). You may need to wait until you have received your residence permit before you can start work.

    WORK PERMIT THROUGH EMPLOYERWork permits are initiated by employers who apply to the UWV WERKbedrijf ( with sup-porting evidence, such as copies of advertisements, postings on the Internet, or statements from agen-cies. Your employer has to show that the position cannot be occupied by an EU/EEA/Swiss national. This supporting evidence is not necessary in case of in-company transfers, internships and most scientific jobs. For a company to apply for a work permit, the candidate must be aged between 18 and 45.


    If a MVV/residency permit is required, your employer can submit your application to the Admission and Residence Procedure (TEV) on your behalf, before you arrive. They will request information from you for the application, such as copies of your passport/ID and education qualifications.

    After three years of employment with a work permit and a residence permit in the Netherlands, the employee is free on the labour market. Employers can employ you without needing a separate work permit. When you renew your residence document, your new labour market position will be mentioned as Arbeid vrij toegestaan. TWV is niet vereist.

    CHANGING JOBSAny changes in your work or partnership status must be reported to the IND. When applying to extend a residence permit, your circumstances will be assessed again in reference to the original application.

    If you change jobs, the same rules apply as for the first permit you were granted. So if you worked with a separate work permit, your new employer needs a new work permit as well. If you worked as a highly skilled migrant, your new employer needs to be eligible to apply for residence permits based on the highly skilled migrant scheme.

    The main exception is that, after three years working on any given residence permit that allowed you to work (such as partners permits or employee permit, excepting highly skilled migrants), you no longer need a separate work permit. For highly skilled migrants, after three years of legal stay you can change your purpose of stay into labour, which allows you to work without a work permit and with-out meeting the requirements for the highly skilled migrants scheme.

    If you have a highly skilled migrant residence permit and you change jobs, you do not need to change your permit. Your new employer will need to send proof to the IND that you still meet the requirements of the highly skilled migrant scheme and send in your contract to prove that you still earn the required salary.

    It is essential to apply for a new residence permit before the old one expires; the IND will notify you in advance. Your sponsor (whether an employer or a partner) can be penalised by the IND up to a year after your permit expires, including contributing to repatriation costs. A residence gap in your permit situation may affect your eligibility for permanent residency, where five years of continuous stay is required.




    HIGHLY SKILLED MIGRANTSTo be able to employ expats under the highly skilled migrant scheme, employers must sign a statement with the IND. If the employment contract is issued for an indefinite period, the residence permit will be issued for a maximum of five years. If it is a fixed-term contract, the residence permit will be for the same period. If you residency permit is not ready when you arrive, you are legally permitted to work in the interim period if you visit an IND desk and get a passport sticker that proves your application is being processed. Partners of highly skilled migrants can work without a work permit, though they do require a residence permit before commencing work.

    SELF-EMPLOYED/ENTREPRENEURSConditions for granting residency based on self-em-ployment (for non-EU/EEA/Swiss) are that your business activities serve an essential Dutch interest. A point system is used to assess this. Your personal experience, business plan and what you expect to offer to the Netherlands (innovation, job creation, investment etc.) are taken into account. You will also need to prove you have the appropriate qualifica-tions for carrying out your business. If you have a residence permit for an independent entrepreneur, you are also allowed to work as an employee pro-vided the UWV WERKbedrijf has issued a work per-mit to your employer. Freelancers can also obtain this permit, but proof of assignments in the Nether-lands is required.

    DUTCH AMERICAN FRIENDSHIP TREATY American citizens who wish to start up a business in the Netherlands can apply under this scheme, which has been in operation since 1956. They dont need to satisfy the Dutch economic interest conditions as above, but they do need to be registered at the Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel,, have accounts verified by a qualified accountant, a business plan and substantial capital, and they cannot apply for social welfare. The same conditions apply to Japanese citizens under the Treaty of Trade and Navigation.

    STUDENTSThere are no restrictions on working hours for stu-dents who are EU/EEA/Swiss nationals; they dont need a work permit. All other nationalities can only work if a work permit has been granted, and working hours are limited. Students can opt to work part-time throughout the year for a maximum of 10 hours per

    week, or undertake seasonal work in June, July and August. The employer or agency must apply directly to the UWV WERKbedrijf for a work permit and the permit will be valid for the same period as the uni-versity registration.

    WORKING HOLIDAY SCHEMESThose (aged 18 to 30) from Australia, Canada or New Zealand can apply under these schemes to live and work in the Netherlands for one year. Conditions include proof of a return ticket or funds to buy one.

    JOB HUNTINGRecruitment agencies are big in the Netherlands and several specialise in recruiting non-Dutch nationals. Its worth exploring every avenue, from Internet job engines such as and (for jobs in your native language) to the popular, or even sector-specific sites (architecture, biotechnology, finance).

    The UWV WERKbedrijf portal has a useful list, including EURES, the European job mobility portal ( Expat community sites such as Expatica also have extensive employment listings ( Getting a job through personal contacts is quite common, so dont be shy about making an enquiry to a company or dropping in at a branch of an agency or uitzendbureau.

    Vacancy (vacature) advertisements are covered in all Dutch newspapers and senior positions at interna-tional companies are often placed in English. The list of companies that are eligible for applying for highly skilled migrants is a useful source and can be found on the IND site (


    Expats with French, German, Flemish, and Scandi-navian language skills are always in demand, according to expat agency Undutchables. There is a (worldwide) shortage of engineers and those with technical skills.

    The job market is also strong for those in finance and IT, sales and marketing and customer service. Be flexible and open-minded; dont write off specific areas or industries when job-hunting so you can get onto the working ladder.

    CONTRACTS AND EMPLOYMENT LAWThe laws covering employment in the Netherlands are many and various. Your personal contract will determine your pay and specific conditions.




    Stop by Expatica.coms Employment section for information on work permits, management

    culture, applying for a job, and more.

    Check out our LISTINGS



    Dutch legislation covers key areas such as trial periods, holidays, notice and dismissal, minimum wages, health and safety, and equal treatment. The system for dismissal is particularly unusual in being so protective of the employee: in most cases the employer needs permission from the UWV WERKbedrijf to fire you. Useful information regarding working practices, employment law and the minimum wage can be found on the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment website ( or the UWV WERKbedrijf website (

    If you want to check the market rate for your salary or calculate bruto/netto rates (before/after tax and social security deductions), try It is standard practice in the Netherlands to get extra wages (usually eight percent of your salary) for holidays (normally paid in May) and four weeks of paid leave.

    Sanne van Ruitenbeek of Pallas Advocaten provides the following important information on labour law:

    If you work in the Netherlands, Dutch law is partly and often fully applicable to your employment, even if the law of another country is declared appli-cable in your contract.

    The number of succeeding employment contracts for a fixed term is limited to three. The total dura-tion of fixed term contracts is limited to three years. If the duration of the contracts or the number of fixed contracts exceed the legal limit, the employ-ment contract will automatically become a contract for an unlimited term.

    If the contract is for less than two years, the trial period cannot be longer than one month. The maximum duration of a trial period is two months. During the trial period, both the employer and employee are allowed to terminate the employ-ment contract with immediate effect.

    The notice period for the employee is usually one month. If the notice period for the employee is extended, the notice period for the employer should be double the notice period of the employee.

    Employment contracts for an unlimited term can only be terminated by the employer with consent of the employee, the labour office (UWV WERKbedrijf) or the Court. The court and labour offices assess whether there are grounds for a valid termination. If an employer gives notice of termi-nation without obtaining prior approval, the employee could nullify the termination. This rule is not applicable in the case of summary dismissal (such as fraud or theft by the employee). Courts are however very reluctant about accepting sum-mary dismissals. It is therefore very important to contact an employment lawyer immediately if you are fired on the spot.

    The legal minimum number of holidays per year is four times the weekly working time. This means 20 holidays in the case of a full-time employee working a five-day week. However, it is common

    practice in the Nether-lands for a full-time employee to be enti-tled to approximately 25 holiday days per year in addition to

    Dutch public holidays. A new law on holidays recently introduced an expiration date of six months for the legal minimum number of holidays. Employees should therefore take all their holidays within six months after the year in which the holi-days were accrued. Should the employee not take the holidays on time, the holidays will lapse without any compensation or payment. The expiration date of six months is not applicable to the holidays that the employee is entitled to on top of the legal minimum number of holidays. These extra holidays will not lapse until after a period of five years.

    COLLECTIVE LABOUR AGREEMENT (CAO)This is a written agreement covering working con-ditions and benefits that is drawn up by employers, employers organisations and employee organisa-tions (such as unions). A CAO operates at company or industry sector level and the provisions (number of holidays, for example) are often more generous than statutory requirements. It should state in your contract whether a CAO is applicable; you dont have to be a member of a union to benefit. If no CAO applies they all have to be registered you will need to negotiate your own terms and condi-tions. The largest trade union federation in the Neth-erlands is the FNV (

    After three years of fixed-term contracts, an employee will automatically receive an unlimited-term contract.


    Undutchables, your recruitment partner for international jobs in the Netherlands.

    UNDUTCHABLES: FOR INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS JOBSLooking for international career opportunities in the Netherlands? Fluent in one or more languages other than Dutch? Seek international business experience or already have it? Whether youre an enthusiastic starter or an experienced executive, well match your talents with challenging jobs in the Netherlands. Grow your job search in international business today:



    WORKING CULTUREWork life and home life are kept separate, and office hours will be strictly observed. Newcomers working at Dutch companies are often surprised by the informal working relationships, horizontal management structures and (lots of) meetings (overleggen) at which every point of view must be discussed to reach a consensus. Theres a punctilious approach to these meetings, indeed social engagements of any kind: always carry your diary (agenda). Colleagues often lunch together (all part of working as an egalitarian team) or there may be a canteen. The working environment in an international company can be very different. Flexible working is common, particularly for families with children, however senior executive women are still some distance from the boardroom. In terms of gender diversity at the top level, the Netherlands lags sorely behind other countries, says cultural consultant Mary van der Boon. However, things are looking up. In 2012, the Netherlands implemented an EU initiative target of 30 percent of executive positions to be held by each gender by 2016, although its not mandatory and applicable only to large or listed companies.

    CULTURAL COMPETENCYMany international companies have headquarters in the Netherlands. For senior executives, cross- cultural competency tests may be part of the selection procedure for international assignments. Following on from standard personality analysis programmes such as the Meyers Briggs Type Indicators, these tests analyse personality preferences and prejudices that could affect performance in a new cultural environment; technical competence to do the job is already assumed. Top firms are looking for executives who are open-minded, flexible, mature, and show respect for, and interest in different cultures.

    CULTURALLY CORRECT CVSConcise, direct and professional communication is the style for job applications in the Netherlands. Remember that a Dutch CV only states facts and figures, said the former Centre for Work and Employment (www. UWV WERKbedrijf. One or two pages maximum in this order:

    Personal details (address etc.);

    Education (courses, not results);



    Work experience (the most recent first is popular with recruiters but some like to see career progres-sion). Include job responsibilities.

    Leisure activities are valued very much by Dutch companies, according to the UWV WERKbedrijf. In your cover letter (which should be in Dutch if possible), include more about your motivation for the job, but keep the tone professional. If youve done your research, you should know what the company is looking for and how you fit in.

    SOCIAL SECURITYThe Dutch social security system is one of the most comprehensive in Europe but access to the welfare system is becoming more restrictive. There are three strands:

    National Insurance administered by the social insurance bank (, which includes old age pension (AOW) and child benefit (AKW);

    Employee Insurance administered by UWV (, including unemployment benefit (WW, see below), long-term disability (WIA) and sickness (ZW); and

    Social Assistance administered by municipalities (

    Specific conditions apply to each benefit. Also, do check that your residence rights are not affected if you apply for benefits. Your official documents will need to be in good order. Consult the Ministry of Social Affairs and Welfare website ( for more information.

    UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT (WW)Your employment history will determine the amount and duration of payments. It comprises the first two months at 75 percent and thereafter 70 percent of your last earned salary (theres a maximum daily rate of EUR 195.96 gross). You must have worked for 26 out of the previous 36 weeks before the first day of unemployment (may be fewer if you are a musician or artist, or not in regular employment). It can be restricted if other benefits are in operation. You apply for benefit online at or at a local office of UWV WERKbedrijf.

    VOLUNTARY WORKA volunteer is a vrijwilliger and there are many opportunities depending on your skills. Expat advice centre ACCESS is always on the lookout for volun-teers in its offices in Den Haag (

    FINDING A JOBExpats seeking a new career challenge in the Netherlands will find ample opportunities. The Dutch employment market is mature, sophisticated and boasts an impressive array of both local and inter- national companies spread across the Randstad region and beyond. It also has a vast network of specialist and generalist recruitment firms. Many newcomers choose to take the recruitment agency route for speed and convenience, as well as for the valuable contacts that established agencies can tap into. But how do you find an agency that is both tuned in to the local market and to your personal needs?

    WORKING WITH AGENCIESSpecialist and generalist agencies openly advertise their services on websites geared to expats and are frequent advertisers on job boards and leading publications. Trade directories also carry agency listings and search engines like Google will help you navigate your way to various websites. So how can you ensure your partner agency will serve your needs?

    Here are some golden rules:

    Maintain an up-to-date curriculum vitae (CV) in English that fully reflects your skills, education, work experience, and personal profile, and try to keep it as succinct as possible. If you really want to stand out, have a version translated into Dutch which some companies will appreciate.

    Always support any application with a clear over-view or motivation letter setting out your primary work requirements, personal qualities and career objectives.

    Follow up any application if you hear nothing back within three to five days.

    Always try to meet your agent in person as this can build rapport and trust and make sure that your CV does not get sent anywhere without your permission.

    Be clear about your work preferences and present yourself in a positive and personable light.

    Stay flexible and be ready to attend interviews as opportunities emerge, but remain patient while your agent scours the market for the right opportunity.

    Keep your agent informed of any personal developments that might affect the work they are doing on your behalf.



    Connecting members of the international with companies and recruiters interested in your skills and expertise.


    THE INTERVIEW PROCESSOnce youve set yourself up with your preferred agencies and the enquiries are starting to flow in, you need to prepare yourself for interviews. As an expat, one of your primary concerns may be about language. Fortunately, many HR personnel and other hiring managers in the Netherlands speak English at a high level, but this should not stop you from speaking clearly and slowly. Avoid using jargon or colloquial expressions. Just like in your home country, prospective employers expect interviewees to be well-presented, enthusiastic and well-informed. You should research the company in advance, and while most good agencies will prepare you in the best possible way based on their intimate knowledge of the company, self-preparation is equally important. Always attend an interview armed with a list of relevant questions.

    When you receive a job offer that fully matches your expectations, your agent will help you to assess the various aspects of the offer, including salary level, benefits, role progression, and career development. Unless you are fully convinced it is the right job for you, allow yourself two or three days to consider all of the angles.

    Starting a new job in a foreign country might be a daunting prospect for some, but the Dutch are very tuned into working with foreign nationals and you can be reassured that your new co-workers will be supportive of their new international colleague.

    Finally, make an effort to learn some Dutch as it will pay dividends in the long run!

    Text on finding a job courtesy of Madison Parker International Professional Resource Solutions


  • 256 full color pages of dutch history and culture employment law

    legal, tax and financial matters transportation daily life children,

    including childcare and schooling healthcare the education system

    leisure and cultural activities www.hollandbooks .nl

    price e 29.95

    Available at the major book stores and

    to order bulk quantities please contact: XPat Media Tel.: 070 306 33 10 Fax: 070 306 33 11


    THE HOLLAND HANDBOOK 20132014The Indispensable Guide for Expatriates in the Netherlands


    Subscribe to THEXPAT



    EPJ13-MA03-ADV Subscription.indd 1 30-08-13 12:15

    If youre looking for an official guide to Dutch culture, this is not it. If youre looking for one

    mans completely subjective and utterly biased impression of Dutch culture, this is for you.

    Illustrated paperback 240 full color pagesISBN 978 90 5594 800 0 Price 14.95

    Available in the major book store

    www.howtobeorange .nl

    www.hollandbooks .nl

    An Alternative Dutch Assimilation Course

    By Gregory Scott ShapiroIllustrated by Floor de GoedeWith a foreword by William van Orange

    whether you move once or multiple times, whether you are about to move

    for the first time or have already moved, this book will make it possible

    for you to enjoy the mobile life.

    www.themobilel ife .eu

    Paperback 184 pagesISBN 978 90 5594 807 9 Price 14.95

    For sale at the major book store and

    The Mobile LifeA new approach to moving anywhere

    By Diane Lemieux and Anne Parker



    HEALTHGeneral medical care in the Netherlands is of a high standard but non-interventionist in nature.

    The Dutch healthcare system has undergone radical change in past years. It is now mandatory for everyone to purchase at least a base level of insurance (basisverzekering) or run the risk of a warning and fines. However, you are free to choose your own health insurer (zorgverzekeraar) or change companies. Health-care plans are renewed yearly on 1 January.

    You must take out insurance with a Dutch insurer within four months of arrival, or once you have registered with the IND (EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and family members) or obtained your residence permit (non-EU/EAA/Swiss nationals), even if you already have an existing policy that gives you cover in the Netherlands. Certain students, employers and work arrangements can be exempt from this requirement, but you should check carefully whether your situation qualifies. In the Dutch healthcare scheme, children under 18 are included in their parents insurance at no additional cost, unless they begin working.

    A Dutch insurance company cannot refuse to cover you for the basic package, regardless of your age or state of health. The standard basic coverage is set by the government, although providers can vary in cost and how they deliver these requirements. If your income is under a fixed minimum level, you can apply for a healthcare allowance (zorgtoeslag) from the tax authorities (belastingdienst).

    Visit (in Dutch) for details and application forms. For general details, the Health Insurance Information Centre ( has information in English, as does the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport ( You can find a list of insurers at; at

    (choose better) and you can compare health insurance (zorgverzekeringen) policy costs and find the cheapest package (goed-koopste basispakket). Both websites are in Dutch.

    BASIC INSURANCEThe basic insurance covers general medical care (visits to the huisarts - family doctor -, for example), hospital stays, maternity care, dental care for chil-dren up to age 18, most prescription medicine, and various appliances. Basic coverage is around EUR 100 a month. The government tweaks this package on a yearly basis.

    You will need extra coverage for extensive dental treatments, physiotherapy or anything else the government considers to be your own responsibility, and it is in these additional areas that companies compete. You can change the extras each year, effective 1 January, so let your provider know before then if you would like to make a change. Some insurance companies have policy documents in English. If you work at a company, it is worth

    checking with col-leagues whether there is a collective scheme that provides health insurance at a dis-count. Some employ-ers cover (some) costs.

    If you are self-employed, you may want to take out extra cover. Always check that the healthcare sup-plier (such as a physiotherapist) is registered with your particular insurer before starting treatment.

    It is possible to purchase the additional coverage (aanvullende packet) from a different insurer than your basic insurer. This may make things more complicated when processing bills, but it can sometimes lower your overall costs, or allow you to purchase additional coverage tailored for the needs of international persons residing in the Netherlands.

    The standard insurance package includes a mandatory excess or deductible.

    You must purchase compulsory Dutch insurance as soon as you have received your residence permit or registered with the IND.




    This is a contribution made by the policy holder towards the cost of an insurance claim. Family doctor visits, obstetric and postnatal care, and childrens dental services are exempted from the deductible, so those expenses are ordinarily paid in full by the insurer. In 2013, the deductible amount was raised to EUR 350 per adult. This means that you will pay the first EUR 350 of bills each year, in addition to your health insurance premiums. You can choose a higher own risk (deductible) amount, in which case your monthly health insurance premiums can be up to EUR 25 lower.

    DOCTORA huisarts is a family doctor and you need to reg-ister with one convenient for you. The idea was that they were no more than 10 minutes away in case of house calls. However, as house calls are rarely done these days, some people choose a huisarts close to work, or travel further to a family doctor they feel comfortable with.

    Some doctors will turn you away because their practices are already full. Your insurance company can provide a list or check the local gemeentegids (a guide to everything in your area). Sound out friends and colleagues for recommendations.

    It is important to register with a huisarts when you arrive in the Netherlands, even if you are not ill and

    rarely use a doctor. If you have not registered with a family doctor and then become ill, you may have difficulty finding a nearby doctor who is taking patients, which can delay your care and extend your illness.

    Youll need a referral from a huisarts to receive non-urgent medical treatment from a hospital or other specialist health provider (like a cardiologist), if you would like to have those costs covered by your Dutch medical insurance. Many practices have a spreekuur (or consultation hour) where you can consult your doctor without an appointment. At weekends or during holidays youll hear a recorded message on their telephone telling you how to contact on-call medical services. These are often only recorded in Dutch, so if you dont speak Dutch it is best to have a Dutch speaker call for you.

    In case of urgent matters, your huisarts can alert the hospital (for instance, if youve broken your ankle while skating, they can call ahead to organise someone to take an X-ray). Dont expect a lot of medication. For instance, Dutch doctors are generally reluctant to hand out antibiotics.

    DENTISTA dentist (tandarts) can also be located via your insurance company and this is one area where you want to check your policy carefully.



    An annual check-up for adults may be included in the basic insurance package (but not the hygienist fees, for instance). You can pay for additional cover. Dental care for those under 18 is covered in basic insurance. Just as with the family doctor, it is impor-tant to register with a dentist to ensure you can be seen if an urgent dental problem should arise. Dentists are in short supply in the Netherlands, so many practices are full and not taking new patients. Expats may find anesthesia is less forthcoming than in their own country, although this varies between dentists.

    ORTHODONTICSExtra health insurance is usually necessary if you want this to be covered by your insurer. If you or a family member is arriving in the Netherlands with orthodontic appliances already in place, some research will be necessary to determine which orthodontist can continue the care here, as there are various types of orthodontic systems and equip-ment, and not all practitioners use all of them.

    GGD: HEALTHCARE FOR CHILDRENThe municipal health service (Gemeentelijke Gezondheidsdienst, covers all aspects of childrens growth and development up to 19 years old. On the website you can search for your local GGD, but if you have young children, theyll probably find you first via your registration with the GBA. Inoculations and checks from birth to age four take place at the consultatiebureau, which is usually part of the GGD. Expect a big check-up just before starting school.

    Childhood immunisations in the Dutch scheme have changed often in the past 10 years. You may wish to check whether the Dutch immunisation scheme is the same as the one from your home country, especially if you expect to return while your children are still school age. Immunisations differ-ent from those on the standard plan can be arranged, although that must sometimes be done via the family doctor rather than the consultatiebu-reau.

    HOSPITALSAccident and emergency is SEH (spoedeisende hulp) at the hospital, or for first aid EHBO (eerste hulp bij ongelukken). The emergency services line is 112. In some cases, there is a HAP, or huisartsen-post (family doctor post) that you must visit before being admitted to the emergency department, in

    case the matter is something that the family doc-tors can handle without involving hospital care. If you need an ambulance, your doctor or the emer-gencies services must call one for you, otherwise it might not be covered by your insurance.

    For a hospital admission for non-emergency treatment, keep your insurance company informed and check your policy. Your insurers will require a referral letter from your huisarts. You usually personally make the appointment with the specialist at the hospital.

    PHARMACIESOnce you have located a huisarts, you need to locate a nearby pharmacy (apotheek) where you will pick up prescriptions. If this pharmacy deals with your particular insurance scheme, you wont have to pay bills directly. Pharmacy services vary, so look for one that has the services you need. For example, many can deliver medications to your home free of charge, and some also offer services such as secured pickup boxes accessible with a key, so that you can retrieve prescriptions after hours.

    Pharmacies in the Netherlands expect patients to register with them, meaning that they take your contact and insurance information and then con-sider you a long-term client (although it is possible to fill prescriptions elsewhere, if needed).

    If you have been treated at a hospital, you can sometimes fill your prescription at an onsite phar-macy. This will often save a lot of time and hassle, especially after business hours. Pharmacists are able to give advice for minor complaints. Opening hours vary but the address of the nearest out-of-hours pharmacy will be indicated on the door. Drogists supply over-the-counter remedies. You can also order prescriptions online ( and are just two examples), or find your nearest pharmacy at (click on zoek een apotheek and enter your postcode).

    HAVING A BABYThe Netherlands has a strong tradition in prenatal care and natural childbirths. Around one fifth of babies are born at home (which means some 80 percent are born in a healthcare setting, so dont worry if a home birth doesnt appeal to you!). Your insurance company will supply you with a special package for giving birth at home, which just arrives automatically at your door.



    A midwife, an independent medical practitioner, will generally be your sole care provider during your pregnancy and delivery. There are also increasingly more doulas available these days, an experienced woman who can give support and continuity of care, complementary to the midwife or obstetrician. They are (not yet) covered by insurance though. Search for one.

    Expectant mothers with certain sorts of medical conditions or complications will be handled by an obstetrician (gynaecologist), which will automati-cally take place in the hospital.

    Should you prefer a hospital birth, just let your midwife know. However, you should also check that your insurer will cover a poliklinische hospital birth. Some hospitals have birth centres, where the envi-ronment is made more homely. If you do deliver your baby in a hospital, you can often be back at home the same day for postnatal care.

    Regular check-ups take place with the primary caregiver (midwife or obstetrician). Prenatal testing and genetic screening are not routine for women under 35 unless there is some medical history that puts her or the baby into a higher risk category. If you need further tests according to Dutch practice, your caregiver will arrange that. The routine pre-natal testing recommended in the Netherlands is different from the guidelines in many other coun-tries. If you are not comfortable with skipping some of the testing, then discuss this with you caregiver. It may be possible to arrange the testing, although you might be required to pay for it yourself.

    There are many types of birth preparation classes, some of which are offered through a local homecare (thuiszorg) organisation. ACCESS runs a number of popular ones, from childbirth preparation to postnatal classes.

    Pregnancy yoga is extremely popular, offering a variety of approaches, from gentle breathing and relaxation exercises to more energetic stretching. One of the best things about taking a class is meet-ing other parents-to-be and sharing experiences, information and concerns.

    FINDING A MIDWIFE OR OBSTETRICIAN/ GYNAECOLOGISTThe majority of women giving birth in Netherlands are cared for by a midwife (verloskundige or vroedvrouw) during pregnancy and childbirth. Gynaecologists/obstetricians are part of the care process for women who have (or are expected to have) complications or multiple pregnancies. If your caregiver is a midwife, you can choose to have your baby at home (thuisbevalling) or at a hospital with a midwife (poliklinische bevalling).

    If your caregiver is an obstetrician then the delivery will take place in the hospital, although the specific arrangements within the hospital vary from hospi-tal to hospital. When locating a midwife, word of mouth is best but your huisarts might be able to make a recommendation. You can also visit the website of the Royal Dutch Association of Midwives ( If the supervision of an obstetrician/

    g y n a e c o l o g i s t i s needed, your huisarts or midwife can assist you in locating one. Few hospitals in the Netherlands have new-

    born intensive care units, so if complications are anticipated with the baby, it is often preferable to select a healthcare provider already located at one of those hospitals. This minimises the risk that you and your baby will end up in two different hospitals after the delivery, as well as eliminating the risks of transporting a fragile newborn to a different hos-pital.

    It is important to let your caregiver know your feel-ings about pain relief, as it is infrequently offered in the Netherlands but can be arranged for hospi-tal births. While some women complain that the Dutch childbirth system is becoming too medical-ised, and others that it is not medicalised enough, most are positive about the postnatal care (kraam-zorg). Once your baby has arrived, you will be given assistance at home by a maternity nurse (kraam-verzorgster). She will monitor you and your babys health, teach some general childcare and set up a daily routine. Best of all, it may include household help. The amount of kraamzorg varies (from a few hours a day for eight days to full-time care) and a representative will come round to discuss what is appropriate just before birth.


    New mothers receive home assistance after giving birth, from general childcare to household help.


    The insurance generally covers the costs. It is important to register for kraamzorg early in your pregnancy, as they are sometimes in short supply. Find more information on

    MATERNITY LEAVENew mothers are entitled to 16 weeks paid leave in the Netherlands, and in some cases more, particularly if there are medical issues. During this time, they are entitled to 100 percent of their earnings up to a cap of EUR 174,64 per day, paid out

    by their employers or the Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemers Verzekeringen (UWV). Pregnant women must take pregnancy leave (zwangerschapsverlof) at least four weeks before their due date, although up to six weeks is possible. After the birth, women are entitled to 10 weeks of maternity leave (bevallingsverlof), even if the child is born later than expected. Self-employed mothers are also entitled to pregnancy and maternity leave, but the amount depends on the hours worked in the last 12 months.


    HEALTH SERVICES INSURANCE PROVIDERS ONVZ Zorgverzekeraar De Molen 66, 3995 AX Houten +31 (0)30 639 6222 |

    IntegraGlobal29/30 Fitzroy Square London+44 333 405 3003 |

    Now HealthSuite G3/4, Coliseum BuildingWatchmoor Park Surrey, GU15 3YL+44 127 660 2110 |


    excellent Babies and Toddlers book. Midwives: Doulas: Homecare (thuiszorg):

    MEDICAL 112 is the emergency number (for fire, police and ambulance).

    HOSPITAL A hospital is a ziekenhuis and a complete list of hospitals and medical centres for the Netherlands can be found at

    PHARMACY To locate an apotheek, visit

    DOCTOR Dont wait for an emergency before registering with a family doctor. Find one at

    CENTRAL DOCTORS SERVICES (24-HOUR): Amsterdam region: +31 (0)880 030 600. The Hague: +31 (0)70 346 9669 Rotterdam: +31 (0)10 290 9888

    Amsterdam also has an emergency number for nights, weekends and public holidays: +31 (0)20 592 343

    Information line (not all areas, though they can locate the right number): +31 (0)900 1515

    DENTAL EMERGENCIES Amsterdam: +31 (0)900 821 2230 The Hague: +31 (0)70 311 0305 Rotterdam: +31 (0)10 455 2155

    INSURANCE For more information about your specific situation, you can contact the following: College for Health Insurances at +31 (0)20 797 8555; Sociale Verzekeringsbank at under contact,

    type in your postcode and get the phone number for your area and specific situation (for questions regarding social security).



    SETTING UP HOME UTILITIESIn many cases, the utilities (gas, water and electricity) will already be connected and you just have to transfer them to your name. If you are paying an inclusive rent, check your contact carefully for what is covered.

    WATERThere are two elements of water payments: a consumption charge based on actual water usage (which is estimated if you dont have a meter) and a municipal tax for services (sewage, pollution, etc.).

    To see which water company covers your area, visit and fill in the box Uw drinkwaterbedrijf with your postcode, or ask at your local gemeente.

    Amsterdam: Waternet: 0900 9394 Den Haag/Leiden: Dunea 088 347 4747 Rotterdam: Evides 0900 0787 Utrecht: Vitens 0900 0650 PWN Waterleidingbedrijf Noord-Holland: 0900 405 0700

    ELECTRICITY AND GASThe energy market is liberalised, so you are able to choose (or change) suppliers. Most have green options, where energy is bought from alternative sources such as wind, water and biomass.

    Regulatory authorities ensure fair practices and tar-iffs. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets ( provides a complete list of gas and electricity suppliers on their website (Onderwerpen > Energie > Energieleveranciers > Vergunninghouders elektriciteit/gas).

    MAIN SUPPLIERS: Dong Energy: Eneco: Energie Direct: E.ON: Essent: Greenchoice: Nederlandse Energie Maatschappij: Nuon: main supplier for Amsterdam Oxxio: www.oxxio.nlYou can compare energy prices via www.energie- (English) or (Dutch also provides consumer information and a help/complaint centre).

    COMMUNICATIONThere is a huge range of options from many suppliers with combination deals for telephone (bellen), Internet and TV, charged under a single monthly fee.

    TELEPHONESKPN is the main supplier for landlines. The easiest way to get connected is often to visit a KPN winkel (shop) with appropriate identification and they can set it up. There are many additional services such as discounts for favourite numbers, or combination deals with Internet and TV. For low cost international calls, you can have calls charged via a cheaper pro-vider. For instance, you can rent a line from KPN but direct long-distance calls through Tele2 or OneTel, or register with bell1649 (, or use an international calling card, which you can buy from independent call shops. In all these cases, you key in a combination of codes before dialling overseas. Internet telephony (such as Skype) is a cheaper option. To use a public phone, youll need to buy a phone card from a supermarket or newsagent.

    MOBILE TELEPHONESThe cheapest deal for a mobile will be via a contract (abonnementen) with one of the main suppliers. Shop around or compare the latest rates on (in Dutch). Youll need proof of identity, address, income and a bank account to sign a deal. A prepaid phone is more expensive but you can top it up with cards from supermarkets. If your phone is unlocked, you can buy a Dutch SIM. Every phone has a unique IMEI serial number (enter *#06# to find out yours). Youll need this when reporting a stolen phone. 0800 numbers are toll free; 0900 numbers are charged (per call or minute).

    INTERNETConnectivity in the Netherlands is among the highest and fastest in Europe. All kinds of dial-up, ISDN, ADSL, and cable options are available, and can be combined with telephone and TV deals. Depending on the current TV channel deals, you might go for a TV option from one supplier and telephone/ Internet from another. You can compare deals at It will take a few weeks to set up, and you need a cable connection. There are Internet cafes dotted about and many more with WiFi.



    Dutch libraries also provide Internet for a small fee; if you are in Amsterdam, the central library ( offers free Internet for members (yearly fee EUR 17,50) and splendid views.

    TELEVISIONCable TV is cheap and accessed by more than 90 percent of the population. Main providers include Ziggo and UPC, and included in the standard package are BBC 1, BBC 2, BBC World, and CNN alongside Dutch channels which include the government-owned Nederland 1, 2 and 3 and RTL 4, 5, 7, and 8. Youll also receive Veronica and Net 5 (quality films and drama including popular US serials), plus National Geographic, the Discovery Channel and popular childrens channels. Local TV channels are another option. For Amsterdam, it is AT5.

    Subtitling, rather than dubbing, is used except for childrens TV. For more films, sport or other interests, you can select different options for extra payment. Check out for coverage in your area (by postcode) or compare combination packages at or at any of the suppliers. You get a media box and then pay for your chosen option. CanalDigitaal is a provider of satellite TV but you will need to be able to fix a dish facing east and check there are no restrictions on satellite placement with your gemeente.











    SETTING UP HOMEHEMA ( is a Dutch Institution for all household matters. Blokker is cheap ( and lKEA ( has many branches across the country.

    POST OFFICESPost offices are marked with an orange sign that says postkantoor or PostNL and generally located inside shops, newsagents or tobacconists (postagent-schap). Formerly TNT, the company changed its name in 2011.

    Stamps (postzegels) can be bought in all of the above places and in some of the larger supermarkets, or printed online through Post-boxes are orange and are scattered throughout shopping areas and neighbourhoods. On the post-box there are two slots: the right (streekpost) is for local delivery and youll see a list of postcodes that indicate the areas included; the left (overige bestemmingen) is for everywhere else, including international destinations.

    Priority service is used all for mail outside of the Netherlands; for faster delivery, Spoedservice offers next day delivery to certain international destina-tions, and guaranteed within the Netherlands by 10am the next day.

    PostNL (National) 0900 0990 (10 ct/pm) (English language section also offers online postal services)



    Government info:

    News, information, community:



    Royal family:

    Social networking:


    Website links by category:

    Telephone directory/Yellow pages:



    DRIVINGDrive if your car has Dutch registration and you hold a recognised licence, otherwise theres an excellent public transport system

    Once you are a resident of the Netherlands (regis-tered in the municipality database) you cannot drive a car registered in another country. You must also be at least 18, have third party insurance and be driving a legally registered vehicle.

    EXCHANGING A DRIVING LICENCETo exchange (omwisselen) your existing national driving licence (rijbewijs) for a Dutch one, you must fit into one of the categories below. Otherwise you can use it for 185 days after becoming a resident, during which time you need to take the CBR theory and driving tests. You can take both the theory and practical exam in English. Drivers in international traf-fic essentially tourists or short-term visitors are considered non-residents and do not need a Dutch driving licence, although non-EU nationals should check with their Dutch embassy if an international licence is required (essentially a translation of your national licence). Dutch licences are generally issued for 10 years. Foreign licences from EU/EFTA countries can be used in the Netherlands for 10 years from the date of issue, or 15 years if issued after January 2013. You may like to exchange it anyway: it is a valid proof of identity in many cases.

    LICENSES THAT CAN BE EXCHANGED: Aruba, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic

    of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, (States of) Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Isle of Man, Monaco, Netherlands Antilles, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and UK.

    Specific licenses from Taiwan, Israel, Japan, Singa-pore, Andorra, South Korea, Canadian Province of Quebec.

    Residents with the 30 percent ruling status (whatever nationality).

    Expat employees may also be eligible to exchange their foreign licence if the Tax Office considers them to provide specific knowledge that is either unavailable or rare on the Dutch labour market.

    Apply at a municipal office for an Aanvraag omwisseling voor Nederlands rijbewijs form (or download it prior from you must be registered in the munic-ipality database for at least 185 consecutive days, and non-EU/EFTA nationals must additionally present an Eigen Verklaring (a CBR statement of health). If you are 70 years or over (or 75 as of 2014) youll need a medical examination, which the CBR may request for non-EU/ETFA/Swiss nationals also. There are fees for this.

    If you are applying under the 30 percent ruling you will need a statement from the tax offices international department in Heerlen. Check with all departments if additional documentation is required for your certain situation, and if any documents require translation or authentication. You will generally forfeit your original licence (unless applying under the 30 percent ruling). You need a special licence for a bromfiets (moped), snorfiets (light moped), or brommobiel (mobility car) (unless you have a licence of the A or B category) and you must be 16 or over to get one.

    For all information on driving licences and tests visit or (English information section).

    REGISTERING AND OWNING A CARThe hefty disincentive for bringing a car into the Neth-erlands is the private motor vehicle and motorcycle tax (BPM) levied as a percentage of the value of the car. Exemption certificates are dealt by customs ( There are many implications affecting car tax calculations: consult the website for full details (in English). Also note that you, as a Dutch resident, may not drive in a vehicle with foreign registration plates you will be considered to be evading the import duty on the vehicle and road tax, and risk being heavily fined. All cars must be regis-tered with the RDW (Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer). If you bring your vehicle from abroad, it must first be reviewed at an RDW inspection station, after which registration is handled through the same office. This means getting Dutch registration plates, registration documents and paying the BPM.

    To register ownership of a Dutch registered car, you can go to any post office or RDWTV (Tenaamstellen



    Voertuigen) certified company with all the usual identification documents and a certificate of ownership, vehicle registration documents, statutory liability insurance (WA) and safety certificate (APK). For second hand vehicles, there is a transfer certificate (overschrijvingsbewijs). A seller should ensure their previous ownership certificate has been officially invalidated. After registering your car, you will receive a bill for road tax (motorrijtuigenbelasting) from the tax office.

    The vehicles registration certificate (kentekenbewijs) and the certificate of ownership (tenaamstellingsbe-wijs) must be in the car at all times when on the road. The APK test (at an RDW-approved garage) measures the road-worthiness of your vehicle. For insurance, check the yellow pages or other sources for suppliers of autoverzekering.

    TRAFFIC AND PARKINGYou drive on the right. Unless otherwise marked, the speed limits are 50 km/hr in the city, 80 km/hr on other roads and 100, 120, or 130 km/hr on motorways. Traffic is an issue ( and so is parking, for which you generally need a permit. There are various options for paying for parking: by cash, chip or via your mobile phone. See, or

    Many Dutch drivers are members of motoring organ-isation ANWB (, which can provide breakdown cover (wegenwacht) at home or abroad. There are park and ride (P+R) schemes in most cities and the car-sharing scheme Green Wheels is a pop-ular option (

    CONTACTS The Department of Road Transport:,

    0900 0739, or +31 (0) 598 393330 (outside the Neth-erlands)

    Information on driving licences:

    Theory and driving tests:, 0900 0210

    Road Traffic Signs and Regulations brochure: do a search on to download.

    Common traffic offences:

    PUBLIC TRANSPORTThe Netherlands has excellent public transport links, and the swipecard payment system OV-chipkaart is the official transport payment system for the metro, bus and tram throughout the Netherlands.

    The smart-card system is slowly overcoming residents initial concerns, although there are calls to simplify the system.

    There are two types of cards: anonymous, which you can buy from the OV-chipkaart machines, or personal, which you can apply for online.

    Your pass can be loaded from one of the OV-chipkaart machines strategically placed at train and metro sta-tions. You can arrange for your personal card to load automatically from a bank account.

    You pay for the distance travelled by swiping it upon entering and leaving your transport station. Personal products, such as season or discount tickets, can be loaded to your personal OV-chipkaart and you are automatically eligible for discounts.

    The OV-chipkaart website ( also has an English language section where you can find lines of action should you lose your card or forget to swipe out (you will automatically be charged the maximum travel price but refunds can be requested). Helpline: 0900 0980 (EUR 0.10/min).

    TRAINThe Nederlandse Spoorwegen ( is the national train company. NS offers season tickets and discounts for off-peak travel (dal voordeel abonne-ment), which includes a 40 percent discount off the price of tickets, not only for you but for up to three other people travelling with you. Visit an NS counter for more information. Tickets are checked regularly and fines are heavy. You save 50 euro cents by pur-chasing your train ticket via the ticket machines (also in English) rather than at the counter.

    You can now travel on the NS with your OV-chipkaart. Make sure you have a minimum EUR 20 uploaded to an anonymous card and that you swipe out on arrival or you travel costs could triple! If you forget to swipe out, you have up to six hours to go back and check out, otherwise you must claim back the added costs. Call 0900 202 1163 for help with claims (EUR 10/min). For smaller cities, you can organise a treintaxi when you buy your train ticket. This is a shared door-to-door taxi service at a fixed price (EUR 5).

    Credit: Driving section updated with the help of Michael Davidson of The International Driving School of The Netherlands (



    EMERGENCY NUMBERS112 is the number for emergency police, ambulance or fire.

    You will be asked for the address and city where you are calling from and the nature of the emergency.

    You can find more information on Dutch fire services at

    POLICE: ( The non-emergency number is 0900 8844. You will be connected to your local police station. If your passport has been stolen, contact your embassy immediately for instructions as to what to do next. You generally need to make a statement at a police station to start any kind of official procedure (insurance, applying for a new passport etc.).

    HELPLINESAccess www.access-nl.orgInvaluable resource for all international residents.0900 2 222 377 (20c per minute)

    Alcoholics Anonymous www.aa-nether National: +31 (0)20 625 6057

    Gay & Lesbian Switchboard National: 020 623 6565

    Helpline for children and teenagers 0800 0432

    SOS 24-hour helpline 0900 0767Staffed by Dutch volunteers but many speak English.

    Gas and electricity emergencies If you suspect a gas leak (gaslucht) or have a power problem (stroomstoring) the national line is 0800 9009 or, for serious emergencies posing a public threat, call 112.

    WATER EMERGENCY:Contact your local gemeente for serious water or sewage issues. If the problem is in the length of pipe between the street and your house, this is the local water boards responsibility (visit and type your postcode in the box under Uw drinkwaterbedrijf). Otherwise search the yellow pages (gouden gids) for a loodgieter (plumber).

    LOST AND STOLEN: American Express 020 504 8000

    Diners Club 020 654 5500

    VISA 0800 022 3110

    MasterCard/EuroCard 0800 022 5821

    Lost property Schiphol: 0900 0141



    PUBLIC HOLIDAYSThere are a few regional variations except for the orange madness of Kings Day, which takes over the whole country.

    Queens Day set to become Kings Day in 2014 is the big national holiday, where everyone dresses up in orange, and parties. There are a few regional variations in holidays, with carnival celebrated in February and March in Catholic areas.

    For all Dutch citizens:

    Sinterklaas [Not an official holiday.] Thursday, 5 December 2013 (Sint arrives in the Netherlands on Saturday, 16 November.)

    Christmas Day (Eerste Kerstdag)Wednesday, 25 December 2013.

    Boxing Day (Tweede Kerstdag)Thursday, 26 December 2013.

    New Years Day (Nieuwjaarsdag)Wednesday, 1 January 2014

    Good Friday (Goede Vrijdag) [Not an official holiday.] Friday, April 18, 2014.

    Easter Sunday / Monday (Pasen)Sunday/Monday, 20/21 April 2014.

    Kings Day (Koningendag) Saturday, 26 April 2014

    National Remembrance Day (Dodenherdenking)[Not an official holiday.] Sunday, 4 May 2014.

    Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag)Monday, 5 May 2014. [Official holiday every 5 years. Next: 2015]

    Ascension (Hemelvaart)Thursday, 29 May 2014

    Whitsun (Pinksteren)Sunday, 8 June and Monday, 9 June 2014.

    School > Wanneer zijn de schoolvakanties?



    Helpline (Amsterdam, English): 020 423 3217

    Helpline (Amsterdam, Japanese): 020 423 3218

    Helpline (Den Haag, English): 070 346 2525

    Autism Association for Overseas Families (NL) |

    BIRTH/BABIES/TODDLERSParenting in Holland links, information, Q&As:


    ABCDE Almere Baby Club for Dutch and English:


    Childbirth preparation courses:

    International Playgroup:

    The Playgroup:


    Delft Maternity and Motherhood Assistance:

    Den Haag:

    Birth preparation/baby massage:

    Pre-school (English):

    International childcare centre:


    English Speaking Contact Group:


    Information and assistance for the English-speaking community:


    English-speaking mother and toddler group:


    International parent and toddler group:


    Voorschoten Toddler Group:

    BUSINESS/PROFESSIONAL Amsterdam American Business Club (AABC):

    Australian Business in Europe:

    Connecting Women (The Hague):

    European Professional Womens Network (Amsterdam chapter):

    International Business Club for the Eindhoven region (IBUC) Junior Chamber International (Amsterdam):

    Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce:

    Rotary Club Utrecht International:

    Society of English-Native-Speaking Editors:

    Toastmasters Club:

    CULTURE Anglo American Theatre Group (Den Haag):

    InPlayers (Amsterdam):

    International Drama Group of English-Speaking Associates (IDEA) (Dordrecht):

    Reading Circle Eindhoven (RCE) (Eindhoven):


    Gay Amsterdam:

    Gay Tourist Information Centre:

    PinkPoint (Gay Information Centre):

    The Love Exiles Foundation:




    Expand your dating horizons.

    Register for FREE at:



    Australians abroad in Holland:




    Irish Club:

    Latin America:

    CLO Stichting Centro Latinoamericano de Orientacion:

    New Zealand:

    New Zealands Global Network:


    Singapore Netherlands Association:


    La Asociacion Hispanica de La Haya:

    South Africa:

    The South African Club in the Netherlands:


    British Society of Amsterdam:

    British Club of The Hague:

    St Andrews Society:

    POLITICS/ACTIVIST Amnesty International:

    Democrats Abroad:

    SOCIAL Amsterdam Expat Meetup Group:

    English speaking contact group of Haarlem:

    Expatica Forum:

    Expatica Date:

    Legal Aliens:

    Leiden Expats Club:

    Leiden expats Meet in Eindhoven:

    WOMENS CLUBS American Womens Club of Amsterdam:

    American Netherlands Club of Rotterdam:

    American Womens Club of The Hague:

    Australian and New Zealand Womens Club:

    MOPS in Holland (Mothers of Preschoolers):

    The Petroleum Wives Club of The Hague:

    International Womens Contact Amsterdam:

    International Womens Contact Utrecht:

    International Womens Contact The Hague:

    International Womens Club Breda:

    International Womens Club South Limburg:

    Pickwick Womens Club of Rotterdam:

    s-Hertogenboschs International Womens Club:

    Womens International Group Zeeland:


    Visit for our full listing of groups and clubs, which covers: Advice & Information; Activist; Art & Photography; City; Food & Wine; Educational; Family; Gay & Lesbian; Language; Literary; Music Clubs; National; Political; Professional; Regional; Religious; Social; Clubs; Sports Clubs; Theatre Clubs; Writing; Womens.





    ADVERTISERS INDEXAABN AMRO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42, 43 Amsterdam Castle Muiderslot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41Amsterdam International Community School 45

    BBritish School of Amsterdam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

    CCorporate Housing Factory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .back cover

    DDutch I presume . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

    EeasyNL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53Eurohome Relocation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . inside front coverEuropean University . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47, 50Expatax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37Expatcenter Amsterdam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5Expatdesk Rotterdam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31Expatica Date . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81Expatica Jobs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

    GG&D&Y Housing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23Get social on Expatica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

    HHavaa Apartments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23Holland Handbook . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67How to be Orange . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

    IInterhouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20International School Het Rijnlands Lyceum . . . . . Oegstgeest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51International School Hilversum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47International School of Amsterdam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

    MMaastricht School of Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55Madison Parker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

    NNOVA Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

    OONVZ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9, 69Outspoken Communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

    RRotterdam International Secondary School . . . . . 47Rotterdam School of Management . . . inside back

    coverRots-Vast Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

    SSAE Institute . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41Smeets Gijbels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15Sonar Appartementen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27Stoit Groep . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25Studio Twisk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

    TThe International Job Fair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65The International School of The Hague . . . . . . . . . . . 51The Mobile Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67Tornante Trainingen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52Tulip Expat Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

    UUndutchables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

    WWaterstones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11Webster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3, 54Witlox International Tax Advice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

    XXpat Journal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

    NEED MORE GUIDES?The Expat Survival Guide will be distributed this year to over 40,000 expats in the Netherlands, through embassies, international companies, expat housing and relocation companies and international schools. If you are involved in managing expats, or run a bookshop, cafe, bar, or restaurant frequented by expats, and would like to distribute the Expat Survival Guide, then please contact us at to order your free guides. Delivery is also free within the Netherlands.


    Once the practical aspects are dealt with, life in your new country can really begin. Exploring and settling in brings its own set of joys and challenges, and provides you all the information you need to happily live, work and love in the Netherlands.

    LIVEThe Dutch clich rings true: Museums, tulips and windmills number in the thousands in the Netherlands, and thats only the start of sights to see! Expatica.coms Lifestyle section covers cultural sights, restaurants and activities in the Netherlands to get you out, about and active!

    Raw herring not to your taste? Dutch food offers an array of interesting and international cuisine, and you can never beat getting Gouda and Edam from the source. Check out the top Dutch foods on

    Raising bilingual children? Suffering culture shock? Expat life is rewarding but its not without challenges. Get a dose of daily or weekly guidance by signing up to Expaticas newsletters, where hand-picked blogs written by seasoned expats and relevant news features are delivered straight to your inbox.

    Dont let your visa expire! has an extensive online immigration section to guide you step-by-step on how to apply or extend your visa.

    Location, location, location. In just a couple of hours you can be strolling the Champs-lyses, eating Belgian chocolate or cruising the Rhine. EINDHOVEN























    From To Distance (km)Amsterdam (Noord-Holland) Rotterdam (South Holland) 57.74The Hague (South Holland) Utrecht (Utrecht) 56.3Eindhoven (North Brabant) Tilburg (North Brabant) 29.64Groningen (Groningen) Almere-Stad (Flevoland) 131.06Amsterdam Brussels (Belgium) 207Amsterdam Paris (France) 500

  • WORK The Ranstad and Eindhoven are hotspots for internationals but with the Netherlandss advantage of short daily commutes and good connections, its not uncommon to live and work in different regions. Travel from Amsterdam to the Hague or Utrecht in just 3040 minutes.

    Are you getting the correct expat tax benefits? Expatica.coms Employment and Finance sections can guide you on Dutch legislation, or Ask the Expert for information specific to your situation.

    Wouldnt it be great to find one centralised location for jobs relating to international workers in the Netherlands? See whos hiring on Expaticas job search portal:

    If you want to enhance your job opportunities in the Netherlands, keep an eye out for Expaticas 2014 Job Fair. Our 2013 fair introduced more than 2,000 people to recruiters and advisors in the Netherlands for employment and relocation advice.

    LOVEIs staring incessantly flirty or freaky? Should you dress-up or dress-down? And will you be expected to go Dutch? Push your love life in the right direction with Expatica.coms articles and surveys on expat dating etiquette.

    Finding love in a foreign country can be challenging when you dont know the game rules. Meet like-minded singles on Expaticas online dating site for expats:

    Lost in translation? Learning Dutch culture can do wonders for cross-cultural relationships: You wouldnt be insulted when called a little fart if you knew it was a Dutch endearment. Search Dutch culture on for social quirks to etiquette.

    How much can you get to know someone in three minutes? Find out at Expaticas SpeedDate events. Meet heaps of people in a friendly and relaxed environment without the awkward hours of hanging around a bar.

    Good company is only matched by great food. Did you know the Netherlands has two three-starred Michelin restaurants?

























    Serviced Apartments

    the easy way!

    Corporate housing factory is the serviced apartment provider nationwide in the Netherlands. We help you nd a comfortable home for short, medium or longer stays.

    High quality corporate housingWe want you to experience corporate housing the way we think it should be, with our experience, professional staff, services and partners. With a variety of avors we can make your or your employees stay an unforgettable one.

    Serviced ApartmentsOur serviced apartments are fully furnished, energy and internet included and combined with services and facilities providing you comfort, sport and relaxation. Ideal for a temporary stay in the Netherlands without the usual worries or hassle. We offer our serviced apartments from one week onwards. Comfortably located as a hub for frequently doing business and still being able to enjoy life in the vibrant cities of the Netherlands!

    Please do not hesitate to explore your wishes with our team and line up for a care free experience. Check our website:

    +31 (0)88 11 69 500

    properties available across the Netherlands

    corporate housing factory

    13338-024-ADV Expattourguide.indd 1 15-08-13 12:28

  • Serviced Apartments

    the easy way!

    Corporate housing factory is the serviced apartment provider nationwide in the Netherlands. We help you nd a comfortable home for short, medium or longer stays.

    High quality corporate housingWe want you to experience corporate housing the way we think it should be, with our experience, professional staff, services and partners. With a variety of avors we can make your or your employees stay an unforgettable one.

    Serviced ApartmentsOur serviced apartments are fully furnished, energy and internet included and combined with services and facilities providing you comfort, sport and relaxation. Ideal for a temporary stay in the Netherlands without the usual worries or hassle. We offer our serviced apartments from one week onwards. Comfortably located as a hub for frequently doing business and still being able to enjoy life in the vibrant cities of the Netherlands!

    Please do not hesitate to explore your wishes with our team and line up for a care free experience. Check our website:

    +31 (0)88 11 69 500

    properties available across the Netherlands

    corporate housing factory

    13338-024-ADV Expattourguide.indd 1 15-08-13 12:28